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Eric Coulam had the bash of his life – only to say goodbye to family and friends for good.
After years of declining health, the 20-year-old from British Columbia has decided to pursue medically assisted death, revealing he would need six organ transplants to live with only a 50% chance of survival.
“There’ll be an end to suffering. I suffer all day long. I’ve been in a four-walled room for a very long time and I’ve just had enough,” he told CJDC-TV, explaining why he opted to carry out suicide with the help of medical professionals.
He’s making use of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying law, which allows eligible Canadians over the age of 18 a chance to take their life into their own hands.
The 2016 law states the patient must have a “serious and incurable illness, disease or disability” and also be in physical or psychological pain that medication cannot fix.
For much of his life, which has been spent mostly in pain, Coulam suffered from abdominal distress due to an unknown gastrointestinal condition. While the doctors were stumped, he continued to deteriorate and lost his small bowel, contracted liver and kidney disease, dealt with chronic pain and suffered from infections.
Eventually, he went into septic shock when part of his intestine ruptured, resulting in an emergency room visit.
“I went in to emergency and got a bed right away and that night [it] ruptured and [I] got put in a coma for I can’t remember how long,” he said.
He was transferred from Fort St. John to Dawson Creek, then to numerous other hospitals – all to end up back at Fort St. John, where doctors were still scratching their heads.
A medical anomaly, Coulam was informed by his doctors that his only chance at survival and comfort would be to receive a whopping six organ transplants, which he claims had never been done before.
The catch? He would only have a 50% chance of recovering. Then, he discovered medically assisted death, which was “hard to tell everyone else” about.
“I thought about it for a while, I kind of ghosted my family because I wasn’t in a good place,” he said. “I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
While there isn’t a date set, he vows to “go when I am ready.”
“It is not when I am sick. It is not when they pull my medications. It is when I am ready,” he said.
When a person opts for medically assisted death, they’re either injected with a drug while supervised by nurses and doctors or given oral medication. Either way, the passing is painless.
“I sometimes lay there at night and get sad sometimes, but for the most part, I’m waiting for the day because I’m in lots of pain all the time,” Coulam said. “I’m on many meds just to be comfortable for a few hours.”