CBC: The Current
Interviewer/host: Piya Chattopadhyay
VOICE 1: Bill 34 is being introduced by the Manitoba government to protect conscience rights for health care professionals, so that health care providers would not be required to participate in assisted suicide.
VOICE 2: While I cannot participate in assisted suicide for a couple of reasons. The first is I made a vow as a medical student 40 years ago that I wouldn’t kill patients, okay? And I’m not willing to cross that line.
PC: It has been less than 18 months now since medically assisted dying became legal in Canada. And health care workers are still adapting to that paradigm change. We just heard part of a video produced by the Coalition for Health Care and Conscience. It’s a national umbrella organization of religious groups, and as you heard it is lobbying for Bill 34 a proposed piece of legislation in Manitoba that was drafted to help health care workers with conscientious objections to helping end patients’ lives. Here’s Manitoba’s health minister Kelvin Goertzen. . . [Full episode transcript]
Cheppudira Gopalkrishna, 88, says Misericordia hasn’t helped him seek out medically-assisted death
Manitoba’s Health Minister says he doesn’t know all the details of a terminally ill Winnipeg man’s search for medical assistance in dying, but he’s troubled by his first impression of the case.
Cheppudira Gopalkrishna, 88, told CBC News he has no chance of recovering from the illness that has confined him to bed for months, and the Misericordia Health Centre hasn’t helped him access the province’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) services.
However, the faith-based hospital — which is part of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority — and the health authority’s MAID team offer differing accounts of what transpired and the timeline of Gopalkrishna’s request. . . . [Full text]
‘It would have been hypocritical for me to continue sitting’ on St. Boniface subcommitte, says Dr. Ken Hahlweg
Two more resignation letters have been submitted after a controversial revote banned medically assisted dying at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital.
On May 29, the St. Boniface Hospital board of directors, which provides governance for the hospital, narrowly approved a new policy that would allow medical assistance in dying, or MAID, at the faith-based hospital under “rare circumstances.”
The Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba, which owns St. Boniface Hospital’s facilities and appoints its board, held a special board meeting the next day and added 10 new members, all of whom were part of the corporation, to the hospital’s board of directors, and then asked for a revote on June 12.
That vote banned medically assisted death at the hospital. . . [Full text]
Manitoba’s health minister stepped up to defend a Winnipeg hospital Tuesday, over its hotly criticized reversal on providing medically assisted deaths.
Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the province won’t oppose St. Boniface Hospital’s faith-based decision not to allow medical assistance in dying (MAID), even after saying it would in some cases.
“We think that we’ve struck the right balance by ensuring that there is access to MAID but also ensuring that those individual rights and those hospitals that are uncomfortable with the procedure can also have their rights respected as well,” said Goertzen.
On May 29, St. Boniface Hospital voted to allow medically assisted deaths under undefined “special circumstances.” But the hospital’s owner, the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba (CHCM), then appointed 10 new board members to cast a June 12 vote that completely banned assisted deaths once again, meaning patients who want them will still have to be transferred. . . [Full text]
Board of Winnipeg Catholic hospital overturned policy granting assisted death in rare circumstances
The outgoing president of the St. Boniface Hospital medical staff believes the Winnipeg hospital’s policy to deny medically assisted death violates the charter rights of some of the most vulnerable patients.
Medical assistance in dying, or MAID, will not be provided at St. Boniface Hospital after the board, which manages the hospital, voted against it on June 12.
Dr. Marcus Blouw, a former member of the St. Boniface board, disagrees that the current board — largely compiled of those without clinical expertise, he said — should be able to overrule the decisions of patients and clinicians. . . [Full text]
‘They’re not taking into account people’s end-of-life comfort,’ says ethics professor Arthur Schafer
St. Boniface General Hospital’s decision to forbid medical-assisted deaths is drawing condemnation from end-of-life care advocates and an expert on medical ethics.
Arthur Schafer, a founder of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, described the recent board decision to ban medical-assisted deaths as “fundamentally wrong.” . . . [Full text]
Hospital board voted to allow assisted dying in ‘rare circumstances,’ overturned decision 2 weeks later
Aidan Geary, Tessa Vandherhart
While confirming that it won’t allow medical assistance in dying on site, St. Boniface Hospital has lifted its policy requiring patients to leave the facility to be assessed for the service.
Under its old rules, patients at St. Boniface Hospital hoping to access medical assistance in dying had to be transferred off site for the assessments, which are required by Manitoba law and conducted by a medical team from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
One patient died as a result of one such transfer, according to a St. Boniface Hospital internal memo dated March 1 that was provided to CBC News. . . [Full text]
Board chair resigns, saying patients harmed by policy
The organization governing Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital has appointed 10 new members to overturn a policy on medically assisted dying, leading the board chair to resign in protest.
On May 29, the St. Boniface Hospital board of directors narrowly approved a new policy that would allow medical assistance in dying (MAID) at the faith-based hospital under “rare circumstances.”
The Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba held a special board meeting the next day and added 10 new members to the hospital’s board of directors, and then asked for a revote. . . [Full text]
Doctors or nurses who refuse to help patient die protected from repercussions under new legislation
Medical professionals in Manitoba who refuse to help terminally ill patients die will be protected from reprisals under new legislation introduced Tuesday.
Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives said Bill 34, the The Medical Assistance in Dying (Protection for Health Professionals and Others) Act, will ensure staff cannot be compelled to go against their own religious or ethical beliefs.
“The legislation will protect the rights of those who do not wish to participate in medically assisted death for conscience, faith or other reasons,” Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said. . . [Full text]
More than 100 people have contacted the MAID team since February 2016; 4 doctors added in response
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has more than doubled the number of physicians involved in medically assisted deaths in Manitoba after more patients requested the help than the province initially expected.
More than 100 patients have contacted the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) team with 24 receiving medically assisted deaths as of Jan. 6, according to statistics provided to CBC Manitoba by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. . . [Full text]