CBC: The Current
Interviewer/host: Piya Chattopadhyay
VOICE 1: Bill 34 is being introduced by the Manitoba government to protect conscience rights for health care professionals, so that health care providers would not be required to participate in assisted suicide.
VOICE 2: While I cannot participate in assisted suicide for a couple of reasons. The first is I made a vow as a medical student 40 years ago that I wouldn’t kill patients, okay? And I’m not willing to cross that line.
PC: It has been less than 18 months now since medically assisted dying became legal in Canada. And health care workers are still adapting to that paradigm change. We just heard part of a video produced by the Coalition for Health Care and Conscience. It’s a national umbrella organization of religious groups, and as you heard it is lobbying for Bill 34 a proposed piece of legislation in Manitoba that was drafted to help health care workers with conscientious objections to helping end patients’ lives. Here’s Manitoba’s health minister Kelvin Goertzen. . . [Full episode transcript]
Timeline of events provided to CBC suggests Misericordia Health Centre delayed transfer of medical records
Holly Caruk, Bruce Hoye
An 88-year-old Winnipeg man wants to end his life after being confined to a bed for several months with no chance of recovering and says the faith-based hospital where he now lives is delaying that request.
Cheppudira Gopalkrishna says the Misericordia Health Centre did not help him with his initial request to access the province’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) services, and has since delayed the process further by taking too long to transfer his medical records and delaying an in-person assessment by the MAID team.
“I wouldn’t say [my request was ignored, but it wasn’t placed in the highest priority,” he said from his hospital bed.
The former school teacher has been at the Misericordia for several months, after his health declined significantly over the last year and a half. Gopalkrishna says he’s been told by doctors he has a form of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, and has lost almost all of his mobility.
Misericordia describes itself on its website as being affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Winnipeg. . . .[Full text]
Manitoba’s health minister stepped up to defend a Winnipeg hospital Tuesday, over its hotly criticized reversal on providing medically assisted deaths.
Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the province won’t oppose St. Boniface Hospital’s faith-based decision not to allow medical assistance in dying (MAID), even after saying it would in some cases.
“We think that we’ve struck the right balance by ensuring that there is access to MAID but also ensuring that those individual rights and those hospitals that are uncomfortable with the procedure can also have their rights respected as well,” said Goertzen.
On May 29, St. Boniface Hospital voted to allow medically assisted deaths under undefined “special circumstances.” But the hospital’s owner, the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba (CHCM), then appointed 10 new board members to cast a June 12 vote that completely banned assisted deaths once again, meaning patients who want them will still have to be transferred. . . [Full text]
‘They’re not taking into account people’s end-of-life comfort,’ says ethics professor Arthur Schafer
St. Boniface General Hospital’s decision to forbid medical-assisted deaths is drawing condemnation from end-of-life care advocates and an expert on medical ethics.
Arthur Schafer, a founder of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, described the recent board decision to ban medical-assisted deaths as “fundamentally wrong.” . . . [Full text]
St. Boniface General Hospital and Concordia Hospital conscientiously object to legal practice
Two faith-based hospitals in Winnipeg say they will not be providing doctor-assisted deaths to their patients.
Both Concordia Hospital (Anabaptist-Mennonite) and St. Boniface Hospital (Catholic) say they will not offer the legal service to patients.
In June, the federal government amended the criminal code with Bill C-14 to allow doctors and nurse practitioners to help patients with “grievous and irremediable” illnesses to die. Manitoba introduced its own policy to implement medical assistance in dying, commonly called MAID, that same month. . . [Full text]