Helping suffering patients die may be doctor’s most humane option, Canadian Medical Association says

National Post

Sharon Kirkley

For the first time, the Canadian Medical Association has said helping a suffering patient die may be a doctor’s most humane option.

In a new position statement approved by its board, the CMA – once firmly opposed to any form of doctor-hastened killing – now states “there are rare occasions where patients have such a degree of suffering, even with access to palliative and end of life care, that they request medical aid in dying. In such a case, and within legal constraints, medical aid in dying may be appropriate.”

The policy change comes as the powerful doctors’ lobby prepares for a possible lifting of the federal ban on assisted suicide when the Supreme Court of Canada releases its historic ruling Friday morning in Ottawa.

If the top court strikes down laws making it a criminal offence to “counsel, aid or abet” another person to commit suicide,  “we’re going to need to hit the ground running if we want to lead and do this well,” said CMA president Dr. Chris Simpson. . . . [Full Text]

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