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Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:03 AM

SCC reverses course on doctor-assisted death

Woo hoo! For personal reasons, I am quite happy about this.

CBC radio just announced this, but this is the only online source I can find at the moment:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/scc-reverses-course-on-doctor-assisted-death-1.2223493

10 replies, 2686 views

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply SCC reverses course on doctor-assisted death (Original post)
alcina Feb 2015 OP
Spazito Feb 2015 #1
polly7 Feb 2015 #2
alcina Feb 2015 #3
polly7 Feb 2015 #4
alcina Feb 2015 #5
polly7 Feb 2015 #6
Spazito Feb 2015 #7
polly7 Feb 2015 #8
Spazito Feb 2015 #9
polly7 Feb 2015 #10

Response to alcina (Original post)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:08 AM

1. I am thrilled at their decision...

dying with dignity should be a human right and now it is in Canada.

The decision was unanimous which makes the decision even more powerful, imo.

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Response to alcina (Original post)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:10 AM

2. As am I.

If my Dad had had this opportunity, he wouldn't have chosen to blow his chest apart. I can't usually talk about it, but if just one person is given this alternative and doesn't have to go through the horrible anguish of deciding what to do like he did, alone and probably terrified not for himself, but for all of us - it's a blessing.

Thank you, SCC.



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Response to polly7 (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:15 AM

3. My father tried....

But he was too weak to get out of bed and get his gun, so he asked me to do it. I couldn't. Mercifully, he died a few days later. The hospice nurse was an incredible woman who fully understood the situation and was able to increase his morphine significantly, until he could (as she put it) "gently slip away."

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Response to alcina (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:22 AM

4. I'm so sorry alcina.

How awful that must have been.

My Dad had never been sick a day in his life, he was so looking forward, after working so hard to provide for all 9 of us and my mom, to retiring, playing cards with the boys, tinkering in his shop. He got ill suddenly, a pre-leukemia and we'd only just begun to see the specialists, see what could be done. Two of his sisters had died from cancer, he told me he never wanted to go through that. All his life he said, if I ever get sick and have to live on a ventilator, or get some form of dementia, etc. - shoot me. He said it with a smile, but after about three months of transfusions, IV's - he hated them, a few ambulance trips as he was so anemic, he said goodnight to me, he'd see me in the morning. I found him about an hour later outside by his shop. It was in 2010 but my heart still feels like an elephant is sitting on it every second of the day and night, he was my hero and best friend. I was always a 'daddy's girl', he could just look at you and know if things were ok or not, he didn't talk about things like feelings and that sort of thing much, but would never fail to make you feel better with his silly jokes or whatever he could do. Sorry .... I'm rambling. But I don't want anyone else to ever go through this. I'm very happy to see this SCC decision.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:47 AM

5. I'm so sorry for your loss and your experience

What a horrible thing, to find your dad that way. I completely understand how it haunts you, and I am so very, very sorry about your pain.

My dad was rarely sick in his life, and never anything serious. But then he started having pains in his back and ribs. He mentioned them to his doctor, who dismissed them as "old age." My dad was 76 at the time. My dad endured the pain for a few months, until is was unbearable. At that point, my mom took him to urgent care, where they diagnosed him with a broken rib, taped him up, gave him some pain pills, and sent him home. My mom wasn't convinced -- he was in so much pain -- so she drove to the ER, where they eventually diagnosed him with advanced bone cancer. The doctor there was livid. Turned out it was metastasized colon cancer, but why quibble.

He was bedridden from that point forward, on a steady morphine drip. I was living in Canada, and my family took two weeks to tell me because they didn't want to upset me. I flew back to LA the next day. My dad was surprisingly lucid for a couple of days, which allowed us all to visit with him and say what we needed to say. By the third day, though, he was in and out, mostly out. On the fourth day, he called me over and asked if I could get his gun. We talked a little about his plan, and I told him I couldn't do it, but that I'd ask if they could increase his morphine. He was crying. I can tell you: You should never have to see your dad cry.

