An Indo-Canadian doctor has been charged with attempting to help a 92-year-old woman to commit suicide.
Ramesh Sharma, 49, of Vernon, British Columbia, was arrested and produced in court to face the charge following investigations into the case by a unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
AdvertisementSharma, according to media reports, was helping the patient to die in a nursing home when a staff member interrupted them.
Sharma, who appeared in court supported by his wife Linda, was granted a bail of $50,000 by judge Brad Chapman, according to a report in the Vernon Morning Star newspaper.
The judge also ordered Sharma to be on good behaviour and notify the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) of the court proceedings. He has been barred from practising medicine without the college's permission.
Though police refused to divulge details of the case since it is pending before the court, another report by the Canadian press identified the elderly woman as Ruth Wolfe.
She was quoted as telling a local TV station that she has a sharp mind but a failing body. Stating that Sharma was her long-time family physician, she said that he shouldn't face criminal charges.
According to the Star, Sharma also cannot leave British Columbia except for an already-arranged trip to England later this month with his family to celebrate his 50th birthday.
The judge ordered that he cannot leave Britain during the two-week trip and that he should surrender all of his passports on arrival to the authorities there.
According to the report, Canada's Interior Health Authority (IHA) was made aware of the situation and kept apprised of the case throughout the investigation.
"Interior Health is cooperating and working closely with RCMP," IHA spokesperson Alison Paine told the newspaper. "We are directing all further inquiries to RCMP," she was quoted as saying.
This is not the first time that Sharma has fallen on the wrong side of the law. In 2001, the CPSBC had erased his name from the medical registrar and barred him from practising medicine after he confessed to having sex with a female patient in his medical office.