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Quebec moving towards euthanasia based on advance directives

On Wednesday December 8, a report concerning end-of-life care was tabled in the National Assembly of Quebec. The report recommended the use of advance directives in euthanasia. Member of Parliament Pascal Bérubé embraced the report and pleads for legalizing advance requests for medical assistance in dying.

Report

In this long-awaited report on the development of the law concerning end-of-life care, a special created commission recommends that “an adult and capable person may make an advance request for medical assistance in dying following a diagnosis of a serious and incurable disease leading to incapacity”, such as a neurocognitive disorder.

When drafting such an advance request, the physician should ensure that the person’s decision is “free” and “informed” without external pressure. The person could change the application as long as they are capable. It should “designate a trusted third party to publicize its advance request for medical assistance in dying and to request on its behalf the processing of the request at the appropriate time.” In the absence of a trusted third party or if there is an impediment, “the responsibility to protect the patient’s will and act must be assumed by a member of the healthcare team.”

Quebec MP calls for urgent change to assisted dying laws

On Thursday December 9, Parti Quebecois MNA Pascal Bérubé delivered an urgent plea to follow the report recommendation to legalize advance requests for medical assistance in dying. Asked by journalists about his position, the deputy for Matane-Matapedia, Pascal Bérubé, did not hide that the issue is close to his heart. Bérubé’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, before losing much of his independence and dying of complications related to the disease. “If my father had been able to choose, he would certainly have signed a form allowing him to have access to an early death,” he said, adding that he himself would not hesitate for a moment to sign such a form, should he come under the same diagnosis.

The 46-year-old MNA says he warned his wife, Annie-Soleil Proteau, of those intentions, concerned that there are several cases of Alzheimer’s in his family — at least four or five close relatives. “We do not know when this evil can strike, so if there is an issue on which I have no doubt, no ambiguity,” it’s this one, said Bérubé.

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