Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

Euthanasia in Canada: a Cautionary Tale

World Medical Journal
No. 3, September, 2018 Vol. 64

Rene Leiva, Margaret M. Cottle, Catherine Ferrier, Sheila Rutledge Harding, Timothy Lau, Terence McQuiston, John F. Scott*

World Medical Journal

We are Canadian physicians who are dismayed and concerned by the impact  – on patients, on doctors, on medical practice – of the universal implementation, in our country, of euthanasia defined as medical "care" to which all citizens are entitled (subject to the satisfaction of ambiguous and arbitrary qualifying criteria). Many of us feel so strongly about the difficulty of practicing under newly prescribed constraints that we may be forced, for reasons of personal integrity and professional conscience, to emigrate or to withdraw from practice altogether. All of us are deeply worried about the future of medicine in Canada. We believe this transformation will not only be detrimental to patient safety, but also damaging to that all-important perception by the public  – and by physicians themselves – that we are truly a profession dedicated to healing alone. Thus, we are alarmed by attempts to convince the World Medical Association (WMA) to change its policies against physician participation in euthanasia and assisted suicide. . . Continue reading in the World Medical Journal


(Institutional affiliations are provided for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement by the institutions.)

Rene Leiva, MDCM, CCFP (COE/PC), FCFC Family Medicine, Palliative Care, Care of the Elderly Bruyere Continuing Care Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Margaret M Cottle, MD, CCFP (PC) Palliative Care, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Catherine Ferrier, MD, CCFP (COE), FCFP, Family Medicine, Care of the Elderly McGill University Health Centre Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, McGill University Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Sheila Rutledge Harding, MD, MA, FRCPC Hematology, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Professor, University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Timothy Lau, MD, MSc, FRCPC Geriatric Psychiatry, Royal Ottawa Hospital Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Terence McQuiston, MD, Family Medicine (special interest in Geriatrics) Donway Place Retirement Residence Toronto, Ontario, Canada

John F Scott, MD, MDiv, Palliative Care, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Acknowledgements and Endorsements

The authors want to express our deepest thanks for insights, edits and support received from many of our colleagues. The final article has been explicitly endorsed by the following Canadian physicians:

Balfour M Mount
Anita Au
Sasha Bernatsky
Thomas Bouchard
Julia Bright
Myra Butler
Luigi Castagna
Julia Cataudella
Cyril Chan
Luke Chen
Joyce Choi
Andre Constantin
Alana Cormier
David D’Souza
Ed Dubland
Abraham Fuks
Dominique Garrel
Richard Haber
Ronald E Hiller
Neil Hilliard
Todd C Howlett
Evelyne Huglo
K. Issigonis
Andre Jakubow
Will Johnston
Lynn Kealey
Nuala P Kenny
Anthony T Kerigan
Edmond Kyrillos
Joseph M Lam
Renata Leong
Constant H. Leung
Henry Lew
Andrea H. S. Loewen
Jean-Noel Mahy
François Mai
Karen MacDonald
Karen Mason
John R McLeod
J Stephen Mitchinson
Ibrahim Mohamed
José A. Morais
Louis Morissette
Laurence Normand-Rivest
Liette Pilon
Roger Roberge
Cameron Ross
Paul Saba
Kevin Sclater
William F. Sullivan
Vanessa Sweet
Sephora Tang
Mark Tsai
Stephen Tsai
James Warkentin
Maria Wolfs
Paul Yong