Friday, December 16, 2016

The disaster of euthanasia in Québec

This letter was originally published in the French newspaper La Presse, on December 10, 2016.

Dr Nicholas Newman, orthopedic surgeon, Montreal

At the beginning of November, physicians from one of Montreal’s hospitals received a letter from the Professional Services Directorate, in which they were told of the “need [for] additional physicians for medically assisted death.”

Already, the friendly tone of the letter asking for the “help” of refractory physicians for euthanasia markedly contrasts the political discourse of the past months. However, the pleading tone of the letter has especially revealed the inaccuracy of many accepted ideas by clearly demonstrating the disaster caused by euthanasia in Québec.

Firstly, the management acknowledges in its letter that there are only “a few physicians who have given their consent to participate in this process,” whereas popular opinion attributes the refusal to participate to only a minority group. We can therefore conclude that, in fact, the reality is the exact opposite of this prejudice; the majority of doctors are still opposed to any participation in euthanasia.

Incidentally, when it was a question of “subduing refractory physicians,” we now know that this was a threat to the majority of doctors.

Subsequently, we see in the letter the consequence of a year of euthanasia in Quebec, all the while political discourse assures us again that everything is going “very, very, very well.” During this first year, the focus was placed on accessibility to this exceptional measure in exceptional cases.

However, the (predictable) result of such an approach now puts us in the throes of a growing surge of euthanasia – used “more and more regularly in our circles” as per the words of the letter. Paradoxically the solution envisioned by the directorate to remedy this irresponsible behaviour would implicate the participation of “refractory” physicians.

Finally, the letter reminds us that euthanasia will never be a trivial gesture, although much effort has been made to make it a socially acceptable “procedure.” By recalling that the “Interdisciplinary Support Group (ISG) assures you of its support in the process,” the directorate shows that the real exception in this gesture falsely called “care” lies in the seriousness of its impact on the physicians who practice it.

In conclusion, we, the undersigned physicians, wish to reaffirm that we will not participate in this social drama which does nothing but add suffering to suffering. We are always of the opinion that the answer lies in quality care, and in wider access to palliative care accompanied by human support, respectful of the person.

Dr Nicholas Newman, orthopedic surgeon, Montreal

With the support of the following signatories:

Evelyne Huglo, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Richard Haber, MD, Associate professor of pediatrics, MUHC

Michel Brouillard, MD, General physician, Rouyn-Noranda

Tommy Aumond-Beaupré, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Jean-Pierre Beauchef, MD, Endocrinology, Greenfield Park

Mark Basik, MD, General Surgeon, Montreal

Jacques R. Rouleau, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC, FACC, Cardiology, University Institute of Cardiology and Pulmonology, University of Laval.

Mathieu Gazdovich, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Liette Pilon, MD, Family physician, Montreal and Rive-Sud de Montreal

Renata Sava, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Simon Wing, MD, Endocrinology, Montreal

Catherine Ferrier, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Michel R. Morissette, MD, Retired physician

Dr. Nathalie de Grandpré, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Melanie Ghobril, Resident family physician, Université de Montreal

Marie Jetté-Grenier, MD, Retired

Guy Bouchard, MD, General practitioner and Occupational medicine, retired

Odile Michaud, MD, Family physician, Otterburn Park

José A. Morais, MD, FRCPC, Geriatrics, Montreal

Abdallah Dallal, MD, Family physician, Hôtel-Dieu de Saint-Jérôme

Sonia Calouche, MD, Psychiatrist, Saint-Eustache

Bernard H. Doray, MD, Retired pediatrician

Michel Masson, MD, Retired pediatrician, Quebec

Judith Trudeau, MD, Rheumatology, Lévis

Céline Devaux, MD, Hematology, Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne

Pierrette Girard, MD, Orthopedist, Clinique médicale McDermot

Louis Martel, MD, Family physician, Trois-Rivères

Ibrahim Mohamed, MD, Neonatal pediatrician at Sainte-Justine Hospital, Montreal

Jacques Beaudoin, MD, Cardiology, Quebec

Julien Marc-Aurèle, MD, Retired

Katia Khoukaz, MD, Family physician, Montreal

Daniel Viens, MD, Internal medicine, Drummoondville

Louise Morissette, MD, FRCP

Rosaire Vaillancourt, MD, FRCSC, Thoracic surgery, IUCPQ, Quebec

Suzanne Labelle, MD, Family physician, Laval

1 comment:

Sam Nigro said...

by Copyright c Samuel A. Nigro, MD, January 2015

If abortion, assisted suicide, & euthanasia (AS,E,A) are legal, they should be realized and implemented as LEGAL procedures and not "medical" procedures except only insofar as there may be a rare complication requiring medical response. As LEGAL, not "medical," procedures, every Justice Center or equivalent should have its " AS,E,A" section where all these procedures are to be done by those in the legal system. That is, judges, prosecutors, politicians, and attorneys in that Justice Center's sphere of involvement would be required to rotate performing the procedures (on a full average week load basis?) so that income will be reasonably distributed. Clearly, the procedures have been confirmed as safe, simple, easily done with low probability of complications especially for assisted suicide and euthanasia. Abortion is perhaps the most complicated, but anyone who knows how to have sex, could easily master the machines for early abortions consistent with good legal practice. Easily accessible (almost "drive through") clean, comfortable, warm, quiet, relaxing rooms with good social service like attorneys offering support and assistance while the judges et al demonstrate the acme of their legal powers). All procedures are to be routine courses in all law schools--(only 4 days would likely be required--one day for AS & E; 2 days for Abortion), with one day of observing practice at the Justice Center. Naturally, those with conscientious objection would be excused, but teachers at local law schools would be required to perform AS,E,A to help implement justice at the Justice Center as well as get their share of the income, i.e., Legal ethics require equal opportunity--the Supreme Court justices in Washington, D.C. should not be deprived of these opportunities. (These ideas occurred to me as I, with remorse, watched "Auschwitz memorializing"--clearly, Auschwitz was a "legally authorized" and not a "medical" institution. To help remember, perhaps the AS,E,A section could be called the "Auschwitz Memory Unit" at each Justice Center?).
Actually, CREATED EQUAL and the RIGHT TO LIFE require there be the RIGHT TO NATURAL DEATH, otherwise both "created equal" and "right to life" are meaningless. Whoever has been "created equal" has the right to his own natural death. He also has the obligation for that natural death for himself and all others. He had no right to ask any one to take his life or prevent his natural death. LIFE is a right to live and die a NATURAL DEATH and a duty to respect life.

As abortion mentality metastasizes through a culture, killing becomes more frequent in any way possible. A subliminal, "killing is okay" seeps into all and everything from school boys to the confused and disturbed intoxicated by the power of lethal force. The basic principle of "Life" as a right and duty has been subverted to no longer meaning "natural death." Without the meaning of "natural death," the "right to life" is meaningless.