Monday, November 16, 2020

Dr Ramona Coelho Speaks on Conscience Rights.

Dr Ramona Coelho is a family physician from London, Ontario who cares for people with disabilities and marginalized persons.

We're in a very difficult situation in Ontario. Our College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has a policy that mandates that we don't follow our consciences, that we make referrals and arrange interviews for medical aid in dying even if we don't feel that this is a good thing for the patient.

So the government is saying now that I have to check my conscience at the door, and whatever is legal, I need to offer my patient. However, there are things that are legal now, in Canada, that I do not and cannot ever accept as good for my patient. The Hippocratic Oath of "Do No Harm" makes me, and drives me, to always do good for my patients.

And so my patients who are very vulnerable, you know, there's sometimes an education issue. Sometimes they don't have housing. I have homeless patients. They need everything I have. Everything good that I have in my toolbox.

They don't need death. When they come to me with their death wishes, they don't want to hear, yes, that's one of the things in my toolbox. No, they want to hear everything good in my toolbox.

And without my conscience rights, the government is saying that I need to have death in my toolbox.

So I love Canada. It is amazing that all these religions, all these different kinds of ideologies, but we live together, side-by-side, and peacefully. And the truth is we have much more in common than we don't. And when we have fundamental conflicts about our deeply held beliefs, the question is, how do we continue living peacefully side-by-side? Does one group just kind of walk over the other? I don't think that that's very Canadian.

Finding a balance of conscience rights, finding a system that accommodates patients, is Canadian.

During COVID-19, I went through great lengths, as public health asked us to, to protect my patients, and I was happy to do so, but with medical administered death, a lethal injection for my ill and disabled makes no sense to me in light of the precautions I was taking to save their lives.

So I continue to put myself out there, but if we don't get our conscience rights with the laws and the expansions and the changes, I don't think that I can continue to do this for my patients.

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

No comments: