Doctors respond in defence of hospital care
Recently, letters to the local paper regarding access to MAiD in our community appear to question the qual- ity of care provided at St. Joseph’s Hospital and The Views. Indeed, there have been repeated claims that compassion is lacking at St. Joseph’s.
To be clear, MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying – in our community this is done by le- thal injection) is now a legally available option for patients who meet certain criteria. Pa- tients must be suffering from a grievous and irremediable medical condition, have an expected death that is rea- sonably foreseeable, and have been informed of the means that are available to relieve their suffering including pal- liative care (www.cpsbc.ca). Prior to this amendment to the Criminal Code, such acts were chargeable as homicide. This is a new and dramatic change for our society, for patients and for doctors. We recognize the importance of the difficult work that Dr. Daws and Dr. Reggler provide to these patients.
It is also true that in Cana- dian law, individual doctors as well as institutions such as St. Joseph’s are permitted to exempt themselves from participation in MAiD if it is in conflict with their long held values. Thus, the stage is set for a conflict of these rights and values.
Dr. Michael O'Shaughnessy