Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Federation des medecins specialistes du Quebec - Survey on Euthanasia

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Federation of medical specialists of Quebec have released a survey of their members that indicates that a large majority of medical specialists in Quebec appear to support euthanasia.

When reading the survey I am absolutely convinced that a large number of physicians in Quebec are unsure of what euthanasia is or is not.

For instance, the survey showed that 48% of the respondents thought that palliative sedation is a form of euthanasia. The fact is that the proper use of palliative sedation is not euthanasia.

Euthanasia is the direct and intentional cause of death, whereas palliative sedation is the sedation of a person in order to eliminate their suffering. The proper use of palliative sedation does not cause death, but rather it eliminates suffering.

The confusion surrounding the use of large doses of analgesics is similar to the problem with the statement by the Quebec College of Physicians in July that confused the use of large doses of analgesics with euthanasia. The proper use of large doses of analgesics is not euthanasia unless the physician has clearly done so outside of the accepted guidelines with the intention of causing death.

Read my comments on the Quebec College of Physicians statement from July: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/search/label/Quebec%20College%20of%20Physicians

Clearly we are concerned that such a large number of medical specialists in Quebec support euthanasia.

Physicians in Quebec are moving in the wrong direction. The Quebec College of Physicians and other physicians groups in Quebec should be focusing on improving end-of-life care rather than considering the legalization of euthanasia. When so many Quebecers are not receiving effective pain and symptom management then really are the Quebec physicians actually offering their patients a choice?

Secondly, the survey suggests that physicians support euthanasia within a clearly defined legal framework. The fact is that negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, and the incidence of elder abuse continues to rise significantly in our culture, the question is: can their ever be adequate safeguards to protect the vulnerable.

Finally, the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide does not give a person - the right to die but rather legalizing euthanasia gives the physician the right to directly and intentionally cause the death of a person. Legalizing euthanasia confers new rights to the physician and enables a physician to cover-up intentional acts that cause death.

When we consider the vulnerable nature of people who are being considered for euthanasia, the answer is to Care and not to Kill.

For more information contact:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - 1-877-439-3348
or website: www.epcc.ca or email: info@epcc.ca

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