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CBC/CTV: Critics decry St. Boniface Hospital for banning medical-assisted deaths

June 20, 2017 — 

As CBC and CTV report: 

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.”

The board of St. Boniface Hospital initially voted in favour May 29 of allowing doctors and other medical staff to assist some patients to die in special circumstances.

But on May 30, the hospital’s owners — Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba — held a special meeting and appointed 10 new members of the board who overturned the policy two weeks later.

“They’re not taking into account people’s end-of-life comfort,” said Schafer.

As a publicly-funded institution, Schafer argues the board has no business dictating policy that flies in the face of an entitlement under Canadian law.

“The idea that the kind of care patients receive at the hospital has to conform to church doctrine even when that may be prejudicial to the well-being of the patients strikes me as ethically questionable,” he said.



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