St Paul's compromise fails patients

The BC Humanist Association is calling a new policy that requires patients seeking medical assistance in dying (MAID) at a publicly-funded Catholic Hospital in downtown Vancouver "demeaning and dehumanizing."

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced this afternoon that a new Vancouver Coastal Health clinic would be built adjacent to St Paul's Hospital. Patients seeking MAID will be carted down a "corridor" to the new facility to fulfill their request.

Sam O'Neill could not say goodbye to her family before she died because St Paul Hospital's forced her to be transferred to another facility. Her father told CTV News the policy is "outrageous."

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BCHA:

This failed compromise undermines the rights and dignity of British Columbians to placate the beliefs of the few Bishops and religious officials who run Providence Healthcare. It further fails to do anything for the dozens of people in religious hospices across the province who have been forced to transfer facilities to access healthcare and it doesn't address the fact that St Paul's still refuses to allow its employees to provide reproductive healthcare on site.

Between 2019 and 2022, institutional religious objections forced 173 patients to be transferred to another facility to access MAID. Roughly one-third of those cases were outside of Vancouver Coastal Health.

The BCHA is calling for the province to tear up the Master Agreement with the Denominational Health Association that permits religious facilities to deny healthcare services, such as abortion, contraceptive prescriptions and MAID.



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