Luke Savage

The Liberal Government has indicated they will delay implementation of the mental health clause scheduled for March 2023. Therefore, this revised standard should be put on hold until the result of the legislation delay (and possible revision) is known. Otherwise we are putting the cart before the horse. How are we to distinguish who gets suicide prevention and who gets suicide assistance? Allowing physician assisted suicide, particularly for mental health conditions alone, is a dangerous path. Saying “I can’t live like this” is a cry of lament and distress, but now it could be taken as a request for suicide. Just because the government pushes a philosophy to deal with suffering does not mean physicians should promote it if it is wrong. You can’t mask moral failure with legal cover. At the very least, Item 2.a should read “abide by the safeguards…” rather than just “consider”. Safeguards are put in place to prevent abuse, yet if one is to only “consider” the safeguards, there is no way to hold members to account for inappropriate administration. “Abide” is stronger language that can actually be upheld. Paragraph 3 of the Preamble is unnecessary and is already covered by the conscience objection standard. Placing it here further isolates physicians with a moral construct who consider killing a patient on purpose to be contrary to the traditional physician role of healing and comfort and true care, and contrary to the oath they took. A physician’s role is to journey with patients to their natural end, not to speed it up and end suffering by ending the sufferer. This standard should fully protect physicians who want no part in killing since being involved in physician assisted suicide can compromise their integrity. Patients do not want their physician to be without integrity. We need to protect that.

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