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Incoming head of Canadian doctors wants debate on end-of-life options

An article from Sharon Kirkey, published in the National Post Canada, reports on an interesting interview with incoming Canadian Medical Association’s President Dr. Louis Francescutti.

The Canadian Medical Association meets next week in Calgary and its members will hear from an expert panel that was struck to explore a full spectrum of end-of-life issues, including palliative care and “advance directives” or living wills, as well as medical aid in dying.

The incoming President, Dr. Louis Francescutti, wants a debate amongst physicians about how his profession should answer the questions that Canadians have about end-of-life treatment and options and says “the time may have come for the powerful doctors’ group to revisit its stance on euthanasia”.

The organization officially opposes euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide in a policy that has not been updated since 2007. But every policy is a snapshot of the thinking of the time, says Francescutti, the Edmonton emergency physician who assumes the helm of the CMA next week at the group’s annual general council meeting in Calgary.

What I’m sensing is that the thinking is evolving quite rapidly around this issue right now, and it may change,” he said.