Friday, January 31, 2020

North Bay Ontario Hospice is being pressured to do euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For the past several months the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has been writing about the plight of the Delta Hospice Society. The British Columbia Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, ordered the Delta Hospice to do euthanasia or lose government funding.
Sign the petition: Hospice Organizations Must NOT be Forced to do Euthanasia (Link).
A similar situation exists in North Bay Ontario where the Nipissing Serenity Hospice is being pressured by four local euthanasia doctors to allow lethal injections on the premises. The Hospice, which only opened its doors on January 11 does not permit euthanasia on its premises. According to the North Bay Nugget:
The four medical providers of MAiD say they “absolutely disagree” with the hospice’s position that MAiD “is not one of the tools in the palliative care basket.”

Doctors Renee Gauthier, Mike Leckie, Paul Preston and John Seguin say in the letter MAiD “is, in fact, a tool, a very special, humane tool that thousands of Canadians have accessed and the Canadian government, under law, has permitted.”
The latest data indicates that there have been 4318 assisted deaths in Ontario (June 17, 2016 - December 31, 2019) with 95 assisted deaths reported in the Nipissing region.

Vivian Papaiz
Vivian Papaiz, chair of the Nipissing Serenity Hospice, does not provide euthanasia. Papaiz told the North Bay Nuggett that the Hospice has discussed the issue but supports the position of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. 

The North Bay Nuggett reported:
In a joint statement, the CHPC and the CSPCP say MAiD and palliative care “substantially differ in multiple areas, including in philosophy, intention and approach.

Hospice palliative care focuses on improving quality of life and symptom management through holistic person-centred care for those living with life-threatening conditions. It sees dying as a normal part of life and helps people to live and die well.

Hospice palliative care does not seek to hasten death or intentionally end life.
Hospice organizations should not be coerced into providing euthanasia. Hospice and palliative care are different than MAiD and coercing hospice organizations to do euthanasia, changes hospice.


Unknown said...

The Government should not try to force all tax papers to pay for Maid which is against everything we believe in,natural death with hospice care and no threat of being KILLED,Barbara Blom Saskatoon Sask

Phillip Penna said...

I have submitted the following as a "letter to the editor" to the North Bay Nugget. I am awaiting publication.

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the article “More hospice options 'the better' – Fedeli”
Words matter. What they mean, matters.

For example, what does the word “dying” mean? It means “approaching death” and is an adjective; whereas, the word “death” means “the end of life” and is a noun.
So the term “Medical Assistance in Dying” is not an accurate description of what is actually taking place when an “authorized doctor or nurse practitioner provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about a person's death.” The term should be “Medical Practitioner Assisted Death” or MPAD.

How about “palliative care”? WHO defines it as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual … [palliative care] affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; intends neither to hasten or postpone death…” But, as the CHPCA points out, the intention of “MAiD” “is to address suffering by ending life through the administration of a lethal dose of drugs at an eligible person’s request.”

Furthermore, the Federal Government itself makes a distinction between Palliative Care and “MAiD” (or what I called MPAD). Just go to and you can clearly see that the options for listed for “end of life care” neither conflate nor bridge the two.
The law which in this country allows for death administered ending of life makes this available to 100% of the Canadian population; whereas only 30% have access to high quality palliative care. This is despite the fact that this same law speaks to the matter of all Canadians who are dying to be able to have palliative care available to them. To correct this situation, the Federal Government passed a law in December 2017 “calling for the Minister of Health to create a framework for palliative care in Canada.” But will the Minister do so when it is cheaper to kill than it is to palliate?

In conclusion, it is completely consistent with all Canadian law and historical practice for Hospices to not provide any services which “hasten death.” It is time for the four doctors who have stirred this pot to stand down, and for Nipissing Serenity Hospice to stand up. Hospices cannot be places of care if the patients in there are confronted with the expectation that, once in there, they will need to decide whether or not to be killed.

Phillip Penna
North Bay February 3, 2020