He died less than 3 weeks from the time he went to urgent care. I don't know how much longer he might have lasted had they caught it earlier; but to this day I have no patience for doctors who dismiss out of hand people's complaints as "old age." Such "diagnoses" are lazy and incompetent, as far as I'm concerned.

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Response to alcina (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 10:58 AM

6. Ooooh no.

Being mis-diagnosed and in pain, not knowing if the doctor's know what they're treating you for is correct - such a horrible thing to live with. I can understand why the ER doctor was livid, and am so sorry, just terrible. Seeing your Dad cry just breaks my heart. I've worked in health-care much of my life and like you, I've lost all faith in doctors who don't seem to push very hard for the elderly. I've seen too much of it and what it does to not only the pt, but the families, like yours. Now I phone straight to the specialists for anything concerning my mom, and keep it up until I do get an appointment. I haven't been to my family doctor since my Dad died. He was his doctor also, and treated Dad more like a friend with the flu or something than anything else. I was the one who had to push to see his specialists - my Dad got so weak between transfusions and absolutely hated the long trips to the city but at that early point still wanted to live, so badly. I think he just finally decided he didn't want to put us all through a prolonged terminal illness .......... but we had only just begun.

I'm so, so sorry for what you all went through.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 02:22 PM

7. I am very sorry your Dad and your family had to go through such pain...

everyone should have the right to die with dignity with their family around them. If we, as a country, had done the right thing years ago many would have chosen physician assisted death I have no doubt instead of the desperate and devastating choices they made instead.

My health is good now but I want the right to choose were it to change in a devastating way.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 02:41 PM

8. Thank you, Spazito.

I think if he'd known there would be an option, once we'd learned for sure if it was going to be terminal or not, he'd have chosen to die with dignity. Our family has been split apart, nothing is the same. None of us will ever be the same ... it's hard, you try to move on, but just knowing the mental pain he had to have gone through just kills me. My dad was one who could never hurt anyone or anything - he was a horse/dog/any kind of animal whisperer all in one. And kids ..... they loved him and his teasing, climbing on him, messing up his hair (he looked like Elvis sometimes - such a head of thick hair - his granddaughters would attack him and curl it, style it .... he just sat and watched his hockey game, sometimes flinching a bit, but it was hilarious to watch. He never met a person who he didn't consider a friend forever and everyone felt the same back. Sorry, I just love to talk about him as he was.

My best friend and I have talked about the end of our lives a lot. We joke that we're going to just head out on foot on the coldest day in winter to some isolated place and that will be it. Maybe it's not joking, I don't know. But knowing that we will have a choice now is so good. I've always wondered why we work so hard (rightly so) to make our pet's end painless but couldn't do it for ourselves.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 03:51 PM

9. Your Dad sounds like an awesome man...

keep the GOOD memories in the forefront as hard as that might be. Thank you for sharing him with me through those memories, I very much appreciate it.

I have spoken to my adult children about the right to die with dignity, the need for it to be a legal choice and one I would like to have as my right. We have also spoken about the compassion we are allowed to show toward our pets when they are in pain and unable to heal, get well while not being allowed that same compassion toward our loved ones when they wish for the same compassionate end. Thank goodness this will soon no longer be a contradiction in care.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:27 AM

10. Thank you so much, Spazito.

Yes, he really was, and I try to keep the good memories .. it does seem to be getting a little bit easier as time goes by. Thank you so much for your kindness.

Your children are very lucky, you've made decisions that will help them more than you know (as hard as this is to talk about, and you're not going anywhere for a long, long time, mister!). I'm very grateful the supreme court seems to see how important compassion is in all of this - well, I really don't know if that had anything to do with their ruling, but I hope it did. We all deserve to decide our own fate with dignity and compassion too, for those we leave behind. I'm very hopeful with this.

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