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Advocates hail judges decision in womans assisted death appeal

A 77-year-old woman seeking medical assistance in dying has a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death, a judge declared Monday in an attempt to clear up uncertainty that left her doctor unwilling to perform the end-of-life procedure for fear of a murder charge.The decision has been hailed by advocates for clarifying a confusing part of the assisted-dying legislation. Two doctors found that the woman, known under a publication ban as AB, qualified for medical assistance in dying.But the first doctor later said he was “uncomfortable” performing the procedure because another doctor had disagreed that the woman met the requirement of a reasonably foreseeable natural death, and because of the vagueness of the term “reasonably foreseeable.”Superior Court Justice Paul Perell said the issue is the doctor’s “abundance of caution and apprehensive misunderstanding” of the medically-assisted dying legislation put in place a year ago.Article Continued BelowTo be reasonably foreseeable, the person’s natural death doesn’t have be imminent or within a specific time frame or be the result of a terminal condition, he said.“The legislation is intended to apply to a person who is “on a trajectory toward death because he or she a) has a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability; b) is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability; and c) is enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable,” he said. AB’s case clearly qualifies as she is an “almost 80-year-old woman in an advanced stated of incurable, irreversible, worsening illness with excruciating pain and no quality of life,” he said.

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