Canada’s assisted suicide law spurs a ‘campaign for conscience’

Inquirer.net

Isabella Buenaobra

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — A significant health care-related federal legislation was enacted by the Canadian Parliament on June 17, 2016: The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide law creates a regulatory framework for medical assistance in dying in Canada.

With the legislation, Canada has joined The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg. which have enacted rules on doctor-assisted suicide. . .

Bill 34

In response to the passage of the (MAiD) Act, the Coalition for HealthCare and Conscience, a Canadian Christian-based organization, was organized to support the “Call for Conscience” Campaign. The campaign supports Bill 34—the Medical Assistance in Dying (Protection for Health Professionals & Others) Act, currently being considered by the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. . . [Full text]

 

Quebec opens door to expanding end-of-life law to Alzheimer’s disease

Montreal Gazette

Joceleyne Richer

A consensus is emerging among Quebec parliamentarians to launch a public debate on the appropriateness of legalizing medically assisted suicide for persons unable to give informed consent, such as patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Without making any commitment, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette opened the door on Thursday for a public debate after calls by the two main opposition parties, the Parti Québécois and the Coalition avenir Québec. . . [Full text]

 

MUHC’s assisted death policy repealed: Barrette

Montreal Gazette

Caroline Plante

QUEBEC — The McGill University Health Centre has repealed its policy exempting the palliative care unit from offering medical aid to die, said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette on Wednesday.

“This morning, I met with Mr. (Normand) Rinfret and he told me that as of this very moment, the policy has been repealed,” Barrette said, referring to the MUHC’s executive director. “As we speak today, no patient can be transferred out of the palliative care unit at the MUHC, and medical aid in dying will be made available in the unit itself.” . . . [Full text]

Barrette chastises MUHC over policy not to provide medically assisted death

Montreal Gazette

Caroline Plante

QUEBEC — The McGill University Health Centre is being forced to backtrack on a policy that exempts its palliative care unit from helping patients die.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette issued a strongly worded letter to the MUHC’s director general Wednesday, urging him to change the policy, which he says does not respect the law.

“To say that medical aid to die will not be offered in a particular unit … poses a serious problem when it comes to respecting patients’ lawful right to receive end-of-life care,” the minister wrote. . . [Full text]

MUHC to allow medically assisted dying in palliative care unit

Montreal Gazette

John Meagher

The McGill University Health Centre said Monday it will change its policy and allow medically assisted dying in its palliative care unit after coming under fire from Health Minister Gaétan Barrette last week.

The uproar came about after a patient at the Glen site had to be transferred out of the palliative care unit to receive medical aid in dying in April.

Barrette sent a letter to the MUHC’s director general last week, asking the hospital network to change its policy, because it does not respect the new law. . . [Full text]

Quebec’s new assisted-dying law leaves doctors struggling to adapt

Fear of legal reprisal still widespread among health professionals

CBC News

Two months after Quebec’s assisted-dying law came into effect, about 10 patients have chosen to end their lives with the help of a doctor.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says this is a sign that things are going well and there are no systematic obstacles.

“The information that I have from the ground and from the College of Physicians is that teams are in place and that access is there,” Barrette said.

“Problems, if there were any, were resolved quickly.”

Doctors and patient advocates tell a different story.

Jean-Pierre Ménard, a lawyer specializing in health law, says his clients have reported trouble obtaining medical assistance to die. . . [Full text]

 

 

Beware of assisted-suicide zealots

National Post

Will Johnston

For at least a few more months, the Canadian medical system will continue to be a safe space, free of assisted suicide and euthanasia. But all that is about to change. In order to ensure our hospitals and palliative care centres remain places where patients feel safe and secure, we must respect doctors’ conscience rights, rather than listen to activists who seek to impose their one-size-fits-all policy on the rest of us.

For instance, the palliative care centres in Quebec that refuse to have anything to do with euthanasia, for reasons of medical judgment and ethics, have apparently angered Jean-Pierre Menard, the lawyer who helped write Quebec’s euthanasia law, Bill 52. The act specifically states that palliative care centres are not required to provide euthanasia service — but maybe to Menard, those were just soothing words to get the bill passed. Now Menard says money should be taken away from palliative services that won’t provide euthanasia on their premises. And the minister of health, Gaetan Barrette, has threatened to revoke the hospital privileges of doctors who won’t comply. . . . [Full text]

Intimidation in Quebec to force physician participation in euthanasia

Letter pleads for support for palliative care physicians

Urgent: we must support our palliative care colleagues

Last week, Dr. Barrette raised the spectre of suspension for physician members of (palliative care) services not wishing to offer euthanasia in hospital. Mr. Ménard, architect of Bill 52, even presses the government to cut subsidies to all palliative care centres in Quebec because they have all decided not to offer euthanasia within their walls, a decision clearly permitted by Bill 52!

Who will bear the brunt of such abuses of power? Terminally ill patients, of course, whose doctor will be suspended or whose palliative care centre will have decreased its services for lack of money. A big mess in perspective.

The population must be aware that these ideologues are about to severely damage, if not ruin, our palliative care network.

We ask all our members to come to the defense of palliative care providers who are currently the target of a true campaign of intimidation that will only increase in the coming months if we do not speak out.

Write massively to the opinion pages of Quebec newspapers and to medical magazines: you will find a list of email addresses to forums and other opinion pages at the bottom of this email.

Speak to politicians and health care administrators in your area.

Show your support for palliative care centres and for your colleagues who give themselves everyday to our weakest and most vulnerable citizens.

Take part in the efforts of the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia to affirm your support for palliative care physicians and end of life patients. This essential and sorely needed service must not disappear.

Catherine Ferrier, MD

President, Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia

Physician Alliance Against Euthanasia

1650 avenue Cedar, bureau D17-173 Montréal, QC H3G 1A4 Canada

 

Quebec’s split over euthanasia a warning for Canada

Palliative care specialists’ reluctance to administer life-ending drugs indicates it may be easier to change laws than attitudes.

Toronto Star

Allan Woods

MONTREAL―Quebec”s euthanasia law is the template and test case for the rest of the country, but problems emerging just months before the terminally ill can start demanding their deaths show that laws are easier to change than attitudes.

Since legislation was adopted in the summer of 2014 that would allow dying patients access to a life-ending drug cocktail under strict conditions, politicians here have celebrated the perception of Quebecers being the vanguards of social change.

But with time running out before Dec. 10 — the date that patients can begin requesting the procedure — hospitals and health-care providers are scrambling to draw up policies and find the staff who will carry out those patients” wishes.

If that wasn”t tough enough, some of those who might be expected to lead the change — palliative care physicians and hospice administrators — have let it be known that they are instead digging trenches for the battle.

“The vocation of a palliative care hospice is to provide care, and that doesn”t include medical aid in dying,” said Élise Rheault, director of Maison Albatros Trois-Rivières. . . [Full Text]

Gaétan Barrette insists dying patients must get help to ease suffering

Quebec’s right-to-die law comes into effect on Dec. 10

The Canadian Press

Terminally ill patients in Quebec who seek medical aid in dying must be provided with the service even if some doctors are against it, Quebec’s health minister said Wednesday.

Gaétan Barrette called out unco-operative doctors and directors of institutions in the province’s health care network Wednesday after a palliative care unit in Montreal announced it wouldn’t offer the service.

Quebec’s right-to-die law comes into effect on Dec. 10 and Barrette says the patient will be the priority.

“The role of (medical) institutions is to offer the service,” he said. “And it will be offered.” . . . [Full Text]