Permission to live

The freedom of choice in medically assisted death

What if having permission to die gives those who are suffering with terminal illnesses more capacity to live?

What if knowing that your end can come when you choose means you don’t have to live with worry and dread?

And what if being freed from the dread of a difficult death or a prolonged period of intolerable suffering makes each present moment even the teensiest bit lighter?

Since Medical Assistance In Dying (MAiD) became an option those who are deathly ill can request, only half of those who are approved to dictate the terms of their passing choose to do so.

Dr. Doug Smith, Interior Health’s executive medical director for end of life care and MAiD, said those who decide not to proceed with prearranged deaths opt out for any number of reasons.

Some might pass away in the meantime, while others might lose the capacity to consent before their final appointment arrives.

But I wonder if others, being assured a gentle death awaits them at the time of their choosing, might then feel freer to live.

Last week I attended an appointment Rolf Heer had with his doctor to request an assisted death. Mr. Heer cried in the examination room as he begged the doctor to let him go. His doctor asked him to do more testing, offered medication for his pain and said he wanted Mr. Heer to want to live.

Witnessing these men debate whether one should allow the other to die was beyond heart wrenching. The doctor, who had a roll of smiley-face stickers, wanted the happiest and kindest outcome for his patient. Mr. Heer, who was wearing a fraying pink robe, just wanted permission to stop hurting.

At one point the doctor looked at me as if to implore me to ask Mr. Heer to soldier on. I didn’t. That’s because I want both of these men to get their wishes. I want the doctor to give Mr. Heer hope that the time he has left can be not only manageable but also rich and beautiful. I want Mr. Heer to have a way out of his pain.

And I wonder if granting Mr. Heer the opportunity to chose to his own ending could ease his suffering such that it might make the rest of his days worth living.

Just Posted

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Mallory’s motivation reaches new horizons

Motivational speaker Alan Mallory brings inspirational talk to Invermere this Friday, November 8th

One win, one overtime loss for Rockies last weekend

Next home games this Friday and Saturday at the Eddie

Powerful powwow performance

Nimihitowin! performs to a full house at Columbia Valley Centre

Canal Flats Council October 28th

Meeting includes RCMP update from Sgt. Kakuno

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Disney Plus streaming service hits Canada with tech hurdles

Service costs $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year, in Canada

Trudeau’s opponents: One gives him an earful, another seeks common ground

PM meets with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Most Read