Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cristina Alarcon:Mixing conscience and medicine is a good thing (National Post blog)

Let me tell you about Jane*. Jane was in her 60s and had been my patient for many years. As her pharmacist, I knew she had been battling depression for a long time, but she was always chirp and cheerful when she walked into the pharmacy for her monthly pills.

Slowly, she started going downhill. Medications were not helping and she said she just wanted to die. One day she came in and asked specifically to see me. From her pocket she pulled out several tablets, one I recognized as a powerful narcotic, the other a sleeping pill. She said, “My friend gave me these … how many would I need to take to make sure I die?”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Professionals or Automatons?

The right of acting according to one’s conscience is under threat in many countries at the moment. In the US, the Federal government is studying whether to rescind protection of conscience regulations implemented in the dying days of the Bush Administration. Healthcare workers there are worried that they may have to participate in unethical procedures – or lose their jobs. This interview explains what is at stake in my profession.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Roadkill Radio interview on Conscience

Listen-in on the important issue of freedom of conscience and religion in healthcare!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The next moral quagmire: conscience

Thank you Charles Lewis once again for an excellent and timely article on a very important issue! Although it is inaccurate to say that I ever raised the ire of customers and colleagues over refusing to fill prescriptions for morning-after pills, it is true to say that I refuse to fill them or to refer for the drug for the reasons stated in the article. It was in Toronto that a colleague suggested I leave my beliefs at the door and in Vancouver that a pharmacy manager warned me about “imposing my morality”, after which I was let go under other pretexts. Why is this significant? Because this is a national problem for pharmacists, and not limited to Calgary, where yet another pharmacist, Maria Bizecki suffered a lengthy suspension from her job for kindly asking a customer to come back for the product she requested next day when someone else would be all too happy to meet her needs. In Ontario, pharmacist Michael Izzotti was also severely reprimanded when a doctor made a formal complaint to the Ontario College of Pharmacists; Michael had merely asked the doctor to please fax in the prescription so a colleague could take care of it next day. Many other pharmacists will not come forward with their stories for fear of losing their livelihood.
When convenience takes precedence over the basic human rights of freedom of conscience and religion, our Canadian democracy is in very bad shape indeed!
For more on this, please see “The ‘Hijacking’ of Moral Conscience from Pharmacy Practice: A Canadian Perspective” at or at

Friday, April 03, 2009

Protection of Conscience Live

Freedom of conscience and religion is under attack in the US ....please take the time to listen to these videos and to reflect on the importance of freedom of conscience and of ethical thought and expression for a healthy democracy!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Rights of Conscience a Dangerous Issue Video

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) have posted a great new YouTube video outlining the rights of conscience issue and its expected impact on healthcare in America. Please watch it and pass it along!