It has been almost a year since Canada’s
Since the passage of the federal law, almost 1,500 Canadians have asked their doctors or nurse practitioners to end their lives.
The knowledge that there is now a legal right to assisted death — although under very strict conditions — has changed the lives of patients, their families, and their caregivers.
And it has changed the lives of health professionals, including palliative care doctors.
Anna Towers is a physician in Supportive and Palliative Care Services at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. She’s past director of the McGill Palliative Care Program, past head of the McGill Academic Division of Palliative Medicine and past chair of the International Congress on Palliative Care.
She has worked with terminally ill patients and their families for 24 years and she has no intention of helping her patients over the threshold to death.
James Downar is a Critical Care and Palliative Care Physician at Toronto’s University Health Network and Sinai Health System. He teaches medicine at the University of Toronto, where he also oversees a residency program in palliative care.
He supports the right to a medically-assisted death.
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