At least six faith-based health-care facilities in Manitoba — including two Winnipeg hospitals — will not be providing medically assisted deaths to their patients or long-term care residences.
Officials from St. Boniface Hospital told the Free Press Monday patients seeking medical assistance in dying will have to go to another facility to have the service offered.
Other medical care facilities under the Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba umbrella, including St. Joseph’s residence in northwest Winnipeg, Ste. Rose General Hospital near Dauphin, and Winnipegosis and District Health Centre will also follow suit, explained the corporation’s CEO, Daniel Lussier. . . [Full text]
St. Boniface General Hospital and Concordia Hospital conscientiously object to legal practice
Two faith-based hospitals in Winnipeg say they will not be providing doctor-assisted deaths to their patients.
Both Concordia Hospital (Anabaptist-Mennonite) and St. Boniface Hospital (Catholic) say they will not offer the legal service to patients.
In June, the federal government amended the criminal code with Bill C-14 to allow doctors and nurse practitioners to help patients with “grievous and irremediable” illnesses to die. Manitoba introduced its own policy to implement medical assistance in dying, commonly called MAID, that same month. . . [Full text]
In 1639 three nuns got off the boat from France and began to build Hotel Dieu in Montreal, the first hospital in Canada. Over time, some 275 hospitals were built across our country by self-sacrificing Catholics who faithfully served the sick and dying out of love and compassion, without regard to their patients’ faith or lack of faith. Succeeding generations of Canadians have been grateful for the spiritual and physical care they have received at such places.
St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is one of those Catholic hospitals. In keeping with its faith-based principles, it respects the Catholic sense of human dignity — meaning, among other things, that it does not perform abortions or participate in assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Ellen Wiebe, a physician who is also an abortion and euthanasia activist, together with a lawyer, Richard Owens, recently criticized St. Paul’s because it would not euthanize one of its dying patients, Ian Shearer. . . [Full text]
The Canadian euthanasia issue marks a time of upheaval in medical ethics and the healthcare system which could be compared to events a century ago in Russia.
The Bolsheviks were not preordained to take over from the previous government, but their ruthlessness and aggression were unmatched. They demonized competing ideas and purged the social structures. They made their own laws. Nothing was allowed to stand. All was justified for public good, the good of the Proletariat.
People who would be ignored if they insisted that all welfare recipients be required to think alike, or that all Canada Council grants be used to create the same work of art, grab attention by bullying Catholic caregivers and hospitals which, like all hospitals, could not survive without tax dollars. . . [Full text]
On Oct. 23, we celebrated our annual White Mass for those in the healing professions of medicine and health care at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
As we know, Christians have been doctors and nurses from the earliest days of the Church. Before Christianity, the healing arts were practiced by self-taught individuals who traveled from town to town. Christians invented the hospital and were the first to establish medicine as a profession, with standards for training and care and a commitment to medical research.
From the beginning, Christian doctors served everyone, regardless of religion or social status, and they refused to turn any patient away — even those with highly contagious diseases.
Historians tell us that Christians were the only ones who cared for the sick and dying during the plagues and epidemics that afflicted the late Roman Empire. Many of them died from diseases they contracted from their patients.
Something else distinguished early Christian doctors — from the beginning they refused to take part in abortion, infanticide, birth control, assisted suicide or castration, all of which they considered bad medical practice and contrary to the truths of the Gospel.
These basic commitments continue to distinguish Catholic and Christian doctors and nurses. But these are challenging times in health care. . . [Full text]
Policy hits conscience; believers often classified as bigots
Oregon tends to lead the pack in causes favored by some wings of the political left — legal abortion, assisted suicide, gay marriage, recreational marijuana.
Some fear that next on the progressive docket could be tax exemption for churches and the right of church agencies to operate according to their ancient beliefs, especially in the dignity of life and marriage.
“There has been a striking change just in the last 10 or even just five years,” says Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in central and eastern Oregon.
