Akina Fay is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at McGill University.
Days after my fourteenth birthday, I was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation and underwent emergency brain surgery to prevent my spinal cord from dissecting.
Days after my seventeenth birthday, my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer.
At the age of twenty, I started medical school and began to piece together the pathophysiological processes that lead to our illnesses.
At the age of twenty-two, my mother died in my arms after a grueling year of hospitalizations, pain and suffering.
Sarah Chauvin is a PGY2 Family Medicine resident at McMaster University.
Palliative care empowers and comforts individuals with life-limiting illnesses. It may be sought at any point and serves as an adjunct to other treatments provided it falls within someone’s goals of care. It is not just trendy terminology or a “feel-good” concept; it is the cornerstone of a good death.
So why, then, after weeks of advocacy, was it denied from my grandmother. Denial? Arrogance? The belief that despite multi-system organ failure at the age of 88 years old we might still be able to “fix” her? So that rather than allowing her to control her environment and provide us with the opportunity to say goodbye, she passed away alone, minutes after being offered a colonoscopy. In fact, minutes after refusing further intervention stating, “I want to go home”. Perhaps an option she never knew existed to her until that moment. ...continue reading