Medical Euthanasia in Canada: Current Issues and Potential Future Expansion

Psychiatric Times

Mark S. Komrad

Dr Mark Komrad explores the relatively new Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) law in Canada, and how it may be on the verge of opening medical euthanasia to certain qualified psychiatric patients, similar to practices in Belgium and The Netherlands (see A Psychiatrist Visits Belgium: The Epicenter of Psychiatric Euthanasia).

He also brings out specific worries about the emerging ethical and legal trends in Ontario, to stop conscientious objecting physicians from refusing to refer cases of patients seeking euthanasia to colleagues who might be willing to provide it.

Dr Komrad is a clinical psychiatrist and an ethicist. He just finished a 6-year tenure on the APA Ethics Committee and also serves on the APA Assembly. In those contexts, he helped to craft the current current APA position on Medical Euthanasia for non-terminally ill patients [PDF]. He is also on the teaching Faculty of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, Sheppard Pratt, and the University of Maryland. Dr Komrad’s opinions are his own, and he is not officially representing the APA in this article, nor any of the institutions where he is on the faculty. . . . [Go to Psychiatric Times for Podcast]


One thought on “Medical Euthanasia in Canada: Current Issues and Potential Future Expansion”

  1. Canadian columnist Wayne Kondro, covering Canadian parliamentary hearings about proposed euthanasia and assisted suicide legislation, misrepresented the remarks of Canadian Psychiatric Association president Dr. Sonu Gaind. Mr. Kondro effectively accused Dr. Gaind of trying to boost business and maximize profits at the expense of patients by claiming that psychiatrists can cure any kind of mental illness. The hearing included a particularly interesting exchange between Senator Serge Joyal and Dr. Gaind about the assessment of patient capacity (the Carter criteria of “competence”) in relation to the concept of irremediability. See Shocking news: Assisted dying means euthanasia and assisted suicide. Ethical, medical and legal perspectives in tension at committee hearing (including videos of relevant parts of Dr. Gaind’s testimony.)

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