CONSULTATION: DRAFT GUIDANCE DOCUMENT - PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED DYING
At its meeting on September 18, 2015, the Council approved in principle a draft guidance document on Physician-Assisted Dying.
On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law prohibiting physician-assisted dying. The court suspended that decision for 12 months. After February 6, 2016, unless the Supreme Court of Canada extends that date, it will not be illegal for a physician to assist a patient to die if:
1) The patient consents;
2) The patient has a grievous medical condition;
3) The condition is not remediable using treatments that the patient is willing to accept; and,
4) The patient’s suffering is intolerable to the patient.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons is bound by the Supreme Court of Canada decision, so the issue for the College is not whether it should support or oppose physician-assisted dying. That decision has been made by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Although the government of Canada or the government of Saskatchewan may pass legislation at some future time, it seems very unlikely that either government will pass legislation before February 6, 2016. Unless the College of Physicians and Surgeons adopts a standard for physicians to use, or the Supreme Court of Canada delays the effect of its decision, there will be no standards in Saskatchewan governing physician-assisted dying.
The issue for the College is what guidance it should provide to physicians and patients that is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision. The document should provide protection to patients who seek assistance in dying and provide guidance to physicians who choose to assist patients to die.
The College seeks public comment from all stakeholders, including members of the medical profession, the public, health system organizations and other health professionals.
YOU ARE INVITED TO PROVIDE SUGGESTIONS THROUGH AN ONLINE SURVEY AS TO HOW WE MAY IMPROVE THE PROPOSED GUIDANCE DOCUMENT.
The Council will consider the draft guidance document and any responses to this second request for consultation at its meeting on November 20th, 2015. All responses should be provided by October 20th to allow responses to be consolidated and considered by the Council.
To submit your response, fill out the CONSULTATION SURVEY below before OCTOBER 20th, 2015.
Suggestions may also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responses received after the deadline will not be considered.