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  Living With Dignity Newsletter
  Vol. 12, November 2016
 

A Word from the Director

At the end of October, I went to Windsor, Ontario to participate at the annual Symposium of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, where I was invited to present a summary of the euthanasia situation in Quebec. This year’s annual meeting had a very powerful theme: resisting euthanasia and assisted suicide. Once again, this event has given rise to very good exchanges and a rich sharing of experiences and understanding of current issues, both in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

In Quebec news, the International Congress on Palliative Care was an occasion to publicize the widespread concern about the future of palliative care in Quebec. According to the experts present, the arrival of euthanasia exposes the environment of palliative care in Quebec as one at risk of "fracture and implosion" because of the increasing pressure to "force medical aid in dying" in its environments of care (>>).

Additionally, the Commission on end-of-life care (CSFV), which monitors the implementation of the Quebec Euthanasia Act, published its first annual report on activities (>>). Far from alleviating our concerns, this report confirms the basis of our concerns.

First of all, the number of cases of euthanasia in Quebec has exploded. As of September 1, 262 cases of euthanasia have already taken place, despite official estimates forecasting only 50 to 100 applications during the first year. At this rate, we could reach 300 cases of euthanasia in the first year alone.

Secondly, the report of the CSFV is alarming because of the number of doubtful cases: already 21 cases proved to be problematic. Among them, 18 cases concern the independence of the second doctor, 2 cases mention a problem with the end-of-life criterion, and 1 case raises questions about whether the patient was actually suffering from a serious and incurable disease.

These major problems deserve serious attention from governmental authorities who should not take lightly these drifts which arrive less than a year after the law’s entry into force. Unfortunately, it seems that the Government of Quebec is continuing its steps in the wrong direction. The Minister of Health, after expressing surprise at the number of cases of euthanasia, is already talking about simplifying the forms of doctors reporting their euthanasia and reassessing the criterion requiring the advice of a second doctor.

Living with Dignity will follow the case closely and will urge authorities to follow up on what could be considered criminal offenses. We cannot accept that problems regularly find their solution through simply being subject to new guidelines.

Thank you for supporting our efforts and our initiatives.

In solidarity,

______________________________

Aubert MARTIN, executive director, Living with Dignity


 

News in Quebec

  • October 21, 2016: The International Congress on Palliative Care was held in Montreal, where speakers voiced their concerns about the future of palliative are in Quebec. According to them, the arrival of euthanasia exposes the palliative care milieu in Quebec to a risk of “fracture and implosion,” because of the increasing pressure to “penetrate the aid to die in its environments of care. (>>)
  • October 27, 2016: The Commission on end-of-life care published their first annual report of activities where it was announced that there had been 262 cases of euthanasia since September 1st. It mentioned having examined 198 cases within which 21 were problematic: Among them, 18 cases concern the independence of the second doctor, 2 cases mention a problem with the end-of-life criterion, and 1 case raises questions about whether the patient was actually suffering from a serious and incurable disease. (>>)

 

Living with Dignity in the media (English and French)

  • Euthanasia releases me but betrays my loved ones: Aubert Martin explains that in legalizing euthanasia, society has crowned the splendor of individualism in balancing the weight of two pains: the suffering of an individual versus the suffering of their relatives. They have decreed that the suffering of relatives should not be considered in calculating the benefit of euthanasia. Read more >>
  • Quand la souffrance des uns fait le malheur des autres : Aubert Martin explique qu'en légalisant l'euthanasie, la société a couronné la splendeur de l'individualisme. Pour ce faire, les décideurs politiques ont pesé deux souffrances dans la balance : la souffrance d'un individu versus la souffrance de ses proches. Et il a été décrété que la souffrance des proches ne devait pas être considérée dans le calcul du bienfait de l'euthanasie. Lire l’article >>
  • Letters: Alternative to death: Read Dr. Catherine Ferrier’s response to an article discussing the euthanasia of Richard Brown; the “death he wanted.” Read more >>

  • Quebec euthanasia triple predictions amid abuse worries: Aubert Martin is interviewed in this article about euthanasia occurring in Quebec at triple government predictions, obtaining accurate statistics on medically assisted deaths across Canada is almost impossible and could lead to abuse, according to anti-euthanasia advocates. Read more >>

