Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) has now set up procedures so that they do not have to move out of the Hospital if they wish Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Although legally required, up till now, NHH has required people to leave the hospital if they wish to have this service. A medical advisory committee was set up to establish the process and their recommendations have now been accepted. Given that the Supreme Court mandated that this be available and that the hospital has a Palliative care section, this only makes sense.
In a press release on September 27, Hospital representative Jennifer Gillard said:
MAiD describes a situation where a clinician provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about a patient’s death, at the request of that patient. In order to be eligible, the patient must be a competent adult suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” that causes the person to endure intolerable suffering.
Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s recognition of MAiD as a constitutional right, the Canadian Criminal Code was amended in June 2016 to exempt specific health care practitioners and others who help provide medical assistance in dying. There is now an obligation on the part of Canadian health service providers, including hospitals, to facilitate patient rights in this area.
Although not named explicitly, there will now be doctors working at the Hospital who will provide the service as required by the Supreme Court ruling.
According to the Province’s web site, to receive medical assistance in dying in Ontario, a patient must:
- be eligible for publicly funded health care services in Canada
- be 18 years of age or older
- be capable of making health care decisions
- have a grievous and irremediable medical condition, which means the patient:
- has a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability
- is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability
- is enduring physical or psychological suffering, caused by the medical condition or the state of decline, that is intolerable to the person
- natural death has become reasonably foreseeable
Your doctor or nurse practitioner will determine if you meet all the eligibility requirements. If you do, a second doctor or nurse practitioner must complete another assessment to confirm that you meet all the eligibility criteria.
Anyone wanting more information is referred to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website. NHH patients with questions about MAiD are encouraged to speak to their care team.