Essay on The Rights And Personal Dignity Of Terminally Ill Patients

Essay on The Rights And Personal Dignity Of Terminally Ill Patients

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A Dignified Death is the theme of an association of Canadian citizens committed to ensuring that the wishes of those suffering from terminal illnesses are both respected and protected. We believe that the rights and personal dignity of terminally ill patients are extremely important. The time has come for their voices to be heard.

Our membership is composed of over 50,000 Canadian citizens and reflects a cross section of Canadian society. We reside in each province and territory and represent every race, gender, religion and socio-economic group. The pain and suffering of terminal illnesses do not discriminate and know no barriers.

There is no doubt that euthanasia and assisted suicide present a very complex and difficult topic. Often, they evoke strong emotions and make many people uncomfortable. Regardless of one’s personal view, they are subjects that require open and blunt dialogue.

Current legislation in Canada respecting euthanasia lags far behind legislation in a number of other countries. Our laws are considered by many to be archaic and lacking in compassion. The cold, harsh reality is that we provide our family pets with greater dignity and a more peaceful, humane passing than we provide our own beloved family members. The time has come for change.

Euthanasia and the Law in Canada

The issue of euthanasia in Canada, and whether it should continue to be punishable under the Criminal Code (up to 14 years in prison if convicted), continues to evoke national attention. Recent legal decisions and developments include:

• The Province of Quebec approved a new law in June 2014 permitting Quebec doctors to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives. Quebec determined that “medical aid in...

... middle of paper ... at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Low and his team led the battle against SARS about 10 years ago. He was the calm, rational face we all turned to as the city and the world came to terms with its fears about this deadly and unknown disease.

In 2013, Dr. Low was diagnosed with a terminal brain stem tumour. Just days before his impending death, he bravely sat in front of a camera to calmly explain his dying wish. That wish was for Canada to allow terminally ill patients to die with dignity and accept physician-assisted suicide. He truly believed people would change their opinion about physician-assisted suicide “if they could live in my body for 24 hours”.

On behalf of Dr. Low, thousands of other terminally ill patients, and those of us who may potentially face a similar fate in the future, we urge you to review and decriminalize physician-assisted suicide.

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