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Struggling with the Reality of Physician Assisted Suicide

Physician assisted suicide

~ By a doctor in Canada specializing in  Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Family Medicine

Like everything else in life there are a lot of controversial gray areas in medicine that I struggle with. Recently Physician Assisted Suicide was “legalized” in Canada. Part of the reason I struggle with it is that if I have a terrible illness I would probably want someone to end my suffering.

Often in our busy practice we eventually forget what it is like to be a patient (desensitization?). The definition of pain and suffering is very vague and does not apply just to cancer. People with “treatable” illnesses (like severe CHF or COPD) also go through a lot of pain and suffering.

My personal feeling is that as Physicians our role is to act as the patient’s advocate and carry out their wishes (after consultation) to the best we can. Certainly the Judges that rule for legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide did a lot of soul searching before their decision.

Any thoughts on this really difficult dilemma?

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