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Old 09-25-2013, 02:30 AM   #1
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''I wish they could live in my body for 24 hours." - Dr. Donald Low

SARS doctor Donald Low's posthumous plea for assisted suicide
In YouTube video, he says there's a need for 'dying with dignity'


In an impassioned YouTube video shot eight days before he died of a brain tumour, Dr. Donald Low, the microbiologist credited with guiding Toronto through the 2003 SARS crisis, makes a final plea for Canada to change the law to allow assisted suicide.

I know Im going to die, what worries me is how Im going to die, the 68-year-old Low says in the video.

Low was the microbiologist in chief at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital and a professor at the University of Toronto.

After the 2003 breakout of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Toronto, Low oversaw regular updates to the public about the syndrome, which eventually killed 44 people in Canada and nearly 800 worldwide.

He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer seven months ago and died on Sept. 18.

Doctor expressed worries of failing health

In the video produced by Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Low says he would have liked to have the option available to terminal patients in other countries where assisted suicide is legal.

What the end is going to look like, thats what's bothering me the most, he says. They give you a very simple way out. You drink a cocktail and you fall asleep and you do this in the presence of your family. In countries where its legal, its quite easy to do. In countries where its not legal, its pretty well impossible.

Doctor-assisted suicide is illegal in Canada.

In the video, Low said he was not experiencing pain, but was losing his sight and other senses, and was worried about how his life would end.

He was afraid of paralysis, eventually not being able to swallow food, or use the washroom without assistance.

Maureen Taylor, Low's widow, described her husband's last moments.

"I could hear his breathing, as normal, was very laboured, and all of a sudden, I couldn't hear it. And I turned back to him and he had one last breath and I held him and he didn't breathe again anymore," she told CBC News.

"But I can tell you that was not a dignified death that he died."

In the video, Low makes a direct plea to opponents of assisted suicide imploring them to reconsider.

I wish they could live in my body for 24 hours and I think they would change that opinion, he said. Im just frustrated not to be able to have control of my own life. Not being able to have the decision for myself when enough is enough.

In Canada, its illegal and it will be a long time where we mature to a level where theres dying with dignity.

A statement in the video says Low, did not have the death he had hoped for, but he died in his wifes arms and was not in pain."

A spokesperson from the Office of the Minister of Justice sent an email to CBC News on Tuesday, saying that the government has "no intention" of reopening debate on the laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide.
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:40 AM   #2
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I thought this film might act as an interesting reference point for those who have not yet thought about, or would like to know more about assisted suicide.

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Old 09-25-2013, 04:30 AM   #3
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I don't understand why society deems suicide so wrong. I think biologically we're meant to think it's "wrong" otherwise there won't be that drive to survive and battle through.

Personally, I think suicide is just a rage quit. Why not allow it, it's their body anyway.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:38 AM   #4
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It might be some influence with Christianity when some laws were made, and before the knowledge of what terminal disease with no chance of cure & nothing but pain is.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:05 AM   #5
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It might be some influence with Christianity when some laws were made, and before the knowledge of what terminal disease with no chance of cure & nothing but pain is.
Originally, probably so. But there are christian countries that allow it (Columbia) and atheist countries that don't (China)

I can't think of any good reason not to allow it.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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might be fear of countries opening a can of worms as to what is an acceptable situation to allow it
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:04 AM   #7
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When it's a terminal patient, I believe they should have the final, legal say. Who is a government to dictate when you may or may not die, and of what? You're on a hospital bed awaiting your death, the decision to close your eyes for the last time should be yours and yours alone.

I'm just infuriated with the government thinking that they have the right to make a patient suffer (based on his/her own diagnosis of themselves) for who knows how long.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:06 AM   #8
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Family of the person dying would also be suffering as well.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:33 AM   #9
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Oregon has passed an assisted suicide law. I think they should be used as the model for our own laws, should we choose to implement them.

There is a good documentary called "How to Die in Oregon" which you should check out if you are still undecided on the issue.

