Dr. Robert’s regrets: Towards death à la carte?

Sean Murphy*

The state medical regulator in the province of Quebec, the Collège des Médecins du Québec, published an reflection in 2009 that effectively encouraged the legalization of euthanasia. During hearings into Quebec’s Bill 52, which eventually became the province’s euthanasia law (the Act Respecting End of Life Care), Dr. Charles Bernard , Dr. Yves Robert and Dr. Michelle Marchand appeared on behalf of the Collège.  They were effusive in their support for the proposed law, describing it as “a very important milestone,” the product of “outstanding work,” and “responsive to the vision we initially proposed.”

One of the points Dr. Bernard  emphasized was that euthanasia should be “an option of last resort for  exceptionally difficult situations at the end of life. . . in the final stages of a serious and incurable disease that is inflicting refractory suffering.”  Dr. Robert himself added that euthanasia should only be considered in what was truly the “last slice of life in the final phase of the life.”  Only then, he said, might it be considered an option “from a medical point of view.”

Consistent with these views, the original text of the Bill was amended to include a provision that a patient had to be “at the end of life,” even though the legislators could not agree on what this meant.  It is not certain that the term is being interpreted consistently throughout the province, though returns from reporting agencies sometimes report refusal to provide euthanasia because a patient is “not at the end of life.”  About 8% of refusals in the first half of 2017 were attributed to patient ineligibility, which includes this criterion, among others.

In any event, Dr. Robert has published a commentary indicating alarm at increasing pressure to provide euthanasia in circumstances and for reasons apparently not envisaged by Collège des Médecins du Québec when it published its 2009 reflection and expressed its support for the new legislation.  Of particular interest, he suggests that, if current trends to broaden criteria for euthanasia continue and are affirmed, it may be appropriate for the medical profession to be replaced by some kind of non-medical (but presumably technically competent) euthanasia service.

During the legislative hearings into Bill 52, Professor Margaret Somerville suggested that lawyers could be trained for this purpose.  Her suggestion was ignored at the time, but Dr. Robert’s comments suggest that he and other euthanasia supporters may now be more open to Dr. Somerville’s proposal.  Having a corps of voluntary euthanasia service providers would relieve the pressure now being experienced by physicians and health care workers who object to euthanasia for reasons of conscience.

  • Dr. Robert’s regrets [Full English translation of Vers la mort à la carte? provided by the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia]

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]

Some Quebec doctors let suicide victims die though treatment was available: college

National Post

Graeme Hamilton

MONTREAL  –  Quebec’s College of Physicians has issued an ethics bulletin to its members after learning that some doctors were allowing suicide victims to die when life-saving treatment was available.

The bulletin says the college learned last fall that, “in some Quebec hospitals, some people who had attempted to end their lives through poisoning were not resuscitated when, in the opinion of certain experts, a treatment spread out over a few days could have saved them with no, or almost no, aftereffects.”

It goes on to spell out a physician’s ethical and legal duty to provide care, even to patients seeking to end their own lives.

Yves Robert, the college’s secretary, told the National Post that an unspecified number of doctors were interpreting suicide attempts as an implicit refusal of treatment. They “refused to provide the antidote that could have saved a life. This was the real ethical issue,” he said. . . [Full text]

 

Médecins: la « solution » du Québec est une collaboration au meurtre, pas un compromis « élégant »

 

quebec-001Les médecins rejettent le « compromis ultime » qui oblige à référer les demandes d’euthanasie 

Ne forcez personne à agir contre sa  volonté : ni les médecins, ni qui que ce soit d’autre.

Introduction (par l’Administrateur de Projet

En juin 2014, le Québec a adopté une loi autorisant l’euthanasie dans la province, en dépit de l’interdiction pénale de cette procédure encore en vigueur. La province a fait valoir que l’euthanasie administrée par un médecin est une forme de soin de santé et que, à ce titre, elle est exempte de la juridiction du gouvernement fédéral en matière criminelle. La loi du Québec est donc entrée en vigueur en décembre 2015, soit 10 mois après que la Cour suprême du Canada ait invalidé l’interdiction pénale de l’euthanasie et du suicide avec l’assistance d’un médecin dans Carter c. Canada (Procureur général).  La Cour suprême avait toutefois suspendu sa décision pour un an afin de permettre au gouvernement fédéral de développer une loi, de sorte que l’interdiction pénale contre l’euthanasie était toujours officiellement applicable lorsque la loi provinciale autorisant sa pratique est entrée en vigueur au Québec.

En réponse à une poursuite intentée par des médecins qui s’y opposaient, une injonction contre la loi a été appliquée par la Cour supérieure du Québec le 1er décembre, 2015, mais a été annulée par la Cour d’appel du Québec trois semaines plus tard. La décision de la Cour d’appel a été basée sur le fait que la loi québécoise était conforme à la décision Carter, bien qu’elle doive être soumise à une révision une fois que le gouvernement fédéral aura modifié le Code criminel.

Le Dr Yves Robert est le secrétaire du Collège des médecins du Québec, organisme gouvernemental de réglementation de la pratique médicale dans la province. Il y a trois ans, le Dr Robert a témoigné devant un comité législatif chargé d’étudier le projet de loi – qui est par la suite devenu la loi sur l’euthanasie au Québec – aux côtés du Dr Charles Bernard, président du Collège des médecins. À cette époque, le Dr Bernard avait dit:

Parce que, si on a une objection de conscience puis c’est nous qui doive faire la démarche pour trouver la personne qui va le faire, à ce moment-là , notre objection de conscience ne s’applique plus. C’est comme si on le faisait quand meme.[Consultations]

Toutefois, en novembre 2015, juste avant l’entrée en vigueur de la loi sur l’euthanasie au Québec, le Dr Robert a écrit un editorial affirmant que forcer les médecins qui s’objectent à référer les demandes d’euthanasie est un compromis qui concilie les droits et libertés des patients et des médecins.

La position du Dr Robert a été rejetée dans la réponse ci-dessous, une lettre très articulée cosignée par plus de 80 médecins du Québec, auxquels près de 350 autres médecins ont ajouté leur nom par la suite. Ce rejet est particulièrement important parce que le président de l’Association canadienne de protection médicale (ACPM) a récemment recommandé le modèle québécois comme une solution «élégante» qui concilie la liberté de conscience et de religion des médecins avec le droit des patients à accéder à l’euthanasie et au suicide assisté.

De toute évidence, les personnes les plus directement touchées par la « solution » du Québec ne partagent pas cette opinion.


Préambule :

La présente lettre a été écrite en réaction de l’éditorial du Dr. Robert paru dans LE COLLÈGE (novembre 2015) au sujet de l’objection de conscience des médecins sous la Loi concernant les soins de fin de vie dont l’entrée en vigueur était prévue le 10 décembre 2015.

