Quebec palliative care centre to offer doctor-assisted suicide

Quebec palliative care centre to offer doctor-assisted suicide

SHERBOOKE, Que. — A palliative care centre in Quebec could be one of the first to offer patients access to doctor-assisted suicide once it becomes legal.

La Maison Aube-Lumiere in Sherbrooke says it will provide the service starting Feb. 1, 2016 — just days before the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down the ban on doctor-assisted dying takes effect.

Medically assisted suicide will be legal in Quebec next month, however, as a new provincial law takes effect.

The centre says on its website that while it initially refused to offer the service, it recently changed its position after consulting staff and volunteers.

It says that 60 per cent participated in an online poll on the issue, and of those, 61 per cent were in favour of helping terminally ill patients who wish to end their life.

The centre’s board of directors voted unanimously in support to allow medically assisted suicide as a last resort when all other means of pain relief have been exhausted.

La Maison Aube-Lumiere says it wants to give itself enough time to learn the new rules surrounding doctor-assisted dying and properly train staff and volunteers.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in February that Canadians with unbearable and irremediable suffering could be eligible to end their lives with a doctor’s aid, but the justices stayed their decision until February 2016 to give Parliament time to replace the existing law if it so chooses.

The Canadian Press

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