Canada needs national dialogue on end-of-life issues: doctors

Nurses treat a patient at the palliative care unit of the Argenteuil hospital in the suburbs of Paris on July 22, 2013. FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

TORONTO – The organization representing most of the country’s doctors says Canadians need to have a national dialogue about end-of-life care, including their opinions about euthanasia and physician-assisted death.

The Canadian Medical Association also says Canada needs a national strategy that would provide palliative care to dying Canadians no matter where they live in the country.

READ MORE: Patrick Stewart appeals for right to ‘die with dignity’

The CMA released a report on end-of-life care Tuesday after holding five public town hall meetings across the country, as well as online discussions.

CMA president Louis Hugo Francescutti says participants made it clear they want access to palliative care and to be able to talk openly about dying with their doctors and families.

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Francescutti says the message came through loud and clear that Canadians don’t want to die in pain or alone or to be a burden on their loved ones.

Physician-assisted death is currently illegal in Canada. But Quebec last week passed its landmark right-to-die bill, Bill 52, setting up a potential legal challenge from Ottawa.

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