Saturday, January 15, 2011

There are serious flaws in euthanasia and assisted suicide debate in Quebec

The Quebec government Dying with Dignity commission (Quebec commission) is once-again holding meetings throughout Quebec to seek input from their citizens concerning euthanasia, assisted suicide and end-of-life care.

The Quebec commission began their deliberations in February 2010, by receiving written and oral submissions from 20 people/groups who were viewed as experts. They then released a consultation document that was based on the submissions.

There are some serious flaws in the current debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec. For instance, the Quebec College of Physicians has taken several interesting and yet false positions.



The Quebec physicians stated that certain acts of euthanasia need to be legalized in order to regulate what is already occurring. They stated that euthanasia occurs regularly when physicians withdraw life-sustaining treatment, when they use large doses of analgesics (pain killers) or when they sedate people who have painful symptoms.

First, killing someone by euthanasia is not the same as letting a person die. Everyday doctors need to decide whether a treatment plan continues to provide benefit. When a medical team decides to withdraw treatment, if the person dies soon after, that death is natural and caused by the underlying condition. The decision to allow natural death to occur is clearly different than the decision to directly and intentionally cause someone’s death by lethal injection.

Secondly, the proper use of analgesics and the proper use of sedation techniques should never be compared to euthanasia. The proper use of analgesics will effectively comfort a person in most circumstances, without causing death. When painful symptoms continue to exist, it is sometimes necessary to sedate a person. The proper use of sedation will allow the person to be comfortable without causing their death. In the rare circumstance, that a person dies from the proper use of analgesics or sedation, death it was not intended and it is clearly not euthanasia.

To directly and intentionally cause a persons death by giving an intentional overdose or intentionally abusing the proper use of sedation techniques is euthanasia.

If physicians in Quebec are intentionally abusing the use of analgesics or sedation techniques, then why would they not intentionally abuse rules concerning euthanasia?

The good news is that a group of Quebec citizens under the name Vivre dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity) is effectively working in Quebec to change the debate in Quebec. Vivre dans la Dignité deserves your support.

Quebec needs to reassess how end-of-life care, chronic care and the care of persons with disabilities is carried-out throughout Quebec and they need to identify ways to implement improvements. The Quebec government needs to establish practices that will enable people to Live with Dignity and not be killed by euthanasia.

For more information go to: http://www.vivredignite.com or to: http://www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca

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