When it comes to receiving a palliative diagnosis, emotions can range from acceptance to complete denial. What is one person’s biggest concern is another person’s non issue.
Often, many people come to terms that having been a passenger throughout most of their diagnosis and treatment, this is now their opportunity to take charge and call the shots on what end of life arrangements they wants to have.
Under the new Medical Assistance in Dying protocol, or MAiD, that control can extend to when you die as well.
Choosing whether or not to enroll in MAiD is a very personal decision. Currently you must be at least 18 years of age and deemed capable for making decisions about your health, and your request must be voluntary (as in this is something you have chosen to do irrespective of guilt over perhaps being a burden to your family as your health declines, or as a result of pressure from family or friends who might be named as beneficiaries in your will.)
A person making the request can and should inform their immediate family members of their decision, but ultimately the decision is theirs and theirs alone to make, or not make.
Those making the request have a right to be informed about any other means available (or not available) to relieve their suffering and that their natural death is reasonably foreseeable as a result of their terminal condition. This request must be made in writing, dated, and witnessed by 2 signatures from anyone over 18 who are not named as beneficiaries or being paid to sign, they cannot be owners or operators of any health clinic where the person lives or is being treated, and they cannot be directly involved in providing health services to the person making the request.
So, good opportunities to befriend your drycleaner or any other close stranger/friend and have a truly unique conversation with them!
Once this has been done you must have 2 independent doctors or nurse practitioners assess you to confirm you are eligible…(ie have been diagnosed palliative, are over the age of 18 and have the written request signed by your new stranger/friends)
At this point you will be given 10 days of “reflection” to either continue with your request or withdraw your request… again… the decision must be yours alone.
Nothing says bureaucracy in dying by insisting every choice be made independently while being totally dependent on a huge team of friends, medical professionals and grieving family members.
If a decision is made to proceed, then the drugs that will be used during the procedure must be procured directly from a pharmacist to a licensed physician. Then the physician administering the drugs to you must remain present until you have passed. (This is the scheduling bit you will have to arrange with your Doctor since many only are available for MAiD during certain days of the week so everyone will need to get their daytimers out).
Feel free to bequeath yours if the mood is appropriate, particularly if you are planning your MAiD early in the year. Always remember, this is your decision and choosing not to proceed is always an option. Often, just knowing there is a choice is of enormous comfort.
For more information on MAiD, visit www2.gov.bc.ca and click: End of Life Care.
Sandy Triplett is the owner of Boyd’s Funeral Services Ltd. She can be reached at 250.287.2240 or online at campbellriverfunerals.com