Ellen Wiebe is the doctor seeking a smoother path to assisted death

The Globe and Mail

Elizabeth Church

The physician who helped a Calgary woman with ALS to hasten her death following a court’s approval says more needs to be done to remove roadblocks and prevent unnecessary suffering for those who meet the legal requirements to end their life.

Ellen Wiebe, the Vancouver doctor who was with the woman when she died Monday night, said last-minute difficulties obtaining the necessary drugs and finding a second doctor as required by the court underscore the need for clear professional guidelines and a national directory of those willing to provide a medically assisted death. . . [Full text]


ALS sufferer first Canadian to receive judge’s approval for assisted death

 The Globe and Mail

Sean Fine, Elizabeth Church

A woman suffering from the paralyzing degenerative disease known as ALS has become the first to receive a judicially authorized assisted death in Canada.

The woman received permission from a Calgary judge in a hearing last week from which the media and other members of the public were barred. Known as Ms. S in a ruling made public this week, she then travelled to Vancouver where two physicians attended to her on private property.

Ellen Wiebe, a Vancouver physician, confirmed the death Monday night, saying she was with Ms. S. and pronounced her dead at 8:30.

Ms. S. “suffered unnecessarily because she was required to travel from Calgary to Vancouver on the last day of her life, since she could not find a Calgary physician to help her,” she said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

Ms. S, a retired psychologist who loved hiking in the mountains, was diagnosed with the incurable disease in 2013 after developing a speech impediment, and was told last October that nothing more could be done to slow its progress. . . . [Full text]


Canadian undergoes doctor-assisted death in B.C.

CTV News

1 March, 2016

A Calgary woman who was granted a legal exemption for doctor-assisted death has ended her life in British Columbia with the help of a physician.

The woman, who cannot be identified because of a court-ordered publication ban, suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

She died on Monday, with her family at her side, in Vancouver. . . [Full text]


Calgary woman dies after being granted right to physician-assisted suicide

 Right to die: ‘We were grateful and honoured to be able to help her,’ says doctor

CBC News

A Calgary woman who received a legal exemption for doctor-assisted death has ended her life in Vancouver with the help of two physicians.

It is believed she is the first person in Canada outside of Quebec to be allowed to legally end her life with help from a doctor.

The woman, who cannot be identified because of a court-ordered publication ban, died with her family at her side.

“My colleague and I were grateful and honoured to be able to help her,” Dr. W, a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia, said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press. The doctor also cannot be ID’d due to the publication ban. . . [Full text]


Assistant minister says issue of access to abortion resolved


Assistant Health Minister Dragan Korolija Marinic said at a thematic session of the parliament’s Gender Equality Committee on Thursday that the issue of access to abortion services in five medical institutions where the procedure was not performed because of doctors’ conscientious objection had been resolved and that the procedure was now available in all state hospitals.

The general hospitals in Nasice, Virovitica and Vinkovci have hired external gynecologists to perform such procedures, some of the gynecologists at the Knin General Hospital who previously cited a conscientious objection have changed their opinion, while Zagreb’s “Sveti duh” hospital has signed a contract with the “Sestre milosrdnice” hospital to perform abortions on request, said Korolija Marinic. . . . [Full Text]

GP crisis as soaring numbers refusing to take patients

Investigation finds hundreds of GP surgeries are closing their lists to new arrivals, forcing out existing patients or facing closure

The Telegraph

Laura Donnelly

Soaring numbers of GP practices are demanding to close their doors to new patients and force current patients to go elsewhere as doctors warn that services are “teetering on the brink of collapse”.

New figures show that last year 104 GP practices applied to NHS authorities for permission to stop accepting patients – more than twice as many as two years before.

A further 45 surgeries asked to “shrink” their practice boundaries, throwing existing patients off their lists, while 100 more practices are threatened with closure, an investigation by Pulse magazine found.

Doctors said they were unable to cope with “vast numbers of people” moving into some parts of the country, forcing them to close their lists to newcomers, or divert existing patients to new surgeries.

Dr Maureen Baker, chairman of the Royal College of General Practice, said the situation was “extremely distressing” and having a “severe impact” on patient care. . . [Full text]

Washington State hospitals identify policies on access to health care

The Washington State Department of Health has posted a web page that lists all of the hospitals in the state, together with their policies on admission, non-discrimination, end of life care, and reproductive health care.  The page makes it possible for those seeking morally contested procedures to locate hospitals willing to provide them, while allowing hospitals that do not provide them to provide notice of that fact.  This should help to minimize inconvenience and conflict.