Medical Assistance in Dying

Medically assisted dying should remain legal in Canada. There is nothing either moral or ethical about extending life under conditions of extreme suffering. Thus there should be no legal impediment to ending one at that stage. However, by the same token, if someone’s religious beliefs preclude suicide as an option, they should also have the right to linger if they so wish. That being the case, medical assisted dying should be carried out in the absence of an expressed wish of the individual made when they were not under duress. However, there will be situations where someone is in a vegetative state, on life-support, where the family or in the absence of one the Crown should have the power to switch off life-support.

Canada recently passed a medical-assistance-in-dying law after years of heated discussion. A person must be over eighteen years old, mentally experienced, have an “irremediable and grievous medical illness,” and can offer knowledgeable consent. The grievous condition does not have to be terminal, but it has to be advanced and irreversible, and the person must be at such a point that when natural death is foreseeable (Gostin). A written request signed by two witnesses is submitted and followed by ten days of reflection. The law also requires people to be capable of consenting in the moment of death: they must sign a form just before the procedure stating they have had a chance to change their mind and want to continue. In Canada, the doctor administers the medication, either by mouth or intravenously. This has been helpful to many people, especially the terminally ill. Thus it should remain legal.

Medically-assisted death remains of significance to many Canadians. While it is available now to Canadians, the limitations on its use are unconstitutional and should be removed. Adults who are “compos mentis” should be allowed to decide when they want to die. That includes people who are depressed, alone, unhappy, have a chronic but not ultimately fatal condition or disease, and so on (Gostin). It is their life, not state’s or some religions. There need to be precautions in place, of course, so that the person affected has some time to think about it, and is not being coerced or pressured in any way by relatives or medical staff.

While the details of this particular bill remain hard to grasp, and as the saying goes, the devil is in the details, an individual’s first reaction is that the suggestions made by Dying With Dignity Canada are appropriate, and with suitable safeguards should be incorporated into the legislation. It is undoubtedly everyone’s right to choose whether they should end their own life, or if they are incapable of doing so themselves for whatever reason, request that someone else does it for them as long as the circumstances have been double-checked both medically and legally. But for many, it is not until individuals have personally been asked to do such a thing that they can understand what the ramifications are. Furthermore, there is a clear distinction in law between assisted death and euthanasia. Again there are sub-divisions in the euthanasia classification, such as whether it is active or passive, and whether it is voluntary, non-voluntary or involuntary. Each needs to be dealt with on a case by case foundation depending on the surrounding circumstances.

Despite the presence of substantial arguments for medical assisted dying, some people do not think it should be an option unless palliative treatment and hospice treatment becomes inadequate. Medical assisted dying should not be an option for most terminally ill patients. The process should span an appropriate amount of time to assess the patient’s cognitive status and ability to adjust to the change. The current laws already require a certain length of time and number of expressed choice (Aaron & Braden). The laws should be stricter about assessing whether or not the physiological illness is causing physically uncontrollable symptoms.

Furthermore, the current laws protect people who are vulnerable to depression and mental illness who also have physiological treatments that are controllable. Depression is not necessarily a normal part of dying, and it should be distinguished from grieving. Both of which are adequate conditions for approving medical aid in dying (Aaron & Braden). Grieving and depression often come with feelings of wanting to die. That is a different disease than wanting to die from unbearable physiological suffering and pain of a terminal illness. Thus, it is wrong for doctors to medically assist people to die, especially those with mental health problems.
There are so many diseases, which are still incurable, and scientists or medical officers are trying their best to cure it in every possible way, and hopefully, one day, they will get succeed. If medical assisted dying is not made illegal, then people will lose hope from the medical field. It would also be difficult for science, too, since it will be challenging to find the new disease or to find the remedies. Just think about the conditions, which were not curable before some years, like TB. It is treatable now.