Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ontario “death hotline” does not provide conscience protection for physicians.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On April 2, the Canadian Press reported that the Ontario Ministry of Health was setting up a toll free number to provide access to “medically assisted death,” euthanasia and assisted suicide in Ontario.

The Associated Press reported Ontario Health Minister, Eric Hoskins saying:
…a “care co-ordination service” for medically assisted death will be up and running as early as May. 
The service will allow patients to contact central staff who will connect them with health-care providers prepared to handle requests for a medically assisted death. 
“That patient, or their family members or their caregiver would have the ability to be in contact with the care-co-ordination service directly,”
The article suggests that the death hotline will enable people to bypass doctors who conscientiously object to killing their patients, while protecting the conscience rights for healthcare professionals.

The death hotline does not protect conscience rights for medical professionals in Ontario, even though it will reduce the likelihood that doctors will face disciplinary hearings for not referring their patients to death doctors.

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons still requires physicians, who will not kill their patients, to “effectively refer” their patients to a doctor who will kill.

Further to that, even though the death hotline will be promoted throughout Ontario by the Ministry of Health, doctors will be forced to provide information about the “death hotline” to patients who ask about euthanasia.

The Associated Press article also stated that from June 2016 - March 30, 2017 365 people died by euthanasia in Ontario.

The death hotline will accelerate the number of assisted deaths by streamlining the process of finding a doctor who will kill.

The death hotline will not protect conscience rights for medical professionals in Ontario and it will increase the number of euthanasia deaths by streamlining access to death by lethal injection.

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