Groups worry new assisted-dying legislation doesn’t protect physicians’ consciences

Ottawa Citizen

Joanne Laucius

Assisted dying legislation tabled Thursday does not compel health care providers to help patients die, but some are worried the proposed bill won’t legally protect physicians who oppose the practice.

Medical professionals who provide assisted death would no longer have to fear criminal prosecution under the proposed legislation. On the other side, those who object to participating will not be forced to offer the service.

“Under this bill, no health care provider will be required to provide medical assistance in dying,” Health Minister Jane Philpott told reporters Thursday.

But some argue these assurances won’t offer legal protection to health care workers whose consciences won’t allow them to participate in assisted death. . . [Full text]


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]


Ottawa’s Catholic palliative care hospital under pressure as it refuses to do euthanasia

LifeSite News

Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, March 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Ottawa’s largest palliative care hospital, the Catholic Bruyère Continuing Care Centre, says it will neither euthanize nor assist its patients to commit suicide when those options become legally available June 6.

Bruyère’s vice-president of public affairs and planning, Amy Porteous, told the Ottawa Citizen that the hospital is “waiting for clarification” on the protocol for transferring patients who request euthanasia or assisted suicide after that date.

Bruyère is among 21 Catholic health care institutions administered by the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario.

Other institutions under CHSO’s oversight include Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and Providence Centre, the Pembroke Regional Hospital, Penetanguishene’s Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, and Sudbury’s St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre. . . [Full text]