Thursday, May 23, 2019

Québec palliative care physicians continue to resist euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The Montreal Gazette published a pro-euthanasia article by health reporter Aaron Derfel arguing that palliative care physicians continue to resist euthanasia in Québec.

Based on data from the recent Québec euthanasia report, Derfel reports that the rate of euthanasia varies based on where the patient is located. Derfel states:

In Montreal, the number of cases of physician-assisted dying is seven times higher in the east end than on the West Island, suggesting possible resistance by some doctors who are opposed to the practice for ideological or religious reasons.
Derfel reports Dr. Georges L’Espérance, president of the Association québécoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité, as blaming mostly palliative-care specialists for the opposition to euthanasia. L’Espérance reportedly said:
“Certain palliative-care specialists do perform assisted dying, especially in the regions, as well as some in Montreal. However, a majority — especially at the MUHC, McGill and CHUM — are rather opposed to assisted dying.”

Dr. Balfour Mount is credited with pioneering palliative care in North America, founding a unit in 1973 at the former Royal Victoria Hospital (now part of the MUHC) that was dedicated to easing the pain and suffering of the terminally ill. Today, some palliative-care specialists argue that administering a lethal infusion at the patient’s request is against their medical ethics.
L’Espérance, who is a promoter of euthanasia, considers euthanasia to be part of a continuum that starts with palliative care.

Derfel completes the article by quoting Dr Michel Bureau, the Chair of the Québec euthanasia commission, stating that the number of euthanasia deaths continue to rise and the resistance will fade.

Derfel's pro-euthanasia article negates the truth that where patients receive good pain and symptom management, they don't seek death by lethal injection. Derfel also negates the fact that, according to the aims of palliative care, it focuses on caring for people not killing people.

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