What do you know about M.A.I.D.?

Dear Editor,

Continuing with my comments on health and DNR (do not resuscitate).

What do you know about M.A.I.D.?

MAID or Medical Assistance In Dying, is a legal, voluntary form of euthanasia. It was introduced in Canada in June 2016 to help end the suffering of terminally ill adults.

By the end of 2019 nearly 8,000 gravely ill Canadian adults had received a doctor’s help to legally end their lives. Assisted deaths took place most often at home, but also occurred in acute care, in hospice, and in residential care homes for seniors. When it was first legalized, there were never fewer than two cases per week in2016, and the impression among doctors, based on the frequency of consultations, is that demand is rising steadily. Doctors (frequently called “prescribers”) who are experienced in this field suggest that demand is not being met, and that if more physicians were prescribers more patients would seek and be able to access this service.

Who is eligible? Citizens who satisfy the criteria laid out in Bill C-14 have a right to MAID, regardless of the beliefs of their physicians or hospital bylaws. Our medical system has an obligation to make medically assisted death available. The number of adults opting for the end-of-life procedure is accelerating as patients with terminal illnesses grow to accept the idea. Patients seeking assisted death may suffer from tumors (57%), organ failure (25%), neuro-degenerative disease (Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease) (11%), and other conditions (7%). In 96%, death occurred with intravenous administration of medication. In 4%, oral administration was used. Patients who opted for MAID, had a 10-day “period of reflection” required by federal law to change their minds.

I would like to think that when the time comes for me personally, that I would have the intestinal fortitude to make the decision that is right for me as well as how my family feels. Talk to your physician. Ask them for the simple form required. Talk to your family. You can always change your mind.

Frank Martens

Summerland, BC