Monday, November 22, 2021

Canadian Psychiatric Association's dangerous position on euthanasia (MAiD)

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) promulgated a dangerous position on (MAiD) euthanasia on February 10, 2020. Many leading members of the CPA stated that the MAiD position was not openly debated by the organizations membership.

Link to the CPA Position Statement on Medical Aid in Dying.

This position is even more concerning now that the federal government passed Bill C-7 allowing euthanasia for mental illness alone. The federal government appointed a committee to establish protocols for approving euthanasia for mental illness, a committee that is comprised of many of the same people who devised the dangerous CPA position on euthanasia for mental illness.

The most concerning parts of the CPA statement:

(2) Patients with a psychiatric illness should not be discriminated against solely on the basis of their disability, and should have available the same options regarding MAiD as available to all patients.
Section 2 suggests that patients with a psychiatric illness should have euthanasia made available to them in the same manner as patients with a physical condition or terminal illness. The problem is that there is no evidence that psychiatric illnesses are irremediable.
(3) Psychiatrists will be mindful of the medical ethical principles as they relate to MAiD. They should not allow personal opinion or bias to sway patients who wish to consider MAiD as an option for addressing irremediable conditions.
Section 3 ignores that patients with mental illness may be asking for euthanasia based on suicidal ideation that is related to their condition. A psychiatrist may not accept that the patient has an irremediable condition, nonetheless, section 3 pressures the psychiatrist not to intervene in the best interests of the patient.
(4) While psychiatrists may choose not to be involved with the provision of MAiD, patients requesting MAiD must be provided with information regarding available MAiD resources and the referral process.
Section 4 overrides the conscience rights of psychiatrists who are not willing to kill their patients, by essentially requiring them to refer patients to a psychiatrist who will kill their patient.

The CPA Position Statement on MAiD fails to mention the importance of suicide prevention, the effects of suicide contagion, and the risk that MAiD for mental illness will pose for marginalized and vulnerable peoples. The current CPA position shows a profound disregard for the most disadvantaged.

Further articles on this topic:

  • CCHR condemns euthanasia of mental health patients (Link).  
  • Providing or facilitating suicide is a betrayal of the fundamental ethos of psychiatry (Link).  
  • No to euthanasia for mental health. A personal story (Link).  
  • Should psychiatrists assist the suicide of their patients, even if it is legal? (Link). 
  • Mental health expert opposes euthanasia for mental illness based on personal experience (Link)  
  • Canada passes Bill C-7 permitting euthanasia for mental illness (Link).

1 comment:

t,ish1 said...

Such a foolish thing to do! Purely evil.