“Hippocratic medicine is fundamentally incompatible with euthanasia”

Publié le 12 Nov, 2018

Over the past two years, Canadian doctors have spoken out in the World Medical Journal, taking a stand against euthanasia and its harmful consequences in Canada[1]. Euthanasia, which comes under the definition of “medical care”, completely resets the boundaries of the medical profession and could force doctors “for reasons of personal integrity and professional conscience, to emigrate or to withdraw from practice altogether”. They are “deeply worried” because euthanasia represents a “transformation of medical culture” in their profession, which is “dedicated to healing alone”.


“Our observations and personal experiences over the last two years confirm our belief that the practice of Hippocratic medicine is fundamentally incompatible with euthanasia and assisted suicide.  […] We believe that doctors, and medical associations, should vigorously defend the successful model inherited from our past.  Euthanasia is not medicine. “


To put it in their own words, these doctors are “dismayed” at the adverse effect that euthanasia is having on carers and patients alike. The culture of euthanasia not only jeopardises patient safety but also impacts on how patients’ and doctors’ actually perceive the medical profession. The document highlights the “detrimental” effects on social cohesion and on the vocation of medical practitioners. The number of doctors practising palliative care has fallen since euthanasia was legalised and the quality of this care is on a downward spiral. Patients are gradually turning towards euthanasia because palliative care strategies are inadequate… “As Hippocratic practitioners, our focus is on the good of our patients, avoiding therapeutic obstinacy and responding to their suffering with compassion, competence, and palliative care”.


[1] https://www.wma.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/WMJ_3_2018-1.pdf – page 17.

Institut Européen de Bioéthique (23/10/2018)

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