Doctor wants B.C. to assure nurses they won't be prosecuted for assisted death

By The Canadian Press
June 8, 2016 - 12:50pm Updated: June 8, 2016 - 3:51pm

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia doctor who has become an outspoken advocate for assisted death is calling on the provincial government to assure nurses they won’t be prosecuted for participating in the procedure.

Dr. Ellen Wiebe says the province should follow Alberta’s lead and issue a directive to police stating criminal charges will not be pursued against medical teams who take part in assisted death.

The Justice Ministry says it’s aware of Alberta’s directive and is discussing options with the regulatory colleges to provide appropriate protection for health care professionals.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on assisted death came into effect Monday in the absence of federal legislation, meaning it’s now legal for physicians to help end the lives of mentally competent adults suffering from “grievous and irremediable” conditions.

The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons has issued assisted-death standards for doctors, while the College of Pharmacists of B.C. has advised its members that the legal risk they face is small.

But the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. says it remains unclear what involvement nurses can legally have in assisted death and advises its members to avoid initiating discussions on the topic.

The Canadian Press

Power problem leads to osprey nest relocation