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Spiritual accompaniment: Chaplains navigate medical assistance in dying (Philip Murray, PHC)

Chaplains navigate medical assistance in dying (Photo credit: Anglican Journal)
Chaplains navigate medical assistance in dying (Photo credit: Anglican Journal)

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2015 that parts of the country’s Criminal Code that prohibited medically assisted deaths were in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since June 2016, medical assistance in dying (MAiD) has been legal in Canada for adults over the age of 18 with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition.” The government of Canada reported in April 2019 that at least 6,749 Canadians had accessed MAiD since the legislation was enacted, with MAiD deaths accounting for around 1% of deaths in Canada during each of the government’s reporting timeframes.

Philip Murray, a spiritual health practitioner who now works in long-term care at Providence Health Care—a Roman Catholic-run health organization that operates hospitals, clinics and residential care homes—was working with one of Canada’s largest health-care authorities when the MAiD legislation came into effect. Murray was brought in to support what he says was a system in distress. He suddenly had new roles to play, supporting patients and families who were going through the MAiD process as well as the medical team that was coping with the change.

Click here to read the full story in the Anglican Journal.

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