Newsletter, November 2017

Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia

Newsletter, November 2017
Improve care. Make Euthanasia unimaginable.

Dear friends,

One of the most powerful reasons why people oppose euthanasia concerns the enormous significance of taking a human life. Doctors have historically made a solemn and specific professional commitment to respect the lives of those entrusted to them. But the Hippocratic Oath is in fact somewhat redundant, because the universal code of civilized human conduct, from the beginning of history — written and oral — is founded upon a general prohibition against killing. Whether in the religious formulation, “Thou shalt not kill” or in the first written codes of Mesopotamia (Hammurabi) 4000 years ago, this theme serves as a constant backdrop to the evolution of human social behaviour, culminating in our modern concept of physical security as an essential Human Right. (continue reading editorial comment)


Catherine Ferrier


There will be no newsletter in December. We take this opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas, happy Hannukah, joy in all your celebrations this holiday season, and a happy and peaceful new year.


Doctors’ voices

  • Dr. Luke Savage in the Edmonton Journal on November 7. Dying naturally allows terminal patients time for resolution and growth.
  • Dr. Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association

In the news

  • The freedom of conscience bill was adopted in Manitoba on November 10 after a vigorous debate in the standing committee.
  • Secobarbital is back on the Canadian market and is being promoted as an assisted suicide drug.
  • 42 Belgian psychiatrists, psychologists and academics published an open letter calling for a national debate on euthanasia and mental illness.
  • The number of people euthanized in the Netherlands this year is set to exceed 7,000 – a 67% rise from five years ago.

If you have experiences related to our work that you would like to share with your colleagues, please send it to


From the trenches

Living with Dignity sounds the alarm on euthanasia in Quebec.

Another survey of caregivers (L’Association des proches aidants de la Capitale-Nationale) shows support for euthanasia, but above all, an unbearable level of stress and concerns about abuse.

Commentary by Brigitte Breton in Le Soleil: “Le Québec doit trouver ses propres solutions et les financer pour que jamais l’aide médicale à mourir ne devienne l’unique répit possible pour les proches aidants.” “Quebec must find and finance its own solutions, so medical aid in dying never becomes the only possible respite for family caregivers.”

Bilingual conference held on October 17 in Montreal entitled “Don’t waste your death”. Speakers included Aubert Martin of Living with Dignity, Rose Deangelis of The West Island Palliative Care Residence, and Mgr Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal.

Here’s what palliative care can offer someone with ALS

Here’s what’s happening in the US

What’s it like to wake up the day after you planned to die? A disabled Scottish man delayed his trip to Switzerland and death, after a stranger heard his story on TV and told him there were alternatives.

Australian lawyer Rachel Wong says women are more at risk of dying by euthanasia.

Australian ambulance technicians take a little detour to give a terminally ill patient her last wish.

If you have experiences related to our work that you would like to share with your colleagues, please send it to



The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research has launched its new website: The Institute conducts and disseminates research on topics connected to human life in its biological, social and ethical dimensions.

The Art of Dying Well: website created by the Catholic Church of England and Wales. Might be helpful.



The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia is planning a one-day conference on March 24, 2018 in Montreal, entitled Improving care; Preventing euthanasia. There will be sessions to help physicians and other health professionals improve their palliative care skills and their approach to depression and other psychological suffering, a panel discussion on caring for patients who want to die, and more.

We hope you will join us for our first major conference. Mark your calendar! More details will follow shortly.


In the literature

BMJ Open, October 1, 2017. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide not meeting due care criteria in the Netherlands: a qualitative review of review committee judgements.

BMC Medical Ethics, October 27, 2017. This moral coil: a cross-sectional survey of Canadian medical student attitudes toward medical assistance in dying. 88% in favour of the Carter decision: very worrisome for the future of ethical medicine. Of course it was done at a single school.

National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Summer 2017: Broken to the Hope : The Right to Life, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Act. Canada’s law is in direct violation of our commitment to protect Canadians with disabilities.

If you come across articles that could be of interest to colleagues in the Alliance please send the reference to



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