  • Quebec’s euthanasia deaths three times higher than expected under new law: Aubert Martin is interviewed in this article about the fact that Quebec’s commission on euthanasia has revealed that doctors reported killing 262 Quebecers since voluntary euthanasia was legalized in the province in December 2015 and that physicians violated the law in 21 deaths. Read more >>

 

REPORTS OF THE COMMISSION ON END-OF-LIFE CARE (FRENCH AND ENGLISH)

  • Rapport annuel d’activités pour la période du 10 décembre 2015 au 30 juin 2016 : lien direct en PDF >>
  • Annual activity report for the period 10 December 2015 to 30 June 2016: direct PDF link >>

 

Take action in September

  • SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS so that we can continue to speak on your behalf:

           

  • Support Project Value by liking their Facebook page (>>). This initiative offers videos made by people with disabilities to challenge the popular idea of what it means to have a disability. Each video begins with a description of the diagnosis and prognosis of the person and a description of their functional limitations. Then the person talks about their quality and value of life beyond their condition. Share!

 

Press Review (English and French)

  • ‘I know I’m going to have a good death’: Why palliative care matters: Thanks to a referral from a compassionate ER nurse, Francis Young ended up at the West Island Palliative Care Residence, a hospice in Kirkland, Que., that has a reputation as one of Canada’s best – a model for how end-of-life care should be delivered. Read more >>

  • ABC criticised for showing final moments of euthanasia advocate Max Bromson’s life: The Australian news network ABC has come under fire for showing the final moments of Max Bromson’s life as the euthanasia advocate took a fatal dose of an illegal drug. Read more >>

  • Alleged victims at Ontario nursing home all thought to have died of natural causes: After the death of her husband, Maureen Pickering moved to the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock, before dying on March 28, 2014. Her last moments are now under scrutiny with police alleging she and seven other elderly people didn’t die naturally, but were drugged to death by a registered nurse. Read more >>

  • Assisted suicide, up close and personal: A Washington state psychotherapist relates the chilling story of how her disabled client died. Read more >>

  • B.C. doctor takes stand against Catholic hospital’s assisted dying policy: A Vancouver Island doctor is resigning from the ethics committee at a local Catholic hospital because it refuses to offer assisted dying on site, a stand that he says is unnecessarily causing critically ill patients more suffering as they are transferred to facilities dozens of kilometres away. Read more >>

  • Beware of assisted dying as 'shame relief,' former human rights commissioner says: Vulnerable people need to be protected from being induced to seek assisted death as “shame relief,” a former Ontario Human Rights Commission chief commissioner told a conference on assisted dying in Ottawa on Saturday. Read more >>

  • Catholic hospitals can’t avoid talking about physician-assisted suicide anymore: Doctor-assisted suicide is legal, but Christian institutions have a long history of receiving public funding and yet refusing to discuss this practice. Read more >>

  • Conditions criticized at care centre for the elderly in Île-Bizard: Employees of the Centre d’hébergement Denis-Benjamin-Viger in Île-Bizard plan to stage a demonstration Monday outside the long-term-care facility to protest against staff cuts and building problems they say are significantly harming the quality of life of the elderly residents. Read more >>

  • Depression is deadly for elderly after heart valve surgery: Montreal study: There is a disturbing link between depression and death in older, frail patients who’ve had heart valves replaced, according to an international Montreal-based study. Read more >>

  • Despotism: What happens when a state tries to govern too many things. Read more >>

  • EPC demands in-depth investigation into murders at care homes in Canada: After the shocking news that Elizabeth Wettlaufer, an Ontario nurse, was responsible for 8 deaths in care homes, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is calling for an investigation into every care home in Canada. Read more >>

  • Euthanasia tyranny expands in Canada: People who think differently are not even to be allowed into medical school. Read more >>

  • Forcing euthanasia in Quebec contravenes patient rights: The Québec government’s insistence that hospitals euthanize people in Palliative care units contradicts the medical code of conduct of physicians, who have an obligation to provide the best medical care for their patients. Read more >>

