Province no longer recording medically assisted death as ‘suicide’
The province is changing the way it classifies medically-assisted deaths.
In the past, medically assisted deaths in Saskatchewan were recorded as “suicides” — eHealth Saskatchewan now records them as “unclassified.”
Dr. Lilian Thorpe, one of the people who pushed for this change to be made, said the new wording is important to patients and their families.
“It’s not that they want to. It’s that they’re at a horrible stage of the dying process and they want to have some control over how they die, so to them the word ‘suicide’ is really distressing as it is to their families,” Thorpe said.
“This is obviously very different from suicide.”
Nurses like Maureen Heys echoed similar views.
“I don’t think it’s really suicide. I think it’s an assisted decision of bringing death that’s imminent when they can say goodbye and finish their life peacefully,” Heys said.
From June 2016 to September 2018, 123 medically-assisted were reported to the Saskatchewan Coroner, according to eHealth.
Families who want to change their loved one’s death certificates from “suicide” to “unclassified” should contact eHealth at 1-800-667-7551 or email vsregistrar@eHealthsask.ca.