"He has a deep faith, but not the kind that goes out there and proselytizes, but it motivates him," said Richard Gold, a colleague of Lametti's. Gold characterized Lametti's faith as what made him "want to do good in the world."
While parliament considers the new bill, a psychiatrist and a lawyer who works with palliative care are raising the alarm that the overwhelming majority of MAiD patients are not given a psychiatric examination prior to their deaths, even though 96% of MAiD patients say they have "psychological suffering."
According to a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, only 6.2% of MAiD cases were given a psychiatric consultation, and only 15% of adults who died in Ontario from 2016-2017 received palliative care.
In an article published in the Ottawa Citizen, Dr. Timothy Lau, a psychiatrist, and Dylan McGuinty, a lawyer and the director of a Catholic healthcare provider which provides palliative care, pointed out that studies have shown that palliative care is provided relatively late in the dying process-and that people are not being seen early enough.
A 2018 study in Quebec found that "in 32 per cent of cases, palliative care consults came less than seven days prior to the request for MAiD, and in another 25 per cent of cases palliative care consults occurred the day of or after assisted death was requested," said Lau and McGuinty.
"If we believe in choice, then we are not offering true choice when palliative care consults are offered so late in the journey towards death," they added.
The Quebec study found that the earlier a person has access to palliative care, they experience fewer depressive side effects and have a higher quality of life, Lau and McGuinty wrote. They suggested that increased access to palliative care services could reduce the need for assisted deaths.
"Instead of helping people die, is the answer not rather to accompany the dying compassionately on the journey towards death - with an early intervention of the full complement of palliative care services," which include treatments for the patients emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs, in addition to treatment for physical ailments.
Lau and McGuinty worry that assisted suicide is becoming a "treatment" for depression, rather than a "tragic consequence" of the condition.
"Therefore, we invite Canadians to join us in demanding timely, complete and universal palliative care and mental health services, especially for those crying for help through requests for MAiD," they said.