In the Canadian province Nova Scotia, patients who are eligible for medical assistance in dying (MAID) will soon be able to choose to self-administer medication. The option comes next to the existing option of relying on a clinician to do it for them.
Dalhousie University professor Jocelyn Downie, who teaches in the faculties of law and medicine, reacted enthousiastly: “Ultimately it’s grounded in the twin values that should be behind our MAID decisions, which is respect for autonomy, so the capacity for self-determination, for charting the course of your own life and death, and then the alleviation of suffering,”
The option, often referred to as the oral protocol, will be made available in the province in “early 2022.” Dr. Gord Gubitz, medical lead for Nova Scotia Health’s MAID Access and Resource Team, anticipates the oral option will be available in Nova Scotia in the coming months. However, there’s no set date because they have to engage and train MAID providers who might consider this as an option for their patients.
The MAID provider will also have to remain nearby, as the oral option does not always result in death.