Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Forced Accomplice - Euthanasia in Quebec

An excellent article by Dr. Serge Daneault,  was published yesterday by Cyberpresse. I hope that my google translation did the article justice. Daneault makes it clear that the Quebec government commission did not listen to those who oppose euthanasia, even though they made the majority of the presentations to the commission.

Daneault is the author of a book on the euthanasia debate that was published in 2010.

Dr Serge Daneault
Daneault also makes it clear that the government is asking him to be A Forced Accomplice to the crime of euthanasia because the commission recommended that doctors would not be required to kill their patients by euthanasia but they would be required to refer their patients to a doctor who would be willing to kill the patient.
A Forced Accomplice 
Cyberpresse - March 28, 2012 
* Those opposed to the decriminalization of euthanasia were not heard by the Special Commission on the issue of dying with dignity, even if their testimonies are a majority of submissions, denounces Serge Daneault. 
By: Serge Daneault - Palliative care doctor at Notre-Dame Hospital, CHUM, the co-author of the book: Être ou ne plus être, débat sur l'euthanasie, (2010). 
Activists from the euthanasia lobby have finally got what they see as an insurance against suffering. Largely inspired and assisted by similar groups in other countries, they have persuaded MPs to give them what they want by manipulating compassion from suffering that is inherent in the human condition. 
This is a unanimous decision of flavored propaganda that was applauded by all of the Parliament and the authorities of the College of Physicians and the Quebec Bar. 
Those opposed to the decriminalization of euthanasia have not been heard even if their testimonies are a majority of submissions and they are rightly surprised that, as the College of Physicians and the Society, that the commission was not moved by the many Dutch and Belgians that are euthanized each year without their consent and without, in many cases, even  discussing it with their doctor. 
This silence gives the impression that everything was already decided and that the consultation was only a way to legitimize new ways to kill people. 
This document will change forever our individual and collective relationship to death, life, and medicine. Death loses its mysterious and unpredictable nature, because individuals gain the right to deliberately cause death. Life loses its meaning in that it has always sought been a test of human compassion and medicine loses its supreme obligation to always strive to relieve suffering by having acquired the right to remove the sufferer. 
Now, those who agree to reach out to suffering people need to work with a knife to the throat, where each patient may resort to extreme ultimatum: "If you can not relieve me, kill me." 
I chose the front trenches because suffering is inexorably linked to the human condition. Now that the law will force me to find another doctor to perform euthanasia in my place, I feel compelled as an accomplice if I were asked to commit a crime and that, refusing, I would identify the individual responsible for committing the crime for me. This provision is unacceptable profoundly immoral. 
The report specifically says we will not wait for palliative care to be available for all before allowing euthanasia. Hopefully the government, which for years left the development, the care and the service delivery of palliative care to private foundations, will pay now from its pocket the cost of euthanasia. 
Like birthing centers, we want to create homes of death where everything will be done strictly according to the rules, as seen in the prophetic film Soylent Green (1973). This will leave the rest of the health system free of this ambiguity: on one side, we fight for life, on the other, we bring death. 
Now, the lives of Quebecers will be in the hands of doctors who will decide if the suffering of others is unacceptable or not. One may wonder if the availability of euthanasia is rather about relieving the suffering of the physician confronted with his inability to cure and relieve. 
I hope that those who oppose euthanasia cease all collaboration with the actions and policies of euthanasia. To make this clear to my patients and my colleagues, I now wear my work clothes on a white tile so that everyone knows what to expect. 
And if I still receive requests, I will refer to the College of Physicians of Quebec. Medical authorities were the source of debate and currently celebrating with applause. I hope they will fully assume the responsibility if a single citizen of Quebec is put to death by a doctor without his consent. But the dead do not talk. Medical authorities have therefore nothing to fear.

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