Alberta Medical Association president says MDs grappling with assisted death

The president of the Alberta Medical Association says it's time for physicians in the province to focus on how they will deal with patients who want help to die.

EDMONTON — The president of the Alberta Medical Association says it’s time for physicians in the province to focus on how they will deal with patients who want help to die.

Dr. Carl Nohr says the Supreme Court has ruled that assisted death is a patient’s right by law, regardless of individual opinions.

Nohr says some may want to continue debating the morality of the law, but physicians must look at how they will treat patients compassionately.

The Supreme Court has given the federal government until June 6 to come up with a new law that recognizes the right of consenting adults enduring intolerable suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives.

The Alberta Medical Association is to hold meetings next month to discuss practical ways on how physicians are going to meet such requests.

Nohr says he believes there will be enough doctors in Alberta who will be willing to help, so that no doctors will have to do so against their will.

“With respect to the objections of individual physicians, I am confident that a sufficient number of physicians will be available … without any need to override an individual physician’s conscience,” Nohr wrote in a letter sent to association members Wednesday.

“Respecting the choice of physicians who do not wish to participate will not hinder patient access.”

Nohr said the March meeting is to include presentations by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, the Canadian Medical Association, Alberta Health Services and the Alberta government.

The meeting is not intended to reopen the debate over whether physicians should be involved with assisted dying, he said.

“The principle of physician autonomy is not served by forcing all to one side or the other. Regardless of personal opinion, we must all support the right of choice — either way.”

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has said the province will consult with the public about assisted death. The province is expected to announce details of the consultation in the coming days.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP to make a public inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel. (Facebook screenshot)
Notley calls for Olymel inquiry as plant reopens

Union also asks for further consideration to delay opening

Protesters
UPDATE: Rally held outside Red Deer court for slain central Alberta man

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

(Contributed image).
Deadline extended for arts scholarship applications for Red Deer-area students

Red Deer Arts Council will accept applications until March 15

Hog slaughter operations resumed on Thursday at Red Deer’s Olymel plant, which was closed for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 among workers. Three employee deaths resulted from the latest outbreak. (Advocate file photo).
Hog slaughtering operations gear up again at Red Deer’s Olymel plant

Workers begin to return after 14-day closure due to COVID-19 outbreak

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Canada’s chief medical adviser says her department is constantly receiving and reviewing any data on vaccines and COVID-19 variants and will be quickly ready to authorize needed boosters when they’re ready. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Health Canada says vaccine boosters will be approved more easily

OTTAWA — Health Canada says it won’t require new clinical trial data… Continue reading

Unifor national president Jerry Dias speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Dias says Air Canada is pledging passenger refunds as negotiations over federal aid for airlines drag on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Unifor’s Dias says Air Canada holding to refund pledge as aid negotiations drag on

OTTAWA — Unifor president Jerry Dias says Air Canada continues to promise… Continue reading

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry in Nova Scotia is hearing testimony… Continue reading

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 restrictions; cases creep up in Ontario

Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax, while new… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna stands near a bus as she waits to start an announcement at a public transit garage in Ottawa, Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions… Continue reading

Canada’s Eliot Grondin looks on after competing in a men’s snowboard cross heat at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Grondin continued his strong season with his first career World Cup snowboard cross victory on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian Eliot Grondin captures gold at World Cup snowboard cross event

BAKURIANI, Georgia — Canada’s Eliot Grondin continued his strong season with his… Continue reading

Most Read