Friday, September 23, 2005

Life, Death and the Meaning of Dignity in Relation to Assisted Suicide

So Canada having “sorted out” abortion and same-sex marriage by litigation and political manoeuvrings over the last many years is now, apparently, going to have another chance to “debate” the issue of “assisted suicide”. One may hope for a good result but would be excused for doubting that the right course will prevail. One by one the settled verities have been toppled until we look around a vast expanse of destroyed conceptions. As it has been with other issues in relation to the beginning and developing of life, so it is again with respect to the end of life.

The last time this matter came to the Supreme Court of Canada in the Rodriguez case of 1992, the judges split 5 – 4 on whether the Criminal Code offended the Charter, narrowly upholding the law. The issue was whether, in part, Sue Rodriguez, a woman afflicted with an incurable disease, should succeed in having the provisions that ban assisted-suicide struck down. Had Justice Sopinka, who voted with the majority against her application, died a few months earlier than he did, Canada might well have legal assisted-suicide today.

Senate Hearings refused to recommend assisted-suicide legalization and many of those involved in that hearing process attributed this, in large measure, to the overwhelming presence of hospice and palliative care workers (and those who had used such approaches) who gave testimony at the Hearings. They witnessed to another way to approach death and dying and it was undeniable that the “other way” that of the solipsist, was a counsel of despair not in the interest of society at large.

Yet, with the seeming inevitability of an ice age, the endorsement of a standard of “dignity” in the area of euthanasia that does not accord with the subjectivist “dignity” in abortion and same-sex marriage, calls for the smooth trowels of the times.

According to Stephanie Rubec, Senior Political Reporter for Sun Media, MPs will vote on Bloc MP Francine Lalonde's bill Oct. 31, which amends the Criminal Code to give certain people the "right to die with dignity".

Bill C-407 will first be debated during second reading in the Commons at the end of next month before MPs vote on whether to send it to a parliamentary committee for review or reject it entirely.

The Bill, if passed, will allow a lucid adult in extreme pain whose treatment has failed, or who has a terminal illness, to be assisted in committing suicide.
The amendment would re-write two sections of the Criminal Code in which assisted suicide is categorized as homicide.

In the background, if one listens, one can hear the singing: “hi ho, hi ho, its off to court we go” the well known chant of the little dwarves of the Court Party and, sure as shooting, once the Legislature votes this autumn on a Bill from the Quebec M.P., it will be off to Court if Parliament or the Legislatures don’t give the dwarves what they want first.

At least going the governmental route first is the right way around! But no matter what method is chosen the push for assisted suicide should not be allowed to succeed in Canada. Why not?

Well, dignity is not something we just “make up” to fit what our wills want. The same-sex lobby succeeded in getting the country to accept that the dignity of same-sex couples was offended if they couldn’t marry. This was not true and, unfortunately, has further confused the meaning of dignity.

Is it an offence to the dignity of two brothers that they cannot be sisters? Hardly. It was not an offence against dignity to deny couples of the same-sex a supposed right to marry that most believed came from the natural fact of male and femaleness (like “brothers” or “sisters”) despite what they argued and got some judges to support. It offended their wills to be sure but not all offences against what people want can possibly constitute “dignity offences”. If “what I want” is equal to a “dignity right” then we are all in trouble.

For when dignity is in the eye of the beholder we all have concern since dignity is one of those things that is supposed to be beyond human choosing. If your dignity depends on my “choice” (consider the abortion issue here) then so much for dignity. Similarly, if “dignity” is unrelated to the category of human being but is based on something else (such as my sense of the worthiness of my life) then, again, we have grounds to worry.

If my dignity depends, again, only on my choice then it is a pretty fragile thing. If I am temporarily insane, depressed or what have you and choose to end my life based upon my idea that I am worthless we would hope that others would stop me from such a suicide. Why? Well, because there are other things than an untrammelled exercise of the will.

In fact, our respect for the dignity of the human person is such that we do not want to counsel people to kill themselves even if they think their lives are worthless. We forbid people to counsel suicide under the Criminal Code on the basis that human dignity should stop people from urging others to kill themselves. Similarly, the actual fact of assisting another to kill him or herself is also proscribed and rightly so.

