Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
My previous blog entry is about the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario draft policy: "Physicians and the Human Rights Code."
In case you weren't aware, Belgium physicians were mandated to refer their patients for euthanasia on December 4, 2003.
The policy statement on End of Life Decisions and Euthanasia is translated as follows:
1. Terminal care and all the medical decisions associated with it are part of the duties of a general practitioner.
2. Euthanasia is one of the possible choices in terminal care and must be framed by and embedded in total palliative care that transcends individual care.
3. The health care districts must organise multidisciplinary follow-up training and instruction in terminal care. We commit ourselves to supervising this scientifically and didactically in collaboration with the Federation for Palliative Care Flanders (Federatie Palliatieve Zorg Vlaanderen) and the End-of-life Information Forum (LEIF) physician's forum. Our aim in this is to avoid the emergence of polarising groups with their own instructional training and interpretations.
4. We oppose the establishment of euthanasia teams or euthanasia centres. Physicians must be supported and supervised, and strategies must be developed when, for practical or ethical reasons, the physician cannot comply with a request for euthanasia from their patient.
5. All physicians involved, including those providing a second-opinion, must have extensive expertise in the area of palliative total care within the framework of euthanasia decision-making.
6. Each physician has the right to deem euthanasia or another end-of-life decision as being in contravention of his or her personal beliefs. The physician is then obliged to inform his or her patient of this clearly and in good time and to organise a smooth referral.Link to the original document in Flemish:
Information about the Belgium policy statement was sent to me by the Protection of Conscience Project: http://www.consciencelaws.org