October 22, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Medical assistance in dying | Senate votes to extend access to advance requests

Medical assistance in dying |  Senate votes to extend access to advance requests

(Ottawa) Senators have voted to seek medical help when Canadians die prematurely for fear of losing their mental abilities when making this delicate decision.




Joan Bryden
The Canadian Press

The amendment to Bill C-7 was voted on by 47 senators on Wednesday, with 28 voting against. There are also eight abstinences.

Senator Pamela Wallin, a member of the Canadian Senators Group that proposed the amendment, argued that the law currently binds Canadians in a “clumsy analysis lottery”. A person with incurable cancer may receive assisted death, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders may already have lost the mental capacity to consent at the time of diagnosis.

“As a person with dementia in my family, I want peace of mind that there will be prior request and consent in this matter,” she pleaded before the Senate.

“I’m not the only one with this belief for sure. Most Canadians have come to a similar decision.”

Giving people the opportunity to make written requests in advance, stating when they will need help when they die, “makes it possible for those who fear losing their consciousness to be able to access MAID (assisted medical death) before they reach a state of non-compliance.”

Bill C-7 provides medical assistance in the death of people whose natural death is not reasonably expected. It establishes more flexible eligibility rules for those on the verge of death, including limited advance application and stricter rules for those who do not qualify.

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Those who are close to death, those who have been granted medical assistance in dying, are exempt from the requirement to give their final consent before the procedure can take place. This measure is intended to address situations in which a person loses their mental capacity after being admitted to an auxiliary death.

Senator Wallin’s amendment extends final consent amnesty to persons not close to death.

Emotional discussion

Even many senators who opposed the Om amendmentTo me Wallin was supportive of his goal.

Senator Mark Gold, the government spokesman in the Senate, was moved when he expressed his appreciation for the “passionate and reasonable” appeal.To me Wallin.

But he said the Senate did not consider the matter because it was not included in the bill. During the committee’s hearings, he said senators heard again and again that even small changes in the dying regime with the help of doctors should not be rushed and should be studied in depth.

“We have not properly considered the implications and implications of this proposal and it would be – and I say it with respect because I touched and moved it – it is irresponsible to present it as an amendment to C – 7.”, He maintained.

However, Senator Francis Lankin, a member of the Independent Senators Group, said that each province and territory already had regulations that allowed people to give advance orders on treatment for life, including rejecting heroic efforts. Feeding tubes, for example.

“This amendment […] It builds all of this, ”she said.

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Senator Jim Munson, a member of the Senate Progressive Group, said he initially wanted to avoid Mr.To me Wallin. After hearing the debate, the senators described their heartbreaking experiences with family members who died of grief, he concluded: “Sometimes I think the Senate should take the lead and force the debate. ”

Conservative amendment rejected

Senators voted in favor of another amendment proposed Wednesday by Conservative Senate leader Dan Platt, who criminalizes discussing physician-assisted dying with a patient unless the patient first raises the issue.

Mr Platt argued that his amendment would help alleviate the anxiety of people with disabilities who complained of feeling pressured to seek medical help when they died.

But other senators have argued that doctors and nurses have a professional responsibility to discuss with their patients all available options.

Senator Plate’s amendment was rejected by 18 to 66 votes, with one restraint.