Débattue en Cour supérieure du Québec suite à une demande d’injonction déposée par une coalition de médecins, le jugement rendu s’est appuyé sur la doctrine de la prépondérance fédérale sur les lois provinciales pour empêcher les articles concernant l’aide médicale à mourir d’entrer en vigueur comme prévu à cause de leur incompatibilité avec le Code criminel canadien.

La présente lettre a donc été rédigée à la lumière des conclusions du jugement de la Cour supérieure du Québec rendu le 2 décembre 2015, et elle est appuyée par 84 médecins cosignataires.

Objection scientifique à l’éditorial du Dr Yves Robert

La transmission de la demande d’un patient à une autorité du réseau de la santé qui pourra y donner suite apparaît donc comme l’ultime compromis pour respecter les droits du patient et ceux du médecin » Dr Yves Robert, LE COLLÈGE, 10 novembre 2015

Dr Robert,

Cette déclaration que vous avez faite à titre de secrétaire du Collège des Médecins du Québec est complètement fausse.

Pour commencer, retenons d’abord cet extrait, tiré du jugement de la Cour supérieure (paragraphe 97) : « L’avocate de la PGC a également manifesté son inquiétude face aux dispositions de l’article 31 de la Loi qui impose aux médecins qui ne voudraient pas accéder à une demande d’ de participer, malgré leur objection, au processus visant à trouver un autre médecin volontaire et consentant. Elle y voit par le fait même une indication que même un médecin, objecteur de conscience, sera forcément impliqué dans un processus allant mener à la commission d’un acte criminel dans l’état du droit actuel ».

Voilà qui résume sans ambiguïté le fond de la pensée de la procureure générale du Canada et de la Cour supérieure du Québec concernant votre « ultime compromis » au sujet de l’objection de conscience, opinion également partagée par le Collège des Médecins du Québec.

Cette forme de collaboration à la mise à mort de son patient, n’en déplaise au secrétaire, n’est pas l’ultime compromis. C’est une contrainte de collaboration – qui peut être vécue par un médecin comme une complicité pour un geste qu’il considère comme dommageable pour son patient et ce, peu importe que ce geste soit reconnu comme criminel ou non (la criminalité évoquée ici n’est qu’un facteur amplifiant la violence de l’obligation).

Moi, je veux continuer d’offrir des soins à mon patient, je ne romps pas la relation. Je refuse uniquement de causer sa mort. Qu’allez-vous faire contre mon jugement médical?

Si vous me suspendez, c’est vous qui brisez la relation de soin en privant le patient de son médecin alors que moi je suis disposé à continuer de le soigner. Mais je considère qu’envoyer mon patient se faire tuer n’est pas un soin parce que… se faire tuer n’est pas un soin, ni pour

moi, ni pour l’écrasante majorité des médecins et des associations médicales partout dans le monde. C’est donc d’une objection médicale qu’il est question ici, car moi j’applique la norme internationale, tandis que le Collège a décidé de façon unilatérale d’y faire dissidence.

Il s’agit donc beaucoup plus ici d’une objection scientifique que d’une objection de conscience puisque le but est de continuer à appliquer les standards et les normes internationales auxquels le Collège avait décidé de faire dissidence.

Étant donné que la plupart des médecins ne seront jamais d’accord pour cesser de prévenir le suicide de leurs patients, on ne pourra pas les contraindre à cesser cette prévention car leur jugement médical et leur expertise – qu’ils appliquent depuis des années – leur dit de ne pas le faire. Prévenir le suicide reste de la bonne médecine.

De façon analogue, un directeur d’hôpital ne peut m’obliger à pratiquer une chirurgie pour mon patient si mon opinion médicale m’indique que cette chirurgie lui sera néfaste. Ça ne veut pas dire que je brise la relation d’aide avec mon patient, seulement que j’exerce ma profession avec mon jugement et ma compétence, ce qui revient à dire que je ne suis pas un simple technicien qui ne serait que « les mains de quelqu’un d’autre ».

De la même façon, aucun patient ne peut me forcer à pratiquer une chirurgie que je considère mauvaise ou néfaste, et il va de soi que le minimum de cohérence professionnelle m’empêcherait de le référer à quelqu’un qui la pratiquerait à ma place. Je lui dirais simplement que ce n’est pas la chose à faire, et il sera libre d’aller voir ailleurs. Mais si j’organisais ce transfert vers un collègue ou une autorité du réseau de la santé sachant que le geste que je considère néfaste sera posé, ce serait comme si je le pratiquais moi-même par mains interposées.

C’est cette logique terre-à-terre que le Collège doit comprendre dans la réaction des médecins (palliativistes ou autres) qui ne veulent pas collaborer au cheminement vers la mort médicalement provoquée de leurs patients. Ces médecins, qui ne sont pas des illuminés ou des fanatiques, voient cette intention de l’État (et du Collège) de leur imposer la collaboration forcée comme un abus d’autorité. L’utilisation du terme « ultime compromis », dans ce contexte, résonne beaucoup plus comme « c’est ma dernière offre ». Et pour continuer de bien nommer les choses, on appelle plutôt ça un ultimatum – et la procureure général du Canada a bien fait de noter l’intention réelle derrière les mots.

En conclusion, si le Collège veut éviter une confrontation injuste et inutile avec des médecins qualifiés, attentionnés et intègres, qu’il trouve une façon de ne pas les contraindre à participer à la mort de leurs patients contre leur jugement médical et leur conscience professionnelle.

Même si les nouvelles mesures d’exception (ne pas lire « règle ») qui seront établies prochainement dans le Code criminel canadien en viennent à permettre l’euthanasie humaine ou le suicide assisté dans certaines conditions, il est impératif de rappeler que de forcer les médecins à référer – en les menaçant de surcroît – constituera toujours une recette assurée pour créer des batailles inutiles et dommageables pour tous, en semant la division et en générant un environnement pourri dans nos hôpitaux.

Le vrai compromis qui respecte l’autonomie de tout le monde serait plutôt celui-ci: si, un jour, il y a dépénalisation de l’euthanasie humaine ou du suicide assisté, laissez les patients faire leurs démarches eux-mêmes par l’entremise d’un système fait de volontaires, sans forcer leurs médecins traitants ni aucun autre intervenant à y participer contre leur gré.

