Those seeking to escape the agony of incurable illnesses will have the legal right to choose doctor-assisted suicide as of June 6, but two publicly funded institutions that care for the region’s dying hope they won’t be forced to allow it within their walls.
Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare runs the area’s only in-hospital palliative care unit, where five, six or seven deaths a week is not unusual. As a faith-based Catholic hospital, it does not believe it should participate in physician-assisted suicide, said CEO Janice Kaffer.
The Hospice of Windsor and Essex County has a policy opposing physician-assisted suicide, citing a “respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life,” and asserting that it’s not part of palliative care. It provides palliative care to hundreds of area patients in their homes, as well as in its hospice residences in Windsor and Leamington. Its philosophy is if someone’s pain and symptoms can be well managed, they don’t need to resort to a physician-assisted death. CEO Carol Derbyshire said Canada’s hospices are trying to convince the government to let them to opt out. . . [Full text]