N.S. Appeal Court hears case of woman trying to stop husband’s assisted death

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WATCH: A woman who is trying to prevent her husband from having a medically assisted death has taken the case to the province's top court. Thursday was the wife's third attempt to permanently stop the procedure which was originally scheduled for July. Alicia Draus has more – Sep 24, 2020

Nova Scotia’s top court has reserved its decision following a hearing today during which an 82-year-old woman tried to stop her husband from receiving a medically assisted death.

The woman is appealing last month’s decision by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski who rejected her request for a temporary injunction against her husband.

Her lawyers told the three-member panel of judges today that the woman has been given power of attorney by her 83-year-old husband and has an obligation under the law to step in.

Read more: Liberals seek 2nd extension on deadline to change assisted dying law

They say there were conflicting medical reports about his health condition and about his capacity to seek an assisted death.

One of her lawyers, Hugh Scher, told the court there was no opportunity to cross examine medical experts.

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The husband’s lawyer, Philip Romney, said today a proper medical assessment was made under the law and it’s not the duty of the appeal court, or any court,
to act as a substitute for the opinion of medical experts.

Click to play video: 'Okanagan grandmother asking for assisted death' Okanagan grandmother asking for assisted death
Okanagan grandmother asking for assisted death – Aug 18, 2020

Romney says the medical assistance in dying process would “fall apart” if the decisions of doctors and nurse practitioners were subject to court review. He said medical professionals would decline to participate in the procedure if their decisions were systematically questioned by the courts.

Rosinski, the lower court judge, had concluded the man, who has end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was entitled to the procedure because he met the criteria under federal law and that he would suffer “irreparable harm” if an injunction were granted.

The man’s wife, however, maintains her husband’s wish to die is based on anxiety and delusions.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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