Marc Beauchamp, MD, FRCSC, chirurgien orthopédiste, Montréal

Avec l’appui des cosignataires suivants :

1. Renata Sava, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

2. Louis Morissette, MD, FRCPC., surspécialiste en psychiatrie légale, Montréal

3. Yousri Hanna, MD, chef de l’Unité des Soins Palliatifs de Santa Cabrini, Montréal

4. Yvan Roy, MD, médecin de famille, L’Assomption

5. Bernard H. Doray, MD, pédiatre, Montréal

6. Antonio Tongué, MD, radiologiste, Gatineau

7. Stephen Martin, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

8. François Belzile, M.D, FRCPC, radiologiste, Sherbrooke

9. Roy Eappen, MD, endocrinologue, Montréal

10. Annik Dupras, MD, FRCPC, interniste-gériatre, Terrebonne

11. René Pouliot, MD, néphrologue, Québec

12. Francine Gaba, MD, gériatre, Montréal

13. Jacques R. Rouleau, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC, FACC (Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, Professeur titulaire de médecine, Université Laval)

14. Roger Roberge, MD, gériatre, Montréal

15. Elisabeth Fuvel-Girodias, MD, Kirkland

16. Louis Béland, MD, chirurgien, Québec

17. Nathalie de Grandpré, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

18. Michelle Bergeron, MD retraitée, Québec

19. Mark Basik MDCM, FRCS(C), chirurgien oncologue, Montréal

20. Guy Bouchard, MD, médecin de famille, Québec

21. Valérie J. Brousseau, BScH, MDCM, FRCSC, oto-rhino-laryngologue, Victoriaville

22. Claude Morin, MD, médecin de famille, Québec

23. Nicholas Newman, MD, FRCSC, chirurgien orthopédiste, Montréal

24. Michel Brouillard, MD, médecin de famille, Rouyn-Noranda

25. Mance Luneau, MD, médecin de famille, Blainville

26. Suzanne Labelle, MD, médecin de famille, Laval

27. Jean-Bernard Girodias, MD, pédiatre, Montréal

28. Juan Francisco Asenjo, MD, anesthésiologiste, Montréal

29. Paul Barré, MD, nephrologue, Montréal

30. Michel Copti, MD, neurologue, Saint-Lambert

31. Liette Pilon, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

32. André Rochon, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

33. Douglass Dalton, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

34. Marie-Chantal Piché, MD, médecin de famille, Vaudreuil-Dorion

35. Odile Michaud, MD, médecin de famille, Otterburn Park

36. Catherine Ferrier, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

37. Michel de Maupeou, MD, médecin de famille, La Sarre

38. Vijayabalan Balasingam, MD, neurochirurgien, Pointe-Claire

39. Pierrette Girard, MD, chirurgienne orthopédiste, Pointe-Claire

40. Jacques Beaudoin, MD, cardiologue, Québec

41. Marc Bergeron, MD, hémato-oncologue, Québec

42. Rosaire Vaillancourt, MD, FRCPC, chirurgien thoracique, Québec

43. Louis Dionne, MD, chirurgien général, Québec

44. Juan Rivera, MD, endocrinologue, Montréal

45. Lyette St-Hilaire, MD, médecin de famille, Laval

46. Matthieu Tittley, MD, FRCPC, psychiatre, Sherbrooke

47. Luc Chaussé, MD, médecin de famille, L’Assomption

48. Gilles Gaudreau MD, médecin de famille, Sorel-Tracy

49. Evelyne Huglo, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

50. Hong Phuc Tran-Le, MD, FCMF, médecin de famille, Val d’Or

51. Laurence Normand-Rivest, MD, médecin de famille, Châteauguay

52. Daniel Boulet, MD, FRCP(C), physiatre, Qu.bec

53. Anne-Louise Boucher, MD, responsable médical GMF du Carmel, Trois-Rivières

54. Mathieu Brouillet, MD, médecin de famille, Rimouski

55. David Bacon, MD, CM, CCFP-EM, médecin de famille, Pointe-Claire

56. Marcel D’Amours, MD, anesthésiologiste, Québec

57. Anne Marie Uhlir, MD, médecin de famille, Sainte-Croix

58. Mélanie Laberge, MD, omnipraticienne, Québec

59. Heather Coombs, MD, urgentologue, Montréal

60. Svetlana Ninkovic, MD, pédiatre, neurologue, Greenfield Park

61. Roland Leclerc, MD, pédiatre, Québec

62. Jean-Pierre Beauchef, MD, endocrinologue, Greenfield Park

63. Serge Daneault, MD, soins palliatifs, Montréal

64. Patricia Marchand, MD, médecin de famille, Trois-Rivières

65. Louis Martel, MD, médecin de famille, Trois-Rivières

66. Daniel Viens, MD, FRCPC, interniste, Drummondville

67. Roseline LeBel, MD, médecin de famille, Laval

68. Sonia Calouche, MD, psychiatre, Saint-Eustache

69. Cecile Hendrickx, MD

70. Marie-France Raynault, MD, santé publique, Montréal

71. Julie Gauthier, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

72. Olivier Yaccarini, MD, médecin de famille, Québec

73. Caroline Girouard, MD, oncologue médicale, Hôpital Sacré-Coeur, Montréal

74. Pierre Duclos, MD, endocrinologue, Québec

75. Normand Lussier, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

76. Paola Diadori, MD, neurologue, Montréal

77. Bruno Gagnon MD, MSc, Soins Palliatifs, Université Laval, Québec

78. Judith Trudeau, MD, rhumatologue, Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis

79. Yves Bacher, MD, gériatre, Montréal

80. Tommy Aumond-Beaupré, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

81. Joseph Ayoub, MD, oncologie et soins palliatifs, Montréal

82. Xavier Coll, MD, cardiologue, Lachenaie

83. Léonard Langlois, MD, pédiatre, Sherbrooke

84. Anne Larkin, MD, généraliste depuis plus de 36 ans, Waterloo

Physicians: Quebec “solution” is collaboration in killing, not an “elegant” compromise

quebec-001Physicians reject claim that referral for euthanasia is “ultimate compromise”

Force no participants to act against their will, neither doctors nor anyone else.

Introduction (by Project Administrator)

In June, 2014, Quebec passed a law authorizing euthanasia in the province, despite the standing criminal prohibition of the procedure.  The province argued that physician-administered euthanasia is a form of health care, and, as such, exempt from the jurisdiction of the federal government in criminal law.  The Quebec law came into force in December, 2015, 10 months after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the criminal prohibition of physician assisted suicide and physician administered euthanasia in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) The Supreme Court had, however, suspended its ruling for one year to give governments a chance to develop legislation, so the criminal law against euthanasia was still officially in force when the provincial law authorizing it came into effect in Quebec.

In response to a lawsuit launched by objecting physicians, an injunction against the law was issued by the Quebec Superior Court on 1 December, 2015, but overruled by the Quebec Court of Appeal three weeks later.  The Court of Appeal ruling was based on the fact that the Quebec law was consistent with the Carter decision, though subject to review once the federal government amended the Criminal Code.

