Witness to Medically-Assisted Dying in Canada

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Title: Witness to Medically-Assisted Dying in Canada
Authors: Walsh, Charles
Abstract: The central objective of this study is the elicitation of the lived experience of individuals surrounding medically-assisted dying (MAiD) in Canada. An introductory analysis of the current place of MAiD in Canada forms the philosophical basis for the contribution of individual participants. Participants considered their experiencing of the 2016 introduction to medical assistance in dying in Canada, considered how that experience evolved over the subsequent three to four years, and considered the experiential impact of medically-assisted dying at the level of meaning, belief, or spirituality. Three groupings of participants are included: medical professionals; those who provide care for the bereaved; and community actors. Participants from within each of the three groupings went on to consider their singular experience. This study contributes to understanding, through these early experiences of the new MAiD regime in Canada, the ethics surrounding dying in the first quarter of the 21st century. How does Canadian society now assign value to life? Not merely the exclusive purview of elderly patients in rapid decline, the new way of dying through MAiD informs our living together throughout the lifespan. Delineating gradations of acceptance of assisted dying enhances the status-based rights foundation for ongoing dialogue concerning MAiD in Canada and beyond. The aim of capturing the essence of participants’ lived experience before the five-year governmental review superseded the desire to build a larger sample, with more comprehensive representation. Despite a modest sample, the study provides a broad range of experiences rather than highlighting one specific group’s involvement with MAiD. Far from providing a clearly defined dichotomous break down, various nuances of the ethics surrounding MAiD’s application were discerned and form the basis for ongoing dialogue, identifying changing values, and future public policy development.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/42814
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-27031
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
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