Now along comes “assisted-suicide” and the claim is that this is going to be limited to that narrow category of people who are in full command of their senses but who, for some reason or other, believe that their life no longer has purpose or meaning or who are in pain. They wish to end it all. Suicide, so the logic goes, is legal, so why if I cannot kill myself, should someone else be prohibited from helping me effectuate my will? Here is why.

A person may, in the darkness of his or her own soul, decide that life is no longer worth the pain or suffering he or she is enduring. This state, all too common, is tragic and no compassionate person, knowing this, would fail to reach out to a sufferer. And if a person does fail to offer support in dealing with suffering most people would reject the failure to assist as immoral or at least seriously lacking in compassion. The root of the word compassion is, of course, “to suffer with”.

There is another category, that of people suffering from illnesses. These may be terminal or not but in any case the person wishes to “end it all” as well and does not wish to go through whatever it is that they are tired of facing. This may be depression: illness and suffering in which they fear the steps further down the road of decay to the death that all of us sooner or later must face. Again, no compassionate person can fail to recognize the fear and perhaps pain or suffering in such a state and do what he or she can to assist a person in the process of dying to deal with the pain and the suffering (they are different things). That is what hospice and palliative care are all about.

If we allow people to kill other people, or to help them kill themselves, we are extending suicide (that we recognize to be a tragic thing) outwards in ways that cannot be safeguarded. The risk of extension has been well documented in the Dutch experience where notorious cases have been documented in which “post spousal loss depression” and “anorexia” have satisfied the so-called safeguards of the Dutch system. In these two cases the people involved were “terminated” by physicians since they fit within the “guidelines”.

But it is well known by those who have studied the literature that the meaning of “terminal” and “intractable pain” like the meaning of “failure of the medical treatment” opens doors so wide that any kind of euthanasia vehicle may be driven through them.

Those who have examined the Dutch situation closely (the Canadian Senate and the House of Lords Committee some years ago in England) chose to go the other way because the supposed “safeguards” were unsafe. That is what Canada must do again. It must reject this false claim that dignity requires assisted-death. It doesn’t and genuine “dignity” will, in fact, be threatened by it. We are being urged to cross the Rubicon again.

We should resist crossing the Rubicon here. That is the river that, if you recall your mythology, once crossed, one could never get back across again.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 102
Iain T. Benson©

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Rise of “Psethics”: The “Frozen” versus “Fresh” Embryos Debate and The Bankruptcy of Contemporary Medical Ethics:

The old adage “straining at gnats and swallowing camels” is nowhere more true than in what passes for contemporary medical ethics. We really should start calling pseudo ethics something else to distinguish them from the real thing. Perhaps “psethics” (pronounced “sethics”) will serve?

The National Post of September 13, 2005 contains an article by Margaret Munro “Moratorium Urged on Use of Fresh Embryos: Women at Risk – ethicists” in which two leading Canadian physicians concerned about ethics decry the use of “fresh embryos” for establishing stem cell lines. Here are the relevant paragraphs from the Post article:


“Two leading ethicists, shocked by the use of days-old human embryos to create stem cells in a Toronto laboratory, are calling for a moratorium on "fresh" embryo donation in Canada.

Dr. Jeffrey Nisker, of the University of Western Ontario, warns in the Canadian Medical Association Journal today that women who donate their fresh (as opposed to frozen) embryos for research may decrease their chances of getting pregnant in the future.

Dr. Nisker is calling for an "immediate moratorium on fresh embryo donation until professional practice guidelines and other national regulations are developed".

Dr. Francoise Baylis, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, echoes his concerns, saying women are at risk given the "inadequate" protection now in place. She also raises questions about the "surreptitious" way a federal research agency, which has vowed to protect women and their embryos, rewrote this country's research rules in June without telling the public.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research quietly changed the rules on June 7 to explicitly allow stem-cell researchers to use fresh human embryos. Two days later, on June 9, a Toronto research team headed by Dr. Andras Nagy announced it was not only working with fresh embryos but had used them to create Canada's first human embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells have the potential to turn into any type of cell in the body, from heart cells to new neurons. Scientists dream of using the cells to develop new treatments for everything from arthritis to Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Nisker says he was incredulous when he learned Dr. Nagy's team had used fresh embryos to produce the stem cell lines.

"These aren't leftover embryos, these are fresh embryos, which are very precious," says Dr. Nisker, who co-chaired Health Canada's advisory committee on reproductive and genetic technology which disbanded last year once the federal government passed the new law governing reproductive technology.

