Assessment of court ruling is wrong

Assessment of court ruling is wrong

Dear editor,

I am glad that Murray Coulter (Hospitals should have the right to refuse, Letters, March 17) survived a very difficult time awaiting a liver transplant at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Vancouver General, and can understand why he believes “in the right of individuals, hospitals and doctors” to refuse to accept or perform assisted suicides.

However, it is not ‘the hospital’ that is to perform such a service, it is a doctor, and no one is being forced to do this against their will or religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court has now said that it is legal for Dr. Jonathan Reggler (for example) to help me (for example), should I so wish (and obviously with various caveats concerning my health prospects and state of mind). Whatever the beliefs of its employees or board of governors, “the hospital” does not have the right to refuse my wishes in this matter, or Dr. Reggler’s willingness to help me along the journey.

Miserable though Mr. Coulter’s experience was, it is likely very different from that of most people taking this decision.

In most cases this would probably be because of the threat of  a long-term deterioration leading to an inability to make a decision oneself and having a terminally unacceptable life. Mr Coulter’s liver was a fixable problem, and fortunately someone, bless them, came along with the spare part needed. Not your common assisted-suicide situation.

Colin Park




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