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The Delta Hospice Society of British Columbia continues to fight for a safe place to die, even as the BC government moves to shut it down.

by | Jan 7, 2021

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Delta Hospice Society continues to oppose Medical Assistance in Dying [MaiD–euthanasia and assisted suicide] being done within the confines of their Hospice, even after the British Columbia government ordered them to permit MAiD or lose their government funding. 

On February 24, 2021, the Delta Hospice will, in effect, be defunded by the BC Ministry of Health and be essentially swallowed up by Fraser Health.

Background

In February 2018 the Board of the Delta Hospice Society was given an edict from Fraser Health to provide MAiD. At that time, the board of the Delta Hospice did not comply with the edict and continued its good work.

In December 2019, the Delta Hospice was ordered to provide euthanasia or lose government funding. The Delta Hospice refused to crumble under pressure from the government.

In February 2020, Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health, gave notice that funding for the Delta Hospice would cease on February 24, 2021, unless the Delta Hospice changed their position and permitted euthanasia. Again, the Delta Hospice refused.

The BC government continued their attack on the Delta Hospice Society even after the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians stated that “Euthanasia is not consistent with the philosophy, intent or approach of hospice palliative care.”

The Delta Hospice Society is fighting for you.

Canada legalized euthanasia in June 2016 by passing Bill C-14. Bill C-14 did not require every publicly funded medical facility to provide euthanasia. It was the British Columbia provincial government that established a policy that all publicly funded medical facilities, except for those that are religiously affiliated, must permit MAiD, euthanasia and assisted suicide, on their premises. 

The BC government policy discriminates against people who want to be cared for in an euthanasia-free environment. The Delta Hospice Society operates the Irene Thomas Hospice which is located across the street from the local hospital. The local hospital provides euthanasia. People can die by lethal injection at the local hospital.

People who want to receive excellent care and die a natural death, without fear of being urged to consider euthanasia have been able to go to the Irene Thomas Hospice, but after February 24, there will be no safe space in Delta BC.

I am concerned for the many people who don’t want euthanasia, but at their time of need have become so depressed or are experience deep transient feelings of hopelessness or despair they request death by euthanasia. Some of these people are asked if they want euthanasia, while they are at their lowest time emotionally. These people need a safe place to die. A place where they will receive excellent care, not lethal injection.

This concern recognizes the humanity of the person. We all experience times when we feel that our life lacks purpose, meaning or value and yet we know that, with time, support, and good community care, our deep dark time may pass.

We need safe places. This is what the Delta Hospice Society has been fighting for, this is a battle that affects everyone.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Euthanasia
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