"Never for one moment did [the committee] imagine that a woman would ever be approached to give up a fresh embryo," Dr. Nisker said in an interview. "That was not even on our radar screen."

Infertility treatment is an invasive and potentially harmful process,and couples often end up with more embryos than they need to try for a baby. Since the late 1980s, Dr. Nisker says, it has been common practice for doctors to recommend to IVF patients that they freeze any extra embryos in case they want to try for another baby later. Physician rule books and practice guidelines make no mention of donating fresh embryos -- creating what Dr. Nisker calls as legislative and professional "grey zone" which may lead to potential harm to patients.

Dr. Nisker says the issue demands clarification and says he personally feels that physicians who ask women to donate fresh embryos may be breaking the medical code of ethics.

"There should be a national ethical debate before doctors go taking fresh embryos from women," says Dr. Nisker, who notes in his CMAJ paper that physicians who broach the subject of fresh embryo donation with patients "may unknowingly become complicit in decreasing their patients' chance of pregnancy and increasing their risk of harm."

Their concerns relate to the fact that these “fresh” embryos were somehow different than embryos that were frozen. The frozen ones it would be all right to use but “fresh ones” should not be.

Without belittling the feelings of the medical people involved (that being a very un-Canadian thing to do) - - one of whom I met at a medical conference a few years ago, their concerns and the whole debate about “frozen” or “fresh” is about a good example of what has gone off the rails in contemporary ethics as one could find.

The one I met, Dr. Jeffrey Nisker of the University of Western Ontario, quoted at length in the above article as viewing fresh embryos as “precious”, seemed a nice fellow. A few years ago he and several hundred others were wringing their hands at a conference of OB-GYNS in Alberta about a variety of issues including whether “selective reduction” of embryos left physicians exposed to litigation from “multiples” because their lives would be economically disadvantaged as against “singletons”. The claim would go like this: “I never should have been born one of a group of triplets; but for the negligence of the doctor, I’d have more money in my university fund, therefore I have been damaged and you should pay up.” I am not making this up.

Several of us Day-Two speakers in the audience (Day One was the practical side of things and Day Two the theoretical) sat there with our eyes standing out like organ stops listening to their discussions. Things were much, much worse than I had imagined. The original issues of respect for dignity of developing humans (leaving aside the neat philosophical dispute about “personhood” or the frank obfuscation of “potential human life”) had moved on with the widespread practice of abortion and now “selective reduction” was a commonly accepted thing as well.

I spent a considerable time that evening rewriting what I was going to say and the next morning pointed out, in no uncertain terms, what seemed to be the corruption of medical ethics in what were being raised as “ethical concerns” and what was being ignored.

I told the conference attendees that the term “selective reduction” which was used by everyone the day before without complaint was, in fact, a euphemism for “selective termination” and “termination” a nicer way of saying “killing” and that supposed “ethical concerns” about whether “multiples” (those fortunate enough to have been selected then inserted into the womb in batches, like at a fish hatchery, to heighten the chance of survival) would be disadvantaged in life when compared with the “singletons” (who got there because his or her siblings had all been massacred by the caring professionals) rather missed the point.

The point was, and they did not disagree with this - - at least to my face, that their techniques and what medicine had already taken on board, had blinded them to the realities of what they were doing. They had lost sight of the reality of their medical practices, turned unique human entities into disposable (or, worse, “useful”) things and were now just protecting their often well padded posteriors against the ever rapacious litigation strategies of lawyers who would get hefty payouts should their newly thought out claim of action succeed. Claims for damages, like human lives, appeared to be (or not to be) in the eye of the beholders.

In such a world as this, Hamlet’s question “to be or not to be” has been dramatically changed. In Shakespeare’s play it was an ontological question framed within a world in which there were certain moral verities related to human being and suicide. In this current climate of psethics human being itself is now up for grabs. In medicine the decision about “to be or not to be” is increasingly circumscribed by second order practical questions. Being has, in fact, become contingent upon the human will and that only loosely contained by ever-shifting guidelines. Ethics had to become psethics in order to cope. Ethics must not necessarily be done but they must be seen to be done - - that is the essence of the new psethics.

