Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Arts & Science Program

First-year Arts & Science Capstone Project: Airo Marsh

Airo MarshAiro Marsh

Winter 2024 Capstone Project Title: The Right to Die: Should Mentally Unwell Individuals Have Access to Canada’s MAiD?

Project Description: In this capstone, I explored the debate regarding a patient’s right to access assisted death if their sole underlying ailment is severe mental illness. I emphasize the importance of perceived self-autonomy in medical care and the perpetuation of stigma caused by prohibiting these individuals from accessing MAiD. I spent the last half of my paper evaluating common objections to my argument, explaining how they are irrelevant or unsubstantial compared to the harm perpetuated by medical paternalism. I conclude that MAiD should be legalized for psychiatric patients in Canada.

The 1C06 Capstone experience: Frustrated with my experience of medical paternalism, I wanted to question the validity of the mindset in an extreme circumstance: Death. To what extent should an individual have the right to self-determination? As I continued to research this topic, my capstone shifted to a slightly more holistic view of Medical Assistance in Dying, as I started to appreciate the nuance! While researching this topic, I was surprised to find that the discussion was very opinionated and consensus was seldom. Although not to the same level, it was really cool to feel like I was writing my capstone in a similar way many experts approach academic writing. It was awesome to get to draw my own conclusion from the evidence.

Key Takeaways: I’ve obviously learned a lot about my chosen topic, and have come to view death, in circumstances where acute suffering is present, in a more positive light. More importantly than the subject matter, however, the process of writing Capstones for ARTSSCI 1C06 has helped me develop and gain confidence in my researching and academic writing skills!

Everyone should be forced to write a capstone at least once in their life; it was an invaluable experience!

Click here to read interviews with the other first year Arts & Science students.