On December 18 I wrote an article about how, Jocelyn Downie, a long-time euthanasia activist is pressuring St. Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish to participate in euthanasia. The story has not subsided.
Yesterday CBC, Canada’s publicly funded national media, published a pro-euthanasia article by Frances Willick titled: Ban on Assisted Dying at St. Martha’s hospital should end. Willick, one again interviews Downie, and to create balance she interviews the leader of Canada’s euthanasia lobby.
The CBC interview quotes Downie as saying:
Dalhousie law professor Jocelyn Downie says the hospital’s refusal to provide medical assistance in dying — and the Health Department’s and Nova Scotia Health Authority’s implicit support of that policy — would not stand up to a court challenge.
It also puts vulnerable patients at risk of even greater suffering or losing capacity to consent to MAID if they are forced to be transferred to another location, she said.
“I just think it’s indefensible to have a publicly funded institution have a faith-based filter on the services that are available,” said Downie, who is also an Order of Canada recipient.
Downie’s wants the province to legislate St. Martha’s to participate in killing (euthanasia) its patients. Downie is quoted by the CBC:
She said the province could simply pass legislation requiring the hospital to offer MAID, or the Nova Scotia Health Authority could choose not to renew the mission assurance agreement.
But Downie said her preferred solution would be to have MAID provided at St. Martha’s unless a patient can be moved to another location without extra suffering or endangering their capacity to consent.
St. Martha’s hospital is the current target but the main target are religiously affiliated medical institutions.
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Shanaaz Gokool, the CEO of Dying With Dignity stated to CBC that the issue is much bigger. Dying With Dignity wants all religiously affiliated medical institutions to be forced to participate in assisted dying (euthanasia). Gokool said:
“It is just a matter of time before a case comes to court.”
Dying with Dignity Canada is exploring all political and legal solutions to the problem.
A few days ago, the Chronicle Herald published an article by Dr Amy Hendricks, a physician at St. Martha’s hospital who is not Catholic. Hendricks wrote that the values at St. Martha’s hospital have created an excellent level of patient care, and these values need to be preserved.
What I have found at St. Martha’s is a unique medical culture that values individuals — whether staff, patients, or families — not because it is a policy of the NSHA, but because this is who we are.
The heritage that the Sisters cultivated for over 100 years — of service, excellence and particular love for vulnerable people — is perhaps one reason why so many family physicians still come to see their patients in the ICU, why we don’t have patients on stretchers lining the ER hallways, why my department has the safest signover practice I’ve seen.
I don’t believe that forcing euthanasia within St. Martha’s, by severing our staff from our heritage and mission, could have any beneficial effect on the patients we serve.
St Martha’s hospital was likely chosen by the euthanasia lobby because it is a smaller hospital, serving a smaller region, within a smaller province in Canada.
Downie and Dying With Dignity want to force St. Martha’s to participate in euthanasia as a stepping stone toward their goal of forcing all religiously affiliated hospitals and hospices to participate in killing their patients.