Medical Assistance in Dying: Dr Meghan Towers

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Dr. Meghan Towers – MAiD Physician

Medical assistance in dying  has been one of the most complex and ethically challenging issues facing Canadian physicians. On June 17, 2016, the federal government introduced Bill C-14, which decriminalizes medical assistance in dying (MAiD). Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is the process whereby a doctor or nurse practitioner helps and supports a patient who wants to voluntarily and intentionally end their life.

While it is a subject on many people’s minds, very rarely do we get to talk and learn from someone who is at the frontlines of the issue… Dr Meghan Towers (the daughter of proud Probus Club members – Terry and Susan Kelly) spoke to us of her experiences supporting and advocating for those in our community who want to end their lives.

Dr. Meghan Towers, is a local MAiD physician and a graduate of the Medical School at the University of Toronto in 2005.  She moved to Vancouver Island in 2013 and has been working as a Hospitalist at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Dr. Towers has been an advocate for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) and got her formal training to become a MAiD Provider in the fall of 2018. Since December of 2018 Dr. Towers has been providing Medical Assistance in Dying both in the community and in the Hospital in Nanaimo.

She shared with us her experiences to date and statistics related to MAID:

Who Qualifies for MAiD?
Must be 18 years of age, able to consent, suffering from a grievous and irremediable medical condition, seen to be reasonably, foreseeably dying and making their request free of coercion

 How do I access MAiD?

  • Start with your GP  – there are 5 MAiD Providers in Nanaimo and 1 in Oceanside
  • Complete a Patient Request Form #1632
  • Assessment by 2 independent practitioners
  • Complete a 10 day reflection period
  • Complete process with MAiD Provider and family

In her first year, December 2018 to September 2019, her experiences were as follows:
– assessed 43 people, processed 23
–  assessed 25 men, 18 women
–  provided for 9 men, 12 women
Most were carried out in the hospital, long-term/nursing homes, 1 hospice, 1 home

It was evident it takes a special person to be a MAiD Provider and to provide this very valuable service. Dr. Towers is well positioned and qualified to be this person.

For more information, the following websites are useful:

Island Health MAID website:
www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/medical-assistance-dying/medicalassistance-dying

Dying with Dignity Canada website:
www.dyingwithdignity.ca

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