Caroline Touzin reported for Le Press that the recent Quebec government euthanasia report indicates that the number of euthanasia deaths are increasing quickly.
Quebec legalized euthanasia in December 2015, while the rest of Canada legalized euthanasia in June 2016.
According to Touzin the recent government report stated that there were 1664 reported euthanasia deaths between December, 2015 and March 31, 2018.
It is concerning that 1493 reports were received and yet 1664 euthanasia deaths were reported by institutions. Therefore 171 euthanasia deaths were not reported representing more than 10% of the deaths.
A report compiled by the Sean Murphy for the Protection of Conscience Project indicated that there were 454 reported Quebec euthanasia deaths in 2016 and 757 in 2017. He stated that in 2017 1.2% of all deaths were by euthanasia (lethal injection) representing a 67% increase from the number of euthanasia deaths in 2016.
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According to an article by Michael Cook for Bioedge there were 845 reported euthanasia deaths for the 9 months from July 2017 to March 2018, compared to 638 for the 12 months from July 2016 to June 2017 representing a 75% increase.
Cook also reported that the recent government euthanasia report states that doctors are often not following the law. According to Cook:
The latest report indicates that 10% of the reported euthanasia deaths were not administered according to the letter of the law. Either the paperwork was incomplete or the law had apparently been broken. The corresponding figure for the previous period was 8%. The report stresses, however, that the “great majority” of the euthanasia deaths were administered according to the law.
Abuse of the law is not new. Last year, Amy Hasbrouck, the EPC President and a Quebec disability rights leader, examined the Quebec government report and reported that:
- Confusion and inconsistency exists between euthanasia figures offered by the various sources; the “number of forms received and examined“ by the commission, the reports of the institutions, and the reports from the Collège des médecins du Québec.
- A 5% or 7% error rate (with 3% undetermined) would not be acceptable where lives depended on the effective application of safeguards (e.g. the airline industry).
- The three cases in which the safeguards were clearly violated (two where the person did not have a “serious and incurable illness” and one where the person was not at the “end of life”) were not addressed as the crimes that they are.
Similar problems exist in the Netherlands, where a study found that in 2015, 23% of the assisted deaths were not reported and 431 assisted deaths were done without explicit consent.
The Quebec government does report more information than Canada’s federal government about the euthanasia practice.