The Fraser Health Authority has ordered the Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, British Columbia to allow euthanasia (MAID) on site or risk losing funding. The hospice has been given a deadline of February 3rd. The Centre’s philosophy of care for patients does not include euthanasia. The centre offers a ten bed facility for those seeking palliative care. As the Canadian Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians said in a joint statement in November: “National and international hospice palliative care organizations are unified in the position that MAID is not part of the practice of hospice palliative care.”
Angelina Ireland, president of the Delta Hospice Society said in a open letter: “Helping and supporting patients to live fully and comfortably in their last days and giving support to them and their families is what our patients and families come to us for and expect and it is certainly what our staff are dedicated to providing. Taking steps to end a patient’s life is not providing care and support so that they may live fully.”
The hospice is now offering to forego $750,000.00 in public funding. It explains: “By forfeiting the government funding, the hospice would be under the 50% threshold set by the government and therefore exempt from providing MAID.”
As for charges by euthanasia advocates that the hospice is denying access to euthanasia (MAID), Ireland points out that the service is available at other centres including at a facility next door.
She mentions that: “The issue is not accessibility. It seems a purely agenda-driven demand that runs roughshod over both Delta Hospice Society’s desire to live up to its legal requirement under our Charter, as well as ignoring the reality that we are dealing with patients and families in a very vulnerable and delicate condition.”
The B.C government should stop pressuring this hospice and let it offer the life affirming care that it was set up to provide. Many patients are looking for care in a euthanasia (MAID)free zone.