We can’t avoid death, but the prospect is a lot less terrifying since the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physician-assisted death. Competent adults suffering grievously from intolerable medical conditions will have the right to ask for a doctor’s help in ending their lives. That much is clear.
The challenge now is to pass legislation that reflects this landmark decision and develop regulations that reconcile the Charter rights of both doctors and patients. If we get the balance right between compassion for the suffering and protection of the vulnerable, between individual choice and social responsibility, we can set an example for the world.
A Good Death is timely, engaging and inspiring. In taking on our ultimate human right, award-winning journalist Sandra Martin charts the history of the right-to-die movement here and abroad through the personal stories of brave campaigners like Sue Rodriguez, Brittany Maynard and Gloria Taylor. Martin weighs the evidence from permissive jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Oregon, California, Switzerland and Quebec and portrays her own intellectual and emotional journey through the tangled legal, medical, religious and political documentation concerning terminal sedation, slippery slopes and the sanctity of life.
Modern death has become a wrenching political dilemma, one that becomes more pressing as the population ages. A Good Death confronts our fears about dying, our struggle for meaning and our dread of being trapped by voracious medical technology in a nightmare world that has abandoned caring in pursuit of curing, no matter the cost or the suffering to patients and their families. A Good Death asks the tough question none of us can avoid: How do we want to die? The answer will change your life—and your death.
Reviews and Endorsements:
A timely & deeply felt account of assisted dying: the histories, the issues. —Margaret Atwood via @Atwood
A must read on this profoundly important topic, with no stone left unturned, no matter how painful or raw the issues. —Svend Robinson, NDP MP 1979-2004
Sandra Martin frankly challenges us to confront death. Through A Good Death, we learn about the people who helped shape our assisted death revolution. We are drawn deep into the complex medical, legal, and social realities of dying in Canada--and we will be the better for it. —Jocelyn Downie, Professor, Law and Medicine, Dalhousie University; Trudeau Fellow 2015
Sandra Martin, Canada’s most eloquent obituary writer, brings her exquisite insight to the inescapable challenge of our lives: How to die. Her exploration of the human finale, including eldercare, assisted suicide, and spiritual reconciliation, help demystify the inevitable and prod us to live more profoundly. —Paula Todd, author of A Quiet Courage: Inspiring Stories From All of Us
“There is a powerful, penetrating message: A good death should be considered a human right, and how we die the final choice each of us makes in life.” —André Picard, health columnist for The Globe and Mail and author of The Gift of Death: Confronting Canada's Tainted Blood Tragedy
About the Author:
Sandra Martin, an award winning journalist and broadcaster, writes The Long Goodbye column for The Globe and Mail. Her previous books include Working the Dead Beat: 50 Lives that Changed Canada, The First Man in My Life: Daughters Write about Their Fathers and Card Tricks: Bankers Boomers and the Explosion of Plastic Credit.