A physician wants to die with dignity (Dr. Low’s story)

In this video, Dr. Low talks about being diagnosed with a brain tumour, knowing that he can’t get better and worrying about how he’ll die

Watch as Dr. Donald Low shares that it was incredibly hard to have to call his family to the hospital and share the news of his diagnosis. He talks about the complications he’s experiencing, such as hearing loss, vision problems and lack of strength.

He also talks about how palliative care can help with his symptoms but despite that treatment, he knows he’ll lose the ability to eat and swallow, and he may become paralyzed. He expresses his frustration that physician-assisted death is illegal in Canada (at the time of the interview). Dr. Low hopes to die a painless death after going to sleep one night.

Don passed away in September 2013, eight days after taking part in this video. Although he didn’t have the death he hoped for, he died in his wife’s arms and was not in pain.

I’m not afraid of dying. I could make that decision tomorrow. I just don’t want to be a long, protracted out process where I’m unable to carry out my normal bodily functions, and talk with my family and you know, enjoy the last few days of my life. The fear is that that is not going to happen.

Watch the video of Dr. Low talking about wanting to die with dignity

The Partnership’s Person-Centred Perspective initiative is committed to improving the patient experience. We are working with partners across Canada to find the best ways to offer a person-centred perspective throughout a person’s cancer journey and to help information flow throughout. The impact of a cancer diagnosis goes far beyond the physical disease. It affects every aspect of a person’s life. The initiative has focused on reporting about the patient experience, and giving health-care providers patient-centred tools and resources, which have been validated and standardized.