January 20, 2016 5:56 pm

Head of Alberta Medical Association has questions about assisted suicide law

The Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa is shown on April 14, 2015.


EDMONTON – The president of the Alberta Medical Association says he is hopeful the federal government won’t ask doctors to do something contrary to their ethics while they drafts laws on physician-assisted suicide.

Dr. Carl Nohr says it’s better for patients if the doctor looking after them is committed to giving them care and the best experience, no matter what the service is.

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Last week, the Supreme Court granted a four-month extension to the government to give it more time to come up with a law that will apply to adults who are undergoing intolerable mental or physical suffering.

READ MORE: Supreme court gives feds an extra 4 months on physician-assisted suicide 

Nohr says there are some precedents he hopes lawmakers follow, such as abortion, “where the service is available to individuals who request it, without overriding the autonomy of physicians.”

Nohr says the four-month timeline is definitely a tight one, saying there are still several questions that need answers.

READ MORE: Alberta family awaits right-to-die legislation after traumatic death 

For instance, he wants to know how doctors can determine competency, at what age can patients make the decision, and how the death is registered for provincial statistics.

With files from CHED

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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