Dr. Yves Robert is the Secretary of the Collège des médecins du Québec, the state regulator of medical practice in the province.  Three years ago, he appeared before a legislative committee studying the bill that later became the province’s euthanasia law with Dr. Charles Bernard, President of the Collège des médecins.  At that time, Dr. Bernard said:

“[I]f you have a conscientious objection and it is you who must undertake to find someone who will do it, at this time, your conscientious objection is [nullified]. It is as if you did it anyway.” | “Parce que, si on a une objection de conscience puis c’est nous qui doive faire la démarche pour trouver la personne qui va le faire, à ce moment-là , notre objection de conscience ne s’applique plus. C’est comme si on le faisait quand meme.[Consultations]

However, in November, 2015, just before the Quebec euthanasia law came into force, Dr. Robert wrote an editorial claiming that forcing objecting physicians to refer for euthanasia is a compromise that reconciles the rights and freedoms of both patients and physicians.

Dr. Robert’s position was rejected in the following strongly worded response from over eighty Quebec physicians, to which others subsequently added their names.  The rejection is particularly significant because the President of the Canadian Medical Protective Association recently recommended the Quebec model as an “elegant” solution that reconciles physician freedom of conscience and religion with the legal right of patients to access euthanasia and assisted suicide. Clearly, those most directly affected by the Quebec “solution” do not share that opinion.


PREAMBLE:

The present letter was written in response to Dr. Robert’s editorial, which appeared in Le Collège (November 2015), concerning the objection of conscience of physicians under the Loi concernant les soins de fin de vie [“Law Respecting End-of-life Care”], which came into force on December 10, 2015.

Debated in the Quebec Superior Court following an injunction sought by a coalition of physicians, the decision rendered was based on the doctrine of federal preponderance over provincial law, preventing the articles concerning physician-assisted dying from taking effect as planned due to their incompatibility with the Criminal Code.

The present [French language] letter was written in light of the conclusions of the ruling given by the Quebec Superior Court on December 2, 2015, and is supported by 84 co-signed physicians.

The English version, released on January 20, 2016, is supported by a total of 344 physicians.

Scientific Objection to Dr. Yves Robert’s Editorial

[“Referring the patient’s request to a health care professional who would follow through with it would then seem the ultimate compromise, respecting patient’s and physician’s rights.” \ “La transmission de la demande d’un patient à une autorité du réseau de la santé qui pourra y donner suite apparaît donc comme l’ultime compromis pour respecter les droits du patient et ceux du médecin.” Dr Yves Robert, LE COLLÈGE, 10 novembre 2015]

The above statement that you made as Secretary of the Collège des médecins du Québec is absolutely false.

First, let’s recall this excerpt, from of the Superior Court ruling (par. 97): “The lawyer of the Attorney General of Canada also expressed her concern about article 31 of an Act respecting end-of-life care, obliging physicians who do not want to grant a request for physician-assisted dying, to participate, despite their objection, in the process of finding a willing physician. She sees in this fact itself an indication that even a physician, conscientious objector, would inevitably become involved in a process leading to the commission of a criminal act under the current state of the law”.

This summarizes without ambiguity the thoughts of the Attorney General of Canada and the Quebec Superior Court concerning your “ultimate compromise” on the subject of conscientious objection, also shared by the Collège des médecins du Québec.

This form of collaboration in killing a patient, with all due respect, is not the ultimate compromise. It is an obligation to collaborate — which can be experienced by a physician as complicity in an act he considers to be harmful to his patient, irrelevant whether the act is criminal or not (the crime evoked here only compounds the insult of the obligation).

As for me, I want to continue to offer care to my patient; not sever the relationship. I simply refuse to cause his death. What will you do against my medical judgment?

If you suspend me, you are the one severing the care relationship by depriving a patient of his physician, whereas I am willing to continue caring for him. I do not consider sending my patient to be killed as providing care because… to be killed is not a treatment, neither for me, nor for the overwhelming majority of physicians and medical associations all over the world. This then is a question of medical obligation, because I apply the international norm, while the Collège has decided unilaterally to disagree.

The issue here is much more a question of scientific objection than an objection of conscience because the purpose is to apply the international norms and standards the Collège decided to disagree with.

Given that most physicians will never agree to stop preventing suicide among their patients, we cannot compel them to stop this prevention because their medical judgement and expertise—that they have applied for years—tells them not to do it. Simply put, preventing suicide remains good medicine.

Likewise, a hospital director cannot force me to perform surgery on my patient if my medical opinion tells me the surgery would be harmful. It does not mean that I sever the professional relationship with my patient, only that I exercise my profession with my judgement and my competence, which means to say that I am not a simple technician who will only serve to be “someone else’s hands.”

In the same way, no patient can force me to perform surgery that I consider bad or harmful, and it is understood that the minimum degree of professional consistency would prevent me from referring him to someone who would perform it in my place. I would simply tell him that it is not recommended, and he would be free to go elsewhere. If however, I were to transfer him to a colleague or health care professional knowing that the procedure I consider harmful will be conducted, it would be as though I performed it through the hands of another.

The Collège needs to recognize this logical response from physicians (palliative and other) who do not want to collaborate in paving the way toward the medically assisted death of their patients. These physicians, who are neither fanatical nor arrogant, see this intention of the state (and of the Collège) to impose on them a forced collaboration like an abuse of authority. The use of the term “ultimate compromise,” in this context, sounds a lot like “this is my final offer.” That, would sooner be called an ultimatum—and the Attorney General of Canada did well to note the real intention behind the words.

In conclusion, if the Collège hopes to avoid unjust and unnecessary confrontation with qualified and attentive physicians of integrity, it should find a way not to compel them to assist in the death of their patients against their medical judgement and their professional conscience.

Even if the new exception measures (not to read “rule”) that will soon be established in the Canadian Criminal Code allows for euthanasia or assisted suicide under certain conditions, you must remember that forcing physicians to refer—moreover to threaten them—is a sure-fire way to cause unnecessary and damaging battles for all, to cause division and spoil the collegial environment in our hospitals.

If, one day, euthanasia or assisted suicide are decriminalized, a true compromise—one that would respect everyone’s autonomy—would be something like this: let patients carry out their own wishes by putting a voluntary system in place, forcing no participants to act against their will—neither their doctors nor anyone else involved.

