Doctors in Quebec support euthanasia

Quebec's College of Physicians supports euthanasia in extreme circumstances. They say that the Criminal Code should be changed to protect doctors who follow an “appropriate care logic” to end the life of suffering patients facing “imminent and inevitable death.”

“Doctors do their best to give appropriate care, knowing it could sometimes be interpreted as a crime in the Criminal Code,” Dr. Lamontagne said. “Appropriate care should not be defined as murder.”

Sometimes, medical intervention cannot cure a patient, it can only prolong a life of suffering. In this situation, some doctors stop treatment or boost painkillers to end the patient's suffering and hasten the end.

However, not everyone agrees with this view. “They always start off with the premise of extreme cases, and the definition inevitably expands,” Dr. Pereira said. “There's an enormous amount of misinformation, it's extremely irresponsible.”

Quebeckers, who are usually more liberal than the rest of Canada, showed a 75 percent support for euthanasia, but the other provinces only showed a 50 percent support.

The federal government doesn't want to make euthanasia legal. However, some Quebec activists want the province to settle this issue alone. In November 1976, Quebec's Attorney General declared an end to prosecutions for abortion. They could do the same with euthanasia for the terminally ill.

According to Mr. Bureau, “Canadians outside Quebec usually let doctors and nurses decide how terminally ill patients end their lives. In Quebec, more people believe patients should have the last word.”

Source: Perreaux, Les. “Quebec doctors cautiously endorse euthanasia.” Globe and Mail. 03 Nov 2009. 04 Nov 2009.