TORONTO – The infectious disease doctor who guided Toronto through the 2003 SARS crisis made an appeal prior to his death for Canada to change the law and legalize assisted suicide.
Dr. Donald Low made his plea in an emotional video shot eight days before his death last week from a brain tumour. He was 68.
In the video posted Tuesday on YouTube, Low says he does not fear death and is not in pain but worries about what will happen before the end.
Low says he would like the option of choosing when he will die, before the disease renders him incapable of walking, swallowing food or using the bathroom without assistance.
He says he is envious of people living in some U.S. states and countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands where assisted suicide is legal.
Low pleads with Canadian doctors and others who are against assisted suicide to rethink their opposition to letting terminally ill patients die with dignity.
“I wish they could live in my body for 24 hours and I think they would change that opinion,” he said. “I’m just frustrated not to be able to have control of my own life. Not being able to have the decision for myself when enough is enough.
“In Canada, it’s illegal and it will be a long time where we mature to a level where there’s dying with dignity.”
A statement on the video says Low “did not have the death he had hoped for, but he died in his wife’s arms and was not in pain.”
RELATED: In 2011, Maclean’s British Columbia bureau chief Ken MacQueen spoke with the family of Kathleen (Kay) Carter, a 89-year-old who travelled to Switzerland so she could end her life in a country where assisted suicide is legal. Read the full interview here.