At the historic Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, the Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia called on their colleagues and the population at large today to clearly sensitize them to the dangers of euthanasia and to the frailty of the consensus surrounding the future Quebec draft bill that would create the possibility of “medical aid in dying”. The Alliance’s declaration is being broadcast in the news media (La Presse, Le Soleil) and through social networking (Facebook, Twitter at #tuernestpasunsoin).
According to Dr Patrick Vinay, the director of a palliative care service and spokesperson for the Alliance, “euthanasia through lethal injection is not a form of care, but rather the definitive end of all care. Patients should never be forced to give up their right to be treated and cared for”. Drs Catherine Ferrier and Marc Beauchamp also took the floor, rejecting “a process through which physicians would lose all professional judgment and become legally bound to kill their patients on demand rather than to alleviate their suffering to the best of their abilities”. The Alliance wants to ensure that hospitals remain thoroughly secure healing environments, where no one will fear that their loved ones could be disposed of. The stakes in this draft bill are poorly understood and poorly defined, and they would bring about a substantial loss of rights both for patients and for health care professionals.
The Physicians’ Alliance invites its colleagues to sign the declaration and the population at large to support its stance by visiting its Web site, www.caringalways.com.
The Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia includes to this day 317 members (including 238 from Quebec) who consider that any law allowing physicians to intentionally terminate the life of their patients is contrary to the goals of medicine and to patients’ well-being. Such legislation puts patients at risk, particularly the weak, the vulnerable and those who cannot raise their voices to defend themselves.