Quebec palliative care centres: Euthanasia free zones

Syringue 8Euthanasia will be legal in Quebec beginning December 10th, 2015.  All 29 palliative care centres in the province have indicated that they will not offer euthanasia on their premises. The palliative care department of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) will not provide euthanasia as well.

Dr. Gaétan Barrette, Quebec’s Health Minister is not pleased and accused institutions refusing to participate in euthanasia of “administrative fundamentalism”. He threatened  palliative care physicians working at CHUM with disciplinary sanctions for not offering euthanasia.

Mr. Jean-Pierre Ménard, lawyer and architect of Bill 52 is questioning whether the Quebec government should continue funding palliative care centres. A portion of the funding comes from public revenue and the rest from donations.

Bill 52, which made euthanasia legal, allows palliative care institutions to continue to offer only palliative care.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier, president of the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia told LifesiteNews: “…BUT they have known for five years that nobody involved in palliative care wants anything to do with assisted suicide or euthanasia. Cutting funds to hospices will only hurt patients.”

Palliative care physicians refusing to be involved in euthanasia is not unique to Quebec. A 2015 survey of palliative care physicians conducted by the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians found that 73% of respondents were opposed to the legalization of euthanasia. The majority of respondents to the survey believe “that euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, if legalized, should not be provided by palliative care services or palliative care physicians.”

Dr. Susan MacDonald, president of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians is quoted in a Toronto Star report for September saying: “We have concerns about the safeguards and the qualification of the people who will do this practice and what training they have, because there’s no physician in Canada currently trained to go around killing people.”

Killing people is what euthanasia is all about.  The introduction of euthanasia in palliative care settings would cause harm as some patients would fear these centres.

 

 

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