Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't give doctors euthanasia powers.

Yesterday, the National Post published an edited version of my letter that they titled: Don't give doctors euthanasia powers. 

My letter responded to the article: That terrifies us: Canadian doctors get virtually no training on handling a patients desire to die.

Alex Schadenberg
Don't give doctors euthanasia powers.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

This article notes that "Most doctors finish their degrees ... with virtually no instruction on how to deal with death generally, let alone patients who ask for help with suicide." 

I believe that between the lines, this article is suggesting that if euthanasia were legal, end-of-life care would improve. Instead, legalizing euthanasia in Canada would give physicians the right, in law, to cause the death of their patients by lethal injection.

The article focuses on a few bad cases while suggesting that good end-of-life care can lead to a good death. 

When euthanasia becomes part of a medical system it leads to new ethical problems and unlike most medical errors, the abuse of euthanasia causes death.

In Belgium, where euthanasia is legal, independent studies have found that 32% of assisted deaths are done without request. These deaths are hidden from the statistics since another study found that 47% of the assisted deaths were not reported.

Considering all the difficulties that we are experiencing within Canada's medical system, do we really want our doctors to gain the right, in law, to cause our death?

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