Monday, February 20, 2023

Québec has the highest euthanasia rate (7%) in the world.

More than 7% of deaths result from medical assistance in dying in Quebec. More than 5,000 people could use it this year, compared to less than 1,000 five years ago.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A CBC radio program (French) by Davide Gentile & Daniel Boily reported on February 16 that more than 7% of deaths result from medical assistance in dying in Quebec with more than 5,000 people use it this year, compared to less than 1,000 five years ago.

The report stated that (google translated):
Quebec now ranks well ahead of the Netherlands and Belgium in terms of the use of medical assistance in dying. To understand this rapid progression, the Commission on End-of-Life Care launched a consultation with hundreds of doctors.
According to Québec's annual euthanasia report that was released on December 9, 2022 there were 3663 reported euthanasia deaths from (April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022) representing 5.1% of all deaths. The last report indicated that the number of euthanasia deaths was up by 51% in the past year and had more than doubled in two years.

The Québec report also indicated that there was a discrepancy of 289 deaths that may be explained by under-reporting

Since the release of that report the Commission on End-of-Life Care has launched a consultation since new data indicates that there will be at least 5000 reported euthanasia deaths representing 7% of all deaths in the next report.

Dr Michel Bureau, the President of the Commission on End-of-Life Care stated:

"in Quebec, there are more of them than in Ontario, more than in Europe, and it is our duty to see if there are causes obvious to that".  

"where there is a risk is that it is so embellished in the population that many suffering people will say to the doctor: 'I want medical assistance in dying' even if they don't are ineligible".

Bureau believes that euthanasia is mean't to be care of the "last resort" and he wants there to be more access to palliative care. 

But not all doctors agree. Dr Pierre Viens (right), who has been a physician since 1963 and who regularly does euthanasia, is not concerned with the number of euthanasia deaths. He stated:

“It does not indicate that there are more cases of cancer, ALS, etc. It simply indicates that more people with serious illnesses, with suffering, at the end of life, are aware that there is a way to die with dignity, humanely, through MAID."
At the same time the Québec government introduced a bill to expand the law to approve euthanasia for incompetent people who requested death by lethal injection in their advanced directive.

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