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Dismay at a seismic shift in medical practice

By Douglas T Bridge, Sinead M Donnelly and Frank P Brennan, Medical Journal of Australia, 4 March 2019

As the peak physician organisation in Australasia, we urge the Royal Australasian College of Physicians to make an unambiguous statement to the general public, the medical profession and politicians that EAS is not part of health care; EAS should not require involvement of doctors; and EAS creates irreconcilable conflicts with our responsibilities to our patients.

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Understanding freedom of conscience

by Brian Bird, Policy Options, 2 August 2017

Conscience is about living in alignment with our moral judgments, regardless of where they come from.

If moral freedom is what freedom of conscience protects, why we protect this freedom boils down to the fact that conscience touches on core moral commitments that sustain our identity and integrity — who I am and what I stand for.  Professionals faced with a crisis of conscience have two unattractive choices: resign or violate these commitments. If they choose the latter, they commit a harmful act of self-betrayal.  The concept of “moral injury” has been studied in the context of military personnel who return home after committing acts on the battlefield that violated their moral compass. Moral injury can also occur in less harrowing circumstances.  A physician in Ontario, Natalia Novosedlik,  revealed in an interview that she violated her conscience by making an effective referral — a decision that, after the fact, caused a “really internally divisive experience” for her.

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Old age alone shouldn’t be considered a justification for physician-assisted death

by Tom Koch, The Globe and Mail, 09 April 2018

“Good treatment addresses our fears, it does not embrace them. It helps people through and past crisis points. That won’t happen when age is considered a terminal diagnosis, however, when physician-assisted death is the go-to answer.”

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Tom Koch is a Toronto-based consultant in gerontology and chronic care. He has written extensively about aging, disability, elder care and medical ethics.

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Landmark Canadian court case proves euthanasia safeguards aren’t there

20 March 2018

“The current landmark court case in Canada again reinforces the fact that laws legalising euthanasia cannot provide safeguards that work,” says Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary.

Roger Foley has cerebellar ataxia, a terminal and incurable severe brain disorder that limits movement and leaves him unable to perform basic tasks independently. He wants to be able to live at home, but has instead been offered only two options: a forced discharge from hospital or medically assisted death. Because of this, Mr Foley is suing the hospital, several health agencies, and the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada.

“The Canadians haven’t had their law for very long and yet already we can see that the idea of choice is a myth – real choices are not available for patients to be assisted to live,” says Dr Thirkell. “This is happening in the same country that David Seymour calls “advanced” with a law that he points to as an example to be followed.”

“Mr Foley’s case highlights the substantial dangers that people with disability and serious chronic and life-limiting medical conditions will face if Mr Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is passed.”

Under the End of Life Choice Bill, it is not necessary for a patient to have their basic needs met before seeking euthanasia, and there is no obligation to ensure real alternatives are explored; the patient must simply be “aware” of them.

“The Bill targets people who may have complex health needs, and who rely on our health system for care. We should be providing the highest standard of care and support to live, which meets those needs.”

“True patient-centred care enables the best living possible, personalised to the patient where appropriate medical expertise and care is properly provided. That’s what palliative and hospice care does and that’s why palliative and hospice care should be invested in.”

“Mr Foley wants to live and the irony is that it is the availability of legal euthanasia and assisted suicide that marks for him the end of any choice for life.”

The Care Alliance stands in solidarity with Mr Foley in his action to be assisted to live to, as he says, “build my circle of care that works with me”.

END

Published at Scoop NZ.

For all media enquires please contact Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary

secretary@carealliance.org.nz

027 563-5086

 

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Doctor support for assisted suicide drops radically after legalization

by HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Prior to the legislation being passed, 48% of doctors surveyed indicated a willingness to participate in assisted suicide, with a further 30% saying they would do so with certain conditions being met, making a total of 78% of doctors supporting legalised killing.  After the legislation passed, these numbers inverted, with most doctors admitting that they were unable to stomach the idea of killing their patients:

77% refused to actively participate in their patients’ medical-aid-in-dying process, all of them using the conscientious objection clause, thus requiring a substitute physician be identified so as to provide the intervention required.

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Health Canada says more than 2,000 medically assisted deaths since legalization

by Andrew Russell, Global News, 7 October 2017

Health Canada said the number of assisted deaths has been rising, with 803 assisted deaths reported in the first six months after it became legal compared to 1,179 deaths that occurred in the following six months from January to June 2017.

This is consistent with other jurisdictions around the world that allow some form of assisted dying, including Oregon (72 per cent), Belgium (69 per cent) and the Netherlands (71 per cent.)

And while the majority of cases, 150, involved people aged 56 to 85, there were 18 cases of people aged 18 to 45.

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