Marc Beauchamp, MD, FRCSC, orthopedic surgeon, Montreal

With the support of the 344 undersigned:

1. Renata Sava, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

2. Louis Morissette, MD, FRCPC., surspécialiste en psychiatrie légale, Montréal

3. Yousri Hanna, MD, chef de l’Unité des Soins Palliatifs de Santa Cabrini, Montréal

4. Yvan Roy, MD, médecin de famille, L’Assomption

5. Bernard H. Doray, MD, pédiatre, Montréal

6. Antonio Tongué, MD, radiologiste, Gatineau

7. Stephen Martin, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

8. François Belzile, M.D, FRCPC, radiologiste, Sherbrooke

9. Roy Eappen, MD, endocrinologue, Montréal

10. Annik Dupras, MD, FRCPC, interniste-gériatre, Terrebonne

11. René Pouliot, MD, néphrologue, Québec

12. Francine Gaba, MD, gériatre, Montréal

13. Jacques R. Rouleau, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC, FACC (Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, Professeur titulaire de médecine, Université Laval)

14. Roger Roberge, MD, gériatre, Montréal

15. Elisabeth Fuvel-Girodias, MD, Kirkland

16. Louis Béland, MD, chirurgien, Québec

17. Nathalie de Grandpré, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

18. Michelle Bergeron, MD retraitée, Québec

19. Mark Basik MDCM, FRCS(C), chirurgien oncologue, Montréal

20. Guy Bouchard, MD, médecin de famille, Québec

21. Valérie J. Brousseau, BScH, MDCM, FRCSC, oto-rhino-laryngologue, Victoriaville

22. Claude Morin, MD, médecin de famille, Québec

23. Nicholas Newman, MD, FRCSC, chirurgien orthopédiste, Montréal

24. Michel Brouillard, MD, médecin de famille, Rouyn-Noranda

25. Mance Luneau, MD, médecin de famille, Blainville

26. Suzanne Labelle, MD, médecin de famille, Laval

27. Jean-Bernard Girodias, MD, pédiatre, Montréal

28. Juan Francisco Asenjo, MD, anesthésiologiste, Montréal

29. Paul Barré, MD, nephrologue, Montréal

30. Michel Copti, MD, neurologue, Saint-Lambert

31. Liette Pilon, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

32. André Rochon, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

33. Douglass Dalton, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

34. Marie-Chantal Piché, MD, médecin de famille, Vaudreuil-Dorion

35. Odile Michaud, MD, médecin de famille, Otterburn Park

36. Catherine Ferrier, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

37. Michel de Maupeou, MD, médecin de famille, La Sarre

38. Vijayabalan Balasingam, MD, neurochirurgien, Pointe-Claire

39. Pierrette Girard, MD, chirurgienne orthopédiste, Pointe-Claire

40. Jacques Beaudoin, MD, cardiologue, Québec

41. Marc Bergeron, MD, hémato-oncologue, Québec

42. Rosaire Vaillancourt, MD, FRCPC, chirurgien thoracique, Québec

43. Louis Dionne, MD, chirurgien général, Québec

44. Juan Rivera, MD, endocrinologue, Montréal

45. Lyette St-Hilaire, MD, médecin de famille, Laval

46. Matthieu Tittley, MD, FRCPC, psychiatre, Sherbrooke

47. Luc Chaussé, MD, médecin de famille, L’Assomption

48. Gilles Gaudreau MD, médecin de famille, Sorel-Tracy

49. Evelyne Huglo, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

50. Hong Phuc Tran-Le, MD, FCMF, médecin de famille, Val d’Or

51. Laurence Normand-Rivest, MD, médecin de famille, Châteauguay

52. Daniel Boulet, MD, FRCP(C), physiatre, Qu.bec

53. Anne-Louise Boucher, MD, responsable médical GMF du Carmel, Trois-Rivières

54. Mathieu Brouillet, MD, médecin de famille, Rimouski

55. David Bacon, MD, CM, CCFP-EM, médecin de famille, Pointe-Claire

56. Marcel D’Amours, MD, anesthésiologiste, Québec

57. Anne Marie Uhlir, MD, médecin de famille, Sainte-Croix

58. Mélanie Laberge, MD, omnipraticienne, Québec

59. Heather Coombs, MD, urgentologue, Montréal

60. Svetlana Ninkovic, MD, pédiatre, neurologue, Greenfield Park

61. Roland Leclerc, MD, pédiatre, Québec

62. Jean-Pierre Beauchef, MD, endocrinologue, Greenfield Park

63. Serge Daneault, MD, soins palliatifs, Montréal

64. Patricia Marchand, MD, médecin de famille, Trois-Rivières

65. Louis Martel, MD, médecin de famille, Trois-Rivières

66. Daniel Viens, MD, FRCPC, interniste, Drummondville

67. Roseline LeBel, MD, médecin de famille, Laval

68. Sonia Calouche, MD, psychiatre, Saint-Eustache

69. Cecile Hendrickx, MD

70. Marie-France Raynault, MD, santé publique, Montréal

71. Julie Gauthier, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

72. Olivier Yaccarini, MD, médecin de famille, Québec

73. Caroline Girouard, MD, oncologue médicale, Hôpital Sacré-Coeur, Montréal

74. Pierre Duclos, MD, endocrinologue, Québec

75. Normand Lussier, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

76. Paola Diadori, MD, neurologue, Montréal

77. Bruno Gagnon MD, MSc, Soins Palliatifs, Université Laval, Québec

78. Judith Trudeau, MD, rhumatologue, Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis

79. Yves Bacher, MD, gériatre, Montréal

80. Tommy Aumond-Beaupré, MD, médecin de famille, Montréal

81. Joseph Ayoub, MD, oncologie et soins palliatifs, Montréal

82. Xavier Coll, MD, cardiologue, Lachenaie

83. Léonard Langlois, MD, pédiatre, Sherbrooke

84. Anne Larkin, MD, généraliste depuis plus de 36 ans, Waterloo

85. David D’Souza, MD, CCFP, Global Health Fellow, University of Calgary

86. Robert Banner, MD, CCFP, FCFP, FRCP, IFMCP, Dip AAPM, Dip CAPM, ABIHM, COT, CPT, Diploma in Clinical Homeopathy, London, Ontario

87. Aletta G. Bell, MD, Family Medicine

88. Valérie Marion, MD

89. David Dawson MDCM, FRCPC

90. Rodney A. Crutcher MD MMedEd CCFP(EM) FCFP, Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine, University of Calgary

91. Robert Kidd MD,CM, Renew, Ontario

92. George B Miller, MD, Waterloo, Ontario

93. Bruce Hiller, Burnaby British Columbia

94. Karen Mason, MD, Langley, BC

95. Christopher J. Ryan, MD, BSc, Vancouver

96. Maebh Tynan, MD, Millway Medical, Mississauga, ON

97. Randall Friesen, MD, Prince Albert, SK

98. Donato Gugliotta MD, Trenton, Ontario

99. Cheryl Corkum, BN, MD, CCFP

100. Bruce Gay MD, FRCSC

101. George Abraham, MD, Welland, ON

102. Donna M. Klay, MD

103. Robert Frazer, MD

104. Timothy Ehmann, MD FRCPC

105. Jeff Kornelsen MD CCFP Inc., Abbotsford & Mission, British Columbia BC

106. Stan George, MD, FRCSC

107. Gregory S. Raymond, MD, FRCP(C), St. Albert, Alberta

108. Richard Welsh, MD, FCFP

109. John D Potts, B. Sc., M. D., D. T. M. & H., Ladysmith BC

110. Merville O. Vincent, B.A., M.D., FRCPC, DABIM

111. Warren Terry MD, MEd, FRCSC

112. Bing Guthrie, Yellowknife, MD, NT

113. R. Alan Meakes, CD, MD, FRCPC, Anaesthesia, Internal Medicine, Critical Care, Victoria, BC

114. Warren Molberg MD, CCFP(EM)

115. Owen Heisler MD, FRCSC

116. Muriel Henderson, MD

117. Marjorie D.C.Fish, M.D. (retired)

118. Regina Becker MD, FCFP

119. Mark Epp, MD, PGY-2 Pediatrics, University of Saskatchewan

120. Julia Bright, MD, Chilliwack BC

121. Peter Daley, MD, MSc FRCPC DTM+H, Assistant Professor, Disciplines of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, Memorial University, Division Chief, Microbiology, Health Sciences Center, St. John’s, Newfoundland