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Old 09-25-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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In extreme cases with enough checks and balances I don't see why there is anything wrong with it. I sure as shit wouldn't want to live in a fucked up state especially if death is looming and all I have to look forward to is pain, suffering and being a burden to others.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Personally, I am a proponent of physician assisted suicide, but I do see why some would oppose it as well. The main argument, I believe, is that it would enable and contribute to elder abuse. Basically, right now, the adult children of seniors suffering from severe illness must wait for their parents to die before inheriting their assets. In this day and age of advanced medicine, that wait time often extends to years. But with physician-assisted suicide, the adult children can pressure their elderly, sick parents to end it quickly - before their time is actually up - and in doing so, inherit their parent's assets early. It doesn't even have to be children wishing to take advantage of their elderly parents. With assisted-suicide, you could have some con-artist befriend a lonely, elderly person, have that elderly person sign over their estate, then pressure them to end their life - someone who might not even have been sick.

However, as quasi stated, I think with enough checks and balances, it should be a legal option. One option might be mandatory counselling, to make sure the person requesting the assisted-suicide isn't being taken advantage of, etc.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:21 PM   #12
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It will come. It has to. Hopefully before my time. Right now decisions are made by people who don't quite get it. Like the doc says, spend 24 hours in my shoes. With aging population and more and more people getting diagnosed with terminal diseases, something will have to be done. I watched my father die with excruciating pain. Two of my aunts, as well. One died in my arms. It's not pretty. They drug the bejeezus out of the patient. Is it based on Christian beliefs? I believe so - life is precious, yada, yada, yada. Thou shall not............ whatever - not versed in it to know exact words or know what part of the bible it is mentioned.

Changing the laws of the land is not easy and change takes time. Who would have thunk the day gay people could marry would come? Who thought blacks would be free one day? Or women getting the right to vote, etc. It's just a matter of time.

When it's time for me and it's still not possible to decide to die with dignity, I am going to get into my truck and drive off a cliff (got the place picked out, LOL). Wait, my truck is pretty safe..........I might actually survive. I'll get into a Ford Pinto, hee hee.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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Would go with a gun to my head instead of jumping off something. Heights are terrifying.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:05 PM   #14
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Gun to head would definitely solve the problem, but some may want it to look like an accident.


BTW, for me, it's not really about the pain, but more about not having to put the family through the shitty experience.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #15
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My dad pretty much insists that he doesn't want to die a frail, sick man, drugged up in a hospital bed. I don't want to see my father in that kind of state either, I just hope that when the time comes, we have the choice.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:29 PM   #16
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the trick is to detach yourself from physical wants and needs as you get older.

when you are old and weak and unable to get up to do stuff, that is the time to spend in your mind. that is the BEST time.

if you can't handle that... you've only lived half your life. What you see, hear, touch, and taste... isn't everything in life.

what better time to excersize the mind, to look deeper into your own consciousness, when you have no other choice?

ppl should be able to kill themselves... well guess what, they can.

if you wanna die... you just kill yourself. it's that easy. dying with "dignity"... no suicide is dignified.

if you legally euthanize yourself, vs take a gun to your head. they're both the same. you're dead. death is never dignified.

ppl that wanna have a dignified death? give me a break. what's the logic behind that?

you want a dignified death, so that the people alive... can perceive it as dignified?
you're wanting to DIE. to NOT care, to LEAVE this world... it doesn't matter how you leave... you've left. once you've left, nothing in this world matters anymore.

like someone said, it's like rage quitting... when you quit a game, does it matter how you die? no... once the game is shut down, that world is gone. that world doesnt exist anymore... if you wanna leave... just leave.

if you wanna kill yourself. just kill yourself.

if you wanna have a dignified death, realise, there's nothing dignified about killing yourself for any reason. it doesnt mean it's "wrong"... but it's not "dignified", in some glorious manner.

getting euthanized in a hospital or dying in your garage from co2 emissions is equally dignified is what i'm saying.




back to my other point... people that say life isnt worth living if you can't go out and do stuff, and enjoy the 5 physical senses/pleasure... are really missing the point of life.

life isn't about the 5 fucking physical senses. we are not animals. the mind, inside your mind, is a world untapped by most people... inside your mind is the secret to your consciousness, the meaning of your existence... the reason you tick.
your brain is a fucking crazy computer... a computer that can calculate and simulate an infinite amount of possibilities. more than you can ever experience in the physical world.

one should be balanced. the physical world, and inside your mind, are just as equally important. most people... most of their lives they've only focused on the outside. they should also focus on the inside. balance. both are equally intruiging and both are equally important. you spend 70-100 years of your life chasing physical desires... what's a few years or a decade of focusing on the inner self? the mind.

