If you have been following the assisted dying discussion that is happening in Canada, you know that some patients have been denied medically assisted dying. The reason for this was not because the individuals failed to meet the necessary legal requirements, but because the hospitals/care facilities in which they found themselves would not provide the services to carry out the patients’ wishes.
In a recent article, André Picard argues that hospitals have no right to refuse a patient assisted dying. As he poignantly states:
It is reasonable for individual physicians and nurses to declare a conscientious objection and not participate in assisted death. But a hospital or nursing home has no such right. Publicly funded institutions cannot arbitrarily decide what services they will provide, nor should they be able to shunt dying patients around like sacks of rice.
There is much discussion occurring in Canada and elsewhere around the issue of assisted dying. Not surprisingly, oft times, the conversation becomes a religious debate.
In a recent article found in the Globe and Mail, Jonathan Reggler, a general physician who makes daily patient visits to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, B.C., took a stand against the hospital’s assisted-dying policy. While it is true that Catholic hospitals across the country are transferring patients who request assisted suicide to facilities where this can occur, the process can involve a great deal of emotional, mental and physical pain to the patient and his/her family. With such suffering being inflicted on the patient and the fact that the service requested is being carried out elsewhere, the question being asked is: Should faith-based hospitals should receive public funding? As Daphne Gilbert, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, states, “The Catholic hospitals have put themselves in a tricky position.” Click here to read the full article.