One year ago this month, physician-assisted suicide became legal in Canada. The law stipulates that doctors can only carry out the procedure in situations where patients experience “suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions they consider acceptable.”
But it’s not physical pain that causes most people to request physician-assisted suicide. According to an article in the latest issue of Toronto Life magazine, it’s something much more profound.
In Oregon, where the practice has been legal for 20 years, the most common reasons cited by patients are loss of autonomy, an inability to enjoy life and loss of dignity. Doctors in Ontario say they’ve observed the same reasoning. … There is an underlying medical cause, but the suffering is usually existential. Patients find they are simply playing out the string, without any hope of finding meaning in the limited time available to them.
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