Medical assistance in dying: a structured postgraduate elective to build confidence in caring for patients

  • Joy Zhuo Ding
  • Genevieve Casey
  • Michael Kekewich
  • Lorne Wiesenfeld
  • Viren N. NaikEmail author

To the Editor,

Under Bill C-14,1 healthcare professionals have been entrusted to legitimize, endorse, and implement medical assistance in dying (MAiD). To date, educational efforts have been focused on clinicians in practice to enhance awareness of this option for patients, and to establish best practices. While professional development activities continue, educational efforts should turn to developing curricula for clinicians in training, so they are better prepared to address MAiD requests or integrate care for these patients into their post-certification practice.

Despite faculty concerns regarding the ethics of and rights to refuse active participation in MAiD, the desire for learner experiences is undeniable. Falconer et al. surveyed 1,210 Canadian medical students and found that 71% were willing to provide MAiD.2 An anonymous survey of residents in the Queen’s University Family Medicine program in 2016 found that formalized MAiD education is needed.3Of the 62 residents who...


Conflicts of interest

None declared.

Editorial responsibility

This submission was handled by Dr. Hilary P. Grocott, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia

Financial disclosures



  1. 1.
    Parliament of Canada. House of Commons. Bill C-14. Available from URL: (accessed May 2019).
  2. 2.
    Falconer J, Couture F, Demir KK, Lang M, Shefman Z, Woo M. Perceptions and intentions toward medical assistance in dying among Canadian medical students. BMC Med Ethics 2019; 20: 22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    MacDonald S, LeBlanc S, Dalgarno N, et al. Exploring family medicine preceptor and resident perceptions of medical assistance in dying and desires for education. Can Fam Physician 2018; 64: e400-6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Downar J, Green S, Radhakrishnan A, et al. An entrustable professional activity descriptor for medical aid in dying: a mixed-methods study. CMAJ 2018; 6: E657-63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ritchie K, Gérin-Lajoie C, Naik V. Medical assistance in dying. N Engl J Med 2017; 377: 896-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joy Zhuo Ding
    • 1
  • Genevieve Casey
    • 2
  • Michael Kekewich
    • 3
  • Lorne Wiesenfeld
    • 4
  • Viren N. Naik
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Clinical and Organizational EthicsThe Ottawa HospitalOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  5. 5.Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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