This update on developments in Belgium has a familiar ring to it. The latest 'Trojan Horse' euthanasia bill in South Australia (The Advance Care Directives Bill) has a provision that, should a doctor have a conscientious objection to killing his or her patient, they must refer the patient on to someone who will do the deed. (see also: Bill opens way to euthanasia)
In the SA Bill, this is called a 'conscience provision'. It is, in reality, nothing of the sort.
Today I received an email from the Protection of Conscience Project concerning the proposed changes to the Belgian Euthanasia Law that would allow children and people with Alzheimer's to be killed by euthanasia. This update was published on December 19 under the title: Proposed changes to Belgium euthanasia law may affect freedom of conscience.
Si aucun médecin n’a été désigné par le patient ou par sa personne de confiance, le médecin qui refuse d’accéder à une demande d’euthanasie communiquera le dossier médical à un autre médecin en vue d’assurer la continuité des soins.
If no physician has been designated by the patient or by his surrogate decision maker, the physician who refuses to comply with a request for euthanasia must transfer medical records to another physician to ensure continuity of care. (Machine assisted translation)
The law on euthanasia does not offer a solution for the case in which the doctor refuses to grant the request for euthanasia, where the patient is no longer able to appoint another doctor and did not appoint a surrogate decision maker. The patient nevertheless entitled to enforce his advance directive and ensure continuity of care. This is why the doctor who refuses to comply with the request for euthanasia must transfer the medical file to a medical doctor who is willing to implement the wishes of the patient. (Machine assisted translation)
La commission rappelle qu’elle estime que le curriculum des études médicales devrait comporter une formation préparant les futurs médecins à affronter les problèmes que pose la gestion de la fin de vie, y compris la pratique des soins palliatifs et la mise en oeuvre correcte d’une euthanasie. De même, les divers cycles d’enseignement postuniversitaire et les activités de recyclage devraient être encouragés à inclure une telle form.
The Committee recalls that it considers that the curriculum of medical education should include training preparing future physicians to deal with the problems posed by the management of the end of life, including the practice of palliative care and the proper implementation of ‘euthanasia. Similarly, the various cycles of postgraduate education and recycling activities should be encouraged to include such training. (Machine assisted translation)