  • Former nurse stands accused of being one of Canada’s most prolific serial killers: A former nurse has been charged with murdering eight care-home residents in southwestern Ontario over seven years, a string of deaths that would make her among the worst serial killers in Canadian history. Read more >>

  • Former Winnipegger critical of assisted dying in Belgium in new documentary: A former Winnipegger, who produced a documentary about assisted dying in Belgium, is concerned Canada's new assisted dying law might soften over time. Read more >>

  • Francesca Grosso: Help those caring for mom and dad: While the provinces squabble over whether the federal government should attach strings to health dollars, other countries have optimized a whole range of tools to help middle-aged people bear the financial and emotional burden of supporting a parent in his home. Read more >>

  • Major depression is on the rise in youth, especially teenage girls: American doctors say there’s been a steep climb in rates of major depression in adolescents – and most of them aren’t getting mental health treatment. Read more >>

  • Medical aid in dying is ‘madness,’ JGH doctor says: Jewish General Hospital (JGH) physician Michael Bouhadana left little doubt on where he stands on medical aid in dying (MAD). The acronym is apt, because requiring doctors to end the lives of patients who request it is “madness,” he believes. Read more >>

  • More states are considering laws granting the terminally ill the right to die: On October 5th, the health committee of Washington DC’s state council will vote on a Dignity in Dying Act brought forward by one of its Democratic members. Like many proposed doctor-assisted-dying laws debated across America in the past year, it is modelled on that of Oregon. Read more >>

  • New Assisted Dying Law Will Claim Unintended Victims: The Carter decision to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia claimed that Canada could avoid abuses through careful guidelines and screening. Experience proves otherwise. Read more >>

  • Parents of disabled children face daunting financial preparation: As a mother of three children, including one with a severe developmental disability, Laurie Geschke admits that looking into the future was not something she did before her children became adults. It was only then that she and her husband began seriously contemplating their wills. Read more >>

  • Protecting patients in the shadows of euthanasia: Bill C-14, which sets out the legal framework for decriminalized euthanasia, satisfies no one. Some feel it is too restrictive. Others of us continue to have serious concerns about its implications. We will all be vulnerable at some time in our lives and this legislation does not and cannot protect us. Read more >>

  • Redirecting patients to other hospitals is 'probably illegal': experts: Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s insistence that the McGill University Health Centre redirect patients closer to where they live rather than treating them at the MUHC risks violating the Quebec Health and Social Services Act, two legal experts charged Tuesday. Read more >>

  • Sally Phillips On Challenging Misconceptions Around Down's Syndrome: It wasn’t until he was 10 days old that Sally Phillips' eldest son was diagnosed with Down's syndrome. But rather than tragedy, Olly brought comedy, joy and mischief into her family's life. Now Sally wants to change the misconception that Down’s is a depressing and life-ruining condition. Watch video >>

  • Saying goodbye to Archie Rolland, who chose to die: 'It is unbearable': Montreal landscape architect Archie Rolland vowed to end his life rather continue to suffer at a long-term care facility in Lachine he said was treating him inhumanely. On July 4, Roland fled the facility. Three days later, he was dead. Surrounded by friends and family at their country home at Métis-sur-Mer, Rolland closed his eyes and slipped from the living. Read more >>

  • Suicide and suicidal thoughts: Suicidal thoughts have many causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can't cope when you're faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don't have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution. You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out. Read more >>

  • Veteran with Terminal Brain Cancer Explains Why He’s Against Assisted Suicide: A bill proposed in Washington D.C., modeled after Oregon’s assisted suicide law, would allow terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to obtain a life-ending drug to be ingested at home. It has faced some resistance. Read more >>

  • Woman dies by euthanasia, may only have had a bladder infection: A letter from a concerned person whose aunt died via euthanasia, outlines how their aunt may have only had a bladder infection. Read more >>

  • Words matter in assisted suicide: The Society for Old Age Rational Suicide (SOARS) has rebranded itself as My Death, My Decision. Suicide is a word that nearly all campaigners avid as it carries negative connotations. Read more >>

