Dr. Brad Burke: “I became a doctor to heal, not to be a ‘paid executioner’ of the Canadian government” (VIDEO)
Dr. Brad Burke, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist based in southern Ontario, said that God’s commandment against murder is “certainly” relevant when it comes to a doctor administering death to a patient.
“These are innocent people who are being killed. And for me, and for many others, I just can’t in my conscience before God, execute these people or send them to someone else who will,” he told LifeSiteNews in a video interview.
“I went into medicine to be an instrument of God’s mercy and God’s grace, not to be a paid executioner for the Canadian government,” he said.
Last month a federal parliamentary committee released a number of recommendations for forthcoming law to govern the deadly practice, among which was that doctors must “at minimum” provide their patients an “effective referral” for assisted suicide and euthanasia. The Supreme Court granted the government until June to come up with a new law after it struck down provisions in the Criminal Code against the practice last year.
But Burke said that since the Criminal Code already holds the accomplice to homicide as guilty of an offense, it is reprehensible for the government to force doctors to be accomplices in the death of their patients by an “effective” referral scheme, even if that scheme masquerades as legitimate law.
“The only difference here with physician-assisted suicide is that you have a minority in Canada asking that physician-assisted suicide [be not considered as] murder,” he said.
“I went into medicine to be an instrument of God’s mercy and God’s grace, not to be a paid executioner for the Canadian government.”
Dr. Burke, who is a rehabilitation team leader, said that the argument that assisted suicide must be a legal option for terminal patients who suffer intolerable pain is simply fallacious according to current medical practices.
“In my specialty…we decrease pain and improve function, to improve quality of life…So, I would do everything possible to help decrease that person’s pain and suffering and to help improve their function, and to help improve their quality of life.”
“If I couldn’t do that, or if there was more that could be done, we have so many procedures nowadays that are available to help relieve pain and suffering. If I couldn’t go to that next step, I would refer them to a pain specialist, to someone in palliative care, who would be able to help them. And I know that a lot of these individuals who are terminally ill, they are on a lot of pain medications. In my experience, their pain is usually adequately controlled,” he said.
Dr. Burke said that the scenario of a patient “writhing around in agony in their bed” usually does not exist in Canadian hospitals, because “specialists have done a good job at treating their pain.”
“If palliative care is done correctly, usually the pain is adequately controlled and there is no need to have to kill somebody because they’re in uncontrollable pain,” he said.
“We have so many options available to us to treat pain. And that has been made possible by God’s mercy and grace in giving us this technology. Never before in the history of mankind have we had so much available to us to help relieve pain and suffering,” he added.
Dr. Burke worries that once assisted-suicide becomes a legal option to the kind of patients he sees — who have been in traumatic car accidents or who face paralysis due to a stroke — many of them will impulsively opt to die.
“As a leader of rehabilitation teams, I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of patients on the inpatient rehabilitation wards. And usually the first couple of weeks are really difficult [for them]. You can imagine what it’s like to suddenly have had a stroke, or to be paralyzed from the waist down, [or to be] suffering something like that, and to realize that you might have to live with this for the rest of your life. Many are quite distraught. I’ve had different individuals say to me that they just wanted to die, that they did not want to live anymore.”
“But what is amazing is that, as the rehabilitation process goes on, these individuals are introduced to different team members — like the occupational physical therapist, the recreational therapist, we have psychologists, all these different team members — who work with them to help decrease their pain and improve their function. These same individuals who said that they wanted to die in the rehab ward, I see them later — maybe two or three months later — in my clinic, and they come in with big smiles on their face, because now life has real meaning for them and they don’t want to die anymore,” he said.
“But, if physician-assisted suicide was available to them, and it was available to them [from the onset of their difficulty] — which looks like how the joint task force recommendations want to go — they would have [now] been dead,” he added.
Dr. Burke said that instead of following the Supreme Court’s problematic ruling, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should invoke the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ little-used “notwithstanding clause,” which allows Parliament to override a court ruling.
“I would introduce legislation, saying that it is illegal for physician assisted suicide. I would also work hard and trying to improve palliative care across Canada for individuals who are suffering from terminal diseases,” he said.
Read the source & comments: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/watch-i-became-a-doctor-to-heal-not-to-be-a-paid-executioner-of-the-canadia
Following the release on February 25, 2016, of the report Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach, by the Special Joint Committee of the Government of Canada on Physician-Assisted Dying, several declarations and reactions have been published beginning with the pastoral statement of the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, also issued a statement, as well as the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., Archbishop of Vancouver, and the Catholic Bishops of Alberta.
Furthermore, the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops (AECQ) has just made available the English version of its pastoral letter, Approaching Death in the Company of Christ. This pastoral letter was published in French in December 2015 and includes a proposal of a number of steps that may be taken as part of the spiritual journey to accompany the dying.
Other resources promoted by dioceses across the country:
–The Archdiocese of Edmonton is sponsoring a campaign to promote the true dignity of life and death. The Every Life Matters campaign includes a website with a video to help parishes and Catholics understand the issues involved, and provides a list of practical suggestions on how to choose life. The website is http://www.commitlife.com/.
–The Archdiocese of Toronto is part of the Respect for Conscience project. This involves a detailed proposal on how to respect the conscience rights of doctors and health-care facilities without interfering with the patient’s choice for assisted death. The project, and its website http://www.canadiansforconscience.ca/, is an initiative of the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience, which involves the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies, the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, and Canadian Physicians for Life. The project also represents some 5,000 physicians across Canada. The website allows concerned Canadians to indicate their support for the proposal, as well as providing an opportunity to write to the appropriate officials in each province or territory with respect to its plans to protect the conscience rights of health-care workers.
-The Archdiocese of Vancouver has launched a campaign to protect and safeguard freedom of conscience and religion for health-care workers. It includes a petition to the House of Commons for a national strategy on palliative care, as well as a postcard to the Minister of Justice on ensuring protection for the freedom of conscience of those who cannot ethically participate in assisted suicide. Information about the campaign, as well as copies of the petition and the postcard, are available at http://rcav.org/assisted-suicide/.
Submissions received by Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying:
The CCCB intervention, together with other written submissions received by the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, has been posted on the latter’s website,
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