Monday, August 17, 2009

Euthanasia In Quebec

MONTREAL, QUE: AUGUST 14, 2009 -- Palliative care doctor Patrick Vinay at the Notre Dame hospital palliative care ward Friday, August 14, 2009 in Montreal. About 75% of Quebecers support the move by the Quebec College of Physicians to legalize euthanasia. End-of-life experts, however, say support is coming from healthy people. Many of the dying sick are hanging on to life until the last breath. Photograph by: John Kenney, The Gazette

Euthanasia Is Already Being Practised, Doctor Says -- Montreal Gazette

'We have to stop hiding our heads in the sand'

"The last enemy to be destroyed is death."

1 Corinthians 15:26

Better care for the terminally ill, the right to die with dignity, the desire to be in control at the end of one's life - on all these points, Canada's father of palliative care, Dr. Balfour Mount, sides with euthanasia advocates.

However, the great divide lies in the solutions to end-of-life issues, said Mount, founding director of the Royal Victoria Hospital palliative care service and emeritus professor of medicine at McGill University.

"Should there be medical assistance for the dying? Absolutely," he said.

"These are the sickest people in our health-care system."

Read more ....

Update: A matter of life and death -- Montreal Gazette

My Comment: My father had a stroke in 1997. He was bedridden for 8 long years .... unable to talk .... paralyzed on his right side. It was very difficult for all of us .... but we endured and when my father passed away .... as I told my mother .... we are now free.

1 comment:

Ethos said...

For assisted suicide but against voluntary euthanasia !

About the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide, one must distinguish between the legal, ethical and religious arguments. One cannot just say without qualification that there is no difference between the two : in one case it is the patient himself who take his own life (assisted suicide), whereas in euthanasia it is the physician. One must first specify on what grounds (legal, ethical or religious) he draws is arguments. In the field of ethics, one can reasonably argue that there is no difference between the two. However, in the legal field, there is a difference between euthanasia (so-called first-degree murder with a minimum sentence of life imprisonment) and assisted suicide (which is not a murder or homicide and which the maximum sentence is 14 years of imprisonment). In the case of assisted suicide, the cause of death is the patient's suicide and assisted suicide is somehow a form of complicity (infraction of complicity). But since the attempted suicide was decriminalized in Canada in 1972 (and in 1810 in France), this complicity (infraction of abetting suicide) makes no sense because this infraction should only exist if there is a main offence. But the suicide (or attempted suicide) is no longer a crime since 1972. So, logically, there cannot be any form of complicity in suicide. The offense of assisted suicide is a nonsense. Judge McLachlin said :

« In summary, the law draws a distinction between suicide and assisted suicide. The latter is criminal, the former is not. The effect of the distinction is to prevent people like Sue Rodriguez from exercising the autonomy over their bodies available to other people. The distinction, to borrow the language of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, "is difficult to justify on grounds of logic alone": Working Paper 28, Euthanasia, Aiding Suicide and Cessation of Treatment (1982), at p. 53. In short, it is arbitrary »

In contrast, voluntary euthanasia is considered a first-degree murder. The doctor kills the patient (at his request) by compassion to relieve his pain and suffering. There's a violation of one of the most fundamental ethical and legal principles : the prohibition to kill a human being. Our democratic societies are based on the principle that no one can remove a person's life. The end of the social contract is "the preservation of the contractors" and the protection of life has always founded the social fabric. We've abolished the death penalty in 1976 (and in 1981 in France) in response to the « broader public concerns about the taking of life by the state » (see United States v. Burns, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 283) ! Even if voluntary euthanasia (at the request of the patient) may, under certain circumstances, be justified ethically, we cannot ipso facto concluded that euthanasia should be legalized or decriminalized. The legalization or decriminalization of such an act requires that we take into account the social consequences of the legalization or decriminalization. The undeniable potential of abuse (especially for the weak and vulnerable who are unable to express their will) and the risk of erosion of the social ethos by the recognition of this practice are factors that must be taken into account. The risk of slippery slope from voluntary euthanasia (at the request of the competent patient) to non-voluntary euthanasia (without the consent of the incompetent patient) or involuntary (without regard to or against the consent of the competent patient) are real as confirmed by the Law Reform Commission of Canada which states :

"There is, first of all, a real danger that the procedure developed to allow the death of those who are a burden to themselves may be gradually diverted from its original purpose and eventually used as well to eliminate those who are a burden to others or to society. There is also the constant danger that the subject's consent to euthanasia may not really be a perfectly free and voluntary act ».

Eric Folot