Theresa McCool contacted us last week to share her mother's story. Her mother, Genevieve, a Sudbury native, wanted a physician-assisted death, but the law did not allow it at the time. She sadly passed away before the law came into effect in June 2016. Below, Theresa tells her mother's story.
Mom was waiting for assisted dying to become legal for her. She died waiting.
— Theresa McCool

My mom was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in her right shoulder. She became very ill with a blood infection that went throughout her body and was put on an aggressive treatment of antibiotics for seven weeks. She was told that there was no guarantee that she would survive this treatment and was given, 6 hours, 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. She survived 15 weeks and 6 days.

While my mother was in hospital she had many doctors see her to decide how they could "cure" her. While she went through multiple tests, they discovered that there was an aggressive cancerous tumour in her shoulder attached to the bone that was growing rapidly.

The doctors decided they wanted to give Mom aggressive chemo and radiation treatment and saw her right shoulder and arm off. She would lose a portion of the right side of her upper torso and they would cut skin off her buttocks to put it on what was left of her torso. There were no guarantees that she would survive the surgery and treatments.

My mom would agree to the aggressive procedures on one condition, if they euthanized her during the surgery.  She did not want to live another ten years without her  shoulder and arm till she died.

The doctors refused my mom's request to be euthanized and my mom refused to go through with the aggressive chemo, radiation treatment and surgery.

The doctors said that there was nothing more they could do for her. Because she was not close to death, she didn't qualify for Palliative Care.

I spent 103 days in the hospital watching my Mom suffer, begging to be euthanized. Do you know how that feels?

Mom was seventy-eight, she was denied the right to die with dignity, and she died her worst nightmare.

It was very hard to have to watch her in pain.

I am sorry Mom, that I didn't have enough money for you to go to Switzerland.

I am sorry, Mom, I couldn't stop the agonizing pain you were experiencing while you laid in a hospital bed 103 days, waiting to die.

My heart aches knowing the system failed you and I didn't have the power to make it work for you.

Mom I love you, so very much.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Theresa. We hope it sheds more light on Canadians' desire for and access to medical assistance in dying.