I know half of you are rolling your eyes *im not a fucking monk*... yeah you're not... but maybe you can learn something from them. they're really focused on the inner self, and you're really focused on the physical realm. a good balance would fix a lot of "old depressed" ppls problems. if one doesn't learn this lesson when they're young... you have no choice but to learn it when you're stuck in your death bed... or deny it till the end. deny and be a grumpy old fart till the bitter end... till your dignified death.


I'm not focusing on ppl that are in chronic pain like the OP's post. i'm just talking about pp that are already bitching about "i don't wanna be old and unable to go out and do stuff". bitch, please... i don't know any old person that kills themselves that isn't in chronic pain. being old and stuck in bed is better than death. old ppl stuck in bed around the world is living proof of that statement. i don't know any old ppl that wanna kill themselves just because they're old and unable to do shit... perhaps i was wrong. perhaps old ppl do realise the physical realm isn't that important. they accept it and lay in bed and appreciate the fact that they can still even experience anything, even if it's just in the mind.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:45 PM   #17
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Gun to head would definitely solve the problem, but some may want it to look like an accident.


BTW, for me, it's not really about the pain, but more about not having to put the family through the shitty experience.
hmmm if i was dying, i wouldnt want my family members to find me with my brains blown out of my head or lying dead in a pool of blood
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:37 PM   #18
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the trick is to detach yourself from physical wants and needs as you get older............snip, snip, snip........
Uh, the dying with dignity part is for those who are in absolute pain. I think you missed the point. When you are drugged to the point you have no feeling and you are as aware as a vegetable, it's a different story. We are talking about the doc's situation.

Have you been to the palliative care ward of a hospital? There's no singing of Kumbaya in that ward. Pain is pain no matter how spiritually endowed you think you are or can be. People moaning in pain in every room....... throat all dried up, every major internal organ in your body is rotting and failing, you have tubes hanging out from every opening in your body and you have stuff given to you via your veins, etc. Some endure the pain for days, weeks, even months. You can see it in their eyes.......... "Please end it."
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:12 PM   #19
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Have you been to the palliative care ward of a hospital? There's no singing of Kumbaya in that ward. Pain is pain no matter how spiritually endowed you think you are or can be. People moaning in pain in every room....... throat all dried up, every major internal organ in your body is rotting and failing, you have tubes hanging out from every opening in your body and you have stuff given to you via your veins, etc. Some endure the pain for days, weeks, even months. You can see it in their eyes.......... "Please end it."
Will agree with that. Spent two months up there..and boy...
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:30 PM   #20
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My question for this doc is.... Where did he stand on the subject BEFORE he was terminally ill and his dignity was at stake?
The dignity thing is BS. If you dont want to suffer then thats fine you should have a choice but NO death is universally dignified. Honorable and brave perhaps but IMO theres no dignity in forcing your death.
Perhaps its just my beliefs that guide me to that and by those beliefs I dont mean religion but instead I believe we cant choose when we're born so why should we be able to choose when we go?
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:42 PM   #21
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i believe that it is a religious thing, a belief thing and basically something frowned upon for a while. Does it make sense to not allow it? I don't think so. It should be allowed. I think the government doesn't want to get involved though because until enough people get angry at this issue, they just don't want to stir the pot. Governments are often more reactive than protective for the sake of... Well... Politics...
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:46 PM   #22
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My question for this doc is.... Where did he stand on the subject BEFORE he was terminally ill and his dignity was at stake?
The dignity thing is BS. If you dont want to suffer then thats fine you should have a choice but NO death is universally dignified. Honorable and brave perhaps but IMO theres no dignity in forcing your death.
Perhaps its just my beliefs that guide me to that and by those beliefs I dont mean religion but instead I believe we cant choose when we're born so why should we be able to choose when we go?
We can't choose when we are born but much like science now allows us to choose when we go, our parents can now choose when we are born. I use condoms because i want to choose when my child is born. Some ppl even wait til a certain time so their child is born during a certain season! I don't buy the whole 'well if we cant do a we shouldnt do b either'... Its very counter-innovation
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:55 PM   #23
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Tough, tough topic, and incredibly sad.