Without going too far with my analogy, the way litigation was being discussed at the conference in relation to the termination (sorry, “selective reduction”) of humans (sorry “embryos”) was rather like asking if the guy who adjusts the gas nozzles on the gas chambers is going to be exposed to litigation for not doing it correctly. Who cares? The far bigger issue and the one that moralists should be interested in is the morality of the gas chambers themselves!

Simply put, no longer are “medical ethics issues” governed by any coherent moral approach based on the application of moral reasoning to facts. Now they are increasingly a set of ever changing practical “guidelines” of acceptable medical practice based on what we “feel” we can live with that is always just one step more “developed” (some would say barbarous) than the last step we took away from genuine respect for human entities. Calls for moratoria are a regular feature in the endless “progress” of medicine from area to area. What starts out as “grey” soon becomes, for some, the way to make a lot of gold.

With each step we all get just further and further away from any kind of moral basis at all - - except one: thou shalt maximize thy income. Yea, unto the third and fourth generations shalt thou maximize it. Thus speak the Law and the Profits.

Having moved, rather reluctantly, from the “pro-choice” to the “pro-life” (or if you are a modernist not too keen on logic “the anti-choice”) position while studying the ethics of abortion at Cambridge University and then seeing the paper published here and there in a variety of journals and books, I have little time for those like most modern physicians who refuse to examine where the logic of their position on abortion and human experimentation is taking our cultures.

The line between the instrumental reduction of unique developing human entities from lives we should regard as having inherent dignity (even if we choke at applying the term “sanctity of life” to them) to being “fresh” or “frozen” subjects for destruction at the hands of geneticists is a line that leads, sooner or later, to the instrumental evaluation of all human beings. Just wait and see and, oh yes, watch the signs of the times - - such as this supposed “fresh/frozen” debate.

The man at the centre of this recent disagreement (to call it a “debate” would be to give it the illusion of being a formal thing leading to a decision and it is not that), one Doctor Andras Nagy, who works at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute affiliated with the University of Toronto is quoted in the Post article as follows:


"We never ever use any embryos -- fresh or frozen -- that are not otherwise destined to destruction," says Dr. Nagy. He says some embryos do not meet "quality criteria" for freezing, or sometimes there is only one spare embryo,which most clinics would consider "not practical" for freezing. In other cases, couples simply do not feel comfortable with freezing their embryos for later use.

"In all these cases, the embryos would get destroyed if not donated to research, and the risks to the woman that Dr. Nisker refers to is non-existent," says Dr. Nagy.


Note here that the embryos would simply be “wasted” if they were not going to be “used” - - and we are conservation based society are we not? How obvious the ethics in these situations then!

But there is more. Just so we are all assured that things are on track in terms of process and review and institutional solidity we are assured as follows:

“[Dr. Nagy] also notes that his team "strictly follows" guidelines set down by the stem cell oversight committee which reviews and approves research for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.”

Oh, but wait, things might not be as simple as that. There appears to be some flux or uncertainty in the guidelines themselves. The article quotes a learned Professor as saying:

“The change in the CIHR guidelines and its timing raise many unanswered questions, says Dr. Baylis, who holds a Canada research chair in Bioethics and Philosophy at Dalhousie. Until December she sat on the governing council of the CIHR, which is Canada's lead health research agency.

The way CIHR has been making and changing rules regarding embryo use in stem cell research is "a serious threat" to both the interests of the Canadians donating embryos and the integrity of the CIHR policy-making process, says Dr. Baylis. She has just completed a 26-page paper that she hopes will help "incite" some corrective action.

Dr. Alan Bernstein, CIHR president and spokesman for the stem cell oversight committee, refused to comment on Dr. Nagy's work saying it would be inappropriate to publicly discuss a specific project. But he said he is aware of Dr. Baylis's concerns and says he has staff looking into them. Dr. Bernstein said the change to the stem cell guidelines was posted on the CIHR Web site in June and it is "a big extrapolation" to imply that the policy change was timed to coincide with Dr. Nagy's announcement.

As for Dr. Nisker's concerns about donation of fresh embryos, Dr. Bernstein says "there are some issues of substance here," and suggested the issue would be best and most appropriately addressed by Health Canada.”

Ah yes, someone is in charge, some ethics are in place. The only question is “who is in charge?” and “what are the ethics that are supposedly in place?”

