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Canadian Doctors Could Face Disclipline for Refusing to Help with Assisted Suicide

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Assisted suicideby Sarah Zagorski,

According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, doctors in a Canadian province who refuse to cooperate with physician-assisted suicide could face disciplinary action. Bryan Salte, an associate registrar of the college said, “If a physician feels the directives are wrong, they will still, we would expect, they will still follow those directives, in spite of the fact they may not agree with them.”

He added, “Certainly with any physician we try to work with them to see if there is any mutually acceptable solution. But if there are physicians who engage in behavior which is regarded as unacceptable or unprofessional then that is a possible outcome.”

Currently, the college doesn’t have a policy concerning assisted suicide but are circulating a draft policy on conscientious refusal. The draft says doctors can refuse to administer assisted suicide drugs if it violates their freedom of conscience; however, if they refuse, they must make a referral to another health care provider who will provide it. Some Canadian doctors find this problematic because it would mean they would still have to refer a patient to a doctor who would help them kill themselves.

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