Anesthesiologist and Health Administrator. Currently an Exec. Medical Director for Island Health on Vancouver Island and Board Member, Dying With Dignity Canada.
Dr. David Robertson was born in the UK and completed his medical degree at Cambridge University. He then attended Dalhousie University and qualified as an anesthesiologist in 1987. Since then Dr. Robertson has worked in Nova Scotia for 20 years and is now practicing in Vancouver Island. In addition to anesthesia, he has worked as a Medical Examiner in Nova Scotia for about ten years, and has worked part time in medical administration for many years. He is currently an Executive Medical Director for Island Health.
Much of the debate surrounding Physician Assisted Death (PAD) was between those who believe in personal autonomy and the right to avoid unwanted suffering, and those who believe life is sacred and suffering is redemptive. Those same two groups are now trying to influence the creation of detailed legislation and regulations.
This summer, the Conservative government quietly announced that it had struck a panel of experts to consult Canadians on their views on assisted dying -- nearly six months after the Supreme Court issued its historic ruling on assisted dying. No matter that 84 per cent of Canadians support physician assisted dying, or that the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled it is a patient right. The Conservative government has consistently opposed it.
As news of your appointment and details of the process you will follow have spread, it has become clear that you will face extraordinary challenges in providing alternatives that enable each citizen to realize their own individual desire regarding the manner of their own death.
Last week the government announced the membership of the panel that will conduct the public consultation on Physician Assisted Dying. One of the questions they will have to answer are the very real concerns around how to protect vulnerable populations. People are classed as vulnerable when they are in a position of weakness relative to some other group who can wield power over them.