There are ardent advocates on both sides of the argument; a growing number of physicians feel that they should have the right to cease life-sustaining treatment when it clearly is not helping and may be even causing additional pain for the patient.
Quebec is leading the charge on medically assisted suicide; palliative sedation is already legal in Quebec. The province has recently tabled Bill 52 which is intended to allow Quebecers to end their lives with autonomy and dignity.
A March 2012 Ipsos-Reid poll found that a startling 86% of Canadians have never even heard of advance care planning and that only 9% have ever spoken to a physician about their wishes for care in that regard. Being informed about these issues does not translate into an effective plan of action; surveys find that only 30% of Canadians who have thought about end-of-life care have actually discussed it with their physicians.
Whatever your opinion about the issue, I urge you to speak first to your family about your end-of-life wishes; next ensure your physician and personal advisors know your wishes via your Living Will or Advance Care Directive. The greatest gift you can give your loved ones is to tell them what you want as you face the end of your life.
The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly departing
by Bronnie Ware
A palliative nurse recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into this book.
THE TOP 5 REGRETS
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier