Since 2016, euthanasia has been legal in Canada. Now, a hospital in Toronto is exploring whether “capable” minors can give consent on their own to being euthanized. Although parents of a child are normally involved in end of life decisions, if an otherwise competent patient indicated that they did not want their family involved in the process, then the doctors would have to honor that decision and keep the patient’s confidentiality. This means that the assisted suicide of a minor would not require parental consent or even notification that their child has made this decision. This is an ethical challenge for doctors because they are the ones that have to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in a pediatric setting.
Source: Sharon Kirkey, “Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital preparing policy for euthanasia for youth over 18 that could one day apply to minors,” National Post, October 9, 2018, https://nationalpost.com/health/sick-kids-preparing-policy-for-euthanasia-for-youth-over-18-that-could-one-day-apply-to-minors.
Student Researcher: Alejandro Echeverri (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)