Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Canadian Medical Association President: "Euthanasia is illegal and we're going to follow the law of the land."

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) released their document from the CMA National Dialogue on end-of-life care on June 10. One of the decisions made by the CMA from their National Dialogue was that they would continue to oppose the euthanasia and assisted suicide.

CMA President Dr Louis Francescutti told a press conference where the CMA released its report, End-of-Life Care, a National Dialogue, on nation-wide consultations conducted into end-of-life issues that:

“It’s crystal clear in our minds that the last time we looked at this issue, our policy was not to support physician-assisted suicide,” 
“I don’t think there’s a sense of urgency that we have to change our position or run scared. When physicians don’t know what to do, they consult. . . . And they make decisions at that time. This is not a, I hate to use the term, life-or-death situation that we have to make a decision today.”
Dr Louis Francescutti
In response to a question about the response of physicians, Francescutti stated:

“As it currently stands, it’s illegal in Canada and until that changes, physicians are of the viewpoint it’s illegal and we’re going to follow the laws of the land.”
In response to the consensus that the CMA experienced related to supporting palliative care Francescutti stated:
“we need to do better as a profession to train our medical students and residents and doctors what palliative care is and the importance of referring patients early to palliative care teams. … It’s a bit of a national embarrassment when our veterinary schools teach more about palliative care than the physicians who’ll be taking care of you.”   
“We need a culture change and the first culture change is in our medical schools.”

Francescutti then stated:
"Educating existing physicians about the need for earlier referral of patients to palliative care is among CMA priorities following release of the report, as is working with provincial governments “to allocate the resources that are required” to significantly improve palliative care services."
Francescutti then predicted that palliative care will be front and centre in the next election.

Francescutti also stated that the CMA has requested "friend of the court" status in the upcoming Supreme Court of Canada, Carter case, a case that seeks to decriminalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

Canada's federal government and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition have been working, in
the courts, to oppose the decriminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

- Canadian Medical Association (CMA) says no to euthanasia.
- CMA delegates oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

- Doctors oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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