Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Nova Scotia woman returns to court to prevent her husband's euthanasia death.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Good news: 
Justice Van den Eynden set September 24 as the date for an appeal hearing on a permanent injunction.

A Nova Scotia court heard, today, the appeal of a lower court decision in a dispute over the assisted death (euthanasia) of an 83 year-old man with chronic COPD.

On August 14 I published the article EPC needs your help to prevent a euthanasia death where I explained that EPC is financing this precedent setting court case for a woman who is trying to prevent the euthanasia death of her husband.

The request for an injunction to prevent the euthanasia was based on an assessment by a physician, an affidavit from a physician, who has known the husband for many years, and Katherine's affidavit. These affidavit's agree that her husband is not terminally ill and that he has "delusional" beliefs concerning his medical condition. There were three separate assessments for assisted death stating that her husband's natural death was not reasonably forseeable or that he has lost the capacity to decide.

Yesterday, Taryn Grant and Elizabeth Chu reported for CBC News Nova Scotia that:
Their marriage of 48 years splintered over a dispute about his wish to die with the help of a physician. The case is set to return to court Wednesday afternoon.

At the end of July, Katherine, 83, went to Nova Scotia Supreme Court to stop her husband, 82, from going ahead with the procedure that would end his life. Her request for an injunction has yet to receive a full hearing, but by filing with the courts she forced her husband to cancel his planned death on Aug. 3.
Grant and Chu reported the issue to be decided in court:
While he says he's suffering and near the end of his life because of advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), she says his wish to die is not based on physical illness, but anxiety and mental delusions.
Part of the legal argument submitted by Hugh Scher, the lawyer for Katherine, stated:
 X (husband) has made three separate requests for MAiD. X changed his mind on the first request after two of the three assessors found that he either did not have capacity to decide to die and/or that his death was not reasonably foreseeable.
Medical Assessors Bachman, du Toit and Giffin agree that X’s conditions do not meet the criteria for reasonably foreseeable death as required by law. Dr. Bachman in particular is concerned that the root cause of X’s desire to die lies in his long-standing hypochondriasis coupled with a profound and irrational fear of future suffering at the hands of relatively benign disease processes. This opinion is buttressed by the findings of Dr. du Toit about X’s disordered thought processes and depression and by NP Giffin who found that he lacks capacity due to dementia and that he is not likely to die in the foreseeable future.
Dr. Bachman stated that X’s death was not reasonably foreseeable and that his request for MAiD was based on a delusional misunderstanding of his true medical condition.
Hugh Scher
In an interview by CTV News Avis Favario, Scher suggested that this case may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"What I think this court case speaks to fundamentally is the need to have a dispute resolution process through the courts in those rare cases where there is a fundamental disagreement or conflict between multiple experts that needs to be resolved, because they're coming to completely alternate positions about the question of whether the person meets the criteria or not,"
Katherine could not have carried out the legal proceedings and file an appeal without the financial support of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. She stated that she loved her husband and that she wanted to launch a legal action to prevent her husband's wrongful death.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition needs your help.

EPC agreed to pay for the legal bills, but in turn, we need your financial support.

Donate to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (Link) by: 
  • Paypal (Link), 
  • Donate by credit card by calling the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348, or 
  • Send a cheque to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Box 25033, London ON., N6C 6A8. 
Based on privacy, we will provide more information, when it is possible.

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