It's very, very tough to be the bystander/family member who watches the terminally-ill person die, slowly... without hope of ever getting better... and in pain...

And, when not in pain, drugged with 6 different drug cocktails, each mitigating the side effects of another prescription, on and on and on.

As a family member or bystander, it is really up to the terminally ill person to decide.

If he/she thinks it is more dignified to commit suicide rather than go through with the dying process, then it is his/her decision to make and it is that viewpoint that matters.

Dignity definitely matters to the patient.

Perhaps, not to the onlookers/bystanders, but dignity, especially during the last moments of life, is paramount to the patient.

When you are clinging to life, dignity is all that is left for you to hold onto.

What Dr. Low's wife said was exactly how life goes away:
""I could hear his breathing, as normal, was very laboured, and all of a sudden, I couldn't hear it. And I turned back to him and he had one last breath and I held him and he didn't breathe again anymore," she told CBC News."

It is NOT a pretty sight to experience.

It is not dignified and that much is certain.

You can't really die with dignity intact.

Your body (not your soul/brain) will always have the will to try to cling to life no matter what (the very laboured breadths that was quoted by the wife) the brain tells the body to do.

To onlookers, dignity at that point does not matter.

The family members all want the patient to get better with the shadow of knowing there is no possibility of it happening.

However, to the patient... dignity is all that he/she has left, and the onlookers should grant and acknowledge that fact, that the patient at least has that dignity for him/her to cling onto.

One can't really know about dignity in a terminal-illness case, until one is the patient himself during the last months/days/hours of one's life.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:59 PM   #24
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My question for this doc is.... Where did he stand on the subject BEFORE he was terminally ill and his dignity was at stake?
The dignity thing is BS. If you dont want to suffer then thats fine you should have a choice but NO death is universally dignified. Honorable and brave perhaps but IMO theres no dignity in forcing your death.
Perhaps its just my beliefs that guide me to that and by those beliefs I dont mean religion but instead I believe we cant choose when we're born so why should we be able to choose when we go?
We absolutely cant have any control over our birth but anything after that, I think, is fair game.

I do believe that when an individual knows its nearing the "time to go" and doesn't want to endure any further pain...they should be able to make the final decision. I'd like to experience death "painlessly (using this loosely)" rather than be in pain for the last XX hours/days of my life knowing that the pain will slowly and surely kick my ass. I mean, its the last thing you'll experience...why not leave with a good notion of death?
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:20 AM   #25
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I'm not focusing on ppl that are in chronic pain like the OP's post. i'm just talking about pp that are already bitching about "i don't wanna be old and unable to go out and do stuff". bitch, please... i don't know any old person that kills themselves that isn't in chronic pain. being old and stuck in bed is better than death. old ppl stuck in bed around the world is living proof of that statement. i don't know any old ppl that wanna kill themselves just because they're old and unable to do shit... perhaps i was wrong. perhaps old ppl do realise the physical realm isn't that important. they accept it and lay in bed and appreciate the fact that they can still even experience anything, even if it's just in the mind.
serious question....have you been around a lot of old people?

Even those that aren't in chronic pain and/or terminal illness often wish they can just 'die now'. I've worked in a senior home for about a year and dementia/alzheimer's are all too common in many people's final years of life...they may not be in any pain but they can't even control their drooling/bowel movement let alone form coherent sentences. Those that are bedridden are likely to have their mental capacity severely diminished too...not everyone can just meditate as you'd imagined. Let's pretend you get to the bedridden stage and you can still think clearly, what you're gonna plan out the topics of your thoughts for 20 hours a day, for the rest of your life?

If you meet the folks that are cognitive enough to have a conversation with you .. you'd often hear them say they want to die...and you can't simply tell them 'everything's gonna be okay'. The average time for a senior who enters a typical senior home to their death is 10-12 months.
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