122. John W McCormick MD, Toronto

123. Peter L Munk MDCM, FRCPC, FSIR, Editor in Chief, Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal, Professor of Radiology, University of British Columbia, Skeletal Imaging Section Head, Vancouver General Hospital

124. John Gordon Murray Robertson B.Sc. MD. CCFP, FRCS(C) OBGYN

125. Ronald E. Hiller M.D. – retired Family Practioner

126. John McLeod, MD, Hospitalist, Burnaby, British Columbia

127. Kimberly Elford, MD – Obs/Gyne and reproductive medicine

128. Charis Kolari, MD, Sudbury ON

129. Diane Haak, MD, CCFP, President of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada

130. Frank Duerksen, M.D FRCSC, Winnipeg, MB

131. Catherine McCallum, MD, College registration #s BC- 02197, Ontario -29139

132. Rebecca Bobby, MD, emergency physician, St. John’s

133. Helena Ho, MD, CM, FRCPC

134. Dale Hoffman, MD, Delta, BC

135. Eleanor Foster, MD CCFP (PC)

136. Ricardo A. Cartagena, MD, FRCPC

137. Joyce Choi, MD, CCFP

138. Kevin Sclater, MD, CCFP (CAC-PM), Port Coquitlam, B.C.

139. W. Joseph Askin, MD, FCFP, Calgary, AB

140. James MacMillan, MD, CCFP, Rosthern, SK

141. Richard R.J. Smyth, MBBS, FRCS, FRCS(C), Adjunct Professor in Faculty of Science, Thompson Rivers University, Clinical Instructor in Otolaryngology, University of British Columbia, Director, Sleep Surgery Centre

142. Alison Froese, MD, FRCPC

143. James R. Lewis, MD, FRCSC

144. Eric Prost, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Kingston, ON

145. Thomas Geoffrey Protheroe, MD

146. Wes Reimer, MD, FCFP, Hospitalist

147. Dave S. Lounsbury, MSc MD CCFP

148. Timothy J. Kelton BSc MD CCFP(E.M.) FCFP, Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

149. Dr. Jillian Lusina, MD, Family Physician, Vancouver, BC

150. James Yeung, MD, Rheumatologist, Richmond, BC

151. Mark B Hildebrand, MD, CPSO

152. James C. Kennedy, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Oncology, Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario

153. Gisela Macphail, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Specialist, Infectious Diseases

154. Richard Haber, MD, paediatrician

155. Bruce Snyder, MD, CPSO, Cambridge, Ontario

156. Tiffaney Kittmer, MD, FRCSC, General Surgeon

157. Ray Miksa, MD, CCFP, Family Medicine, Calgary, AB

158. Harwood L. Reimer, MD, Duncan, BC

159. Donald G. Street, , MD Family Physician, One Hundred Mile House, BC

160. Bryan Dias, MD, Cardiologist, University Hospital, London Ontario

161. Paul Yong, MD, FRCSC, Vancouver

162. Ray Butler, MD, Sussex, NB

163. George K. Dresser, MD, PhD, FRCP(C), Associate Professor, Clinical Pharmacology & Internal Medicine, University of Western Ontario

164. Dr. Chris Newcombe, MD, CCFP (EM)

165. Garnet Leslie Eggert Ullyot, MD, retired family doctor

166. Donald Stephens, MD

167. Thomas Choy, M.D. F.R.C.P.C.

168. Geoffrey Purdell-Lewis, MB BS, FRCPC. Dundas, Ontario.

169. Karma Murphy, MD, family physician, Yarmouth, NS

170. Mark I. Boulos, BSc MD FRCP(C) CSCN(EEG) MSc, Staff Neurologist (Stroke & Sleep), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

