The Supreme Court has given the federal government until June to draft legislation to permit physician assisted suicide.
Last year the Supreme Court ruled adults experiencing unbearable suffering could legally seek out a physician-assisted death.
Now, faculty members are UNBC are seeing how this new legislation could play out in rural communities.
For Catharine Schiller and Dr. Shannon Freeman, the debate around physician assisted suicide is more complex than whether a terminally ill person has the right to end their life.
Nurse and lawyer, Catharine Schiller, explains one component is how the law around the right to die will play out in rural areas that don’t have regular access to a doctor.
“When it comes to a rural perspective we’re really talking about two main issues. We’re talking about who is allowed to provide this service and be involved in this services. And the second issue is how do we access them. And both of these issues can be very difficult from a rural point of view to try and resolve.”
Many rural communities in Northern BC are served by a Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse. That’s why it’s important these health care providers are included in the legislation.
Dr Freeman is studying the broader issue. She’s looking at what factors contribute to someone who chooses an assisted death.
“Someone says I want to die, I wish to die then you need to follow up to understand what is the meaning behind that wish. And if the person says I want to die I wish to die now do not automatically assume they’re having intolerable suffering.”
The deadline for the Federal Government to implement right to die legislation is June. In the meantime Schiller and Freeman will continue to contribute to the discussion on the right to die, making sure rural areas aren’t over looked.