It looks like the leadership of the Delta Hospice Society has decided to forgo substantial funding from the Fraser Health Authority by refusing to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).
An article this week in The BC Catholic featured an interview with DHS board president Angelina Ireland who was quoted as saying the society rather lose funding, saying MAiD is completely incompatible with palliative hospice care. . . [Full text]
Dr. Jillian Demontigny keeps a rainbow bracelet wrapped around the stethoscope that she drapes across her neck. It’s her signal to any LGBTQ patient who arrives at her clinic: you are welcome here.
Dr. Demontigny is one of 13 physicians working at the Taber Clinic, a family medicine clinic in a southern Alberta town of 8,500 people. Over her 14 years in Taber, she has expanded her practice to offer extra supports for patients looking for the kind of health care that can be hard to access in this rural, conservative region, where anti-abortion billboards are posted along the highway. . . [Full text]
Hospice begs permission to refuse $750,000 in state funding
Euthanasia and assisted suicide available in state hospital next door
Delta Hospice Society
Vancouver area hospice is asking
the government to reconsider their proposal to give up $750,000 a year
in funding so that it not be required to violate its mandate of care and
compassion for patients by providing Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)
at its facility.
The health authority’s demand is unnecessary, the hospice contends, noting that the MAiD option is widely available at many other facilities, including one next door.
By forfeiting the government funding, the hospice would be under the 50% threshold set by the government and therefore exempt from providing MAiD.
Angelina Ireland, President of the Delta Hospice Society, said that the Society’s Charter specifically mandates it to provide compassionate care and support for persons in the last stages of living, so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.
“Helping and supporting patients to live fully and comfortably in
their last days and giving support to them and their families is what
our patients and families come to us for and expect and it is certainly
what our staff are dedicated to providing. Taking steps to end a
patient’s life is not providing care and support so that ‘they may live
Fraser Health Authority ordered the Delta Hospice Society late last
year to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) claiming that failure
to do so would be a breach of the Society’s agreement with the
Ireland said in order to comply with the Authority’s instruction it
would have to violate its legal commitments under the province’s
Societies’ Act which requires them to follow their Charter. Further, DHS
is not in breach of the Agreement. There is nothing in the Agreement
which requires DHS to provide MAiD or allow it to be provided on its
premises. The FHA is attempting to amend the Agreement by making a
unilateral decision to impose an obligation, which in itself would be a
contravention of the Agreement. The Fraser Health Authority’s new
directive puts the Hospice Society in a difficult position of either
honouring their Charter and legal obligations or acceding to what she
called “an agenda-driven demand which ignores ourprimary function and
pays no heed to the needs or wants of those patients and families we are
The Delta Hospice Society has tried to work with the health
authority, explaining the dilemma the order places upon them, outlining
their function to assist patients live fully in their final days before
natural death, and offering options to help settle the dispute but the
Fraser Health Authority has refused to budge.
On January 15, 2020, Delta Hospice Society wrote the Fraser Health
Authority to ask that they reconsider the proposal to give up the
$750,000 a year in funding so that they may benefit from the exemption
set out in a Ministry of Health policy.
Ireland said that giving up the funding would cause the Society to focus exclusively on their Hospice operations. The other services the Society provides to the community would be put on the back burner until alternative funding partnerships can be established. The Society is committed to continuing to provide the quality care it has provided since its founding in 1991, and protecting the Society’s mandate and organizational integrity.
Ireland noted further that there are many locations where MAiD is already available to those wishing to avail themselves of that option, including a facility next door.
“Nobody wanting such a service would be prevented access. The issue
is not accessibility. It seems to be a purely agenda-driven demand that
runs rough shod over both Delta Hospice Society’s desire to live up to
its legal requirements under our Charter, as well as ignoring the
reality that we are dealing with patients and families in a very
vulnerable and delicate position.”
“Our goal,” she added, “is to fulfill our mission. And that is to help patients and their loved ones live quietly, comfortably, and as fully as possible in their final days of life.”
She reiterated the hospice’s desire to negotiate an equitable arrangement with the Fraser Health Authority to maintain Delta Hospice’s role of serving its patients well.
On 7 January, 2020, Representative Matt Pierce introduced HB1020: End of life options in the Indiana General Assembly. HB1020 is the fourth assisted suicide bill introduced by Pierce since 2017; three previous bills died in committee without hearings. Parts of HB1020 relevant to protection of conscience are reproduced on the Project website.
The bill permits physician assisted suicide for Indiana residents 18 years of age and older who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness likely to cause death within six months. [Full text]
The bill permits physician assisted suicide for New Hampshire residents 18 years of age and older who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness likely to cause death within six months. Candidates who are capable of making and communicating health care decisions must apply in writing for a lethal prescription (137-M:3); the application must be witnessed by two independent witnesses (137-M:4). The candidate must apply personally; substitute medical decision makers cannot apply on behalf of a patient (137-M:3.III).
The bill imposes a number of obligations on physicians primarily responsible for treating a patient’s terminal illness (137-M:5) and upon physicians consulted by them about the illness (137-M:6). These would be unacceptable to physicians who refuse to participate in assisted suicide for reasons of conscience.
Section 137-M:14 (Immunities) is the provision that is intended to protect objecting health care providers, which includes individuals and health care facilities. The protection offered is biased in favour of those willing to participate in assisted suicide and insufficient to protect those unwilling to do so. Specifically:
139-M:14.I limits protection against civil, criminal and professional liability to persons willing to participate in assisted suicide; no protection is provided for those who refuse. It also prevents objecting institutional health care providers from taking action against employees who participate in assisted suicide on their premises.
139-M:14.II protects both participants and non-participants equally, but also prevents objecting institutional health care providers from taking action against individuals who ignore prohibitions against assisted suicide on their premises.
139-M14.III protects those providing assisted suicide drugs against negligence complaints, but does not similarly protect those who refuse to provide assisted suicide drugs.
139-M14.IV declares that no health care provider is under a duty to participate in assisted suicide. However, the provision is ambiguous because it is inconsistent with the lack of protection noted in 139-M4.I and III.
The distrust of doctors and government that feeds the anti-vaccination movement might be seen as a modern phenomenon, but the roots of today’s activism were put down well over a century ago.
In the late 19th Century, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in opposition to compulsory smallpox vaccinations. There were arrests, fines and people were even sent to jail.
Banners were brandished demanding “Repeal the Vaccination Acts, the curse of our nation” and vowing “Better a felon’s cell than a poisoned babe”. Copies of hated laws were burned in the streets and the effigy was lynched of the humble country doctor who was seen as to blame for the smallpox prevention programme. . . [Full text]
Northern Ireland’s bishops have said new abortion laws in Northern Ireland are “unjust” and that no one is obliged to cooperate with them.
Currently there is a regulatory framework in place in the North that governs abortion provision until more permanent legislation is expected to be introduced in three months.
“The new regulatory framework in Northern Ireland should provide all health professionals including midwives, nurses and ancillary staff working in hospitals and other community settings with the right to refuse to participate in any aspect of the delivery of abortion services such as consultation, administration, preparation, in addition to the direct and intentional act of abortion itself,” the bishops said. They added this should include pharmacists. . .[Full text]
The Fraser Health Authority has given the Delta Hospice Society a deadline to agree to provide medically assisted deaths.
The new board of the society has been on a collision course with the health region after reversing a decision by the previous board to not allow Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.
A spokesperson with the region yesterday told the Optimist that the FHA “reached out again to the Delta Hospice Society to share our expectations that they comply to permit medical assistance in dying by February 3, 2020.” . . . [Full text]