Québec physicians group opposes referring patients for euthanasia

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.”][1] Dr. Yves Robert, Le Collège, November 10, 2015

Dr Robert,

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.

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