The right to choose - fundamental democratic right

MONTREAL, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Sadly, The Physicians' Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia satisfies itself with less than optimal intellectual rigour.

First. Lucidly requested physician-assisted dying, essentially an altruistic gesture, has nothing to do with « killing », as recognized in 1982 by the Law Reform Commission (1), especially when considering that « the first duty of the physician is no longer to save life at all costs, but to respect  the freedom of choice of his patient » (2). An opinion even shared by some philosopher:« it is not Life that is sacred but the Person » (3). 

Second. It is not true, as shown by research, that all suffering can be satisfactorily alleviated (4) hence the recourse to terminal sedation « when palliative care fails » (5).  Inducing a coma is not morally equivalent to analgesic palliation, especially when it violates the patient's own values.

Third. The pretentions that there are (in the Benelux) cases of unrequested euthanasia, that the weak and vulnerable persons are at risk or abused, that the patient / physician relationship is negatively affected, that the evaluation commissions are too lenient, have all been flatly proven wrong by credible authors in credible publications as well as by those who went to the Benelux (6,7,8).

Fourth. Philosophers generally agree that physician-assisted dying is morally justified in special circumstances and, with due respect, religious values in a democracy cannot be imposed to one and all (9).

Fifth:  The responsibility of the colleges of physicians is to ensure the Quality and Appropriateness of the medical care provided by their members, not to promote the values of any pressure group  « Physician-assisted dying, when justified and requested, should be granted » (10) in the name of human solidarity and compassion.

REFERENCES

1 Law Reform Commission, 1982, Working Document No.28
2 Baudouin JL. Closing Remarks  Ass' n H.Capitant, Journées suisses, June 2009
3 Callahan D.  Setting Limits, Simon & Schuster, 1987 p.179
4 Wilson KG et al.  Desire for Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide in Palliative Cancer Care   Health Psychology, 2007; 26(3) : 314-323
5 Mount BM, Hamilton P.  When Palliative Care Fails,  J.Pall.Care  1994; 10(2) : 24-26
6 Rietjens JAC. Et al. Two Decades of Research on Euthanasia from the Netherlands, Bioethical Inquiry 2009;6:271-283
7 Mercier J.  Choosing how and when to die, Letter to CMAJ    184:1227doi 10.1503/cmaj.120961
8 Select Committee    Dying with Dignity   Quebec, Report  March 2012 p.141-159
9 Saunders CM. The Management of Terminal Disease, Arnold  1978 p.4
10 Cassell EJ, When Suffering Patients Seek Death in Physician-Assisted Dying, John Hopkins U.Press 2004; 75-88

SOURCE: Quebec Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (AQDMD)

For further information:

Hélène Bolduc, President
AQDMD - Association québécoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité
(514) 341-4017 - info@aqdmd.qc.ca