Maclean’s– “I actually felt I had done the right thing for my patient.” Gordon had gotten what he wanted, and what Buchman had done simply felt to him like helping. “It was so peaceful and loving that I said, ‘This can’t be inconsistent with who I am as a doctor’.”
Dying is as much a part of living as laughing is, but we clearly don’t embrace the former quite like we do the latter. Now with legislation allowing people to make a choice about when they die, patients and families and physicians are faced with making and respecting what can be difficult choices.
What we learn from the story about Dr. Sandy Buchman in Macleans, is that dying and living are well connected within the context of a person’s life. For healthcare professionals serving an individual at the end of their life, assistance in dying is merely another tool to treat a person’s pain and suffering. If providers are to respect what is important to the people they serve, then providing this assistance when a patient has made a clear choice, should be considered as following the care plan agreed to by the patient.
Its often been said that dying is no laughing matter, except now some people are learning that laughing and dying are not mutually exclusive. To better understand the extent of this choice we all now have, read the full story and learn how Dr. Buchman expands our understanding of compassionate care.