It was fair to say that after the Alberta paper the responses were mixed. In fact for much of the rest of the conference I felt like someone who had passed a considerable amount of noisy gastric wind in a crowded elevator just after the power went out in the building. I had said the things many of them had thought were out of the way. Well, surprise! They aren’t and never will be. Ignored, undoubtedly, irrelevant, never.

This brings me back to the latest “hand-wringing” supposed “ethical” issue: is using a “fresh” embryo (note the use of “fresh” versus “frozen” to discuss unique human entities by the way…when will we start using “organically grown” or give them “Grade A” stamps of approval like we do with other agricultural products?) worse than using a “frozen” one? Hmmm. Let’s see. Is killing a cold person less bad than killing a warm one?

Welcome to the modern world of pseudo medicine raising pseudo ethical problems and the media discussing it all as if it is real and relatively harmless. I suppose this gives us all the comfort that something “ethical” is going on and the “experts” will ensure that nothing too bad comes to pass. Thus spoke the frogs to one another as the water temperature went up and up and up…

I suppose even when we see the first human head actually grafted onto (or emerging naturally from) the body of some kind of newly genetically developed and extremely useful reptile (possibly for Armed Forces use) we will be confident that it was all done ethically and with proper attention to the Guidelines after a suitable number of “moratoria” along the way just to keep us all comfortable that things were progressing as they can, should and must.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 101
Iain T. Benson©

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Which is the Best Country in the World in Which to Live?
Or
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all ….?”

The witch in the story of “Snow White” exams her mirror to ensure that she is “fairest of them all.” She is insecure while she is doing it. In this she is not so dissimilar from those who constantly seek to console themselves, often by reading front page comments in national papers, that they live in the best place because so and so told them so.

Virtually everywhere could be determined to be “best” depending on the criteria used to determine “best-ness.” Greenland and Antarctica, for example, might be locked in competition for the “Best Country” had the criteria focussed upon the needs of those with serious hay fever. Saudi Arabia, which I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago, would be “best” if lack of public religious diversity was what rang ones’ chimes.

Canadians are masters at self-congratulation about their being the “best country” because they focus on the criteria of the UN Human Development Index (HDI). But wait; is it not a solid fact that Canada is simply THE best place to live in the entire world? The short answer is, well, er, no.

Just for fun do a Google search on the term “Best place in the world to live” and you can sit back and chuckle at the results. At the time of the writing of this, the (ahem) 100th blog on this site, Norway, Ireland and Canada all claim the title because, depending on the criteria, all measure tops in different studies.

The much vaunted HDI results that Canadians puff turns out to be a measure of only certain things and some of them seem a bit strange when you consider what is left out.

The HDI looks at the health, education and wealth of each nation's citizens by measuring:

Life expectancy [is that “health”? Not according to my friends on long, long line-ups for hip surgery and hobbling around in agony for years!]

Educational achievement -- adult literacy plus combined primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment; [is graduation from Canadian schooling “education” against meaningful standards?]

Standard of living [again, is subjective “satisfaction” a measure here?]
Real GDP per capita based on PPP exchange rates [where is “happiness” or “satisfaction” here?].

The UN also computes a Gender-Related Development Index that extends the HDI to take into account gender differences in the ranking criteria. Canada ranks well in this category: 2nd in 2002, 1st in 1997, and 2nd in 1996.

Ah, yes, there would be a “gender” measure emanating from the UN wouldn’t there? Does the HDI measure the “human happiness” aspect of “gender differences” and policies to eradicate them? Hardly. Doesn’t this HDI list seem a little sparse to you? A little reminiscent of Greenland and Antarctica in terms of what really matters to human happiness? It does to me. It does to others too.

Consider, for example, the measures looked at by The Economist magazine. Its measure points out the shortcomings of the way Canada’s “best-ness” is measured by the HDI. Here is what the magazine says:

“It has long been accepted that material well-being alone does not adequately measure quality of life. Money matters, of course, but surveys suggest that over the decades big increases in income have translated into only a modest rise in satisfaction. Although rising incomes and expanded individual choice are highly valued, some of the factors associated with modernization—such as the breakdown of traditional institutions and the erosion of family values—in part offset its positive impact.
But how to combine in a single, comparative statistic the factors believed to influence people’s happiness? There have been many attempts, none entirely successful: the factors selected, and the weights assigned to them, tend to be arbitrary. Subjective surveys of “life satisfaction” have been attracting growing interest—especially since the evidence is that people in different countries and cultures cite similar criteria for being contented—but getting comparable surveys across many countries is hard and there is too much margin for error for a truly objective quality-of-life index.

