B.C. doctor cleared of wrongdoing for providing assisted death to woman who starved herself

Globe and Mail

Kelly Grant

British Columbia’s physician regulator has cleared a doctor of any wrongdoing for providing medical aid in dying to a woman who did not qualify for the procedure until she starved herself to the brink of death.

A committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) found that Ellen Wiebe did not break the regulator’s rules when she helped a 56-year-old patient known as Ms. S to die last year.

The case is the first to be made public in which a medical regulator has ruled on the contentious question of whether doctors should grant assisted deaths to patients who only satisfy all the criteria of the federal law after they stop eating and drinking.

“It was determined that Ms. S met the requisite criteria and was indeed eligible for medical assistance in dying, despite the fact that her refusal of medical treatment, food, and water, undoubtedly hastened her death and contributed to its ‘reasonable foreseeability,'” the college’s inquiry committee wrote in a Feb. 13 report. . . . [Full text]

 

One thought on “B.C. doctor cleared of wrongdoing for providing assisted death to woman who starved herself

  1. The case illustrates the kind of difficulty that can arise for health care practitioners who object to euthanasia/assisted suicide for reasons of conscience, either in all cases or in cases like this one, in which a patient has elected to deliberately exacerbate medical conditions in order to qualify for the procedure or (perhaps) to commit suicide. Those absolutely opposed to euthanasia may be on safer legal ground than those willing to provide or refer for it in some cases, but not in cases like this one. Such “selective” conscientious objection might expose selective objectors to human rights complaints for discrimination, on the grounds that if they are willing to supply a service at all, they must provide it to all who are eligible.

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