Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Medically Assisted Suicide and Brittany Maynard

I woke up this morning and as I do every morning and went on LinkedIn. One of the first posts I came across was by the Washington Post reporting on the death of Brittany Maynard.

Brittany was a 29-year-old woman recently married, planning a future with children, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer last January. At age 29, one typically has a lifetime in front of them. Imagine being ‘in her shoes.’ What would you do? What decisions and choices would you make? You are diagnosed as terminal with months to live and told the symptoms of the cancer will rob you of living a ‘normal’ life. You will develop horrible headaches, lose the ability to function ‘normally’, will need assistance to complete what are considered ADL’s and IADL’s. IADL’s- Instrumental Activities of Daily Living; cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, transportation, finances, medical appointments, medication management, communication and/or ADL’s- Activities of Daily Living; bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, ambulating (mobility).

You begin to have horrible, debilitating headaches, seizures, head and neck pain, stroke like symptoms……I can guess what I would do, but I do not really know what I  would do unless I was the one experiencing this. Obviously, my questions are hypothetical, but the idea is to get you thinking and discussing!

Brittany will have those supporting her choice and those that do not. Both are acceptable responses. There is no right answer when it comes to assisted suicide.

As a professional, I do believe individuals should be given choice and options. They will choose the right option for them when the time comes and they are diagnosed as terminal.

I live in Quebec, Canada, and this past June we became the first province in all of Canada to vote in medically assisted suicide-very progressive legislature! Bill 52  will begin December 2015. Again, people should have choice and options. As professionals, as medical professionals particularly, you as a person may not agree, and you can opt out of performing or prescribing the medication for one to end their life. There are plenty of other medical professionals who are for this legislature and will prescribe the needed medication.

This to me is democracy!

Where do you stand on this subject? As a professional if a client brings up this topic for discussion, will you discuss or refer them elsewhere?


By Victoria Brewster, MSW- Staff Writer

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