What if people agree to donate, but then change their mind about euthanasia? Would they feel compelled to follow through, knowing someone is waiting for their organs?
Doctors have already harvested organs from dozens of Canadians who underwent medically assisted death, a practice supporters say expands the pool of desperately needed organs, but ethicists worry could make it harder for euthanasia patients to voice a last-minute change of heart.
In Ontario, 26 people who died by lethal injection have donated tissue or organs since the federal law decriminalizing medical assistance in dying, or MAID, came into effect last June, according to information obtained by the Post. A total of 338 have died by medical assistance in the province. . . [Full text]
Religious guidance may put UK pharmacists at risk of punishment, says C + D author… but what about Aussie pharmacists?
According to the UK publication Chemist + Druggist, in 2013 the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) banned a pharmacist from providing emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) for three years because he had given a patient “a distressing explanation of why his religion regarded EHC as morally wrong”.
Now the Council is bringing in new standards – due to come into effect on May 1 – proposing that pharmacy professionals should not be able to refuse services based on their religion, personal values or beliefs.
The GPhC also suggests that referral to another pharmacist should not be an option, reports C + D. . . [Full text]
Science Blogs: Respectful Insolence
Dr. David M. Gorski*
One of the more frequent claims of antivaccine activists often comes in the form of a question, usually something like, “If your child is vaccinated, why are you worried about my children? They don’t pose any danger to you.” Of course, the premise behind that question is, ironically, one that conflicts with the belief that vaccines are ineffective: that vaccines are so effective that there’s no reason for the parents of a vaccinated child to be concerned if that child comes in contact with another child with a vaccine-preventable disease. . . [Full text]
The Arkansas Traveller
Following the Arkansas Supreme Court’s ruling that the same anti-discriminatory laws must be implemented statewide, two organizations collaborated to author and introduce House Bill 1628, the Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act, which would allow health care providers to refuse treatment to patients because of a violation of conscience.
Sponsored by Rep. Brandt Smith (R), Sens. Jason Rapert (R) and Linda Collins-Smith (R), HB 1628 states that its purpose is to protect physicians, health care institutions and health care providers from providing treatment to any patient if the treatment or procedure violates their consciences. . . [Full text]
For immediate release
Protection of Conscience Project
LifeSite News has published an article concerning Quebec euthanasia statistics collated by the Project.
During the interview that led to the publication of the article, the Project Administrator expressed concern that a significant increase in the volume of cases in the last half of 2016 could increase pressure on physicians and other health care workers who do not wish to participate in the procedure. Such pressure was generated across Canada by the exponential increase in the number of abortions following liberalization of the abortion law in 1969, from under 300 in eleven years to over 11,000 in the first year after the change in the law. The number of euthanasia and assisted suicide cases in the first year of legalization seems unlikely to exceed 20% of that number, but this is still sufficient to warrant concern about pressure on objecting health care workers.
The statistical returns disclose some wide differences between different regions or reporting agencies, and sometimes between reporting agencies in the same administrative region. For example: the number of euthanasia requests per 100,000 population is reported to be much higher in the Quebec City area than in the rest of the province, while the number of euthanasia requests per 100,000 palliative patients reported in Lanaudiere and Laval is much higher than in the Montreal Region. Euthanasia is reported to be provided per 100,000 population in the Quebec City area at a rate three times that of Montreal.
The Administrator explained that the statistics were primarily useful in raising important questions about the reasons for such variations or trends, such as differences in the quality or accessibility of palliative care or the nature of patient illnesses.
1. Waring G. “Report from Ottawa.” CMAJ Nov. 11, 1967, vol. 97, 1233 (Accessed 2016-06-15).
2. In 1970, the first year under the new rules, there were more than 11,000. In 1971 there were almost 39,000. “Therapeutic abortion: government figures show big increase in ‘71.” CMAJ May 20, 1972, Vol. 106, 1131 (Accessed 2016-06-15)
[Release revised 2017-03-14]
Conscience protections for pharmacists would be diluted by draft proposals, The Christian Institute has warned.
Currently, pharmacists who do not wish to sell abortifacients, such as the morning after pill, may refer customers to another pharmacist.
But new draft General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) standards weaken that right of referral and state that pharmacists must ensure that “person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs”. . . [Full text]
The Catholic Register
The right being sought by many Ontario doctors to refuse to give patient referrals for euthanasia and assisted suicide will be addressed in committee meetings at Queen’s Park in the next month.
Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek plans to introduce a conscience-protection amendment to legislation currently being debated in the Ontario legislature.
Now in second reading, Bill 84 is designed to clear up legal ambiguities surrounding doctor-assisted suicide — everything from how coroners are to record assisted suicide deaths to the right of families to collect insurance benefits. However, the legislation currently does not include conscience protection for doctors. Instead, Ontario’s independent regulator for doctors requires all doctors to provide an “effective referral” for procedures, even if the doctor objects on moral, religious or conscience grounds. . . [Full text]
A team of doctors affiliated with the University of Western Ontario in Canada has documented a case in which a terminal patient removed from life support continued to experience brain wave activity for approximately 10 minutes after they had been pronounced clinically dead. In their paper published in The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, the team describes the circumstances of the unusual event and acknowledge that they have no explanation for what they observed.
For many years, doctors have used a handful of tools to determine if someone has died—a lack of pupil dilation, heart stoppage, lack of breathing, etc. But one test has stood above all others—an EEG reading. Even if the heart is beating and a person is breathing, if the brain stops processing electrical signals, that person is considered clinically dead—though in some cases they may be labeled as brain dead. But what if a person’s heart stops beating, meaning there is no blood flow to the brain, and the brain continues to show delta wave bursts for up to ten minutes? Prior to this event occurring in Canada, it was thought to be an impossibility. . . [Full text]
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Christian pharmacists in British Columbia can now practice with a clear conscience.
Under the B.C. College of Pharmacy’s new ethics code, they cannot be forced to prescribe for abortions, euthanasia, or artificial contraception.
Cristina Alarcon, a Vancouver-area community pharmacist who was a driving force behind the new code, says it “covers everything.” For the first time, pharmacists can refuse to dispense any prescription that violates their conscience. [Full text]