Euthanisia – Article from the World Medical Journal

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The April 2020 issue of the World Medical Journal (Vol. 66, No. 2), pages 28-37, includes an extensive article (in English only) on experiences by Canadian physicians with euthanasia and assisted suicide entitled “The ‘Normalization’ of Euthanasia in Canada: The Cautionary Tale continues”. Its authors are three Canadian physicians: Dr. Leonie Herx (Chair, Division of Palliative Medicine, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston), Dr. Margaret Cottle (Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver), and Dr. John F. Scott (Associate Professor, Division of Palliative Care, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa). In addition to the authors, over 140 Canadian physicians have added their names as “endorsers” to the article, including the founder of palliative care in Canada, Dr. Balfour Mount.

The authors state their purpose is “to update colleagues around the globe on consequences of the rapid expansion and cultural normalization of the practice of intentional termination of life in Canada” and to “balance recent portrayals in the popular and medical media that imply only a positive impact as a result of the introduction of euthanasia into Canada’s health system.”

The article, at https://www.wma.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/newwmj_2_2020_WEB.pdf, is freely available for public access. It addresses the following issues: “How many people undergo euthanasia in Canada?”; “Expansion of euthanasia practice and legislative changes”; “Euthanasia due to lack of access to care or lack of perceived quality of life”; “Safeguards’ for euthanasia”; “Confusion between palliative care and euthanasia”; “Impact on palliative care”; and “Protection of conscience for physicians”. Published quarterly, the World Medical Journal is the official journal of The World Medical Association (WMA).

At the WMA’s 70th General Assembly held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in October 2019, members affirmed their longstanding opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide: “The WMA reiterates its strong commitment to the principles of medical ethics and that utmost respect has to be maintained for human life. Therefore, the WMA is firmly opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.” https://www.wma.net/policies-post/declaration-on-euthanasia-and-physician-assisted-suicide/

Link to the article