There are ethical reasons why physicians are instructed to do no harm to their patients.
This opinion column was published in the Toronto Sun on Jan 23, 2016.
Opinion: Dr Irvin Wolkoff
As a doctor, I have a question about assisted suicide that has not been clearly answered: Who will perform the procedures resulting in someone else’s death?
To look at the news, you would think it will automatically be doctors.
The media refer to this voluntary ending of life as “physician assisted suicide”, or “doctor assisted death” and — this phrase makes me cringe — “medical death”.
The Canadian Medical Association has engaged in the public dialogue about assisted death, but I’m not aware that it, federal or provincial governments, doctors’ licensing and regulating bodies, or anyone else has already decreed the people who will help very sick patients to die will be doctors.
It’s just assumed doctors will do it. Why?
There are practical obstacles to engaging doctors to carry out assisted suicides. For example, where would we find the doctors we’d need?
Canada’s physician population isn’t large enough to care for our growing and aging population as it is and governments are constantly cutting back funding to the facilities, procedures, treatments, medications and working conditions we need to do our jobs properly.