Con­fronting youth And As­sisted death

Ottawa Citizen - - LETTERS -

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

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