A Quebec bill would give Alzheimer’s patients access to medical assistance in dying

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé attends a press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic on February 15 at the Legislative Assembly in Quebec.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec has tabled a bill that would extend provincial legislation on assisted dying to people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said Wednesday that Bill 38 would allow people with serious and incurable illnesses to consent to an assisted death before they become mentally or physically incapable of doing so.

The bill comes after a special legislative committee last December recommended expanding end-of-life care.

Quebec’s medical assistance in dying law requires patients to give written consent to medical assistance in dying within 90 days of the procedure.

However, patients with severe Alzheimer’s disease are generally unable to offer clear and informed consent and are therefore prohibited by law from accessing medical assistance in dying.

Bill 38 was introduced late in the legislative session and will only pass before the summer break – and the fall election – if it receives unanimous support from all five parties.

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