Dying With Dignity Canada raised the alarm earlier this month about the Canadian Medical Association's draft protocols for physician assisted dying. In particular, we are concerned by the CMA's insistence that doctors who oppose assisted dying for reasons of conscience should not be required to refer patients who request it to a willing provider or third-party referral body.
This policy, if implemented broadly, poses a significant barrier for patients — particularly those living in remote communities where healthcare services are scarce — looking to access their right to die with the help of a doctor. (CMA brass testified to a committee of federal MPs and senators this week that, no, foregoing a duty to refer won't threaten patient access. We're still not convinced.)
For his latest, most irreverent post to the DWDC blog, Dr. David Amies imagines a dialogue between a terminally ill man who wants to end his suffering and doctor who refuses to help and refuses to refer the patient to another physician. Yes, the piece is satirical and yes, the repartee is heavy-handed by design. However, as with any good morality play, the real-life ethical dilemmas it probes are ultimately what matters.