We will continue resisting euthanasia

By Charles Lewis

There may be a tendency to give up now that the fight against legalized euthanasia has ended. We now have euthanasia in this country. With or without a law it's here. We tried to stop it and so we lost that battle. Notice I wrote we lost the battle and not the war. 

Bill C14 as is or whatever warped form it takes on is an evil. It's not a bit evil, or somewhat evil or even mainly evil. It's fully evil. There is nothing good about it. It offends human decency. We know this. That's why we've been fighting. So on that score nothing has changed.

At the end of the day it can be resisted. The worst thing anyone can do now, anyone who has been involved in the anti-euthanasia cause, would be to give up. This law does not have to be respected. And just because it offers and supports medical murder that doesn't mean we have to avail ourselves of it. Nor should we sit by while those we know decide to end their lives in such a barbaric manner.

Here is the problem as I see it: There is a strong core of us who will never accept euthanasia. We refused to cooperate with the government in the law's development. Our hands our clean. But we have inherited a huge responsibility. 

Link to the full article

Canada's healthcare system in an unenviable disrepair, a broken palliative care system and now Euthanasia?

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia is not healthcare.jpg

On December 30, Canada's National Post published two articles concerning Canada's healthcare system. 

An article by Kristy Kirkup explains how the euthanasia debate has exposed a "dark secret" that Canada's palliative care system is inadequate while the article by Brian Rotenberg asks Canadians to examine what medical services should continue to be paid for by the government.

Together, these articles should caution Canadians and urge governments, at all levels, to reject the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The first article is based on a soon-to-be released report by Gabriel Miller, the public issues director with the Canadian Cancer Society. Miller is hoping that the euthanasia debate will lead to a greater commitment to palliative care across Canada. Kirkup reports:

“There are thousands of terminally ill Canadians who are not getting the right kind of care,” Miller said. “That’s causing patients and families unnecessary suffering and it is costing the health-care system precious resources.” 
Miller is urging the federal Liberal government, along with its provincial and territorial counterparts, to capitalize on the chance to ensure Canadians have universal access to better, affordable end-of-life care.
“We finally have a moment to pull this problem out of the shadows and solve it,” he said. 
“That’s the importance of the broader debate that’s unfolding right now. It is a chance to confront a broken system for end-of-life care and make a lasting reform.”

The second is an opinion article written by Rotenberg who is an expert advisor with the Evidence Network.

Link to the full article

Physicians Pledge Against Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia

My Pledge To My Patients

I will treat the sick according to my best ability and judgement, always striving to do no harm. Whenever I care for a terminally-ill patient, I will provide optimal comfort care until natural death.

I will also support my patients' wishes not to prolong the dying process with futile care. I will never give a deadly drug to anyone if asked, nor will I suggest suicide.

I will always affirm and guard these ethical principles with integrity, recognizing that every human life is inherently valuable.

My Pledge To My Patients from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will be sent out, at no cost, to any physician who agrees with its principles. Email EPC at: info@epcc.ca.

National Post View: The slippery slope of assisted dying

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The National Post published an editorial titled: National Post View - The slippery slope of assisted dying on September 8, 2015. The editorial focuses on the recent announcements in Québec concerning the proposed implementation of the euthanasia law that is scheduled to occur on December 10, 2015. The editorial first comments on Quebec euthanasia:

Up to now in Canada, euthanasia and assisted suicide have been ideas to be debated according to general principles. That phase is over, at least in Quebec, where Bill 52 legalizes euthanasia (euphemized as “medical aid in dying.”) With the program set to get under way in December, it is now about the nuts and bolts of the deed. 
In preparation, the province’s college of physicians has issued kits to be made available to health professionals who will do the killing by lethal injection. In an interview with the National Post, college of physicians secretary, Dr. Yves Robert, was at pains to stress the fact that Bill 52 “is clearly not euthanasia on demand,” and that it will remain limited to mentally fit adult patients suffering from an incurable and irreversible late-stage illness.

