MONTREAL, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - On November 6, 2014, an educational dinner conference entitled "Life is Beautiful" was sponsored by the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice. Several well-known international speakers described the dangers and abuses of euthanasia for those facing the end of life.
Dr. Balfour Mount, founder of Palliative Care in North America, and a McGill Surgical Oncologist has survived two life-threatening cancers (testicular and esophageal) with the most recent prognosis of less that 5%. He questioned the confusing terminology used by the promoters of euthanasia who use the term "medical aid in dying" as a "cowardly distortion of the language while never mentioning euthanasia. The focus of palliative care is on life and living and not on death, as is the case with euthanasia and assisted suicide."
Dr. Margaret Somerville who is a Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, described euthanasia as a breach of a 2500 year tradition whereby physicians did not kill their patients and a "seismic shift in our (societal) foundational values." She emphasized that "euthanasia is not a medical treatment." According to Dr. Somerville," the two institutions that carry the value for respect for life are law and medicine. Law says you must not kill. Medicine says we care always, we cure where possible, and we never kill."
Danielle Robert described how the paralysis of her pilot dad, caused by a helicopter accident, motivated her to become a music therapist. " We did not ask when will life be beautiful again but we said how can we make life beautiful now."
Dr. Sylvia Baribeau, a family physician described the healing of broken relationships which would be short circuited by euthanizing them.
Dr. Ron Olivenstein, Medical Director of the Montreal Chest Institute described how those with neurodegenerative disorders would rarely seek this option if provided good care.
Clinical psychologist Pierre Faubert described the importance of allowing life to be lived to the end with love and that true love does not end a life.
Nathalie Massé who cared for her mother who died in January 2014 with terminal cancer, described how this experience drew them closer in love.
On June 5, 2014 Quebec passed the "medical aid in dying" law. The euthanasia part of the legislation is modeled after the Belgian law. Initially euthanasia (which is the injection of a lethal substance to prematurely end a person's life) was to be practiced on adults with a terminal illness. Now in Belgium euthanasia has been extended to the depressed and those tired of life. On February 13, 2014 Belgium extended euthanasia to children. Similarly, in September 2013, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Commission recommended extending euthanasia to certain children. Euthanasia is not a medical treatment, is not part of palliative care, is contrary to the medical code of ethics, contrary to international health norms and conventions including the World Medical Association, is dangerous as a form of medical practice with errors in diagnosis up to 20% and prognosis up to 50% and cannot achieve workable safeguards. For example in Belgium, 32% of euthanasia deaths are performed without consent of either the patient or family. For these reasons palliative care must be adopted as the best practice for end-of-life care and euthanasia and assisted suicide must be prohibited for end of life care.
SOURCE Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice