Manitoulin Health Centre board handling doctor assisted death request in interim

Awaiting direction prior to developing internal policies

MANITOULIN—As of June 6, doctors in Ontario are allowed to provide assistance in dying to a competent adult and the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) board is handling requests as the hospital awaits future direction prior to developing internal policies (there have been no requests so far.

“We have taken a peak through the initial reactions to the federal legislature in conjunction with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), but further work is still unfolding,” said MHC CEO Derek Graham. “The ministry (of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC)) has also contacted hospitals to let us know that they are working on creating tools including a service registry for patients so that there is a provider registry that people can go to in the future, but that work is also just unfolding.”

“For our own internal work, we haven’t yet designed our policies and are waiting for further direction from the OHA and MOHLTC before we can dive into our actual policies. The board’s approach is to handle any request that comes in the meantime through the ethics committee and medical advisory committee.”

“In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal law prohibiting medical assisted dying in certain circumstances,” states a release from the Ontario government. “As of June 6, 2016, medical assistance in dying is legal in Canada, as long as the criteria set out in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision are met. This service is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. The federal government has proposed a new law on medical assistance in dying. Until this new law is in place, the criteria set out by the Supreme Court of Canada decision applies.”

In Ontario, doctors are allowed to provide assistance in dying to a competent adult who: “clearly consents to the termination of life and has a grievous and irremediable medial condition that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”