Sunday, November 15, 2020

Dr Leonie Herx: Without my conscience rights, I cannot be a good physician for my patients.

Dr Leonie Herx, the past President of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and chair of the division of palliative medicine at Queen’s University.

I've been practising palliative medicine for 12 years.

Very easily, conscience is made to be about religion when actually its about my professional integrity as a trained physician.

I have 17 years of university experience and I have accompanied thousands of people as they journey through serious illness and often through their death and bereavement, I have accompanied families. And that expertise is dismissed by this forced participation in something that I'm required to do as opposed to me to be able to use my professional judgement and make a recommendation to my patient that I think is in their best interest.

So I'm no longer allowed to have that professional integrity and to be able to follow what I think as a physician is in their best interest and to recommend my expertise around how we can address their suffering and so it's really prevented me from having trusting relationships with many of my patients.

Almost all of the patients I work with in palliative care have a reasonably foreseeable death and so with the new law, the removal of the 10 day waiting period from time of request to receiving MAiD means that my patients, almost all of them if they were to express a desire to die, could be offered MAiD or request MAiD and die that day.

So, in essence their worst day becomes their last day without any opportunity for healing.

So, without my conscience rights, I cannot do the job that I've been called to do in medicine and be a good physician for my patients.

Links to articles from Dr's Leonie Herx and Ramona Coehlo

1 comment:

gordon friesen said...

Thank you so much for that, Dr. Herx.

Hopefully it will be possible to push back on this with action which is quantitatively effective in both the political and economic forums.

Very simply : You identify yourself as a doctor who is dedicated to the life (only) of your patients. I identify myself as a patient who requires, desires, and at need is ready to pay for the care of such a physician.

Hopefully, over time, this process of self-identification will lead to the realization that normal doctors do not want to kill patients, and normal patients do not want to die.

(which up until a few years ago would have seemed too obvious to even state)

Best Regards,

Gordon Friesen, Montreal