CPSS undermines, Supreme Court of Canada affirms conscience rights for Saskatchewan doctors

News Release

Christian Medical Dental Society of Canada

SASKATOON, March 6, 2015 /CNW/ – Several Saskatchewan physicians, including Dr. Amos Akinbiyi, Dr. Philip Fitzpatrick, and Dr. Randy Friesen, released a letter and legal brief (see below), today, describing how the conscience rights of Saskatchewan doctors are undermined by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) draft policy on requirements for physicians and surgeons and upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision on assisted suicide in Carter, et al.

Said Dr. Philip Fitzpatrick, “In the recent Carter decision from the Supreme Court, they made explicit reference to conscience rights, and that physicians could not be forced to participate in an abortion or euthanasia. But the CPSS’s draft policy would require me to make a formal referral to another physician where my conscience would not permit me to do those procedures, and could require me to do it myself.”

The letter and brief (see below) were initiated by physicians who are members of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDS) and the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies (CFCPS).

CPSS is circulating a draft policy that would require physicians and surgeons to make a formal referral of patients to a physician or surgeon who would be willing to perform the legally permissible and publicly funded health services, irrespective of conscience rights. If another physician were not available to perform the service, the physician would be required to provide the service, whether or not performing the service conflicted with conscience.

“The CPSS seems to be creating conflicts between medical doctors’ conscience rights and patient care unnecessarily. No doctors concerned about conscience rights would put their patients’ health and well-being in jeopardy. I find that patients are very appreciative of my concern for their health and of my outlining all the options and alternatives for treatment,” said Dr. Friesen.

In their letter to CPSS and the accompanying legal brief, the Saskatchewan doctors outlined their concerns with the draft policy and how a few amendments to it would provide the conscience rights protections upheld by the Court.

Saskatchewan is a dynamic province with a growing population. Saskatchewan needs physicians, especially General Practitioners. GPs would be most affected by the CPSS policy. Our province will have a hard time keeping and recruiting GPs to serve communities where they would be required by the policy as now drafted to make care decisions they believe will harm patients,” added Dr. Akinbiyi.

CMDS represents more than 1600 physicians, surgeons and dentists across Canada and CFCPS is a national association of Catholic physicians’ guilds, associations and societies from eleven cities across Canada.

Letter: http://goo.gl/nKi6JN and the Legal Brief: http://goo.gl/Nf3Bp7.

SOURCE Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada

For further information: Larry Worthen, (902) 880-2495

‘This is moral genocide’: Canadian doctors blast plans to force them into helping patients procure abortion

LifeSite News

Steve Weatherbe

REGINA, Saskatchewan, February 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Christian doctors across Canada are vowing to challenge the constitutionality of the requirement now being considered by the Saskatchewan medical profession that all its members be required to perform abortions or assist at suicides—or refer patients to other doctors who will.

“This is moral genocide,” Saskatoon emergency room doctor Philip Fitzpatrick says of the policy, already approved in principle without consultation with doctors or the public by the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“There’s no medical reason for these clauses overriding our consciences,” he continued. “The people who want euthanasia and abortion on demand just don’t like the fact somebody disagrees. They are trying to chase us out of the profession.”

“We have to sue the College if it approves this policy,” Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Dental and Medical Association of Canada, told LifeSiteNews. “Half our members will have to quit if it were enforced. It goes against their very reason for being in medicine.” . . .[Full Text]

Saskatchewan doctors could face discipline over assisted suicide

Global News

Doug Lett

SASKATOON – Doctors in the province who refuse to cooperate with physician-assisted suicide could face discipline according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan.

“If a physician feels the directives are wrong, they will still, we would expect, they will still follow those directives,” said Bryan Salte, associate registrar of the college, “in spite of the fact they may not agree with them.”

While the college has not come up with policies around assisted suicide, it is circulating a draft policy on conscientious refusal. It says while doctors can refuse to provide a legally provided service if it violates their freedom of conscience, they do have to make a referral to another health care provider who will do it.

That means a doctor who believes suicide is wrong would still have to refer a patient to a doctor who would help them kill themselves. . . [Full Text]


Saskatoon doctor worried about Supreme Court assisted suicide ruling

Global News

Doug Lett

SASKATOON –  One Saskatoon doctor is worried about the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling last week that opens the door to physician assisted suicide. Dr. Philip Fitzpatrick, a family doctor and ER physician, says it flies in the face of doctors’ commitment not to cause harm to patients.

“This is a bit of a red line because as physicians we’re not supposed to be partaking in anything that might harm our patients,” he told Global News. “Definitely for me participating in an assisted suicide would be harming my patient – even a referral for that would make me culpable for that.” [Full text]