The editorial then examines the assisted dying practice in other jurisdictions

... A great deal of research and reporting on those jurisdictions that permit euthanasia and/or assisted suicide suggest that the words “slippery slope” are more than mere alarmism, as proponents of euthanasia tend to insist. In every state or country in which the practice has been normalized, it has also, to some degree, become banalized, with eligibility criteria increasingly relaxed. Common patterns in all jurisdictions in Europe that allow euthanasia or assisted suicide show increasing numbers over time, and a shift from a focus on terminal cancer to other diseases, including psychiatric conditions (the Quebec law does not rule out intolerable psychological pain as a criterion). Supposed safeguards also decline in frequency. 

Link to the full article

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Compassionate Community Care successfully protected the right of a woman to receive medical care

alex schadenberg

alex schadenberg

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

We won a case and we protected the rights a woman to receive medical treatment without going to trial.

Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from a woman (niece) who is the legal Power of Attorney for her Aunt. The Aunt was in the hospital.

The niece needed advise and support after a doctor placed a DNR order and the hospital refused to provide oxygen assistance for her Aunt. The doctor and the hospital did not consult the niece who is the legal Power of Attorney. 

The niece said that the doctor claimed that her Aunt (who had been considered incompetent) agreed to have treatment withdrawn even though her Aunt had clearly stated in the past that she wanted medical treatment and did not want a DNR.

The niece wanted to know how to protect the rights of her Aunt and her right to fulfill the wishes of her Aunt. 

I advised the niece to hire a competent lawyer, but the niece did not have the financial ability to do so.

What happened.

With the approval of the niece, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Compassionate Community Care contacted the most experienced lawyer in Ontario to handle the case.

EPC sent an appeal to our supporters asking for donations for the legal costs.

The doctor and the hospital brought the case to the Consent and Capacity Board (Board) of Ontario. 

At the pre-trial hearing there was doubt that the Aunt was competent when the doctor said that the Aunt agreed to have treatment stopped. The niece was represented by the experienced lawyer and EPC was paying for the legal costs.

Link to the full article

Is physician-assisted death in anyone’s best interest? NO

This article was published in the Canadian Family Physician (April 2015) with an article supporting Physician-Assisted Death.

By Dr Edward (Ted) St Godard 

The issue of physician-assisted death is complex and emotional, and we must not allow truth to become a casualty. Medical professionals and laypersons alike struggle to understand distinctions between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, and many more fail to distinguish either act from simple refusal or authorized withdrawal of treatment.1 We must demand and demonstrate a courageous and respectful clarity.

The expression physician-assisted death is what is kindly known as a euphemism. Euphemism is defined as “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.”2 Writing recently in The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik noted:

[E]uphemism is a moral problem, not a cognitive one. When Dick Cheney calls torture “enhanced interrogation,” it doesn’t make us understand torture in a different way; it’s just a means for those who know they’re doing something wrong to find a phrase that doesn’t immediately acknowledge the wrongdoing.3

The substitution of physician-assisted death, or the ubiquitous medical aid in dying (something I provide daily), for the more accurate if somehow distasteful euthanasia (itself a euphemism) or physician-assisted suicide, represents at best a misplaced attempt at decorum or delicacy,4 and often a deliberate obfuscation. That our journal, like the Canadian Medical Association, has stooped to using this language is regrettable and, frankly, embarrassing. It is not just semantics.

Link to the full article

Scotland debates independence, the UK debates assisted suicide

By Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick is the Director of EPC - International and a leader of the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet - UK

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Today’s ‘great debate’ in the UK is: Should Scotland vote for independence? This is an emotional discussion with many practicalities to be unpacked, many complex arguments, political, financial, cultural, for a general public to understand. Both sides throw up what, in general translation, Socrates calls ‘bogeys’, trying to strike enough fear with the use of horrific examples, to sway people to vote your way. Scotland will vote, and whether the Yes campaign wins or loses, by a very slim margin as looks likely, there is a sense that things have already changed.

Read More: http://www.alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2014/09/scotland-debates-independence-uk.html