Catherine Frazee, DLitt, LLD; Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, PhD
This article was published at www.annals.org on 27 September 2016.
Note: Catherine Frazee is a Professor Emerita in Disability Studies at Ryerson University. She is a former member of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada and was an expert witness for the Canadian federal government in Carter v. Canada.
Harvey Max Chochinov is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba. He is the former Chair of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada and was an expert witness for the Canadian federal government in Carter v. Canada.
Disclosures: Profs. Chochinov and Frazee appeared as expert witnesses for the Canadian federal government in Carter v. Canada, were authors of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada, and are advisors to the Vulnerable Persons Standard. Disclosures can also be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M16-1685.
Requests for Single Reprints: Catherine Frazee, DLitt, LLD, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3, Canada.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Frazee: Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3, Canada.
Dr. Chochinov: University of Manitoba, 3017-675 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0V9, Canada.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: C. Frazee, H.M. Chochinov.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: C. Frazee, H.M. Chochinov.
Drafting of the article: C. Frazee, H.M. Chochinov.
Final approval of the article: C. Frazee, H.M. Chochinov.
Frazee C., Chochinov H.; The Annals of Medical Assistance in Dying. Ann Intern Med. 2016. doi: 10.7326/M16-1685
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2016.
In the annals of assisted death, 2016 was Canada's watershed year. On 17 June, a new law permitting the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide, or medical assistance in dying (MAID), received royal assent. The advent of this law concluded an intense process of inquiry and debate in the maelstroms of parliament and public opinion.
Among the handful of nations that permit any form of euthanasia or assisted suicide, Canada had a unique catalyst for initiation of a controversial policy shift: a firm decision in February 2015 by the Supreme Court of Canada (1) that overturned a legal precedent established by the same court 2 decades earlier. In Carter v. Canada, a unanimous Court issued a landmark ruling that found that the criminal code prohibiting any person to assist another to die violated the constitutional rights of competent adult Canadians with “grievous and irremediable” medical conditions and “enduring and intolerable” suffering. By way of remedy, the Court declared the law invalid to the extent that it prevented physicians from assisting such Canadians to die at their request and gave the government 1 year (later extended to 16 months) in which to take corrective action.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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