Canada Doctor Charged With Attempted Assisted Suicide of Elderly Patient

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 2, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canada Doctor Charged With Attempted Assisted Suicide of Elderly Patient Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 2, 2006

Vernon, Canada ( — A Canadian doctor has been charged with attempted assisted suicide of an elderly patient. Dr. Ramesh Sharma appeared in court Tuesday, on the same day Canadian members of parliament talked about a new effort to legalize the practice there.

Police charged Sharma after a month-long investigation into allegations that he tried to help a 92 year-old patient kill herself who lived at a residential care facility.

Gordon Molendyk of the Vernon Royal Canadian Mountain Police told Vancouver Sun newspaper that staff at the nursing home arrived in time to stop Sharma and the patient is still alive. Police began their investigation after the facility’s staff notified them of the attempted assisted suicide.

Alison Paine, spokeswoman for the Interior Health Authority of British Columbia, would not talk about the case with the Sun and refused to disclose details about the patient’s health other than to say "she is of sound mind."

"I can say that Dr. Sharma is no longer working in any Interior Health facilities and has not been since we became aware of the incident," Paine said. "Interior Health is cooperating and working with the RCMP on this ongoing investigation."

The name of the facility and patient are being withheld.

Dr. Morris VanAndel, registrar of the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons indicated that the group will also conduct an investigation into the matter.

"We look at a different perspective — the professionalism perspective," he told the Sun. "And the reality is, these are charges that are hitherto unproven."