Friday, July 8, 2016

Canada has gone MAiD!

This article was published on the HOPE Australia website on July 7, 2016.

Paul Russell
By Paul Russell
The Director of Hope Australia

We've seen many times before how those pushing for euthanasia and assisted suicide have created all sorts of euphemisms to disguise and to soften attitudes away from the natural repulsion at the thought of a doctor killing a patient or in helping them to suicide, to something more benign.

Medically Assisted Dying is one of those fudges. Or, as the Canadians are now calling it, 'Medical Assistance in Dying'.

And when the various bureaucracies begin to deal with their processes, procedures and documentation, as is often the case, they will look for an acronym. Though it seems to me to be quite apposite to use MAD, it simply will not do.

And so MAID is now being used on official documents. Even that is evocative of a helper or assistant paid to help make you dead. But that is it. Official documents now refer to MAID. At least it will save on paper and it is much shorter than: 'Making your patient dead - a step by step guide.'

If that were not enough to make you shake your head in wonder, the Government of Ontario wants doctors to register their interest in helping out. The Ontario College of Family Physicians explains:
"The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) launched a clinical referral service to support physicians and nurse practitioners. The service is intended to support clinicians who are not able to refer within his or her own professional networks or through their local hospital."
(Compassionate Community Care (CCC) will help you, if you, a friend or a family member feel threatened or pressured into euthanasia or assisted suicide or if you are concerned about an issue related to medical treatment or care. Call CCC at: 1-855-675-8749). 

Is it just me or do others have problems associating a ministry for 'Long-Term Care' with the abrupt and permanent ending of care?

There's the obligatory hot line number that doctors and nurses can call and a form you can fill out and email. (Don't forget, nurses, under the Canadian Law, can also 'do the deed'.) The idea is that a doctor or nurse can call to get that all-important second opinion or, indeed, to find a colleague who is willing to give the needle or prescribe the lethal dose.

I wonder if the Minister of Health will issue any kind of notice of such registration. Here again the new acronym works. After all, I can't imagine any doctor wanting a certificate on his or her office wall saying: 'MAD certified'!

But why is it that the Ontario Government is pitching this registration as some sort of public 'service' to 'support' clinicians? The answer lies in the fact that the new Canadian law does not allow a clinician to refuse to be involved in making their patient dead. If they have any objection they 'must' refer and the law says that it must be an 'effective referral'; in other words, to a clinician who will do the deed.

The policy document of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario puts it this way:
"Where a physician declines to provide medical assistance in dying for reasons of conscience or religion, the physician must not abandon the patient. An effective referral must be provided. An effective referral means a referral made in good faith, to a non-objecting, available, and accessible physician, nurse practitioner or agency. The referral must be made in a timely manner to allow the patient to access medical assistance in dying. Patients must not be exposed to adverse clinical outcomes due to delayed referrals."
By what leap of logic does a refusal by a doctor become synonymous with abandoning the patient? This is a smack in the face to good doctors everywhere and turns every alternative, once the patient has asked to be made dead, into bad medicine, or 'adverse clinical outcomes'. Moreover, it invites the conclusion that being made dead is a good clinical outcome. Hippocrates will be rolling in his grave!

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