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Victor's story

Victor was vulnerable, because he and his family were powerless.

When Victor had a massive bilateral brain stem stroke, he was left in a state of complete immobility with complete cognitive functioning. He was unable to speak and communicated through eye blinking and was able to nod his head yes or no on a good day.

When he was in ICU, he was in a coma and as a family we realized that the longer he was in that coma, and with a heart condition, things might go sour fairly quickly and we had to decide whether or not we should sign a DNR order. It wasn’t something I wanted to do on my own, so gathered the rest together to discuss this with the doctor. The doctor told us that it didn’t matter what we signed or didn’t sign, under the physician’s statement in our province, they could make that decision without us. My brother in law told him he could not, and we consequently didn’t sign anything and advised them that if such a situation arose, they were to notify us, we would come if we weren’t already there, and then go from there. When Victor was cognitively aware (completely) I was still under pressure to sign a DNR order, and he was very clear he didn’t want it. We didn’t sign it.

I worry that Doctor-hastened death will be administered in the same roughshod style in situations like Victor's.


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