  • Le suicide d'un peuple : M. Sylvain Lamontagne, un adhérent de Vivre dans la Dignité, signe une lettre dans laquelle il fait remarquer que, d'un côté, nous essayons de combattre avec grande difficulté le fléau du suicide, que nous détenons au Québec le triste record mondial de la 3e place à ce sujet et que, de l'autre côté, le gouvernement fait la promotion de l'euthanasie dans ses établissements publics. Lire l’article >>

  • Les urgences toujours bondées : Un an après la mise en place de la réforme Barrette pour désengorger le réseau, les urgences des hôpitaux du Québec sont encore aussi bondées, et les délais toujours aussi longs. Lire l’article >>
  • La réforme Barrette est un «échec total», selon Me Jean-Pierre Ménard : «On est à la limite de la maltraitance dans certains CHSLD à l’égard des besoins de base», pourfend Me Jean-Pierre Ménard, qui qualifie la réforme Barrette «d’échec total». Lire l’article >>

  • Mourir à la maison : Mourir entouré des siens, dans sa maison. C'est un souhait partagé par de plus en plus de Québécois. Mais comment s'y prendre? Quand la santé le permet, des ressources existent pour recevoir des soins palliatifs à domicile et vivre ainsi une mort plus intime. Lire l’article >>

  • Dans le coma, elle bouge un orteil et échappe à la mort: Après un accident de voiture, Sam Hemming, une britannique de 22 ans, a bougé un gros orteil et sauvé sa vie. Lire l’article >>
  • Des intervenants veulent une stratégie nationale en soins palliatifs : Devant l'approche « morcelée » des soins palliatifs au Canada, divers intervenants discutent cette semaine à Ottawa de l'importance de donner priorité à ce dossier. Lire l’article >>

  • "L'aide médicale à mourir" en pleine explosion : la Commission sur les soins de fin de vie vient de sortir un rapport qui montre l’accélération importante du nombre de demandes d’aides médicales à mourir au Québec. Lire l’article >>

  • L’antichambre du paradis : Aux confins de la ville de Montréal existe un lieu où les vivants vivent leur mort dans la sérénité et la dignité. L’Oasis de paix s’agit du centre privé de soins palliatifs de 36 lits mis sur pied par les Sœurs de Charité Sainte-Marie. Lire l’article >>

  • La vie jusqu'à la fin : La photographe Sylvie Legoupi montre, une fois encore, ce qui nous est rarement donné à voir avec autant de justesse, de dignité et force de détails : la confrontation à la mort de l'autre et l'engagement des équipes soignantes de soins palliatifs à l'accompagner. Lire l’article >>

  • Les Québécois entre drogue, dépression et obésité : De plus nombreux Québécois sont obèses, accros aux drogues ou en détresse psychologique qu’en 2008, révèle l’enquête sur la santé de la population québécoise, réalisée en 2014-2015, par l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Lire l’article >>

  • Prévention du suicide : Péladeau évoque la mort de sa mère : « Quand j'ai su que ma mère était morte, on ne m'a pas dit tout de suite comment. J'imagine que c'était pour me protéger. » Lire l’article >>

  • Une mère autochtone accuse l'hôpital Pasqua de racisme : La mère d'une femme autochtone décédée en octobre 2014 à l'hôpital Pasqua de Regina qualifie de raciste la manière dont sa fille a été traitée dans l'établissement, puisque, selon elle, elle n'a pas reçu de soins de santé adéquats. Lire l’article >>

 

Euthanasia and assisted suicide news around the world (English and French)

  • BELGIQUE : Augmentation de 41% des euthanasies en 4 ans : Selon la note de Synthèse de l’Institut Européen de Bioéthique, basée sur le Rapport 2016 de la Commission d’Évaluation et de contrôle de l’euthanasie en Belgique, les euthanasies sont en hausse de 41% sur les 4 dernières années en Belgique. Lire l’article >>

  • BELGIQUE : En Belgique, la Commission de contrôle de l'euthanasie publie son 7e rapport : En Belgique, le 7e rapport de la Commission chargée du contrôle et de l’application de la loi destiné aux Chambres législatives vient d’être publié. Il concerne les années 2014/2015. Lire l’article >>

