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Euthanasia In Canada

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Introduction

Euthanasia in Canada There is substantial debate nowadays, both among the public and the politicians, about euthanasia. While the government is hesitatant to venture into morals and ethics, it appears that euthanasia is gaining more press coverage, in light of the Sue Rodriguez and Robert Latimer cases. Indeed, the issue is difficult to resolve, and despite few advances, the government has enacted penalties in the Criminal Code to punish assisted suicide. Without reservation, euthanasia is illegal in Canada. An increasing number of people are turning to doctor-assisted suicide. As a result of a more liberal political arena, more people are agreeing that some form of euthanasia must be acceptable in specific circumstances. Politicians, and the courts, claim that the country is not yet ready for such a climate. The characterization of pro-euthanasia advocates by their counterparts as selfish, taking the easy way out, disrespectful way of life, and challenging human dignity is misconstrued. Pro-euthanasia groups advocate self-dignity, personal choice, economic well-being, happiness, family support, and individual rights. The word euthanasia simply means good death, but has come to mean causing death with intent, whether by doing something, or by omitting something. Euphemisms of the pro-euthanasia movement include "right to die", and "death with dignity". ...read more.

Middle

Eike Kluge, the former CMA ethicist, is outspokenly pro-euthanasia. A recent article published as a discussion article stated, "What a strange world we live in, that we are kinder to our animals than we are to human beings." His colleague, Ethics Committee Chairman, Dr. Arthur Parsons, asked "Who is going to get into the lifeboat? Is it better to keep a severely retarded person alive, or spend your tight resources on bypass surgery for a father of four?" This brings up two important issues, the first, that euthanasia is still used for animals, despite being called "putting to sleep", and secondly, the issue of money and the costliness of keeping a person alive. Research shows that the most expensive term of care for a patient is the final six months prior to their deaths. The financial burden for a seemingly hopeless case is unbearable, not just for the family, but for the patient as well. The patient, in their last few days, should not have to worry about being a financial burden, but the truth is healthcare is expensive. As Dr. Parsons argued, it may be better to supply those crucial healthcare dollars to the father of four who requires surgery because the chances of success are phenomenally better than the comatose or terminally ill patient. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Justices stressed the significant difference between palliative care and physician-assisted suicide, saying Rodriguez failed to show her right to fundamental justice is infringed by the existing criminal law. University of Manitoba law professor Barney Sneiderman says charges are rarely laid because the Crown recognizes that juries generally sympathize with doctors who end the agony of dying patients. Some doctors fear that even providing a patient with the means to commit suicide, for example, prescribing enough pills that might be hoarded and used for an overdose, would constitute aiding or abetting the action of euthanasia. But Sneiderman argues that the courts would likely require prosecutors to prove intent. A doctor might suspect a patient was hoarding pills, but because the pills were not prescribed for the purpose of aiding a suicide, the doctor would probably have a good defence. For illustration, Sneiderman says an Edmonton doctor was charged under Section 217, saying a person has a legal duty to perform an act if not doing it would endanger life, and Section 219, which defines criminal negligence and includes both acts and omissions that would Justices Proudfoot and Hollinrake, both agreed with Justice McEarchern, the sole dissenter, that the legality of physician-assisted suicide is a matter for Parliament to decide. ...read more.

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