Bishop Cary cites demographics. Among the fastest-growing groups in Oregon is the population without religious affiliation. That means they have no personal interest in protecting religious freedom. In their minds, personal choice trumps religious liberty, the bishop says.
Also new is the government’s willingness to use policy to try to force people to act against conscience. . . [Full text]
TORONTO – Dr. Luigi Castagna doesn’t think of practicing medicine as a protest movement. But a stalemate over conscience rights for doctors who object to physician-assisted dying may change that.
“We may have to resort to civil disobedience,” Castagna told The Catholic Register.
Castagna is a member and former president of the St. Joseph Moscati Toronto Catholic Doctors’ Guild. He doesn’t think helping a patient commit suicide is good medicine and he doesn’t think he should refer suicidal patients to doctors who believe it their duty to accommodate requests for death.
“You do, on occasion, encounter suicidal patients,” said Castagna. “That’s how we saw them before the (Supreme Court) decision. They were suicidal. It’s a psychological condition and you find out the reason. You do what you do with any patient. You do a history, a physical examination. You establish a diagnosis and you treat them. Successful treatment means that they now wish to live again.”
Given the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario policy that forces doctors to provide an “effective referral” for any recognized, legal medical procedure or treatment, even in those cases where the doctor objects on moral or religious grounds, there is great fear among members of the Doctors’ Guild they will be forced to refer for assisted suicide. . . [Full text]
As Canada implements legislation related to medical assistance in dying, members of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada have worked together to respond to requests with integrity — ensuring that we abide by the law and continue our 400-year mission of service in keeping with our ethics and values.
Catholic health care is a vital part of the Canadian health system. Each year, more than 68,000 team members employed by 124 Catholic providers across the country serve millions of Canadians from all backgrounds and faiths with respect, honouring the beliefs and diverse cultural needs and spiritual needs of those we serve.
All Canadians have conscience and religious freedom respected under the Charter. Catholic health care has a long-standing moral tradition that neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Catholic health care’s conscientious objection to medical assistance in dying is a moral commitment to uphold the inherent value of each person while observing the law. It does not constitute a refusal to care for patients or undermine the values and rights of those in our care. . . [Full text]
Ian Shearer had had enough of the pain and wanted a quick, peaceful end, his life marred by multiple afflictions.
But the Vancouver man’s family says his last day alive became an excruciating ordeal after the Catholic-run hospital caring for him rebuffed his request for a doctor-assisted death, forcing him to transfer to another hospital.
The combination of the cross-town trip and inadequate pain control left Shearer, 84, in agony through most of his final hours, says daughter Jan Lackie.
“To hear him crying out, screaming … was just horrible,” said Lackie, breaking into tears as she recalled the day in late August. “That’s what keeps me from sleeping at night … I don’t want any other person to go through what he did.”
Shearer’s experience at St. Paul’s Hospital highlights one of the thorniest issues concerning assisted death: the decision of most faith-based — but taxpayer-funded — health-care facilities to play no part in a practice made legal by the Supreme Court of Canada and federal legislation. . . [Full text]
Abstract: When physicians today appeal to “conscience,” it has been alleged such exercises pejoratively reflect “conscience without consequence” as contemporary practitioners are said to be insulated from the consequences of such decisions. It has also been implied these physicians avoid traditional professional responsibilities—including providing charity care and making house or night calls. The assertions demand clarification. Fundamentally, what traits constitute an integrated professionalism specific to Christian physicians? Historical evidence verifies sanctity-of-life affirmations by Christian physicians throughout Church history. However, surveying Christian medical practices in the initial centuries of the Common Era, and more recently in the United States, supports integration of conscience with philanthropy and a rigorous definition of a medical vocation. These suggest there may be deterioration in a holistic commitment to medicine in the United States. Reclaiming an integrated professional paradigm—wherein conscience, philanthropia, and vocation are combined—is essential to an authentic contemporary witness.