During the International Congress on Palliative Care held in Montreal in October 2016, several delegates shared their concerns regarding the future of palliative care in Quebec. Because, for many, the arrival of decriminalised euthanasia on 5 June 2014 exposed the palliative care sector to a risk of “rupture and implosion”.
In Quebec, since euthanasia requests have exceeded expectations, several hospitals have found themselves inundated with patients wishing to end their lives. In early November, doctors at Montreal Hospital received a letter from the Professional Services Directorate informing them of the “need for additional doctors in the medically assisted dying sector”.
So, to take pressure off nursing staff, over 35 general practitioners and specialists including Dr. Nicholas Newman, held a press conference pointing out that “euthanasia will never be seen as an ordinary approach although much effort is devoted to making it a socially acceptable “procedure”. (…) This practice, which is incorrectly qualified as “care”, is based on the severity of its impact on practising doctors. To conclude, we the undersigned doctors, wish to confirm that we will not take part in this social drama, which only leads to even greater suffering. We all believe that the answer lies in quality care, greater access to palliative care and respectful support for fellow human beings”.
Institut européen de bioéthique (15/12/2016)