Here is the letter:
A Caring Physician
Hippocratic TraditionIn addition, the current legislation makes no provision for physicians and other health care workers who follow the 2,400-year-old Hippocratic tradition of never participating in the death of a patient. If, as proponents of MAiD assert, only 5% of Canadian deaths will ever be MAiD deaths, there will not be an access problem. Accommodation must be made for workers to follow their consciences in this area. Taking the life of a patient is serious and irreversible—convictions about this are not mere opinion but are among the most deeply held core beliefs for any individual. There are also many patients—who also pay taxes and have rights—who would much prefer to be cared for by a Hippocratic physician. Surely in our democracy we can make room for dissent on this issue and devise systems to deliver both Hippocratic care and MAiD. You lamented the number of physicians who are retiring and noted the human resources issues facing our profession. Driving Hippocratic physicians out of medicine using coercion to participate and sanctions for non-participation, will only intensify this exodus. There is a significant number of physicians who will leave medicine rather that participate in MAiD delivery or referral. With your expertise and experience in negotiation, I would hope that your parliamentary colleagues would seek your advice in order to make this legislation balanced for all.
In Conclusion …
All of this leaves me very concerned for the kind of society that we are building for our children and grandchildren. Canada has traditionally been a country of inclusion and caring—even when it has been difficult. C-7 is the absolute wrong direction to be going if we hope to continue those traditions. I urge you and your colleagues to listen to the voices that are seeking the protection of our citizens who are vulnerable, and also to those of us who are contending for the preservation of the heart of medicine—to cure when we can and to care always, but not to participate in any way in the delivery of death.