The Last Doctor
Lessons in Living from the Front Lines of Medical Assistance in Dying
Jean Marmoreo, Johanna Schneller
*SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 WRITERS' TRUST BALSILLIE PRIZE FOR PUBLIC POLICY*
An urgently important exploration of the human stories behind Canada's evolving acceptance of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), from one of its first and most thoughtful practitioners.
Dr. Jean Marmoreo spent her career keeping people alive. But when the Supreme Court of Canada gave the green light to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in 2016, she became one of a small group of doctors who chose to immediately train themselves in this new field. Over the course of a single year, Marmoreo learns about end-of-life practices in bustling Toronto hospitals, in hospices, and in the facilities of smaller communities. She found that the needed services were often minimal--or non-existent.
The Last Doctor recounts Marmoreo's crash course in MAiD and introduces a range of very different and memorable patients, some aged, some suffering from degenerative conditions or with a terminal disease, some surrounded by supportive love, some quite alone, who ask her help to end their suffering with dignity and on their own terms.
Dr. Marmoreo also shares her own emotional transformation as she climbs a steep learning curve and learns the intimate truths of the vast range of end-of-life situations. What she experiences with MAiD shakes her to her core, makes her think deeply about pain, loneliness, and joy, and brings her closer to life’s most profound questions.
At a time when end-of-life care and its quality are more in the public eye than ever before, The Last Doctor provides an accessibly personal, deeply humane, and authoritative guide through this difficult subject.