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Jewish care home blasts doctor for "sneaking in and killing someone" by euthanasia

10 January 2018

Dr Ellen Wiebe gave up family medicine to run an abortion clinic by day and euthanize people by night. 

The doctor says she did nothing wrong 

A Jewish old-people's home in British Columbia, Canada, has filed a complaint against a doctor who euthanised one of their residents without consulting the home.

Vancouver's Louis Brier Nursing Home say that Dr Ellen Wiebe gave "medical assistance in dying (MAiD)" to Barry Hyman without consulting with his nursing staff, who found out about the procedure "well after" it had been carried out. 

"No documentation"

The Jewish run care home have accused Wiebe of "borderline unethical" behaviour, and have filed a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"It was hidden," said CEO David Keselman. "There’s no documentation. She came in and I don’t know who you are. You can tell me you’re a physician, you could tell me you’re an astronaut, how do I know?

They survived the Holocaust

"Imagine the implications for our staff and our residents and their families," he said. "We have a lot of Holocaust survivors. To have a doctor sneak in and kill someone without telling anyone. They’re going to feel like they’re at risk when you learn someone was sneaking in and killing someone."

The incident was also very traumatic for staff, he added.

Too busy aborting babies during the day 

Wiebe denies she did anything "unprofessional". "He said he wanted to die at home and that this is the place that he lived," she said. She claimed that she evaluated the patient and spoke with his physician before completing the procedure at 7 p.m. on the allotted day, and resisted the characterization that she did anything sneaky, explaining that it was carried out at night because she does other work during the day.

During the day, Dr Wiebe, who was responsible for lethally injecting 44 people in 2016, is Medical Director of Willow Women’s Clinic in Vancouver and provides medical and surgical abortions and contraception. According to her Dignity in Dying profile, she gave up full-service family practice, and "now restricts her practice to women’s health and assisted death". 

Ignoring clear policy

Wiebe said that some facilities, such as Catholic medical centres, require outside doctors require visiting privileges to treat patients, so she would not administer MAiD there, but Louis Brier didn't have that specific requirement. 

However, Mr Keselman said that Wiebe was well aware that the home has a policy against assisted suicide taking place on the site, a decision that the board made in accordance with Jewish Orthodox values. Mark Rozenberg, the chair of the ethics committee of Louis Brier's board, told The Globe and Mail that the home's policies against assisted dying were clear. "Anyone who comes here knows what our policy is," he said. "And if they don't like the policy, they should go somewhere else."

Would do it again

Wiebe will now face a disciplinary hearing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which regulates the practice of medicine in British Columbia. An unrepentant Wiebe said she also had a meeting with the representatives from the nursing home and Vancouver Coastal Health. "In that meeting I was asked to promise that nothing like this would ever happen again, and I refused to promise that," she said. "I said that I would take each case individually and if a patient said that they wanted to die at home and I could offer it, I would do so."

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