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Providence Health Care will not offer doctor-assisted dying to patients: report

Last Updated Feb 25, 2016 at 11:38 am PST

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Providence Health hospitals will reportedly not give patients option of doctor-assisted death

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The federal government has been told doctor-assisted dying should be made available to Canadians suffering from grievous and irremediable medical conditions that cause enduring suffering.

But it appears it may not be an option at two hospitals and a hospice in Vancouver.

According to a CBC report, Providence Health Care has notified health care workers in its facilities, including St. Paul’s and Mount St. Joseph Hospitals, that as a Catholic institution that practice is incompatible with its ethics guide.

Providence follows the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada Health Ethics Guide, which bans doctors participating in that practice.

“We’re not talking about people who are healthy enough to be moved around from facility to facility. We’re talking about people who are very vulnerable. They are seriously and incurably ill. They are suffering,” argues Dying with Dignity chief executive Shanaaz Gokool in response to the report.

“We don’t want people who are so desperately ill to have to face the indignity of being moved to another facility in order to receive what is their constitutional right — a physician-assisted death,” she adds.

Gokool feels if this is allowed, it could set a dangerous precedent, as some communities may only be served by a faith-based hospital.

NEWS 1130 has reached out to Providence Health for clarity on its position. In a written response, it says, “We will not be able to provide an official statement or interview on physician assisted death at this time.”