Doctor assisted death won't be offered at Bruyère
Published Saturday, February 27, 2016 3:54PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 27, 2016 6:33PM EST
Despite a Supreme Court ruling overturning the ban on physician assisted death, the publicly funded Bruyère hospital says it will not offer the practice or refer patients to doctors who do when it becomes legal.
In a memo to staff Bruyère says it must follow with its sponsor, the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario. The CHSO provides sponsorship to 21 health care organizations and says the practice of physician assisted death is "incompatible with the mission and values of its Catholic Health providers."
The federal government has until June 6th, 2016 to rewrite the laws. That’s when Carter v. Canada comes into effect making doctor assisted death legal in Canada.
Loraine Fortier is a patient at Bruyère. She’s been suffering from multiple sclerosis for 36 years and says she would like to have the option when the time comes.
"I'm a practicing Catholic and I think it's up to us, not the doctors, not because this is a Catholic institution, but because it's up to us,” she says
But Amy Porteous, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Planning, told CTV Ottawa the practice is not consistent with the hospital's values.
"Bruyère is an organization that puts patients first. We believe in palliative care approach. We will continue to work and help support families as they go through palliation and end of life," she says.
Though reluctant, Porteous says the hospital will comply with whatever regulatory demands are put in place when the legislation is presented.
"We look forward to more clarity," she says.
Bruyère is one of several hospitals across the country refusing to offer doctor assisted suicide. Early this week the Catholic-based Providence Health Care says the practice is “not permitted” in its Vancouver area hospitals and long-term care facilities.
On Thursday, a parliamentary committee asked to study the issue released a report with 21 recommendations. One of those recommendations was for the federal government to work with the provinces, territories and medical regulatory body to ensure doctor assisted death is offered in all publicly funded institutions. The expert panel also calls on the government to “respect a health care practitioner’s freedom of conscience while at the same time respecting the needs of a patient.” If a practitioner objects to the practice, the panel recommends requiring them to at least provide an “effective referral for the patient.”
“I think it’s whatever you want,” says Trisha Rondeau, a patient at Bruyère. “It doesn’t matter your religion. If that’s what you want, then do it.”