(Tim Samoff/Flickr)

Number of medically assisted deaths in B.C. rise in first half of 2017

Across Canada, there have been 1,982 assisted deaths since it became legal

In the first half of this year alone there were 312 medically assisted deaths in B.C., according to Health Canada.

Since medically assisted dying became legal in June of last year, there have been 500 assisted deaths in the province. In the previous six months, there were 188 assisted deaths.

A Health Canada interim report released Friday stated the overall numbers nationally are consistent with international experience.

Across Canada, there have been 1,982 assisted deaths since June 2016, counting for about 0.7 per cent of all deaths nationally.

READ MORE: Death is a medical choice, but not for everyone

READ MORE: Panel finds documentation issues plague assisted dying in B.C

In B.C., cancer was the most frequent underlying medical condition in assisted deaths, cited in 64 per cent of cases, followed by neuro-degenerative conditions and circulatory or respiratory conditions.

Although the average patient was aged 73 at death, B.C. had some of the youngest patients compared to other provinces, with 24 residents under 55 at the time of death.

Moving forward, provincial laws dealing with assisted death have been clarified or expanded and other changes are likely.

“It is expected that how services are organized, delivered and monitored will continue to evolve as data becomes more available and jurisdictions are able to evaluate existing policies and service delivery models,” the report said.

With files from The Canadian Press


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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Medical Assistance Dying Interim Report Sep 2017 by Ashley Wadhwani on Scribd

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