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Hospitals Obstruct Access to Assisted Dying: A Conflict of Rights and Beliefs

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BNN Correspondents
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Hospitals Obstruct Access to Assisted Dying: A Conflict of Rights and Beliefs

Scott Blackwell, Chair of the board overseeing voluntary assisted dying (VAD), voiced his disappointment in his annual report presented in November. His concerns stem from the refusal by certain hospitals to facilitate the transfer of patients seeking VAD, causing undue distress to grieving families. This refusal emphasizes a growing discrepancy between the policies or beliefs of healthcare providers and the legal rights of patients to seek VAD. The issue has gained prominence following the legalization of the procedure.

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Legalization of Assisted Dying: A Double-Edged Sword

The legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon has provided individuals with an option to seek assistance with dying. This opportunity, however, has set the stage for a clash between healthcare providers' prerogatives and patients' legal rights. The refusal to facilitate patient transfer for VAD, as reported by Scott Blackwell, highlights the emerging complexities.

Obstruction of Access: An Unfair Burden on Families

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Blackwell, in the board's annual report, expressed his disappointment at the obstruction of access to assisted dying. The refusal by some hospitals to accommodate transfers for VAD has caused additional distress for families already in the throes of grief. This extra burden on families, who are merely seeking to exercise the legal rights of their loved ones, has drawn sharp criticism.

Seeking Solutions: The Need to Streamline the Process

In light of these issues, there is a growing demand for solutions to streamline the process of accessing VAD. Whether this involves changes in policy or legislation, or shifts in the attitudes of healthcare providers, is yet to be seen. In the meantime, the fallout from this clash of rights and beliefs continues to impact patients and families navigating the challenging journey of assisted dying.

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