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Providing Hope For End of Life

The international interfaith Symposium on Palliative Care took place May 21-23 in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia’s medical regulator has drafted a policy that could force physicians to refer patients for euthanasia. 

The time for awareness and action is now.

“Palliative care, while seeking to alleviate the burden of pain as much as possible, is above all a concrete sign of closeness and solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are suffering.”
– Pope Francis to Symposium participants.

In Nova Scotia, the College of Physicians and Surgeons has drafted a Professional Standard Regarding Conscientious Objection policy, proposing an effective referral policy for all physicians who have patients seeking MAiD. For physicians a referral is a recommendation that a patient explore a certain treatment. Some physicians have said they cannot recommend a procedure that they feel will harm their patient. If changes are not made to the College’s policy, at least 33 physicians across the province – in rural and urban areas – may be forced to move or retire early.

Nova Scotia’s draft policy is the most restrictive in Canada, and creates unnecessary challenges in retaining and recruiting more physicians in our already stressed medical system.
There is already a system in place allowing patients to access euthanasia without a formal referral.

“I would point out that authentic palliative care is radically different from euthanasia, which is never a source of hope or genuine concern for the sick and dying. Instead, it is a failure of love, a reflection of a “throwaway culture” in which “persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected” (Fratelli Tutti, 18). Indeed, euthanasia is often presented falsely as a form of compassion. Yet “compassion”, a word that means “suffering with”, does not involve the intentional ending of a life, but rather the willingness to share the burdens of those facing the end stages of our earthly pilgrimage. Palliative care, then, is a genuine form of compassion, for it responds to suffering, whether physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, by affrming the fundamental and inviolable dignity of every person, especially the dying, and helping them to accept the inevitable moment of passage from this life to eternal life.”  – Pope Francis to Symposium participants.

Read the full message here




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Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish