Medical Assistance in Dying

Medical Assistance in Dying


What is Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)?
 

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is a medical procedure. It means that a physician provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about a patient’s death, at the request of the patient. You might have also heard it called “assistance in dying” or “physician-assisted death.”


Who is eligible to receive MAID?


To be eligible for medical assistance in dying, you must:

  • Be a competent adult.
  • Clearly consent to medical assistance in dying.
  • Be diagnosed with a grievous and irremediable medical condition which is causing enduring, intolerable suffering.
  • Decide that alternative treatment options are not acceptable.

What does competent mean?


A competent person has decision-making capacity. This means you are able to:

  • Understand information that is relevant to making a decision about treatment.
  • Appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision, or of a lack of a decision.

What does it mean to clearly consent?

 

You will need to make two requests for medical assistance in dying. One of these requests must be in writing. This is so the hospital knows that you are sure about your decision, you have not been forced into your decision, and you have all of the information you need.

 

How does the process work?

 

You will be assessed by at least two independent physicians. Both physicians must agree that you meet the above criteria.

 

Do I have to undergo treatment first?


No, you do not have to undergo treatment before requesting medical assistance in dying. 

 

Can I write down my wishes for medical assistance in dying in case I lose the capacity to make decisions? Or, can family members make the decision for me?

You must be able to ask for medical assistance in dying at the time of the request. The request cannot be written down ahead of time and no one else – including family – can make the decision.


It is, however, a good idea to discuss and record your wishes for end of life care with your loved ones so that they understand what is important for you. Medical assistance in dying is only one of many options for end of life care, many of which will be available to your loved ones even if you are unable to make decisions.


Can I change my mind?

 

Yes. You can change your mind at any time, for any reason. Simply tell your physician or a member of your health-care team that you have changed your mind. Your physician will discuss what other options there are for your care, and you can be assured that they will all be high-quality and compassionate.


What if a physician objects to medical assistance in dying?

 

Health-care providers have the right to conscientiously refuse to participate in medical assistance in dying based on moral or religious beliefs. If you request medical assistance in dying from a physician who objects, you will be referred quickly to a physician who has decided to participate. 

 

What if I have other questions?


If you have questions, please discuss them with your physician. You may also contact Kimberly Paterson, WDMH Social Worker at 613-774-2422 ext.6125.

 


 Read the Ministry of Health's Information Booklet