21-year-old man who opted for MAID passes surrounded by family

In a post on Facebook, Coulam’s father, Wade, stated that the 21-year-old died peacefully on August 17th just after 5 p.m.
Eric Coulam at his Celebration of Life last summer. (Spencer Hall, Energeticcity.ca)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John resident Eric Coulam, who decided to pursue medical assistance in dying (MAID) last year, passed away last Thursday surrounded by his loved ones.

In a post on Facebook, Coulam’s father, Wade, stated that the 21-year-old died peacefully on August 17th just after 5 p.m.

“Eric was surrounded by his father, his two cousins Taylor and Josh and his grampa Ivan in his final hours,” wrote Wade.

Others have taken to social media to share their condolences after Coulam’s death. Fort St. John resident and Coulam’s friend, Eric Tobler, said he spent a lot of time with Coulam, most recently when they were neighbours in the Fort St. John Hospital in February.

“I tried to be a good friend to Eric. It got tough as I was going through hell the same time he was, but we talked on the phone many, many times, and I’ll cherish those talks,” Tobler wrote.

“Eric had a massively huge heart. He always worried about others first, and I always respected him for that because I had seen many of Eric’s low days in the hospital. The guy was in 24-hour pain but conquered through the best he could in the last few years,” he added.

Coulam told Energeticcity.ca last May that after battling an undiagnosed gastrointestinal condition—which caused his stomach to rupture—for several years, he decided to opt for MAID.

At the time, Coulam said the rupture caused septic fluid, usually contained within the intestine, to enter his bloodstream, causing him to “go septic” and enter into a coma for about two weeks.

He then spent time in hospitals throughout B.C. and Alberta, battling pancreatitis, liver, and kidney disease. He also lost his small bowel and suffered from severe chronic pain.

He advised residents with health concerns they feel aren’t adequately addressed to contact other doctors.

“Reach out to another hospital or doctor and get a second opinion because that’s where I was failed,” Coulam said.

Last summer, a celebration of life for Coulam was held at his father’s property so he could say goodbye to his family and friends before his passing.


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