It’s a first in Manitoba, a terminally ill patient has been granted the right to die.
After a two hour hearing Tuesday afternoon, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal ruled the person has the right to end their life by doctor assisted suicide.
The patient’s name, age, gender and specific illness are being kept secret, by court order. The identity of any doctors, social workers of health care professionals involved in the case are also covered under a publication ban.
Court heard the patient is terminally ill, with less than a month to live and is suffering greately.
Joyal ruled the patient meets the four criteria for a doctor assisted suicide: they are a competent adult over the age of 18, consent to the decision, have a terminal medical condition and are enduring suffering that treatment can’t help.
The patient does have the right to change their mind if they choose.
In a release the applicant released this statement:
“I believe that an integral aspect of a person’s right to die with dignity includes the opportunity to have a physician assisted death. My decision to seek a physician assisted death is borne out of the physical pain I am suffering and the intolerable effects of my diseases on my overall quality of life. I want a physician assisted death and I am completely at ease with this decision.
My family is the most important and fulfilling part of my life. While it has been sad to say good-bye and to plan to leave my family, I am not feeling anxious, depressed or in fear of death.
I wish to spend the remaining days of my life in the privacy and company of my family. It is important to me that neither myself nor my family is subjected to the public attention that might follow if my name or other identifying features of my experience is released to the public. Any attention would be detrimental to my wish to die with dignity, privately and in the company of my family.”
The applicants spouse also released a statement:
“As the spouse, I recognize it takes great courage to elect a physician assisted death as one’s end-of-life medical treatment. I and my family deeply appreciate that the decision of my spouse will also help to relieve our emotional burden, having watched my spouse suffer enormous pain and watched as their quality of life has rapidly deteriorated.
I understand my spouse’s wishes to seek out a physician-assisted death and I fully and wholeheartedly support those wishes to exercise the constitutional right to die with dignity.
I believe that any attention would be detrimental to my spouse’s wish to die with dignity, privately and in the company of our family.”
The federal government has until June 6th to come up with new laws governing doctor assisted suicide. Until then, patients can apply case by case to a judge in their province.
Just weeks ago, the first patient in Alberta was granted the right to die. Ontario is also moving ahead with a case of their own.