Confronting youth And Assisted death
Re: Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital preparing policy for euthanasia for youth over 18 that could one day apply to minors, Oct. 10.
While there is obviously much controversy about youth with the capacity to make their own medical decisions being able to access medical aid in dying, I am relieved to know that Sick Kids, and likely other Canadian pediatric hospitals, are preparing or contemplating policies so that they are ready to address requests for assisted dying.
The doctors, nurses, social workers and ethicists working in Canada’s pediatric hospitals are renowned world experts in their fields, including those illnesses “grievous and irremediable,” the kind of illness for which many might reasonably begin to consider death over great suffering.
As a physician and a citizen, it is exactly these professionals and institutions that I want to be considering medical aid in dying for youth, for the sake of young patients and their families. Thank goodness they are prepared to do this work, and do it in spite of whatever their personal feelings might be. This is the essence of professionalism.
Gail Beck, MD, CM, FRCPC, Clinical Director, Youth Psychiatry, The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre