Hospitals should be able to opt out of doctor-assisted death, expert says

Ottawa Citizen

Elizabeth Payne

Neither doctors nor the institutions where they work should be forced to offer physician-assisted suicide, an expert on end-of-life decision making said Monday.

Judith Wahl, of Toronto’s Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, said Ontario should be able to create a system in which physician assisted death is accessible for those who qualify and want it, without forcing institutions and physicians to act against their beliefs.

“The provincial government can authorize those exemptions. I think people should be able to opt out and facilities should be able to opt out. I think we have to look at the system as a whole.”

With months to go until there is a law on physician assisted dying, the issue is already controversial. Catholic hospitals and health institutions across Ontario  –  including Bruyere Continuing Care in Ottawa  –  say they will not offer physician assisted death once it becomes law later this year. Bruyere is Ottawa’s only hospital with an acute palliative care ward. . . [Full text]


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