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Doctors group looking at intensive course to train willing MDs in assisted death

The Canadian Medical Association says doctors will need training if they are to assist in a patient's death.

Dr. Jeff Blackmer, the CMA's vice-president of medical professionalism, says Canadian doctors have never been taught about assisted death.

The act was illegal until the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the existing ban earlier this year.

He says the CMA is looking at providing an intensive two-day course for physicians who are willing to help a patient die.

The CMA will be meeting in the next few days with doctors from the Netherlands, where physician-assisted death is legal, to see what can be learned from their experiences.

Canadian doctors remain divided over the issue of physician-assisted death — and a discussion today among delegates attending the CMA's annual meeting in Halifax shows it's still a hot-button topic.

Outgoing president Dr. Chris Simpson says no doctor should be coerced into helping a patient die and those who are willing will need clear guidelines for providing the service to eligible patients.

Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

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