A Manitoba woman with ALS has been granted the right to die by doctor assisted suicide.
A judge granted the special permission this afternoon. It’s the second case like this in Manitoba history.
The first happened in March.
Court heard the woman is from a small community. Affadavits filed on her behalf say she was diagnosed with ALS in 2013 and is now almost completely unable to move.
ALS is a neurological disease that attacks nerve cells that control your ability to move, talk and eventually breathe. It is incurable and always fatal.
All other information about the woman and her family is being kept private under a publication ban.
There’s also a ban protecting the identities of any doctors or health care workers involved.
In a statement given to media after the decision, the woman says.
“I have no control over my life. I would like the peace and satisfaction of some control over my death. I feel like I am in a perpetual state of saying goodbye to the people I love and I have had enough.”
“Maybe there are other people with ALS who can tolerate more than I am willing to. I am at peace with that. It’s not a test and it’s not a competition. No one gives you a medal for dying,” she continues.
“I will miss my family and friends but I am completely at peace with the decision I have made.”
Anguish Is Soul Crushing
In the woman’s affidavit filed with the courts as part of her application, she told court she feels her life is completely unnatural.
She said, “The anguish I feel is soul crushing. It is both enduring and intolerable to me.”
The woman describes how she is wheelchair bound and her spouse was forced to quit work.
She says she is unable to move accept for very limited movement in her arms. She says she lives in fear of choking to death and has been hospitalized for a choking incident recently.
In a statement, her spouse calls this the “hardest experience we have ever been through.”
“It has been difficult to watch as my spouse suffers,” he says. “It will also be difficult without her. However, I understand her wishes for a physician assisted death. I fully support those wishes to die with dignity.”
The judge ruled the woman met the criteria for special permission to die under the law.
She is an adult, capable of giving consent, has an incurable disease and is suffering with no acceptable treatments.
The federal government will close the loop hole by passing new laws on doctor assisted suicide by a deadline of June 6th.
Until then, people can apply to courts in their province on a case by case basis.
This is the 7th case of doctor assisted suicide being allowed across the country.