Canadian Palliative Care Services refuse euthanasia

This post form the Total Refusal of Euthanasia Blogsite: 

Four palliative care providers exclude medical aid in dying

Four Quebec residences, including Maison Michel Sarrazin (first of its kind in Canada), have so far officially said they would not practice "medical aid in dying".

The other three, which consist of the West Island Palliative Care Residence in Montreal, La Maison Au Diapason in Bromont, and Soli-Can in Lac Saint-Jean Est, all announced that they will not introduce within their walls medical aid in dying on request and stressed the incompatibility between this practice and their philosophy.

"For us, medical aid in dying is euthanasia; it does not fit into our concept of palliative care; it is not a treatment," recently summarized Dr. Michel L'Heureux, Director of La Maison Michel Sarrazin, on Radio-Canada after his organization had announced its decision.

"If quality palliative care is available, few people will choose to end their lives prematurely", says Teresa Dellar, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the West Island Palliative Care Residence. "We can't allow the premature ending of lives to become a substitute for our responsibility to provide compassionate care and symptom relief at the end of life."

"Considering our philosophy of care, medical aid in dying cannot be part of our mission," wrote La Maison au Diapason. Based on the definition of the World Health Organization, palliative care supports life and regards dying as a normal process which it does not hasten or delay.

Réal Bouchard, President of Soli-Can, reiterates the philosophy of his establishment: "We believe that the person who passes through the last stage of his life has one last chance to achieve his own identity by integrating all aspects of his existence."

Mr. Bouchard also focuses on the concept of dignity: "Dignity is intrinsic to human beings, and we believe it is not because a person is weak and sick that he is deprived."

According to Bill 52, palliative care hospices have the right to refuse to provide "medical aid in dying". This is not the case in Quebec hospitals, which will offer this option. When we know that a very large majority of palliative care physicians oppose euthanasia (which the Commission on Dying with Dignity did not expect), there is cause for concern for the hospital environment: because they can avoid situations contrary to their beliefs and philosophy of their practice, will palliative care physicians become increasingly rare in our hospitals?

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