During the European congress of Catholic doctors in Rome which ended on 18 November, several issues were discussed by the International Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC). The website Zenit.org interviewed the president of FIAMC, José María Simón.
Asked about the new challenges currently facing medicine, José María Simón said that they all turn "around the same problems: not seeing one’s fellow human being as a source of income; the defence of life from conception to natural death, and the passing on of this life; spontaneous respect for a corpse or for a dead embryo which remains nonetheless a symbol of the person and cannot be used as we think fit." Lastly, worry concerning the use of "the embryonic tissue of the foetus to make cosmetics."
On the subject of natural death and respect for life, the president of FIAMC raised the "problem of euthanasia which seems to be spreading, not so much in terms of legislation as on the ground," pointing out that "currently, in many countries, euthanasia occurs by omission. Someone decides on your life: the family, the cancer specialist, and so on; they decide that your life is over […] so the person is given a sedative and dies." Asked if doctors "impose the moment of death," José María Simón said that this is "sometimes" the case, emphasising that "it is important to understand that the mission of the doctor is to eliminate pain, anguish and suffering, and this must be done of course with all possible means, but without speeding up the dying process." Thus, "the question is no longer in the religious sphere" because "there are many doctors around the world who respect human life, whether they are Catholic or not, and who need the support of all of us and arguments they can use."
Lastly, on the issue of futile medical care, José María Simón emphasised that "this is something that we must fight against. All the medical profession, official or secular, lay Catholic doctors, the Catholic Church and other Churches, agree that it is an abuse," adding that "sometimes, certain diagnoses or therapies are disproportionate to the results that may be expected."