45 St. Clair Ave. West, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1K9
Tel: (416) 925-7400

Dementia and Suicide: Will Carter Help or Hinder?

We were saddened to read the Globe’s article this week about the distress suffered by Robin Williams in the final three months of his life.

Mr. Williams was reportedly suffering from a cruel combination of Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia. He was apparently aware of his increasing symptoms, which included loss of muscular control and cognitive capacity, when he took his own life in August of 2014.

Three months from now, it will no longer be a criminal offence in Canada for a doctor to assist a patient in ending his or her own life if the patient is capable, and is suffering from an incurable condition that is subjectively unbearable. Would Mr. Williams have preferred a less traumatic ending if that option was available to him? Would he have met the narrow exceptions to Canada’s criminal prohibition on physician-assisted death? Was he still capable of requesting that treatment? What if there was a delay in obtaining that treatment, such that he was capable when he initially requested it, but no longer capable when the treatment was made available to him?

Canadians are on the cusp of a new era in end-of-life care. Mr. Williams’ case serves as a reminder of the difficult decisions ahead.

Read the article on Globeandmail.com


Previous Post:
Next Post:
Click here or on top Blog logo to return to Blog front page.

Search Blog by Keyword(s)

Site Search

Site Map