A Christian nursing home run by the Salvation Army in Switzerland has been told that it must either allow assisted suicide despite its religious beliefs, or lose its charitable status.
The nursing home mounted a legal challenge against the country’s new assisted suicide rules which require charities taking care of the sick or elderly and to offer assisted suicide when a patient asks for it, Catholic Herald reports. But a Swiss court ruled against the nursing home earlier this month. . .[Full text]
The Canadian euthanasia issue marks a time of upheaval in medical ethics and the healthcare system which could be compared to events a century ago in Russia.
The Bolsheviks were not preordained to take over from the previous government, but their ruthlessness and aggression were unmatched. They demonized competing ideas and purged the social structures. They made their own laws. Nothing was allowed to stand. All was justified for public good, the good of the Proletariat.
People who would be ignored if they insisted that all welfare recipients be required to think alike, or that all Canada Council grants be used to create the same work of art, grab attention by bullying Catholic caregivers and hospitals which, like all hospitals, could not survive without tax dollars. . . [Full text]
deVeber Institute Annual Public Lecture with Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto
In the wake of the legalization of physician-assisted death, conscientious objection in medicine has become a matter of considerable controversy. Some bioethicists have called for severe restrictions on the physician’s capacity to object to patient requests on ethical grounds, and some Colleges of Physicians have enacted such restrictions.
This issue raises fundamentally important questions: what is the basis of the physician’s professional obligations? To what extent is the physician obligated to honour patient requests? What is the goal and purpose of medical practice? How can we resolve differences in ethical beliefs in a deeply pluralistic society? This controversy engages contested ethical, political and religious matters and promises to influence patient care and the practice of medicine in Canada in coming years. This lecture aims to chart a course through these muddied waters.
On Oct. 23, we celebrated our annual White Mass for those in the healing professions of medicine and health care at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
As we know, Christians have been doctors and nurses from the earliest days of the Church. Before Christianity, the healing arts were practiced by self-taught individuals who traveled from town to town. Christians invented the hospital and were the first to establish medicine as a profession, with standards for training and care and a commitment to medical research.
From the beginning, Christian doctors served everyone, regardless of religion or social status, and they refused to turn any patient away — even those with highly contagious diseases.
Historians tell us that Christians were the only ones who cared for the sick and dying during the plagues and epidemics that afflicted the late Roman Empire. Many of them died from diseases they contracted from their patients.
Something else distinguished early Christian doctors — from the beginning they refused to take part in abortion, infanticide, birth control, assisted suicide or castration, all of which they considered bad medical practice and contrary to the truths of the Gospel.
These basic commitments continue to distinguish Catholic and Christian doctors and nurses. But these are challenging times in health care. . . [Full text]
Catania, Italy, Oct 26, 2016 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The tragic death of a mother in Italy after late-term pregnancy complications and miscarriage is being pinned on the doctor’s refusal to perform a late-term abortion, despite appearances that the mother died of complications of the miscarriage.
The case is complex, John F. Brehany, PhD, an ethicist for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told CNA in a statement. “At a minimum, there seems to be a profound disagreement about what was said between the physician and the hospital, and the patient and her family. “Hopefully, this tragedy will not be exploited to promote abortion on demand or to undermine respect for the rights of conscience of physicians and other healthcare providers.”
The family of Valentina Milluzzo, who died at Cannizzaro hospital in the Sicilian city of Catania, allege that she passed away because her doctor was a “conscientious objector” to abortion and thus did not perform an abortion after she suffered pregnancy complications. The hospital denies that this is the case, and the head of the hospital, Angelo Pellicano, told Ansa news agency that the doctor did not have a conscientious objection to abortion, but that there was a spontaneous miscarriage that was forced by serious circumstances. . . [Full text]
(ANSA) – Catania, October 24 – Conscientious objection was not a factor in the case of a woman who died in hospital after miscarrying twins, health ministry inspectors reported to Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin on Monday.
Valentina Milluzzo, 34, died at Catania’s Cannizzaro Hospital after the miscarriage of her unborn twins at the 19th week of pregnancy on October 16. Her family filed a complaint arguing that a conscientious objector doctor refused to operate in time to save her life. . . [Full text]
BRITISH COLUMBIA, October 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two of British Columbia’s five regional health authorities — one of them covering the “Bible Belt” area of the lower Fraser River valley just east of Vancouver — apparently have told voluntary societies offering hospice and palliative care that they must provide euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The Fraser Health Authority and its unnamed ally are not only flying in the face of — and against the philosophies and binding constitutions of most if not all the province’s 73 voluntary hospice societies — they have done so without consulting the hospice societies in their own regions. Apparently they have also jumped the gun on the provincial Health Ministry, which is months away from finalizing its own policy. . . [Full text]
Policy hits conscience; believers often classified as bigots
Oregon tends to lead the pack in causes favored by some wings of the political left — legal abortion, assisted suicide, gay marriage, recreational marijuana.
Some fear that next on the progressive docket could be tax exemption for churches and the right of church agencies to operate according to their ancient beliefs, especially in the dignity of life and marriage.
“There has been a striking change just in the last 10 or even just five years,” says Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in central and eastern Oregon.
Bishop Cary cites demographics. Among the fastest-growing groups in Oregon is the population without religious affiliation. That means they have no personal interest in protecting religious freedom. In their minds, personal choice trumps religious liberty, the bishop says.
Also new is the government’s willingness to use policy to try to force people to act against conscience. . . [Full text]
TORONTO – Dr. Luigi Castagna doesn’t think of practicing medicine as a protest movement. But a stalemate over conscience rights for doctors who object to physician-assisted dying may change that.
“We may have to resort to civil disobedience,” Castagna told The Catholic Register.
Castagna is a member and former president of the St. Joseph Moscati Toronto Catholic Doctors’ Guild. He doesn’t think helping a patient commit suicide is good medicine and he doesn’t think he should refer suicidal patients to doctors who believe it their duty to accommodate requests for death.
“You do, on occasion, encounter suicidal patients,” said Castagna. “That’s how we saw them before the (Supreme Court) decision. They were suicidal. It’s a psychological condition and you find out the reason. You do what you do with any patient. You do a history, a physical examination. You establish a diagnosis and you treat them. Successful treatment means that they now wish to live again.”
Given the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario policy that forces doctors to provide an “effective referral” for any recognized, legal medical procedure or treatment, even in those cases where the doctor objects on moral or religious grounds, there is great fear among members of the Doctors’ Guild they will be forced to refer for assisted suicide. . . [Full text]
As “independent healthcare professionals”, pharmacists had every right to refuse to sell the morning-after pill if it went against their moral beliefs, Malta Chamber of Pharmacists president Mary Ann Sant Fournier said yesterday.
Ms Sant Fournier’s comments came in the wake of a decision by the Medicines Authority that the contraceptive could be sold over the counter.
“One must emphasise the status that pharmacists enjoy as independent healthcare professionals and their right to conscientious objection should be upheld at all times,” Ms Sant Fournier said when contacted. . . [Full text]