Lasha Morningstar

WE ARE ONE

April 20, 2015

Be aware, dear reader. You might have to come to the defence of your doctor.

Take a look at what is happening to Catholic, Christian and other doctors who are pro-life in Ontario.

Their governing body, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, told them if a patient asks for a procedure they are unwilling to do because of their personal and/or religious ethics, they must refer the patient to someone they know will do the procedure.

The college uses the word "facilitate" when it talks about the physician referring the unwanted patient to another.

I am sure it does not understand why the doctors are making such a fuss – the aforementioned doctors have taken their case to the Ontario Superior Court – since the doctors will not have to perform the procedure themselves.

Remember that word "facilitate." The definition is "to make easier, help forward, assist in the progress of." By my understanding of this word, the college is indeed telling the pro-life physicians they are by facilitating, making easier, taking part in the procedure.

This is wrong.

These physicians slogged through medical school, often residency, to protect and save the lives of their patients. Assisted suicide and abortion hastens death or kills.

These are doctors of life, not death. If the college is making this mandatory then it should be up to the college itself to provide a list of physicians who will provide the controversial procedures.

Publish the list in the newspapers. Have a phone number and automated answering service that will tell the caller which doctor is willing to provide which procedure.

Do not force a physician to "facilitate." This is not what most doctors signed up for when they became physicians.

Ethics aside, do you really want a doctor to perform a medical procedure on you when they do not want to do it?

Pope Francis calls assisted suicide a symptom of our throwaway culture. "This is playing with life," he told physicians at Vatican City. "Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator."

MORAL DILEMMAS

My physician is Catholic. His job is hard enough without having to face moral dilemmas coming through the door.

One night I was listening to CBC and heard a doctor tell the reporter of a patient he had. He and another group of big-hearted Toronto physicians provide free medical care to legal refugees – people from other lands who came to Canada and planned to make our land their home. Trouble is the federal government does not pay any costs beyond what is covered by medicare.

The physician told of a woman with three children who became pregnant. She and her husband wanted the baby. But because they could not pay the hospital fee, she was forced to have an abortion.

The physician told of his profound regret and repeated that this woman was in Canada legally.

My father used to proudly say we were sixth generation Canadians. When he was offered a job in the aerospace industry in the United States, he refused to take it because Canada was his country.

CANADA IS SLIDING

Recently Canada made the news because people from other countries considered us to be "nice" and "polite."

What has happened to this country?

Yes, poignant videos of people in painful end stages of their life have been shown, with the people pleading for laws to be changed to allow assisted suicide.

One of the most emotional videos came from Dr. Donald Low. He came to national fame when battling the SARS epidemic.

Low had a brain tumour and was dying. "I'm just frustrated not to be able to have control of my own life." he said in a YouTube video.

What I want is for my doctor and other like-minded physicians to be able to control their own – and my – life.

(Lasha Morningstar lasha@wcr.ab.ca)