Monday, September 06, 2010

Quebec euthanasia debate fires up

Jared Yee | BioEdge

A small group of medical specialists has spoken out against euthanasia in the lead-up to a Quebec-wide conference on the controversial procedure, warning that past attempts at legislation in other countries have been failures. A provincial legislature committee is set to travel to 11 cities in Quebec to confer with the public on the controversial practice, in which terminal patients ask doctors to help them die.

The province’s Federation of Medical Specialists has given public support for government legislation on euthanasia for “exceptional circumstances”, saying that the procedure is already happening throughout Quebec. A small group of medical specialists based in Montreal, however, disagrees.

"I think that ultimately, we're going to go down a slippery slope, where eventually, what patients purport to want, which is autonomy of decision-making, will be lost," Paola Diadori, a pediatric neurologist at the St-Justine Hospital, said last week. "Patients need care. And we need to be responsible for providing the care that they need. I don't think that it's good medicine to have physicians end these people's lives. That's not caring for them. That's basically just getting rid of a person."

"What's going to happen is by euthanasia, we give doctors the power to kill," José Morais, a geriatrics specialist, added. "I think there are consequences to that. Patients would start thinking, or questioning the intentions of their doctors.” He added that proper palliative care can be a reasonable option for the terminally ill. Read more

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