Navigation Links
Should we prepare for the end? New report calls for decriminalization of assisted dying in Canada
Date:11/15/2011

A report commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, and published today in the journal Bioethics, claims that assisted suicide should be legally permitted for competent individuals who make a free and informed decision, while on both a personal and a national level insufficient plans and policies are made for the end of life.

End-of-life decision-making is an issue wrapped in controversy and contradictions for Canadians. The report found that most people want to die at home, but few do; most believe planning for dying is important and should be started while people are healthy, but almost no one does it. And while most Canadians support the decriminalisation of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide, both remain illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Royal Society of Canada (RSC), a national organisation of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists, believes the time has come for a national debate on end-of-life decision making as assisted dying is a critically important public policy issue, where opinion, practice and the law seem out of alignment.

"The society commissioned us, a panel of six Canadian and international experts on bioethics, clinical medicine, health law and policy, and philosophy, to prepare this report both to trigger a national conversation on end of life issues and contribute material for those discussions," said Professor Udo Schuklenk, Co-Editor of Bioethics, Professor of Philosophy and Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics at Queen's University, Canada.

"It is clear that Canadians are not preparing adequately for the death we and all those we love will inevitably face," said Schuklenk. "Although most people think it is wise to make wishes for care at the end known (in case they are not competent to do so when the time comes) less than a third have some sort of formal advance directive, fewer than half have designated a substitute decision maker or even discussed their wishes with their families, and fewer than a tenth have discussed end of life care with their physicians."

The report also reveals that quality palliative care is unavailable to many Canadians and that the scope of palliative care needs to continue to expand beyond cancer. There is also confusion and inconsistency around important aspects of care for the dying quite apart from euthanasia and assisted suicide. Palliative sedation and decisions to withhold or withdraw potentially life-sustaining treatments from patients against the wishes of their families require attention. Legal and clinical uncertainties around these practices cause much needless suffering for patients and stress for families and health care practitioners.

"The issues only become more complex and contentious when confronting euthanasia and assisted suicide," said Schuklenk. "We carefully considered Canadian values, international experience in permissive regimes, and legal and ethical aspects of these practices and came to the unanimous conclusion that Canada should have a permissive yet carefully regulated and monitored system with respect to assisted death."

Autonomy, or the capacity for self-determination, was also found to be a paramount value to Canadians in the RSC report. Respect for autonomy requires respect for competent individuals' free and informed decisions with respect to how and when they die. The RSC panel argue that the concept of dignity cannot provide a sound basis for either supporting or rejecting a permissive regime with respect to voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide.

"We discussed in considerable detail the arguments against assisted suicide. The evidence does not support claims that decriminalising voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide poses a threat to vulnerable people," concluded Schuklenk. "The evidence does not support claims that decriminalisation will lead us down a slippery slope from assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia to non-voluntary or involuntary euthanasia. The evidence does not support claims that decriminalisation will have a corrosive effect on access to or the development of palliative care.

"Canadians must confront the difficult issues of our end of life care. As a society, we must do the same, acknowledging the need to formulate and enact a national approach to end-of-life decision-making that will bring compassionate clarity to this critically important issue of our time."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Scholarlynews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Girls with family history of breast disease should avoid alcohol
2. Internists to reveal top 10 reasons why Congress should repeal the SGR now
3. Lower dose of corticosteroids just as effective as higher for shoulder pain
4. Policymakers should prepare for major uncertainties with Medicaid expansion
5. Study shows why underrepresented men should be included in binge eating research
6. Babies and toddlers should learn from play, not screens
7. Community storage of anthrax-preventing antibiotics should be determined by state
8. Cancer Patients Should Ask Doctors to Use Simple Terms
9. Global fight against non-communicable diseases should take lessons from HIV-AIDS
10. Traffic Safety Should Be Among First Lessons in New School Year
11. Back-to-School Shouldnt Mean a Too-Heavy Backpack
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their ... Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ... Pro X users can now reveal the media of their split screens with ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded ... Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear ... a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now ... and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings ... The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report to ... the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, it ... excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment ... potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing number ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- In a startling report released today, National Safety Council ... comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription ... are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned ... Kentucky , New Mexico , ... 28 failing states, three – Michigan , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... CAPR ), a biotechnology company focused on ... today announced that patient enrollment in its ongoing ... Duchenne) has exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. ... in the third quarter of 2016, and to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: