Hamilton Health Sciences pauses assisted dying due to COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 Hamilton Health Sciences is pausing its assisted dying program.

An HHS spokesperson told CBC News all the staff devoted to the assisted dying program are focused on COVID-19

COVID-19 is taking up many Hamilton Health Sciences resources, so much so, the hospital network has temporarily suspended the medical assistance in dying program. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has halted the assisted dying program at its locations as COVID-19 continues to demand more attention from staff.

"This was not an easy decision," Lillian Badzioch, spokesperson for HHS, told CBC News by email.

"All of our Assisted Dying Resource and Assessment Service (ADRAS) team members are focused on helping with the pandemic efforts."

Badzioch told CBC News restricted movements of staff between sites and wards "is making the conduct of appropriate assessments and provision difficult."

"Where appropriate, referrals are being sent to our community MAiD providers for patients who are still at home or can be discharged to the community," she wrote.

Dr. Andrea Frolic, who leads the program, was unable to accommodate an interview.

This comes as the hospital network battles to have enough personal protective equipment for frontline health workers. It also follows news of an HHS nurse from McMaster Children's Hospital testing positive for COVID-19.

More to come.

About the Author

Bobby Hristova


Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca