Quebec health minister tells MUHC to offer doctor-assisted death to palliative patients

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WATCH ABOVE: The issue of euthanasia is causing problems after Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette claimed the MUHC is denying doctor-assisted death to patients in palliative care. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports – Jun 29, 2016

QUEBEC CITY –  The sensitive issue of euthanasia is causing problems between Quebec and the McGill super hospital.

Health minister Gaétan Barrette is taking the MUHC to task for denying doctor-assisted death to patients in palliative care.

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Barrette said he recently learned the hospital requires patients to transfer out of the palliative care department in order to follow through with doctor-assisted dying procedures.

They are also required to have been patients for at least 18 months prior to the move.

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Barette called this practice “totally illegal” because a hospital cannot decide which departments will or will not offer medical aid to die.

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“The administration, in its new rules…is not in my mind respecting the law. There is no legal justification for this institution to ask for an 18 month period,” he said.

Barrette said it’s within his power to force the hospital to change its policy.

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He sent a letter Wednesday morning to the director of the MUHC and said he is waiting for an answer.

“They have a level of independence they have exercised, obviously, and this is within the directives I have put forward. If they do not abide, I will change my directives,” he said.

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The MUHC declined an interview with Global News.

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A spokesperson said they have received the letter and “discussions are ongoing.”

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