Dying with dignity act consultations begin

Consultations on the dying with dignity act began at Quebec's national assembly, with various health professionals and social groups expected to present their thoughts in the coming weeks on whether or not citizens should have the right to choose when and where they die.

National assembly will accept memoirs until Oct. 10

Giving patients who are suffering extreme pain or who are terminally ill the choice to end their lives will be the focus of much debate in Quebec's national assembly over the coming weeks. (CBC)

Consultations on the dying with dignity act began this morning at Quebec's national assembly, with various health professionals and social groups expected to present their thoughts in the coming weeks on whether or not citizens should have the right to choose when and where they die.

If bill 52 passes, Quebec would become the first province in Canada to allow doctors to help patients die in cases of terminal disease and uncontrollable pain.

Opponents and supporters of the controversial bill will be handing in their memoirs until October 10.

Dr. Gaetan Barette presented a memoir today on behalf of the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists in support of the bill.

"It's a situation where someone at the end of his life or her life will have the opportunity to decide with a doctor after an evaluation if he or she would like to go down in that direction or not," said Barette.

Barette said when it comes to end of life care, how and when a patient dies is that person's decision and no one else's.

"So as opposed to euthanasia, it's not something that you do at the extreme without the consent of the patient."

Linda Vaillant speaks for the Quebec hospital pharmacist's association and also supports the bill, but said it would be illegal for pharmacists to provide drugs to end someone's life.

“Their professional responsibility, it's not to use the drugs to put an end to the days of a patient who wants to actually die,” said Vaillant.

Vaillant said the law governing pharmacies would have to change in order to give patients who want end of life care the necessary drugs.

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