Nova Scotia removes restrictions on medical assistance in dying

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

The province is also passing the Audrey Amendment, which removes the requirement that patients undergoing medically assisted death must be fully conscious to give consent at the time of death.

The province’s health department said the policy changes took effect immediately and were made to reflect the “changing landscape” around medical assistance in dying.

Audrey’s Amendment refers to Audrey Parker, a Nova Scotian with terminal cancer who received a medically assisted death earlier than she wanted because she feared she was not well enough to give consent at an advanced stage.

Audrey’s amendment received Royal Assent from the Senate of Canada in March 2021.

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

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 9, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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