PEI

'Our time together was cut short': Woman seeks advance directives on assisted death

A woman whose husband was the first on P.E.I. to opt for a medically-assisted death wants the federal law changed to allow for advance directives.

Federal committee is studying advance directives

Paul Couvrette and Liana Brittain were married for 11 years before he chose to die a medically-assisted death. ( Liana Brittain/Facebook)

A woman whose husband was the first on P.E.I. to opt for a medically-assisted death wants the federal law changed to allow for advance directives.

It's a matter of communication and respecting the individual's right to die when they choose.- Liana Brittain

Under the current law, a person must be mentally competent at the time of death. An expert committee is studying what it would mean if the law were changed to allow advanced directives.

Liana Brittain told CBC's Maritime Noon that would have given her and her husband, Paul Couvrette, more time together.

Couvrette ended his life in May after a cancer diagnosis in which treatment was failing. The couple were concerned that the next level of treatment might leave him incapacitated and not eligible to make an end of life decision.

After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Paul Couvrette chose a medically-assisted death. (Liana Brittain/Facebook)

"He was not allowed to wait to see if the next level of drug would still work. I felt, and so did he, that our time together was cut short," said Brittain.

"I think it's a matter of communication and respecting the individual's right to die when they choose."

The federal committee is taking submissions on advanced directives until the end September.

With files from Maritime Noon

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