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]
It’s all about choice. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that suffering Canadians have the right to choose to end their life through assisted suicide.
But doctors must also have the right to choose – to choose whether they are a part of this process or not.
A recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showcases several points worth repeating. They report that a majority of palliative care physicians actually don’t envision assisted suicide as part of their work. . . [Full text]
Sally Bean and Maxwell Smith (Bioethics Program Alum, 2010)
We applaud the February 6, 2015 Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) unanimous ruling in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5. The Court found the criminal prohibition of assisted death to be in violation of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. The ruling has been suspended for 12 months to enable time for a Parliamentary response. In the wake of this landmark ruling, we identify and briefly discuss three issues that require serious attention prior to the implementation of Physician Aid-in-Dying (PAD) in Canada. . . [Full text]
The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians has rejected a recommendation from a Quebec legislative committee that euthanasia and physician assisted suicide be legalized. The Society stated that the procedures contradict “a fundamental tenet” of the Society and most palliative care physicians. The president of the Society said “We are concerned that, despite the fact that our members are unwilling to provide these services, this may be mandated if it becomes law in Quebec.” [CSPCP statement]