‘Steep & Icy Slope’: Toronto Hospital Eyes Euthanizing Kids Without Parental Consent

No Turning Back

(NCR) – Doctors and ethicists at Canada’s largest children’s hospital have said they would consider killing a child under the country’s developing new euthanasia legislation without informing the child’s parents first.

Canada’s “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) legislation (Bill C-14) is only two years old and currently limits euthanasia to competent patients over age 18. But in their paper, published Sept. 21 in the British Medical Journal of Medical Ethics, employees of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (corporately branded SickKids) and the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics reviewed the procedural options for killing pediatric patients and said that “we write our policy with an eye to the near future when capable young people may gain access to MAID.”

Working from the presumption that “it is wrong to force a person to live in circumstances of unendurable and irremediable suffering” and that persons “have a right to life, not a duty to live,” Randi Zlotnik Shaul, the director of bioethics at SickKids, Dr. Adam Rapoport, a palliative-care pediatrician and ethicist at the hospital, and University of Toronto doctoral student Carey DeMicheli said that a “rare opportunity may exist for MAID-providing institutions to reduce social stigma” around the euthanasia procedure. CONTINUE