  • BELGIUM: Belgian doctor facing possible murder charge for euthanizing senior seen as warning for Canada: Van Hoey, a Belgian doctor, has become the first physician to face possible criminal prosecution for violating Belgium’s 13-year-old euthanasia law, the De Moor case is being held up to Canada as an example of the dangers of legalizing physician-assisted death. Read more >>

  • CALIFORNIA: CA hospitalized mentally ill ok for assisted suicide : California has promulgated a regulation to assure that the mentally ill who have been ordered hospitalized in California have access to assisted suicide if they are dying and deemed able to make medical decisions. Read more >>

  • CALIFORNIA: Insurer offers to pay for assisted suicide but not chemotherapy: A California woman recently put her insurance provider under the spotlight, alleging that the company offered to pay for assisted suicide, but not chemotherapy. Read more >>

  • CALIFORNIE : LA LOI SUR LE SUICIDE ASSISTÉ PROFITE AUX COMPAGNIES D'ASSURANCE : En Californie, Stephanie Packer, mère de quatre enfants atteinte de sclérodermie en phase terminale, explique que sa compagnie d’assurance avait initialement accepté de prendre en charge le traitement de chimiothérapie recommandé par les médecins qui la suivent. Lire l’article >>

  • COLORADO: No on assisted suicide proposition 106. It is fatally flawed: Proposition 106 in Colorado would allow any doctor to grant a request for assisted suicide. Yet doctors can be mistaken and occasionally mistakenly diagnose people. Read more >>

  • NETHERLANDS: How Dutch Example Led Way to More Assisted Suicides: As the Dutch government proposes extending its assisted suicide law to potentially allow healthy people to die, increasing numbers of people are choosing to end their lives by euthanasia. Read more >>

  • NEW ZEALAND: Elderly raided for suicide drugs as police conduct anti-euthanasia operation: Two elderly Wellington women with suicide drugs have been pounced on by police, who are conducting a national operation thought to be targeting a euthanasia group. Read more >>

  • OREGON: The real story about safeguards around assisted suicide in Oregon: Contrary to claims that there is “no evidence or data” to support claims that laws legalizing assisted suicide are subject to abuse, much evidence has been brought forth showing that concern that the risks of mistake, coercion and abuse are valid. Read more >>

  • PAYS-BAS : Les Pays-Bas veulent autoriser l'aide au suicide pour les personnes âgées : Après avoir légalisé l'euthanasie il y a près de 15 ans, les Pays-Bas envisagent désormais d'autoriser l'aide au suicide pour les personnes âgées qui ont le sentiment d'avoir « accompli » leur vie, même si elles ne sont pas malades. Read more >>

  • SUISSE : Exit, révélateur d’un malaise de société: A Genève, le cas de deux frères s’opposant au désir de suicide de leur aîné relance les débats sur le suicide assisté. Et fait surgir la tension entre devoir d’assistance et droit à l’autodétermination. Lire l’article >>

  • SWITZERLAND: Euthanasia begets more and more: According to an expert on the issue, once euthanasia is legalized it becomes a natural trend – and he cites astonishing numbers from a European country to support his argument. Read more >>

  • SWITZERLAND: 26% increase in assisted suicide deaths: The Swiss media are reporting that, according to the federal statistical office, the number of assisted suicide deaths increased by 26% in 2014. Read more >>

  • WASHINGTON D.C.: Right-to-die law faces skepticism in nation’s capital: Legalizing assisted suicide has become a racially-charged issue in Washington D.C. Although laws legalizing assisted suicide have been enacted in a handful of states with a mostly white population, it faces particular opposition in the nation’s capital, home to a large African American community. Read more >>

 

Videos to watch (French and English)

  • Lessons from the Mental Hospital: A TEDx talk by Glennon Doyle on her experience with mental illness. Watch video >>

 

To make a donation is... to take action!

Our organization would not exist without the support of people who share our vision of human solidarity and our mission to promote good palliative care for all. With your contribution, we can act on your behalf by advocating in person (conferences, panels), in the media (interviews, articles, press releases), and on social networks (blogs, website, Facebook, Twitter).

Thus, by contributing, you are directly participating in defending future generations, especially vulnerable people, threatened by euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

Thank you for your active support!