By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court last week reserved its decision, following a hearing Thursday in which three judges heard from a 82-year-old woman who is trying to prevent her husband of 48-years from dying by a “medically assisted death”–MAiD (euthanasia).
Katherine’s husband, identified only as “Mr. X.,” was first approved for euthanasia in July even though there were conflicting assessments both about his medical condition and whether he is capable of giving consent. Katherine says her husband is not dying and is delusional about his medical condition.
“Her lawyer, Hugh Scher, told the court that the woman had been given power of attorney by her 83-year-old husband and that she has an obligation under the law to intervene,” The Canadian Press reported. “The woman is appealing last month’s decision by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski who rejected her request for a temporary injunction.”
Scher told three-member appeals court panel, “The statutory regimes in Nova Scotia provide that the spouse is the first in line of succession for substitute decision-making in circumstances where a person is found to lack capacity,” according to the Canadian Press.
Scher also “told the three judges there had been no opportunity to cross examine medical experts in lower court — something his legal team had asked for,” the Canadian Press reported.
According to the news story, Philip Romney, the lawyer for Katherine’s husband, argued that:
a proper medical assessment was made under the law and it’s not the duty of the appeal court, or any court, to act as a substitute for the opinion of medical experts.
Romney says the medical assistance in dying process would “fall apart” if the decisions of doctors and nurse practitioners were subject to court review. He said medical professionals would decline to participate in the procedure if their decisions were systematically questioned by the courts.
The Chief Justice stated that the decision would be made quickly.
Editor’s note. This first appeared at Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.