Quebec prepares to roll out euthanasia on Dec. 10

September 14, 2015

OTTAWA - News from PostMedia Sept. 1 that the Quebec government is preparing "euthanasia kits" for doctors does not surprise the head of a physicians' group that opposes euthanasia.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier, president of the Quebec-based Physicians' Alliance Against Euthanasia, said she knew the Collège des médecins du Québec was "working on guidelines on how to euthanaize a patient."

Quebec's euthanasia Bill 52 goes into effect Dec. 10.

Michele Boulva, director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), also said the guidelines, while shocking, were expected.

"Families will obviously need to be very proactive and attentive to what's going on with their loved ones in the hospital and make sure their family doctor is opposed to this practice."

The euthanasia guidelines, reportedly developed in conjunction with Quebec's governing bodies for nurses and pharmacists, involve a combination of drugs delivered intravenously to first, quell anxiety; second, to induce a coma; and third, to stop breathing and to stop the heart.

"None of this should have happened, obviously," said Ferrier. "If they are going to make it legal, doctors have to learn how to do it."

The Quebec government is "scrambling" because "when the law comes into effect many physicians won't be prepared" to perform euthanasia, she said.

Ferrier questioned whether enough doctors will be willing to kill their patients and whether nurses will refuse to participate.


She also questioned whether the guideline that doctors administer the drugs and supervise the death is realistic.

"Doctors are not known to always sit by the beside of patients when they don't have to," Ferrier said. The more likely scenario is a doctor giving the injection, then leaving for the operating room or the next patient, leaving the process to the nurse.

The Feb. 6 Supreme Court decision is unclear whether it allows only assisted suicide or euthanasia, Ferrier said. But Quebec had plans to go ahead with its euthanasia bill before the Supreme Court decision.

The Quebec law does not require anybody to euthanize a patient, she said. However, should the doctor refuse, he or she will be required to refer the patient to the director of the hospital.