The operators of the Delta Hospice Society say they’re victims of “bullying” tactics by Fraser Health and medical assistance in dying (MAiD) activists who want the service provided in all non-denominational, hospice palliative care programs.
“Hospice palliative care is not about hastening death and we object to the bullying currently taking place in B.C.,” said Janice Strukoff, an administrative leader for the charitable, non-profit society that has a contract with the health region to provide 10 palliative care beds for the region. It derives just under half its income from the health authority; the other half comes from private donations.
“Hospice palliative care settings are designed for symptom management, the provision of comfort, and care for a natural death which is neither hastened nor prolonged,” she said, adding that providing MAiD in such settings would stoke fear and anxiety on the part of already vulnerable patients who aren’t necessarily ready to die.” . . . [Full Text]
Seventy-seven people on Vancouver Island died with medical assistance in 2016, more than any other region in B.C. — and most other provinces.
Some speculate the high number might be the result of demographics and a long history of advocacy for the right to assisted death.
For each assisted death performed, between five and 10 patients are deemed ineligible, Island Health said.
A Times Colonist survey of provincial coroners, health ministries and health authories found that British Columbia ranked among the highest of medical assistance in dying, with 188 assisted deaths recorded. That was one more than Ontario, where the chief coroner recorded 187 deaths. . . [Full Text]
Physicians can make more doing paperwork than performing this legal, but emotionally demanding, service. For many, it’s just not worth it.
Back in March, Dr. Tanja Daws took time off from her family practice to travel from B.C.’s Comox Valley to a remote community on Vancouver Island and provide an elderly patient who was dying and suffering with medical assistance in dying (MAID). After the five-and-a-half hour endeavour, which involved some of the most emotionally and technically difficult work Daws has ever done, the physician calculated that, after factoring in her staffing costs and other office expenses, she had lost about $28 for every hour she worked.
“It struck me that I can’t keep doing this,” says Daws. “I can work for nothing, but I can’t work for a loss.” . . . [Full text]
‘We’re being paid 50% of what we would doing routine office work. So it’s difficult to justify continuing’
Medically assisted dying has been legal in Canada for over a year, but one B.C. doctor says he can no longer afford to offer the service, because the costs involved are much greater than the $200 payout from the provincial medical services plan.
In a letter, Dr. Jesse Pewarchuk calls the situation “economically untenable” while outlining a number of steps a physician must follow in the medical assistance in dying (MAID) procedure. . . [Full text]
Globe and Mail
In a recent letter to some of his colleagues, Vancouver Island doctor Jesse Pewarchuk explained why he won’t be helping any more gravely ill patients to end their lives, despite his fervent support for assisted death.
“It is my deep regret to inform you that I am no longer accepting referrals for Medical Assistance in Dying,” the letter began. “Recent changes to the [Medical Services Plan] physician fee schedule have made MAID economically untenable and I unfortunately can no longer justify including it in my practice.” . . . [Full text]