Quebec is moving towards euthanasia of dementia patients


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A government commission in Quebec recommended the use of advance directives on euthanasia.

In a report released this week, the committee specifies that “a sufficiently old and competent person can make an advance request for medical assistance in dying following a diagnosis of a serious and incurable disease causing a disability”, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

At the present time, people with dementia do not have the right to have “medical assistance in dying” in Quebec.

The committee considers that this extension of the existing law should not apply to people whose only medical problem is a psychiatric disorder.

The original request should be made to a physician when the person is fully aware of the consequences of the document. But if a person has applied and their substitute decision-maker applies on their behalf after the dementia settles, the doctor should comply as soon as possible if the person is in excruciating pain.

The Quebec Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, would support the recommendations. The report was written after extensive public consultation and would have the support of professional bodies representing physicians and nurses across the province.

euthanasia, or medical assistance in dying as it is called in Quebec there has been a lot of success. According to the report (page 20), around 7,000 people have been euthanized since legalization in December 2015 until March of this year. AMM represented 1.9% of deaths in Quebec in 2019-2019; 2.6% in 2019-20; and 3.3% in 2020-2021. The commission estimates that it will continue to increase over the next three years before stabilizing around 4 or 5%.

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