I write regarding the Oct. 19 Globe and Mail article “B.C. doctor takes stand against Catholic hospital’s assisted dying policy.” The article (as well as the Oct. 20 Record article Doctor resigns from ethics committee) concerns Dr. Jonathan Reggler’s resignation from the St. Joseph Hospital’s ethics committee because St. Joseph’s, a Catholic hospital, does not offer assisted dying. Instead, patients are transferred to Campbell River or Nanaimo. The articles contain statements from Dr. Reggler and Jane Murphy, the president and chief executive of St. Joseph’s.
There are few, if any, issues that are more sensitive and complex than assisted dying. It raises many considerations for patients, families, physicians, hospitals, politicians, and the courts. These include compassion, suffering, religion, medical care, and patient autonomy. It is in this context that I would like to congratulate Dr. Reggler and Ms. Murphy for sharing their carefully considered positions in a way that is both articulate and respectful. Their contributions provide an excellent example of how discussions on important issues can take place, even when there is so much at stake. As the issue of assisted dying unfolds on a local and national level I hope that all of those involved can learn from their example.
Dr. Lui Carvalho