Doctors call Canadian euthanasia Bill C-7 reckless, especially for vulnerable

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Renee Bernard and Lisa Steacy reported for News 1130 that Dr. Thomas Bouchard explained why Bill C-7, a bill to expand euthanasia in Canada, is reckless

Bernard and Steacy report:

Thomas Bouchard is one of about a thousand physicians who believe the legislation is reckless, especially for the vulnerable. He is part of a campaign lobbying against Bill C-7 which will change Canada’s law on MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying). The campaign describes the bill as “a reckless piece of legislation without adequate safeguards for the vulnerable.”

Bouchard outlines a number of concerns with the changes proposed, particularly the process for patients whose death is not foreseeable. 
The bill proposes several “safeguards” in these cases, one of which is a 90-day waiting period, and Bouchard says this is not long enough.

Bouchard is concerned that a 90-day reflection period for a person who is not dying is not sufficient. He referred to studies on people who sustained traumatic injuries. 

“It’s only two years later that they really have a sense that they could live with this. But if we’re not giving them that time, or accompanying them through these struggles there’s going to be a lot of people with disabilities who really don’t have a chance to live their lives and see that life is really worth living if the timeline is shortened. There’s a lot of hopelessness and suicidal ideation, there’s a lot of difficulties these people face,” he says.

Bouchard also says the revised law should remove the obligation for physicians to present MAiD as an option to patients, and agrees with those who say patients — not doctors — should initiate a conversation about this option.

That gives that impression to the patient that they may be better off dead, and that’s not the message we want to convey to our patients. It will create seeds of doubt in our patients’ minds, it will make them second guess and question whether the medical system has their care in mind,” he says.

Bouchard states that conscience rights are not protected for physicians who don’t support MaiD.

“A lot of us who are concerned with this bill comment that it’s not just providing the deadly injection that we’re opposed to, we really have a view that we want to accompany our patients and not give them the impression that this is just one more option for them. For us, we want to encourage patients to get the best care possible, we don’t want to be involved on that pathway by arranging it,” he says.

“What we would like to see is some protection for doctors who don’t want to participate in the whole process and can opt-out, while still allowing there to be systems in place in each province for people to access MAiD directly.”

The government plans to pass Bill C-7 by December 18.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.