New bill sets out rules for assisted death

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OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced a long-awaited and controversial new law spelling out the conditions in which seriously ill or dying Canadians may seek medical help to end their lives.

Here is a look at some of those conditions the proposed legislation sets out.

A person who wants medical help to die must:

— Be a mentally competent adult, 18 years or older;

— Make the request voluntarily and give informed consent;

— Have a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability;

— Be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability;

— Be experiencing enduring and intolerable suffering as a result of their medical condition;

— Be on a course toward the end of life. Death would have to be reasonably foreseeable in all the circumstances of a person’s health but there would not have to be a specific prognosis or prospected time period before death.

— Make a written request, or have a designated person do so if they were incapable. The request must be signed by two independent witnesses and then be evaluated by two independent physicians or authorized nurse practitioners would have to evaluate request.

— There would be a mandatory 15 day period of reflection unless death or loss of capacity to consent is imminent. Patients would be able to withdraw request at any time.