An Impassioned Plea for a Death With Dignity – In Memory of Dr. Donald Low

Dr. Donald Low, the physician we came to trust during the SARS crisis, made an impassioned plea for a death with dignity in a video that is gaining much attention. His wife, Maureen Taylor, “said though her husband did not die in pain, his final days were a struggle as he lost control of bodily functions and struggled to breathe.” It was the death that he had predicted, not the death he had wanted.

When I began writing Autumn’s Grace it did not occur to me that I would become engaged in a public conversation about end-of-life care. I have neither the legal, nor the ethical expertise to engage as fully as I would like. But it appears that Autumn’s Grace, has started processes with readers of reflecting upon the deaths they have encountered and discussing their own wishes.  That is a good thing.

Quebec’s Bill 52- An Act Respecting End-of-Life-Care has gathered and polarized public debate. The Bill begins to provide the legislative framework for a death with dignity. However, it raises flags for those of us who have been concerned about the issue. A colleague and friend of mine in Montreal, Lorine Besel, has through letters to the Montreal Gazette been suggesting ways of improving the legislation.  Death with dignity is a complex issue. While I am not an expert, I will try over the next week or so to gather my thoughts, along with Ms. Besel’s and post them here. I do think it is important that we engage in a national conversation on how we can manage end of life care in a manner that is ethical, legal and responsible.

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  1. Mary and Owen

    Everyone must lend their voices to this discussion if we are to get it tabled on a Federal level. I have been broaching this subject for a while now and I don’t think I have met anyone who would not like to see some action in Canada for the rights to dying with dignity. Thanks for weighing in Bonnie.

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