Right-to-die already weighing on Quebec’s conscience

 New law has hospitals, doctors grappling with old fears, new moral burdens

Toronto Star

Allan Woods

MONTREAL—Quebec passed a landmark euthanasia law earlier this month meant to end the agony in the final days of a terminal patient’s life. But the legislation has lumped the province’s medical community with an existential burden it is only now confronting.

Doctors are weighing their consciences against their looming legal responsibilities to dying patients. It’s not entirely clear which one will win the day.

“I’ve been working in clinical ethics as a physician for 24 years and this is going to be one of our biggest challenges,” says Dr. Eugene Bereza, director of the centre for applied ethics at Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre.

The process that led to Bill 52, the so-called Medical Aid in Dying legislation, was wrenching enough in a society where the government, school and hospitals were a proxy for the Catholic Church not two generations ago. . . . [Full text]

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