Dr. Robert Langford, CD MD CM DPH, graduated from Queen’s University in 1958. Dr. Langford has been a practising physician for more than 50 years. He also taught as a professor of community medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Now retired from teaching, he has continued an active clinical practice in family therapy.
In addition to his academic work, Dr. Langford served as a senior medical officer with the Canadian Naval Reserve. He was awarded the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal for his work as a member of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Middle East.
"As a young family physician, I was often confronted with a dilemma when terminal cancer patients would plead for me to help them die. My desire to provide caring and compassionate aid in dying was in conflict with the law and the position of my professional association. Now, 50 years later, little has changed.
Modern medicine's efforts to prolong life often only prolong suffering. In prolonging life, we may prolong dying beyond any reasonable concept of a 'natural death.' Competent adults with terminal or incurable illnesses should be free to make their own choices, protected by clear and unambiguous safeguards rather than 'under the table' practices.
For me. personally, the 'sanctity of life' at any cost is trumped by the dignity of free choice and the need for each individual to have choice throughout life and at the end of life. Religious dogma has often favoured the right to suffer over the right to die, but I see no dignity in the endurance of needless suffering. Nor do I wish to impose my beliefs on others who may believe differently."