By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
On December 2, I reported that the Board of the Delta BC Hospice Society that operates the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner BC, renewed its position opposing euthanasia (MAiD) while supporting excellent care.
The Board stated that:
MAiD is not compatible with the Delta Hospice Society purposes stated in the society’s constitution, and therefore, will not be performed at the Irene Thomas Hospice.
Fraser Health, the government agency that allocates health funding in that region reacted to the Delta Hospice Society by ordering them to provide MAiD.
The Delta Optimist newspaper reported, on December 7, that Fraser Health informed the Delta Hospice that their position is at odds with the policy of Fraser Health.
A spokesperson for Fraser Health told the Delta Optimist that
The region noted it fully supports a patient’s right to receive medical assistance in dying wherever they may be, including in a hospice setting.
The Delta Optimist also reported that the lobby group, Dying With Dignity, also believes that the Delta Hospice should be forced to do euthanasia:
Alex Muir with the Vancouver chapter of Dying with Dignity Canada called the new board’s vote to repeal MAiD disappointing, adding his group believes Delta Hospice should be forced to abide by Fraser Health policy that MAiD be provided in all non-faith-based facilities under its jurisdiction.
Muir then added that Dying With Dignity considers palliative care and MAiD to be essential options on a spectrum of care.
The position of the Delta Hospice is not new. In February 2018, the Delta Hospice was ordered by Fraser Health to provide euthanasia. The Delta Hospice did not comply with the edict from Fraser Health at that time.
Recently the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians released a joint statement upholding that hospice palliative care is not compatible with MAiD (euthanasia). They stated:
Healthcare articles and the general media continue to conflate and thus misrepresent these two fundamentally different practices. MAiD is not part of hospice palliative care; it is not an “extension” of palliative care nor is it one of the tools “in the palliative care basket”. National and international hospice palliative care organizations are unified in the position that MAiD is not part of the practice of hospice palliative care.
Hospice palliative care and MAiD 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-centered care for those living with life threatening conditions. Hospice palliative care 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.
If the Delta Hospice is forced to do euthanasia, then all Canadian Hospice groups can be forced to do euthanasia.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.