MONTREAL, Oct. 30, 2015 – The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, the Living with Dignity network and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition are coming together for a one day conference on Saturday October 31, 2015 at the Best Western Ville Marie hotel, to discuss our common concerns and directions.
The Quebec euthanasia experiment is scheduled to begin on December 10. The vast majority of physicians around the world have always rejected euthanasia, above all because it is a public safety hazard: it can drive people to throw away years of their lives and provide caregivers and heirs with enormous power. Although it gives an illusion of control, the option of euthanasia will undoubtedly erode medical diligence and creativity in the medical care of people both chronically disabled and acutely disabled by illness.
Most patients fear suffering at the end of life. This has always been the case. But we must find a less dangerous option than the constant availability of “death on demand” to address these fears. In extreme cases, i.e. for the small minority of patients for whom other options are not completely effective, palliative sedation can answer all symptom control problems.
Quebec has the only law in the world which attempts to coerce doctors to refer patients for euthanasia. Such pointless authoritarianism, of which we already had a taste in September, is a dangerous precedent which must be formally rejected.
From a logistical point of view patients do not need help from their treating physician to access euthanasia: the government could easily set up a system of self-referral to voluntarily licensed doctors who are willing to practice euthanasia. This would avoid trampling on the professional judgment and conscience of the rest of the medical profession.
We reject the concept that euthanasia is any kind of health care. We reject bullying physicians into referring their patients for death. And we reject the concept that intentional death is a solution to human distress.
Dr Catherine Ferrier – President, Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia
Dr Will Johnston – Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – BC
Dr Margaret Cottle – Vice President, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Dr Marc Beauchamp – President, Living with Dignity Network.