Tuesday, June 6, 2017

JD/MBA student Dr. Alec Yarascavitch is the winner of the inaugural Law School Essay Competition from the Canadian Bar Association National Health Law Section for his paper entitled Assisted Dying for Mental Disorders: Why Canada’s Legal Approach Raises Serious Concerns.

Alec Yarascavitch is an emergency physician and a third-year student in the JD/MBA program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He is an active member of the health focused communities at both the law school and business school, and he continues to maintain his clinical practice during his studies. Alec has a strong interest in health law, policy and regulation, and he is passionate about the health of individuals and populations.

Here is an abstract of the winning paper:

Critics of Canada’s new assisted dying law argue that its exclusion of mental disorders is overly restrictive, asserting that the fundamental values of autonomy and dignity on which Carter was decided apply equally to mental and physical disorders. However, we must be careful not to let individual interests blindly eclipse our societal interest in protecting vulnerable groups. Assisted dying for mental disorders presents significant ethical, clinical, and legal challenges and it should therefore be approached with extreme caution. This essay explores the potential effects of mental disorders on decision-making; the lack of rigorous capacity assessments; the difficulty of holding physicians accountable; the inherent challenge of “irremediabilty;” the right to refuse treatment; the diverse legal meanings of “mental disorder;” the lack of proximity to end-of-life; and the suboptimal state of Canada’s mental health system; and how the cumulative effect of these issues raises serious concerns about assisted dying for mental disorders.

Find out more and read the entire paper on the CBA website.