Manitoba patient heads to court demanding doctor-assisted death

A Manitoba patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, will ask the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday to allow them to die with help from doctors.

Patient asks court to maintain anonymity for themselves and health-care providers

A Manitoba patient will ask the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench to permit doctors to help them die. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

A patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, will ask the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday to allow them to die with help from doctors.

The case is the first of its kind in Manitoba after a Supreme Court of Canada decision threw out Canada's laws barring physician-assisted death Feb. 6, 2015.

The Manitoba patient's condition is not disclosed however they have two "grievous irremediable medical conditions that cause suffering," said court documents. 

The patient is also "fully informed" and has the "mental capacity to make a clear, free, and informed decision about a physician-assisted death," the court documents claim.

Citing the Personal Health Information Act, the Manitoba patient has applied for a court-ordered publication ban on their own identity as well as the identities of four physicians cited in the documents and any other health-care provider involved in providing medical services to the patient related to their death.

Anonymity will allow the patient to spend their last days in "private and die with dignity," court documents said.

Disclosing the identities of the physicians and other health care providers involved in the case would cause harm to all parties involved, the documents argued, and could "impair the physician's therapeutic relationship with their [other] patients."

Right to die in Canada

Canada's highest court ruled unanimously in 2015 people with grievous and irremediable medical conditions should have the right seek a doctor-assisted death. At the time, the Supreme Court gave the federal government one year to draft new right-to-die legislation. The court later granted the government an extension to write new laws which expires June 6, 2016.

Until then, provincial courts are able to grant patients seeking a physician-assisted death exemptions to allow their health-care providers to assist them to die.

Earlier this month, a Calgary woman died after being granted an exemption to undergo a physician-assisted death in Vancouver.

An elderly Toronto man with lymphoma will find out if he will be granted a doctor-assisted death later this month.

The first legal medically-assisted death in Canada occurred in Quebec in January, 2016.