171. John Galbraith MD FRCP(C), Medical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Specialist, Victoria, BC

172. Robert Hauptman BMSc, MD, MCFP, Assistant Clinical Professor U of A, Pain Consultant, Family Physician

173. Dr Jack Bromley MD, CCFP

174. Ormond Uptigrove, MD, ret.

175. C. Rachelle Zimmer, MD, FRCPC

176. Joy Wong-Ting, MD, MBBS, FAAP

177. Robert Porter MD, MSc, CCFP (EM)

178. Dr Michael Bentley-Taylor, MD, Cardiologist

179. Peter Kopplin MD, Toronto

180. James Wheeler, MD, Chatham, Ontario

181. Paul R Forrest MD FRCP, Abbotsford BC

182. Sheila Rutledge Harding, MD, FRCPC, Hematologist, Saskatoon, SK

183. Jennifer Y. Tong, MD, CCFP, Family Medicine, Vancouver, BC

184. Nancy Craig MD CM CCFP Edmonton, Alberta

185. Bao Dang, MD, FRCPC Internal Medicine & Respirology

186. Wolfgang E.Schneider MD, FCFP, FCBOM

187. Nicole Allard, MD, omnipraticienne Amos

188. Lynn Kealey, MD, psychiatrist, Ottawa

189. Kami Kandola, MD, médecin de famille, T.N.O

190. Janina Zaremba, MD, médecin de famille, Ottawa

191. André Corriveau, MD, FRCPC, Yellowknife

192. Elizabeth M. Phillips MD, Family Medicine Sussex NB

193. Brian C.M. Phillips, MD FRCP Surg. Sussex NB

194. Dr Darrel Eliason, MD, General Practice, Calgary

195. Philip Fitzpatrick, MD, Emergency Physician, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

196. Luke Savage, MD, CCFP, Three Hills, Alberta

197. Joseph Phillips, MD, PGY2, Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax

198. Anthony Kerigan, MD Hamilton ON

199. Raymond Viola, MD, MSc, CCFP, FCFP,Palliative Care, Kingston, Ontario

200. Leah V. Seaman, MD, BSR, MD, CCFP, Full-service rural physician in the NWT

201. M. Jane Pritchard MD, Toronto

202. Cameron W. Pierce, MD, FRCPC, Internal Medicine, Respirology, Vancouver

203. Maria L Zorzitto, MD, FRCP(C) Ontario

204. Lawrence F. Jardine, MD, Pediatric Hematologist, Western University, London , Ontario

205. François Primeau, MD, membre fondateur, surspecialité de gérontopsychiatrie, Lévis

206. Paul J. Ranalli, MD FRCPC Neurology, Toronto

207. Margaret Foote, MD, FAAFP, family medicine, Ontario

208. Matthew J. McQueen, MD, MB ChB, PhD., FRCPC, hon FRCPath., Professor Emeritus, McMaster University,

209. Rory Fisher, MD, O. Ont, MB, FRCP(Ed)( C)

210. Mary O’Connor, MD, General Practice, Ottawa Ontario

211. Keith Meloff, MD, FRCPC Neurologist

212. Thomas Bouchard, MD, Family Medicine Physician, Calgary, Alberta

213. Robert M. Boyko, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP, Family Physician, MISSISSAUGA, ON

214. Michael Fielden, MD, Ophthalmologist, Calgary

215. Sephora Tang, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Ottawa

216. Howard Bright MD, Chilliwack, B.C.

217. Chantal Barry, MD Family Medicine Calgary AB

218. Natalia Pastuszewska, MD, internist Brantford Ont

219. Elizabeth Tham, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Lecturer, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

220. Ralph Scandiffio, MD, CCFP (Retired)

221. Sherry Chan, MD, CCFP, GP Oncologist and Family Physician, Vancouver

222. Andrew S. Johnson MD, FRCPC, Adult Infectious Diseases, Program Director, Adult Infectious Disease Residency Training Program, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Foothillls Medical Centre

223. William L. Orovan, MD, MBA, FRCSC, FACS, Associate Dean, Clinical Services, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University

224. Andrea Loewen, MD, FRCPC, Diplomate ABIM Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, University of Calgary

225. Jacqueline Chow, MD, Family medicine, Toronto

226. Margaret Cottle, MD, CCFP (CAC-palliative care); Palliative Care, Vancouver, BC

227. Linda Baker M.D., Family Physician(retired), Rosthern, SK

228. M. Pavlovsky, MD, Regina, SK

229. Peter J. Block, MD, FRCSC

230. Daniel Cekan, MD, CCFP, ABFM

231. Jeffrey Betcher MD FRCPC MA (Bioethics), Anesthesiology and Critical Care

232. David Kopriva MDCM, FRCS(C), Vascular Surgeon, Regina, Saskatchewan

233. G. V. Walker, MD, Saskatoon (palliative care)

234. Ferretti Emanuela MD, FRCPC, neonatologist, Ottawa

235. Jonathan S. Ponesse MD FRCPC, Developmental Pediatric Neurologist, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa

236. Douglas Maynes MD FRCPC, Psychiatrist Halifax NS

237. Ray Deobald MD FRCSC, Surgical Oncology, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

238. C. Stuart Houston, OC, SOM, DLitt, MD, FRCPC family practitioner 8 years, then radiologist 32 years, now retired 20 years at the end of January 2016, Five years editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Canadian Association of Radiologists, Five years head of Medical Imaging, University of Saskatchewan, Six years served on Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

239. Lisa McFarlane, MD, CCFP

240. Rudy W Hamm, MD, Kelowna, B.C.

241. Ivan Jagas, MD, Kitchener Ontario

242. Edward Rzadki, M.D., FRCP(C), Etobicoke Psychiatric Consultants, Toronto

243. Martin Owen MD CCFP, President Calgary Catholic medical association, Family physician

244. Rebecca Epp, MD, Family Practice, Meadow Lake, SK

245. Ken Kontio, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Ottawa, Canada

246. Mark J. Jany, Respiratory Medicine, St. Catharines, ON

247. John McWhae MD, FRCSC

248. Jean Chamberlain CM MD MEd FRCSC , Member—Order of Canada Executive Director — Save the Mothers, Associate Professor —McMaster University (Ob/Gyn)

249. John Renouf, MD Emergency Melfort Sk

250. Timothy S Darnell, MD, Lacombe, AB

251. Ewan C. Goligher MD FRCPC, Critical Care Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, PhD student, Department of Physiology, University of Toronto

