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Coroner’s role is in grey area for assisted death

Thursday, March 31, 2016 @ 8:00 PM | By Cristin Schmitz

Do physician-assisted suicides qualify legally as deaths from disease, as an Ontario judge recently ruled, or are they deaths from drug toxicity — thus requiring doctors to report them to coroners for investigation and possible autopsies?

After Superior Court Justice Paul Perell’s March 17 authorization of Ontario’s first physician-assisted death, the province’s chief coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer said, “I am not taking a particular position right now” on whether physicians carrying out a court-authorized death are obliged by Ontario’s Coroners Act to identify the cause of...