Quebec: Palliative Care plan crippled by euthanasia

One month before the entry into force of the new law on care for the end of life and on « medical help to die », which will legalize euthanasia voted in June 2014, the Quebec Health Minister, M. Barrette, announced on November 16, 2015 a plan for Palliative Care 2015-2020.

This plan has nine priorities, among which is equitable access to palliative care services and an increase in the number of beds for palliative care, the development of training the health-care personnel, informing the population by awareness campaigns…« Law 52 includes medical help to die, palliative sedation, but it first and foremost a law for access to quality palliative care everywhere in the country, as the patient chooses» the minister declared during a press conference.

The Health Minister labeled the current palliative care as « dysfunctional », which leads to questions about the pertinence of debates on the end of life in Quebec, which resulted in a law for euthanasia.

Meeting in Montreal last October 30, the professional and citizen groups engaged against euthanasia emphasize, “the option of euthanasia certainly procures the illusion of control, but there is no doubt that it will erode the diligence and imagination in medical care, as much for those with chronic handicaps as for those who are seriously affected by illness. (…) We reject the concept that euthanasia constitutes any kind of health care whatsoever.”

Alliance VITA agrees with this assessment: pretending to develop palliative care, and at the same time legalizing euthanasia and terminal sedation, is an illusion since the two procedures are contradictory. Palliative care is incompatible with euthanasia.

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