Intended for healthcare professionals


Canadian court says wife cannot block husband’s medically assisted death

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 14 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3581
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

A Nova Scotia man is free to seek a medically assisted death in the next few days after the province’s Court of Appeal refused to extend a temporary injunction granted to his wife, who claimed that he was exaggerating his illness and did not qualify.1

The case, which has led the anonymous couple to separate after a marriage of nearly 50 years, comes as Canada’s assisted dying law is in a state of flux. The country’s Supreme Court has declared the current law overly restrictive in that it requires two doctors to certify that the patient faces a “reasonably foreseeable” death from a condition, as well as unbearable suffering. The government has promised to legislate to remove the foreseeable death requirement, but it has …

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