Of dilemmas and tensions: a qualitative study of palliative care physicians’ positions regarding voluntary active euthanasia in Quebec, Canada

Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (1):48-53 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

ObjectivesIn 2015, the Province of Quebec, Canada passed a law that allowed voluntary active euthanasia. Palliative care stakeholders in Canada have been largely opposed to euthanasia, yet there is little research about their views. The research question guiding this study was the following: How do palliative care physicians in Quebec position themselves regarding the practice of VAE in the context of the new provincial legislation?MethodsWe used interpretive description, an inductive methodology to answer research questions about clinical practice. A total of 18 palliative care physicians participated in semistructured interviews at two university-affiliated hospitals in Quebec.ResultsParticipants positioned themselves in opposition to euthanasia. Their justifications were framed within their professional commitment to not hasten death, which sat in tension with the value of patients’ autonomy to choose how to die. Participants described VAE as unacceptable if it impeded opportunities to evaluate and alleviate suffering. Further, they contested government rhetoric that positioned VAE as a way to improve end-of-life care. Participants felt that VAE would diminish the potential of palliative care to relieve suffering. Dilemmas were apparent in their narratives, about reconciling respect for patient autonomy with broader palliative care values, and the value of accompanying and not abandoning patients who make requests for VAE while being committed to neither prolonging nor hastening death.ConclusionsThis study provides insight into nuanced positions of experienced palliative care physicians in Quebec and confirms expected tensions between an important stakeholder and the practice of VAE as guided by the new legislation.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,391

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Palliative Care and Euthanasia.Bert Broeckaert & Rien Janssens - 2002 - Ethical Perspectives 9 (2):156-175.
Japanese Attitudes Toward Euthanasia In Hypothetical Clinical Situations.Noritoshi Tanida - 1998 - Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 8 (5):138-141.
How voluntary is voluntary euthanasia?Isaac Van der Sluis - forthcoming - Journal of Palliative Care.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-10-31

Downloads
24 (#483,521)

6 months
1 (#451,971)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?