Thursday, August 22, 2013

Canadian Medical Association (CMA) delegates opposed euthanasia and assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg

The CMA rejected a proposal to support euthanasia and/or assisted suicide at its 146th Annual meeting that was held in Calgary Alberta (August 21 - 23).

Many media articles falsely suggested that the CMA fear debating the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and yet the CMA delegates debated the issues and they voted against changing the language of the debate and they did not change their position.

Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti
post media news article quoted incoming CMA president Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti as saying: 
doctors are not ducking the issue. "What physicians do when they're not sure is pause and reflect and ask for consultation."
Doctors voted to reject having a: 
“large-scale public consultation to regard medical aid in dying as appropriate end-of-life care”
When reading the media reports and the publication from the CMA it appears that they rejected the consultation based on the "loaded language" within the resolution.

For the same reason, the delegates at the CMA annual meeting rejected a resolution calling for them to: 
replace the term “physician-assisted suicide” with “physician-assisted death” in all its official documents. 
The euthanasia lobby must have realized that they didn't have enough support to change the CMA policy so they focused on changing the language of the debate.

The CMA meeting passed a motion to: 
support the right of any physician to exercise conscientious objection when faced with a request for medical aid in dying.
The CMA also passed the following palliative care resolutions:
  • making palliative care services at home available to every person nearing the end of life
  • integration of palliative care services into community and chronic care service delivery
  • support for implementation of a collaborative palliative care model
  • creation of a curriculum for training in palliative care.
It is interesting that some media articles falsely report that the CMA is unwilling to debate "assisted death" after an annual meeting where the CMA focused on the issues related to "assisted death." This is probably because the CMA remains opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The same tactic is used by some media when they claim that the federal government refuses to debate the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide after they had a thorough debate on the issues in 2010 and rejected Bill C-384 by an overwhelming vote of 228 to 59.

I challenge the media to allow an open debate on the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide rather than writing one-sided articles that only quote the leaders of the euthanasia lobby while ignoring the facts of the issues and the studies that prove that legalizing euthanasia is not safe.

The media need to be willing to report the facts that were published in 2012 from the 5 year meta-analysis of the Dutch euthanasia law that found 23% of all assisted deaths were not reported? The media needs to stop ignoring the study that found 47% of all assisted deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were not reported?
The media needs to be concerned that a 2010 study found that 32% of assisted deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were done without request.

Capital Punishment was outlawed to ensure that no Canadian is executed after a wrong conviction.

We cannot turn a blind eye to the case of the Italian man, with a botched diagnosis who was killed by assisted suicide in Switzerland or that the Netherlands have approved eugenic euthanasia for newborns with disabilities.

Canadians and especially Quebekers need to know why legalizing euthanasia is not safe. Patient safety must be paramount in our medical system.

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