No conscientious objectors

Health ministry inspectors report to Lorenzin

Ansa General News

(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]

B.C. hospices say they’ve been told to offer euthanasia

Lifesite News

Steve Weatherbee

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]

Prevailing culture hard on religious liberty

Policy hits conscience; believers often classified as bigots

Catholic Sentinel

Ed Langlois

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.

‘Striking change’

“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]

    

Catholic health workers face crisis of conscience

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

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]

Conscientious objectors – ‘Pharmacists have right to refuse to sell the MAP’

Authority set to issue guidelines

Times of Malta

Claire Caruana

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]

Windsor doctor keeps Michigan license in face of legal assisted suicide in Ontario

Michigan Radio

WUOM FM: All Things Considered

Stateside Staff

Physicians in Ontario are facing a dilemma: What can you do when asked to perform an action that is legal, but violates your moral code or religious beliefs?

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal law that prohibited medically-assisted suicide.

In Ontario, the service is now covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and any drugs required to help a patient die will be available at no cost.

Dr. Brad Burke is a physician in Windsor who says assisted dying goes against his conscience. He’s making plans for the day when a patient asks him for help in dying.

He joined us today. Listen to our conversation with him . . . [Full audio interview]

 

Catholic health care’s conscientious objections appropriate in Canadian health system

Edmonton Journal

Michael Shea

Re. “Catholic hospitals put religious principles ahead of patient rights,” Paula Simons, Sept. 28

As Canada implements legislation related to medical assistance in dying, members of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada have worked together to respond to requests with integrity — ensuring that we abide by the law and continue our 400-year mission of service in keeping with our ethics and values.

Catholic health care is a vital part of the Canadian health system. Each year, more than 68,000 team members employed by 124 Catholic providers across the country serve millions of Canadians from all backgrounds and faiths with respect, honouring the beliefs and diverse cultural needs and spiritual needs of those we serve.

All Canadians have conscience and religious freedom respected under the Charter. Catholic health care has a long-standing moral tradition that neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Catholic health care’s conscientious objection to medical assistance in dying is a moral commitment to uphold the inherent value of each person while observing the law. It does not constitute a refusal to care for patients or undermine the values and rights of those in our care. . . [Full text]

Rationing conscience

Abstract:  Decisions about allocation of limited healthcare resources are frequently controversial. These decisions are usually based on careful analysis of medical, scientific and health economic evidence. Yet, decisions are also necessarily based on value judgements. There may be differing views among health professionals about how to allocate resources or how to evaluate existing evidence. In specific cases, professionals may have strong personal views (contrary to professional or societal norms) that treatment should or should not be provided. Could these disagreements rise to the level of a conscientious objection? If so, should conscientious objections to existing allocation decisions be accommodated? In the first part of this paper, I assess whether resource allocation could be a matter of conscience. I analyse conceptual and normative models of conscientious objection and argue that rationing could be a matter for conscience. I distinguish between negative and positive forms: conscientious non-treatment and conscientious treatment. In the second part of the paper, I identify distinctive challenges for conscientious objections to resource allocation. Such objections are almost always inappropriate.

Wilkinson D.  Rationing conscience.  J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2016-103795

“I’m just trying to live by my conscience”

 Ottawa Citizen

Joanne Laucius

This spring, a patient told Dr. Ramona Coelho she was thinking about physician-assisted death.

Coelho gently probed to find out what was at the heart of the woman’s fear, anxiety and depression. The patient felt her life was diminished and no longer meaningful. Coelho says she steered the patient away from assisted death to finding ways to make every day seem worthwhile.

“My patients’ death wishes go away when their issues are dealt with,” says Coelho, who has practised medicine since 2007 and did palliative-care work in Montreal before moving to London, Ont., in 2012. She believes time, careful listening, affection and respect are key to a good relationship with patients. . . [Full text]

    

What you need to know and do about the new HHS transgender mandate

CMDA – The Point

Jonathon Imbody

What do healthcare professionals and health institutions need to know about and how can they defend themselves from the Obama administration’s newly enacted transgender mandate?

What happened when?
The transgender mandate, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the assumed authority of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), went into effect July 18, 2016. A new website explains what the mandate requires, why it violates the law and what conscientious objectors can do to protect their rights.

Whom does the rule target?
HHS recently mandated that healthcare professionals must perform gender transition procedures on any child referred by a mental health professional, even if the physician believes the treatment or hormone therapy could harm the child.

Healthcare professionals who follow the Hippocratic Oath to act in the best interest of their patient instead of this new mandate can face severe consequences, including losing their jobs. The transgender mandate also requires virtually all private insurance companies and many employers to cover gender transition procedures or face stiff penalties and legal action. . . [Full text]