252. Wayne Weston MD, CCFP, FCFP, Emeritus Professor of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University

253. Amy Hendricks, MD, Médecine interne, Yellowknife

254. John Reesor, MD

255. Thomas Barry MD

256. Robert Ting, MD

257. Lizabeth Brydon, MD

258. Tanya Rodgerson, MD

259. Mark Chandra, MD

260. Kathryn Sullivan, MD

261. Shannon Rabuka, MD

262. James Lane Coquitlam ,BC

263. Michelle Korvemaker, Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

264. Chaim Goldberg, MD

265. Donald Greve, MD, SK

266. Will Johnston, MD, Vancouver

267. John Gay, MD

268. Deborah Dudgeon, MD

269. Edmond Kyrillos, MD

270. Mark Leakos, MD

271. Rene Leiva, MD

272. Tim Cuddy, MD, Burlington ON

273. Carlos Miura, MD

274. Lauren Mai, MD

275. Donna Shaddick, MD

276. Terence Da Silva, MD

277. Barbara Powell, MD

278. Alice Westlake, MD

279. Jake Raguz, MD

280. Nisha Fernandes, MD

281. Ellis Scott, MD

282. Sze Wan Sit, MD

283. Andrew Taylor, MD

284. Timothy Heerema, MD

285. Garvin Pierce, MD

286. Lester Liao, MD

287. Chris Ekong, MD

288. Dr Paul Galassiere, MD

289. Valerie Hindle, MD

290. Karen Macdonald, MD

291. Joel Emery, MD

292. Muriel Beatty, MD

293. David Hook, MD

294. James Holmlund, MD

295. Eileen Cochien, MD

296. Garnet Leslie Eggert Ullyot, MD, retired family doctor

297. Juliette Eberhard, MD

298. Christy Reich, MD

299. Steve Russell , MD

300. Lew Valliant, MD

301. Sherri Renwick, MD

302. G. Ivan Stewart, MD

303. Ilo De Porres, MD

304. Lydia Cheung, MD

305. John Kraulis, MD

306. Myra Butler, MD

307. Shawn Verity, MD

308. Venetia S.J. Mah, MD

309. Althea Burrell, MD, Respirology, Markham Ontario

310. Cornelia Mielke, MD

311. Benjamin Love, MD

312. Betty-Anne Story, MD

313. Helen Montgomery, MD

314. John Alexander Watt, MD, Psychiatry

315. Don Munnings

316. Len Prins, MD

317. Steven Bredenoord, MD

318. Raymond Penner, MD

319. Andrea Milne-Epp, MD

320. Paul McArthur, MD, Walkerton, ON

321. Susan McArthur, MD, Walkerton, ON

322. Duncan Etches, MD

323. David Neima, MD

324. Philip Hui, MD

325. Piotr Koziarz, MD

326. Catherine Elizabeth McNally, MD

327. Larry Taranger, MD

328. Paul Galessiere, MD, FRCSC, General, laparoscopic, and gynecological surgeon

329. Alana Cormier, MD

330. Cindy Lou, MD

331. Larry Ness, MD

332. Brent Lanting, MD

333. Isabel Sarides, MD

334. Costa Sarides, MD

335. RJ Buhr, MD

336. Emily Pranger

337. Dauna Cutforth, MD

338. Peter Hong, MD

339. Marie Dale, MD

340. Kristy Green, MD

341. Maria MacDonald, MD, FRCPC, Neurologist in Oncology, London, Ontario

342. AJ Donauer, MD, candidate, class of 2018

343. Caleb De Putter, MD, candidate, May 2016

344. Naomi Kasteel, third year medical student, UBC

Medical leaders grapple with new euthanasia dilemma: What to write on the death certificate

National Post

Sharon Kirkey

As Canada inches closer to granting doctors the power to end the lives of consenting patients, medical leaders are grappling with a new dilemma: should deaths by lethal injection be classified “death by natural causes” on death certificates?

Quebec’s College of Physicians is considering recommending doctors list the underlying terminal disease as the cause of death in cases of “medical aid in dying” on public death records – and not euthanasia.

The college says it wants to ensure life insurance is paid to families in cases of euthanasia and says the province’s assisted-death law will require any doctor who administers euthanasia to report the death to a special oversight body. That information will be kept confidential or shared with the college and/or the doctor’s hospital.

Euthanasia opponents are denouncing the proposal as an attempt to conceal the truth. It is also creating unease among some doctors who worry misstating death certificates could make it difficult to track how often assisted death is occurring once the practice becomes legal in Canada in February, and whether it is being performed legally. . . [Full Text]

Quebec MDs to get euthanasia guide to prepare for legalized assisted death

Unclear whether other provinces and territories will adopt a similar practice

The Canadian Press

Sheryl Ubelacker

The college that regulates Quebec doctors will soon provide practitioners with detailed guidelines – including what drugs to use – for euthanizing terminally ill patients who seek help to end their lives.

But it’s unclear whether other provinces and territories will adopt a similar practice when doctor-assisted death becomes legal across the country early next year.

With the passage of Bill 52 in June 2014, Quebec became the first jurisdiction in Canada to legalize medical aid in dying for mentally competent patients who meet a strict set of criteria. The law goes into effect in December, allowing physicians to begin helping patients with an incurable condition and intolerable physical or psychological suffering to die. . . [Full Text]

Right-to-die already weighing on Quebec’s conscience

 New law has hospitals, doctors grappling with old fears, new moral burdens

Toronto Star

Allan Woods

MONTREAL—Quebec passed a landmark euthanasia law earlier this month meant to end the agony in the final days of a terminal patient’s life. But the legislation has lumped the province’s medical community with an existential burden it is only now confronting.

Doctors are weighing their consciences against their looming legal responsibilities to dying patients. It’s not entirely clear which one will win the day.

“I’ve been working in clinical ethics as a physician for 24 years and this is going to be one of our biggest challenges,” says Dr. Eugene Bereza, director of the centre for applied ethics at Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre.

The process that led to Bill 52, the so-called Medical Aid in Dying legislation, was wrenching enough in a society where the government, school and hospitals were a proxy for the Catholic Church not two generations ago. . . . [Full text]

Quebec official considers expanding euthanasia to minors, dementia patients

Although Bill 52, Quebec’s euthanasia legislation, has not yet passed the National Assembly, the secretary of the Collège des médecins du Québec, the state regulator of medical practice, has suggested that grounds for euthanasia will likely be broadened after the bill passes.  Dr. Yves Robert, speaking of Alzheimer patients and those under 18, said “We will have to think about that, not only for [incapable] adults but
obviously for youngsters who face terminal diseases.” [National Post]  His statement is consistent with statements made by various groups giving evidence in committee hearings.  For example, the Quebec Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights takes the position that failing to provide euthanasia for mentally incompetent patients and minors would constitute a violation of human rights, and warned legislators that if they did not amend the bill to include it, the change would be forced through civil action.

Hearings on Quebec Bill 52: College of Physicians

Dr. Charles Bernard, Dr. Yves Robert, Dr. Michelle Marchand

Tuesday 17 September 2013 – Vol. 43 N° 34

Note: The following translation is the product of a first run through “Google translate.”  In most cases it is sufficient to identify statements of interest, but more careful translation is required to properly understand the text.

Original Text

Caution: machine assisted translation

M. Bernard (Charles) : Merci, M. le Président. Alors, M. le Président, Mme la ministre, Mmes, MM. les parlementaires, alors le Collège des médecins du Québec vous remercie de lui permettre de vous présenter ses réflexions sur le projet de loi n° 52 concernant les soins de fin de vie, et j’ajouterais que nous sommes honorés d’être les premiers à auditionner devant cette commission en cette journée de rentrée parlementaire, alors on vous en remercie. Thank you, Mr. President. So, Mr. President, Madam Minister, Mrs, Mr. parliamentarians, while the College of Physicians of Quebec thank you for allowing him to present his thoughts on Bill No. 52 on the end-of-life, and I would add that we are honored to be the first to audition before the Committee on this day parliamentary session, so we thank you.
Alors, ce projet de loi constitue, à nos yeux, un jalon très important dans la réflexion sur les soins de vie, et, à notre avis, il devrait être adopté. Amorcée en mai 2006 à l’occasion de notre assemblée générale annuelle, cette réflexion s’est transformée en un vaste débat public, à l’issu duquel la Commission spéciale sur la question de mourir dans la dignité a remis sont rapport en mars 2012. D’entrée de jeu, vous nous permettrez de souligner le travail exceptionnel effectué sur ce sujet extrêmement complexe et sensible par tous les parlementaires, et en particulier le vôtre, Mme la ministre, vous avez fait preuve d’un respect, d’une qualité d’écoute, d’une rigueur et d’une compréhension des enjeux d’une rare qualité, et nous vous en remercions sincèrement, cela mérite d’être souligné. So this bill is, in our view, a very important milestone in thinking about life care, and, in our opinion, should be adopted. Began in May 2006 at our annual general meeting, the discussion turned into a broad public debate, the end of which the Special Committee on Dying with Dignity are handed over in March 2012. From the outset, please allow us to recognize the outstanding work done on this topic extremely complex and sensitive by all parliamentarians, particularly yours, Madam Minister, you have demonstrated compliance, quality listening, rigor and an understanding of the challenges of a rare quality, and we sincerely thank you, it deserves to be highlighted.

Full Translation