spring 2013

h e a l t h   p o l i c y
Physician views on end-of-life issues vary widely

 

CMA survey


Stock Photo

 

 

Recent findings from a survey of CMA members’ views on major end-of-life issues has found that only 20% of respondents would be willing to participate if euthanasia is legalized in Canada, while twice as many would refuse to do so.

By Mr. Patrick Sullivan

Recent findings from a survey of CMA members’ views on major end-of-life issues has found that only 20% of respondents would be willing to participate if euthanasia is legalized in Canada, while twice as many (42%) would refuse to do so. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) are not sure how they would respond, while 15% did not answer.

The results are similar for physician-assisted suicide: 16% of respondents would assist, while 44% would refuse. More than a quarter of respondents (26%) are not sure how they would respond to such a request, and 15% did not answer.

With euthanasia, a physician performs the act that causes a patient’s death. With physician-assisted suicide, the doctor provides patients with the means (usually prescription medication). CMA policy, last updated in 2007, states: “Canadian physicians should not participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide.”

The decision to conduct the electronic survey, which was completed by 2,125 respondents, was made by the CMA Board in May 2011 as a result of a growing number of legal and ethical issues surrounding medical care and decision-making for dying patients. The CMA is also reviewing its existing policies.

Dr. Jeff Blackmer, the CMA’s director of ethics, said the review is needed because of evolving societal values, new technology and changing laws. “I think you can draw a parallel to the CMA’s Code of Ethics, which has been revised more than a dozen times since 1868,” he said.

“When it comes to issues as complex as these, nothing is written in stone. We need to ensure that we are up to date.”

The survey also looked at physicians’ right to withdraw or withhold treatment care when they consider it futile. It showed that over half of respondents (59%) have withheld a life-saving/sustaining intervention following a request from a patient. One in six respondents (16%) had received a request to euthanize a patient within the past five years (32% of family physicians). A quarter of respondents (24%) think assisted suicide should remain illegal (another 14% said probably illegal), while a total of 34% said it should probably or definitely be legal. Responses were almost identical concerning the status of euthanasia.

Feedback

Rating

 Poor Average Good Excellent 

 

Comments

 

Site Map | DisclaimerCredits | Webmaster
© Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA)

  

Articles

Summary

Members vote to ratify new governance model

Missed Appointments: Part 1

Heard it all on opioids?

Five Ways to Manage Your Debt

Beware of surprise invoices from overseas medical directories, MDs warned

Are you inadvertently assisting baby formula companies by not knowing “the Code”?

Newfoundland, my home no more

The lowdown on marijuana for medical purposes

Senior and retired physician group of NLMA

Centre offers NLMA Members access to medication profiles through EHR Viewer

Project Makes Significant Progress in Prostate Cancer Research

Physician views on end-of-life issues vary widely

Doctors in the News

In Memoriam

Medical school earns national recognition for excellence in producing rural doctors

Revised CMA Driver’s Guide now online

Add your voice to Canada’s largest physician workforce survey

Add your voice to Canada’s largest physician workforce survey

Canada’s Doctors Release Blueprint for Health Equity

CMPA’s medico-legal insights now online for medical students

CME credits now available for reading CMAJ, CMAJ Open now available

Canadians are paying the price for drug shortages

Diet high in processed meat associated with poor survival from colorectal cancer

Evidence Update: Dialysis in rural Newfoundland and Labrador

Health Passport promotes dialogue between physicians and French-speaking patients

Sleep and Dementia survey results help reduce evidence-to-practice gap

Topics
A&E
AGM
Arbitration
Archives
Clinical Practice
CMA News
Common Revolt Against Paperwork (C.R.A.P.)
Corporate
Doctors in the News
Education
Events
Executive Director's Message
Financial
General Council
Government Relations
Health Administration
Health Policy
Health Promotion
Health Technology
In Memoriam
Information Technology
Job Action
Membership
Perspectives
Physician Wellness
Practice Management
Primary Care Renewal
Privacy
Resident's Corner
Staff
WHSCC
Inserts
NLPDP Behind the Scenes - Spring 2013 (PDF)
CCS - Material Distribution (PDF)
Issues
Winter 2013
Summer 2013
Spring 2013
Winter 2012
Fall 2012
Summer 2012
Spring 2012
Winter 2011
Fall 2011
Summer 2011
Spring 2011
Winter 2010-11
Fall 2010
Summer 2010
Spring 2010
Winter 2009
Fall 2009
Summer 2009
Spring 2009
Winter 2008
Fall 2008
Summer 2008
Spring 2008
Winter 2007
Fall 2007
Summer 2007
Spring 2007
Winter 2006
Fall 2006
Summer 2006
Spring 2006
Winter 2005
Fall 2005
Summer 2005
Spring 2005
Winter 2004
Fall 2004
Summer 2004
Spring 2004
Winter 2003
Fall 2003
Summer 2003
Spring 2003
Fall/Winter 2002
Nexus
Nexus DEFINED
A connected group or series; a bond, a connection.

Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.