So ours takes a new approach. We use life-satisfaction surveys (assembling the average scores for 74 countries) as a starting point for weighting the various factors that determine quality of life. A regression analysis suggests that as many as nine indicators have a significant influence, and can be turned into an equation explaining more than 80% of the variation in countries’life-satisfaction scores. The main factor is income, but other things are also important: health, freedom, unemployment, family life, climate, political stability and security, gender equality, and family and community life. We feed the factors into the equation, measuring them using forecasts for 2005 where possible (in four cases) and latest data for slower-changing indicators, such as family life and political freedom. The resulting score, on a scale of one to ten, gives the quality-of-life index. A full explanation of the methodology and a full country ranking are available to download….” [On the Economist website for this article at http://www.economist.com/theworldin/international/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3372495&d=2005]

Thanks Economist! That makes a bit more sense. And when this sort of approach is done for Canada? Well, well, well, Canada is 14th and Ireland is first. Ireland! Don’t the darlings of the age tell us the Ireland is a Priest-ridden, anti-choice place of backwardness and perpetual rain?

The UN measures money and long life, sure, but we have to ask how long health care waiting lists make citizens feel. Just judging from my own acquaintances, there is a big difference between being financially secure and gender balanced and being able to walk without pain to the bathroom!

Canadians may be increasingly materially well off, gender balanced and child-cared up the ying/yang but on more rigorous measures of satisfaction, such as used by the Economist survey, they are increasingly dissatisfied and unhappy. And citizens that are unhappy do not believe they live in the best countries. I bet we don’t read THAT on the front pages of the Globe and Mail or the National Post! The facts in the mirror do not lie despite the smoke and mirrors of the propagandists.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 100
Iain T. Benson©

Friday, September 09, 2005

Yet More Pharmacists Who Don’t Understand Ethics: This Time Ontario

The Ontario Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (“HPRAC”) is holding hearings with respect to a variety of health professional groups. One of these is the Pharmacists and Pharmacy technicians. Information on this and the various submissions made to this body may be viewed at: http://www.hprac.org/english/pageDisplay.asp?webDocID=5176#pharmacy


On March 22, 2005 the Ontario College of Pharmacists made a submission to the HPRAC. Appendix 5 of this submission dealt with the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. This may be viewed at: http://www.hprac.org/downloads/may05/Pharmacy_Techs/Appendix05.pdf

Most interesting is Principle 4 which states:

"The pharmacist and pharmacy technician respects the autonomy, individuality and dignity of each patient and provides care with respect for human rights and without discrimination. No patient shall be deprived of pharmaceutical services because of the personal convictions or religious beliefs of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician."

Well, go figure. For pharmacists and pharmacy technicians the accommodation of religious belief and conscience guaranteed by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be suspended should this principle go ahead as drafted. This is not the approach taken by doctors, and the Canadian Medical Association would not endorse this blunt and unfair kind of principle. Why are Pharmacists deemed to be so different as citizens or professionals that they cannot exercise the full rights of other citizens and professionals? Why indeed.

There are some by invitation only “focus groups” going ahead this month in Sudbury and Windsor and Ottawa but the deadline for comment has passed. It might be possible, however, for concerned individuals or groups to make an appearance and express their views.
If you go to this site, you can find out information on who to contact to make a submission:
http://www.hprac.org/english/pageDisplay.asp?webDocID=5325

But the dates for the focus groups are as follows:

September 13, 2005 – Sudbury
September 14, 2005 – Ottawa
September 20, 2005 – Windsor

For further information please contact:

Karen Lane, Consultation Co-ordinator
Karen.Lane@moh.gov.on.ca
416-325-8928 / toll free 1-888-377-7746

Needless to say, all those concerned with the freedom of expression and belief and the autonomy of citizens (not just health care users but providers as well) ought to be concerned about this unfair and likely unconstitutional approach taken by yet another group of pharmacists. Just where did these people learn their ethics and who is advising them as to the law in Canada?

It is time that they dug a little deeper and examined why the doctors do not take the same narrow and frankly totalitarian view of professional practice.

CENTREBLOG: Volume 99
Iain T. Benson©