First, Do No Harm

Mark S. Komrad

Canada just passed a law that radically changes the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable medical practice and has opened a path to euthanasia for patients with psychiatric illness who find their conditions unbearable.

In 2016, Canada passed Bill C-14, a law permitting medical euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, together known as Medical Aid In Dying (MAID). By November 2020, more than 13,000 individuals nearing the end of life had been voluntarily euthanized as a result of this bill.

… This new initiative, Bill C-7, followed the Bene- lux model; it removed the prior exclusion of those who have with nonterminal chronic illnesses and permchiatricitted euthanasia for those whose psychological or physical suffering is deemed intolerable and untreatable.

… This is a profound change in the trajectory of the euthanasia law, and the practice of psychiatry for Canada, which is now the largest nation that will soon allow MAID for psychiatric conditions. It has rocked the professional mental health community in Canada, which fought to forestall the inclusion of psychiatric disorders for euthanasia.

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