Thursday, July 2, 2020

The province must clearly commit to upholding its ethical and legal obligations to people living with a disability when ventilators are in shortage

Law Professor Trudo Lemmens, Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy and a professor with the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Joint Centre for Bioethics writes for Policy Options:

"The Quebec protocol, which has yet to be deployed, is largely based on a draft protocol from Ontario. The latter was circulated among Ontario healthcare institutions in April. Following complaints from disability rights advocacy groups and a letter from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Government of Ontario declared that the protocol was not a final, approved version, and suggested that consultations would be held with organizations representing people with disabilities. Unfortunately, there are still no developments on this front.

Quebec’s triage protocol, itself also criticized for a lack of transparency and public consultation, is, in my opinion, more discriminatory than the one proposed in Ontario (and which has since been scrubbed from official institutional websites). My comments here are based on an analysis of the protocol that the assistant deputy minister of MHSS sent to one of my colleagues following his Access to Information Request. This document contains appendices in which exclusion criteria based on a clinical fragility scale are spelled out, as well as references to specific conditions, both of which are absent from the version of the protocol available on the Quebec College of Physicians’ website. This lack of transparency is in and of itself problematic—might it reflect a hesitation on the government’s or the College of Physicians’ part to publicize a protocol that is liable to cause controversy?"

Read the full article at Policy Options