Quebec wants to extend medical euthanasia not only to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but also to people with a serious and incurable disability. Palliative care homes will now be forced to offer this end-of-life care.
• Also read: Euthanasia for the mentally ill postponed by a year
Minister Sonia Bélanger presented on Thursday the new version of her legal text aimed at widening the scope of this last resort for disabled people.
“The law allows people with a serious and terminal illness that results in an incapacity to consent to care and to request medical assistance in dying in advance,” the new pilot of the file said.
His colleague Christian Dubé failed to get his law passed last June due to lack of time.
The new version immediately excludes mental disorders that are not considered illnesses under the End Care Act. “We felt clearly that the mental disorder and medical euthanasia did not find a consensus between the different expert groups,” argued the Minister for Health and Elderly.
Quebec returns with an opportunity for a disabled person to seek medical help while dying. This surprising addition was coldly received by the opposition parties in the spring.
- Listen to the interview with Véronique Hivon, former Joliette MP for the Parti Québécois, on Yasmine Abdelfadel’s show, broadcast live daily at 1:35 p.m. via QUB radio :
While aware that the issue is sensitive, Minister Bélanger is confident that the consultations in the parliamentary committee that will take place in the coming weeks will provide an opportunity to discuss it.
“Let’s take the picture of someone who is a prisoner of their body,” she asked. As we know, these people are very often not at the end of their lives, they will not die in the days that follow, but will live with terrible suffering.”
But at the end of the day, the government alone will not decide to extend medical assistance to people with disabilities when they die. The other political groups must give their consent. “I want us to work cross-party on this issue. It’s a decision I don’t want to just carry on my shoulders,” emphasized Sonia Bélanger.
The text of the law also removes the end-of-life criterion from the requirements for a person to receive medical assistance when dying, in accordance with the Carter and Truchon rulings.
Doctors will no longer be the only ones able to provide medical euthanasia. The Legault government will allow specialist nurses to administer continuous palliative sedation.
And if the law is passed, all hospices will be forced to provide this “ultimate care.” Currently about ten of these establishments do not offer it.
Minister Bélanger said with emotion that patients housed in some of these centers had to be transported by ambulance to a hospital to receive medical care when they died.
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