Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Canadian doctors oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide - CMA meeting

An open debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide was held yesterday at the national meeting of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) that is occurring in Calgary.

Dr. Eric Wasylenko
The Calgary Herald published an indepth article on the CMA discussions. The following represent quotes from the Calgary Herald article.

Dr. Eric Wasylenko, a Calgary family physician specializing in palliative care, and a panelist on the topic stated:
Canada needs better programs that allow patients to die comfortably at home and more palliative care training for young physicians. 
Proper end-of-life care strives to help patients live as well as they can before they die, he said. 
“My personal view is it is not within the role of the physician or the practice of medicine to actually deliberately cause someone’s death, even if they’ve asked for it. 
“The role of physicians and medical care is to support people in their life until their natural death, not to kill them artificially or in advance of their natural death.”
Dr. David Roy
Dr. Laurent Marcoux, president of the Quebec Medical Association, said:
“It’s not legalizing euthanasia for us. It’s something new. It’s a way to care for a patient at the end of his life,”
Dr. David Roy, a Quebec bioethicist didn't agree with Marcoux. He stated:
the wording of the province’s new legislation remains vague when it comes to sussing out what “medical aid in dying” actually means 
If physician-assisted death were to be passed in Canada and performed, “what sort of impact could we possibly imagine this would have on the care of very old, very fragile and deeply, or even not so deeply, demented people,”
Hon Rona Ambrose
Canada’s health minister Rona Ambrose told the participants at the CMA meeting that the federal government isn’t planning to reopen the debate on euthanasia.
“This is an issue that is very emotional for a lot of people — not just regular Canadians, but also physicians,” she told reporters. 
“Parliament voted in 2010 to not change its position on this issue. At this time, we don’t have any intention of changing our position.”
Dr. Srini Chary from Calgary stated that he became a palliative care specialist after caring for his wife who died from cancer 30 years ago. He stated to the Calgary Herald that:
“If care and well-being is what I train for, I’d like to focus on care and well-being,” Chary said, in an interview. 
“It’s not even a suicide in my mind. I’m killing.”
The overwhelming response from the delegates at the CMA meeting was that Canada needs to improve palliative care for all Canadians.

Links to previous articles:
- Rebranding Killing and Suicide by Dr Will Johnston
- Online euthanasia debate - Dr Will Johnston

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