As Prop. 29 vote looms, dialysis patients brace for change
A patient waits for her treatment in 2016 at HealthLink hospital in Edmonton. The provincial government is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to grant limited leave to appeal the Federal Court ruling of July, saying it has failed to show any constitutional flaw in the original ruling.
By the time the Supreme Court of Canada hears the case next month, hundreds of thousands of Canadians with kidney failure – the only diseases where the court has said patients have a fundamental right to access healthcare – will have died.
They would have been able to choose palliative care or dialysis but now their families will have to do so without the help of a doctor and a nurse.
In a decision made public earlier this week, the federal government also is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to reverse a decision made by the Alberta Court of Appeal.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have said the federal government’s plans violate the charter’s right to privacy, and the case is now headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Federal Court ruled on July 4 that the changes proposed by the B.C.-basedDialysis Patient Advocacy Coalition – and other groups in Canada, including patients and the Canadian Medical Association – have not been made in a manner that “fundamentally alters” the relationship between doctors and patients.
“I’m really proud of my daughters. They’ve been through a lot and so I want them to have the best care they can have,” said Susan Firth, whose daughters are dialysis patients. “But after a court ruling, you can’t change it.”
But the decision, and the question from the Supreme Court of Canada, will affect all Canadians.
“I think it’s going to have an impact on everybody,” said Michael Lobb, CEO of the Canadian Dialysis Patient Society – which supports the right of patients to choose a different treatment without being forced to rely on doctors and nurses.
While a full hearing is months away, Lobb said the Supreme Court is an important part of the process, giving decision-makers a chance to make informed, considered decisions.
“A lot of the decisions they make are probably going to have a far reaching effect across Canada” said Lobb.
“We’re looking at it from a