A year since assisted suicide became legal, only a small number of physicians are willing to perform the procedure, and their numbers are shrinking. Taking a life is harder than they thought
The first thing April Poelstra noticed was the hitch in her father’s shoulder. Jack’s left arm was drooping, hanging limply at his side, as if he didn’t have the muscle to cinch it into alignment. It was the fall of 2015, and Jack was living in Frankville, Ontario, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to plow roads and work odd jobs for a construction company. . . Jack tried to downplay his shoulder problems. He visited his doctor for a battery of tests, but always changed the subject when April pressed for details. . . .In early 2016, her fears were validated: Jack was diagnosed with ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease . . .On June 17, Bill C-14 became law, making medical assistance in dying, or MAID, legal for mentally competent Canadians. Jack Poelstra was overjoyed. . . [Full text]
Doctors seek protection from policy requiring them to make referral
A number of local healthcare practitioners fear their right to choose whether or not they participate in providing assisted suicide to patients is being taken away from them.
Assisted suicide became legal in Canada in June 2016.
The Canadian law to allow medical assistance in dying (MAID) followed a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down the law forbidding physician assisted dying, saying the old law violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The federal law, however, makes no indication that healthcare professionals would have to participate in MAID.
But, a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario policy requires practitioners who conscientiously object to MAID to provide an effective referral to a non-objecting, available and accessible physician, nurse practitioner or agency. . . [Full text]
Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience wants ‘conscience protection’ in assisted death laws
A Scarborough palliative care physician says she would like Ontario to adopt a direct-access model for physician-assisted suicide, making it widely available to patients while bypassing doctors who object to the procedure.
Dr. Natalia Novosedlik is one of a group of doctors seeking what’s called “conscience protection” in the province’s assisted dying law, meaning physicians who oppose euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide would not have to refer patients to a doctor who does not have such objections, as is the case now. . . [Full text]