Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The case of a BC woman who is being fed normally, to be decided today.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) hopes that the BC Court of Appeal will dismiss the case of a BC woman, who is living with dementia and being fed normally. Mrs. Bentley is not being fed by a feeding tube, she is being fed orally and continues to swallow normally. 

On February 3, 2014; Justice Greyall of the BC Supreme Court decided that Normal Feeding is basic personal care and not medical treatment in the Bentley case. The court recognized that there is an obligation to provide basic personal care, whereas medical treatment is optional.

EPC intervened in this case because we agree that normal feeding by spoon and cup to be basic normal care. Mrs. Bentley willing eats and swallows normally. The decision by Justice Greyall was correct. EPC also recognizes that people who require assisted feeding will be negatively affected if Greyall's decision is overturned.

The Bentley family argued that Justice Greyall erred in his decision. They stated that normal feeding by spoon and cup is a form of medical treatment and Mrs Bentley's is being fed against her prior wishes which they define as "assault and battery."

The family wants normal feeding to be discontinued. Mrs Bentley would die from dehydration.

In August 2013, the family of Mrs Bentley launched a lawsuit against Fraser Health and the BC government ordering that feeding by spoon and cup be discontinued. The Bentley family defined normal feeding as medical treatment.

It is interesting that, in August 2013, the Bentley family claimed that Mrs Bentley was living with "end stage" dementia and yet in December 2014 she continues to be fed normally.

For more information contact:
Hugh Scher, EPC legal counsel (Toronto): 416-816-6115 or hugh@sdlaw.ca
Dr Will Johnston, Chair EPC - BC (Vancouver): 604-220-2042 or willjohnston@shaw.ca
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director (London): 519-851-1434 or info@epcc.ca

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