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Nova Scotia removes some restrictions for medical assistance in dying

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Nova Scotia is removing the requirement that someone’s natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” before they can access medical assistance in dying.

The province is also adopting Audrey’s Amendment, which eliminates the requirement that patients undergoing a medically assisted death be completely conscious to provide consent at the time of death.

The province’s Health Department said the policy changes were effective immediately and were made to reflect the “changing landscape” around medically assisted death.

Read more: This is why Canada is debating assisted death laws

Audrey’s Amendment refers to Audrey Parker, a Nova Scotian with terminal cancer who received a medically assisted death sooner than she wanted because she feared she wouldn’t be well enough to give late-stage consent.

Audrey Parker, diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer, which had metastasized to her bones and with a tumour on her brain, talks about life and death at her home in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan. AV

Audrey’s Amendment was given royal assent by the Senate of Canada in March 2021.

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Dr. Nicole Boutilier, vice president of medicine at Nova Scotia Health, said in a statement “the new documents demonstrate our commitment to patients and clinicians in safeguarding the highest standard of care.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.

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