Legislation will soon be introduced in Canada to legalize ‘physician-assisted death’ which, in at least some cases will actually be ‘physician-assisted suicide’. I use the latter phrase (with the word ‘suicide’) since some of the protocols already put out by my provincial College of Physicians will involve a physician prescribing certain oral agents which the patient will voluntarily take by mouth.
Although the precise wording remains to be seen, preliminary reports indicate that physician-assisted death or physician-assisted suicide will be permissible in instances where the patient has a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” which has caused “intolerable suffering”. All of which brings me to my hypothetical.
If someone with, say, widely metastatic lung cancer (with spread to bones and elsewhere) opts for physician-assisted death or physician-assisted suicide (which no one will dispute is a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” that causes “intolerable suffering”), will that person be considered to have committed suicide when it comes to interpreting their life insurance policy provisos?
Perhaps the insurance will have been in effect for less than two years (the usual waiting period before an insurance company will pay out for death by suicide)? Or perhaps there is a clause applying indefinitely to death by suicide, i.e. “insurance claim will NOT be paid for death resulting from any act of self harm” (or words to that effect)?
Bottom line question - will physician-assisted suicide be considered “suicide” for life insurance purposes?
(It is possible that there is no definite answer to my question. I would still hope it can stay in GQ since I am not looking to debate the question. I am wondering HOW it might be approached from a legal standpoint, and that’s GQ territory (IMHO)).