Dr Cameron McLaren has been involved in providing VAD assessments to patients across the state of Victoria since the introduction of the VAD legislation.
He tells the moving story of Phil, one of his patients, whose journey through the Voluntary Assisted Dying process he shared – from first assessment to the administration of the medication intravenously when Phil became too ill to take it himself.
When he realised his patient would be unable to take the medication orally, he faced the challenge of obtaining an expedited Practitioner Administration permit. In this he succeeded and he says that the speed with which his plea was answered “made me take back every bad thing I had ever said in frustration about the VAD Board.”
This personal and very powerful story shares his complete experience, as a physician, of assisting his patient through the VAD process – and what it was like to be there at the end when administering the medication intravenously. He also experienced the deep gratitude of Phil and Phil’s family.
As he says, “Nothing that we could have done would have avoided his death, but through VAD, we were able to make sure Phil died at home, in the arms of the people who loved him most.”
And Phil’s family “shared in his final moments together, they laughed, they cried, and they said good bye. Phil’s was nothing short of a beautiful death, afforded to him and his family by the availability of VAD.”