An Ontario woman who was denied medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in Ottawa was approved in Brampton, Ontario, just a quick five-hour drive away. According to a CBC report, the woman, Margaret Bristow, has tried for years to get approval for MAiD, and says that the wait to get euthanized has lowered the quality of life, which she seeks to end.
Bristow suffers from "paralyzing" chronic pain, including degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, arthritis in the spine, as well as bone spurs and bulging discs.
She said that she's seen various medical specialists and that "nothing really worked" for her. She applied for MAiD three times since the procedure's decriminalization in 2016.
Those seeking medical assistance in dying, MAiD, must check off a long list of criteria before they are approved. The process can be quite difficult for the person seeking to be put down. Patients must have "a grievous and irremediable medical condition." They must have an incurable illness or disease, or are in an advanced state of their disability. They must be suffering from enduring physical pain.
While MAiD was originally intended for those with physical illnesses, in 2021 the government passed legislation amending the law to allow those with mental health issues to apply as well. The changes take effect in 2023.
Her nearby assessor declared her ineligible, as they were not "comfortable" approving her. After being denied, she said she felt as though she was "tossed to the side." That's when she turned to her family doctor who put her in contact with MAiD assessors in Toronto. She was then approved.
"I'm just over the moon that I finally, after all those years of fighting, that I finally get to get what I need," she said about her impending medically induced death, according to CBC.
In 2019, there were 5,631 cases of euthanasia in Canada, a 26.1 percent increase from the previous year.
She will be killed by doctors on August 10, in Brampton, Ontario. Ottawa MAiD assessors have refused to take part in an interview.
"The right to conscientious objection is a core value and principle of MAID," a statement from the network read, however. "If a provider is not willing to accept a case, we respect that right."
Assisted suicide remains a controversial topic, though according to a 2020 poll, 82 percent of Canadians support the practice, arguing that those with incurable illnesses should be given the personal choice to end their lives.
The practice made headlines earlier this year when a 20-year-old British Columbia man opted to die after years of dealing with an undiagnosed medical condition that started after his mother's suicide nearly a decade prior.
Medical assistance in dying can only be provided to persons who can give consent. Consent through an alternate or substitute decision maker or through a personal advance directive is not applicable.
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