Canadian doctors express mixed opinions on assisted dying
Dr. Ellen Wiebe sits for a photograph during a break while attending a conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday December 4, 2015. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 27, 2015 8:35AM EST
Not all Canadian doctors are in favour of soon having the legal right to help suffering patients end their lives.
Even those who strongly support the right to assisted dying for compassionate reasons are very aware of the emotional and psychological fallout from terminating a patient's life.
Dr. Jeff Blackmer, the Canadian Medical Association's vice-president of medical professionalism, says some physicians are already experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder just thinking about it.
But others, like Vancouver Dr. Ellen Wiebe, insist they have no qualms about helping patients fulfil their final wish.
In February, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law prohibiting medical aid in dying and gave Parliament a year to draft a legal framework to govern the provision of physician-assisted death.
The new Liberal government has asked for a six-month extension, and the court will hear arguments on the extension request next month.
It's expected that no doctors will be forced to help a patient die.
But in the meantime, the CMA is offering educational sessions to doctors on how to prescribe, and or, administer lethal medications.