Re: ‘The CMA’s Recent Change Of Heart On The Ethics Of Euthanasia,’ letters to the editor, Dec. 24.
Killing in the name of medicine, doctors speak out.
"For me to participate as a physician in euthanasia or assisted suicide would be to abandon my obligation to my patient to give them the best care I can. It would be to convert my action towards my patient from a conventional relationship of caring and scientific excellence, to that of a contractor who simply does what the patient requests for a fee." Paul Pitt, Toronto.
"As a physician who has spent almost his whole career in joint hospital-based and family practice, I have never had reason to euthanize any of my patients, though I have been asked. Undoubtedly, some end-of-life patients suffer terribly, but there are adequate means to palliate this.
My main objections to assisted suicide are two fold: One can never be certain that some apparently terminal patients may not recover and; in shared care, a doctor who plans to give a patient a few days to recover may discover that his or her patient has been euthanised while he or she was away, without the patient’s consent, because of pressure for beds. This has happened in Europe. This slippery slope pressure in going to increase with our increasingly aging population.
If we are going to exterminate people, then we need a new trained professional. In the Hippocratic oath that we recited at graduation, we promised to never knowingly give a patient a deadly substance. It is, therefore, incompatible for a physician to do everything possible to cure a patient on the one hand, and assist with their suicide on the other." Terence Aitken, Stratford, Ont.
"I feel betrayed by the Canadian Medical Association. It is are suffering from the delusion that you can have just a little bit of assisted suicide or euthanasia. There is no place for the physician in the deliberate ending of their patients’ lives. There is nothing dignified in this. Their role is to allow the patient to live with dignity until they reach a natural death." Anthony Kerigan, Dundas, Ont.