It is to that bedside that I go

In this essay, Richard Harrison — the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award winner for poetry — vividly recalls his mother's choice after her cancer became terminal, of a medically assisted death, with him and his brother beside her.

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In Case You Missed It: January 2018

In Case You Missed It is a monthly round-up of news articles and commentaries featuring Dying With Dignity Canada speakers and stories. Did you miss these stories in January?

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Ottawa can introduce 7 witnesses in Quebec challenge to Bill C-14, judge rules

Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) will be allowed to make arguments in the case of two Quebecers who have gone to court to challenge aspects of Canada’s federal assisted dying law, a judge has ruled.

However, Justice Christine Baudoin, of the Superior Court of Quebec, has refused to allow DWDC, along with five other groups that have been granted intervener status in the case, to introduce expert witnesses or other new evidence in the case.

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Ruling in Ontario assisted dying case ‘a victory for patients’ rights,’ Dying With Dignity Canada says

Dying With Dignity Canada is celebrating an Ontario court decision to uphold provincial regulation that requires doctors who oppose assisted dying to connect patients who request it with a non-objecting provider or agency.

The ruling comes in response to a court challenge against the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) policy on effective referral for assisted dying. The applicants, led by the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, claimed that the effective referral policy infringes upon the Charter rights of doctors who oppose medical assistance in dying (MAID).

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Priscilla’s last lesson: ‘No one has the right to stop us from dying’

Priscilla Cole had one last lesson to teach before she died.

A lifelong educator, she had devoted her career to instilling others with knowledge and the confidence to put it to good use. Among her pupils were the youngsters she taught at a private girls’ school in Toronto, the students she counselled at Seneca College, and the two sons she raised as a widowed mother, who are now doctors with grown children of their own.

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Paul's story: My wife's medically assisted death allowed her to "go home"

Kathleen Farago wanted nothing more than to finally "go home." She had suffered for decades with incurable medical conditions before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer on her 65th birthday. Kathy received the news with relief, cheekily calling the diagnosis her "get out of jail free" card. In this stunningly written blog post, her husband Paul Chefurka remembers their love story and his beloved Kathy's final weeks and moments before the peaceful death she had chosen with enormous strength and resolve.

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DWDC, CAMAP issue joint statement on forced transfers for assisted dying

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) is a constitutionally protected right in Canada. However, institutional barriers to accessing that right remain rife in the healthcare system. Obstructionist policies have created harmful delays and confusion for Canadians who are already suffering intolerably on account of their medical conditions.

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Sylvia's story: My husband's assisted death was peaceful and completely on his own terms

Dr. Doug Henshaw lived a life full of colour and adventure. He was a brilliant surgeon and a pioneer in life — and in death. His decision to access medical assistance in dying in September 2016 made him one of the first Nova Scotians to choose this newly available option. In this special blog post, Doug's wife, Sylvia, writes about his incredible life and choice.

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Colette’s story: My mother fought for her right to assisted dying. This is her legacy.

Not long after Canada passed its assisted dying law in June 2016, British Columbia's Mary John submitted her request and was approved. But her joy over being able to die on her own terms quickly turned to additional pain and frustration when hospice staff repeatedly obstructed her access, needlessly prolonging her life and her suffering.

After weeks of this active interference, Mary finally got her wish: She became one of the first British Columbians to access assisted dying — if not, the first. Throughout her weeks-long ordeal, she and her family never once stopped advocating for her right to a peaceful death. 

In this powerful blog post, Mary’s daughter, Colette, and her boyfriend, Dean, share how Mary's fight for choice and compassion was able to pave the way for patients and families in her community and province.

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I supported my husband on his assisted dying journey. This is what I learned.

In early November, Jana Buhlmann wrote a powerful entry for the DWDC blog about her husband, Chris, who had a medically assisted death in September 2017. In her follow-up post, Jana reflects on the resistance Chris faced from people in his life who opposed his end-of-life choice — and the lessons she learned about herself along the journey.

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