A Beautiful Death

CBC Docs

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 9 PM on CBC-TV

In 2013, Dr. Donald Low, microbiologist in chief at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. Seven months later he was gone. But he was unable to die on his own terms, by medically-assisted death, as the procedure was not yet legal in Canada.

That law changed in 2015 with Carter v. Canada, when the supreme court struck down the federal prohibition on euthansia. Bill C-14 became law June 17, 2016, but critics say the new law is more restrictive than the Carter ruling, which allowed “any consenting, competent adult suffering intolerably from a grievous and irremediable medical condition” to access a medically-assisted death. As of Canada’s current ruling, assisted death is only available to those terminally ill whose natural death must be “reasonably foreseeable,” leaving out people who stand to live through many years of suffering.

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