The Canadian healthcare system is experiencing an acute shortage of basic painkillers, particularly acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which are commonly used to relieve pain and fever in children during flu season.
Canada’s Association of Medical Assistance in Dying Assessors and Providers (CAMAP) chose this perhaps awkward moment to roll out a webinar for healthcare professionals that advised them to offer assisted suicide to their suffering patients.
As Canada’s National Post noted, doctors around the world are normally “explicitly prohibited or strongly discouraged” from bringing up the subject of euthanasia, even in jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal.
Beginning with a “guidance document” published in 2019, CAMAP asserted that, on the contrary, Canadian doctors have a duty to begin the conversation about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) with their patients rather than waiting for patients to ask about their options. MAID is a process by which healthcare professionals kill the patient.
A new MAID curriculum developed by the group and introduced via a webinar this week maintained that position, which critics find increasingly disturbing as MAID eligibility expands under Canadian law, far beyond the original concept of offering killing only to “those whose natural death was reasonably foreseeable.”
As the laws stand, there is “no legal restriction on who can raise the subject of MAID with someone with a grievous and irremediable illness, disease or disability, provided the intent is not to induce, persuade or convince the person to request an assisted death.”
Critics point out that given the “power dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship,” it is difficult for doctors to initiate such a discussion without the patient interpreting it as an encouragement to commit suicide.