Opponents of assisted-dying law ready for court challenge
MONTREAL – The opponents of Quebec’s medical-aid-in-dying law have not given up.
After Bill 2, which gives patients access to doctor-assisted dying was upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal last winter, family doctor, Paul Saba, decided to challenge the law.
“The government is putting money ahead of lives,” said Saba.
WATCH: Global’s Elysia Bryan-Baynes speaks to Dr. Paul Saba, who opposes Quebec’s Dying with Dignity bill, about his thoughts on the province’s top court allowing the assisted-dying law.
Now, Saba is planning on challenging the validity of the provincial law and the federal law in Quebec’s Superior Court this week.
If necessary, he is ready to take his challenge all the way to the Supreme Court.
He argued the medical field is filled with errors in diagnoses and prognoses and too often patients are making the difficult choice of dying based on erroneous facts.
“The government’s really been pushing and promoting this as a kind of autonomy issue,” said Saba. “But what is an autonomy issue when you have all these errors that the population has not been made aware of?”
At a press conference on Sunday, some of Saba’s patients gathered to show support for his position.
They have all been diagnosed with terminal diseases.
But at some point they were either misdiagnosed or the prognosis was all wrong.
One of those patients is Mona Latour-Bourque, who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease nine years ago.
“Let’s say it would have been available when I was diagnosed, I would have thought of it seriously because the lung specialist that I had told me I didn’t have long to live anyway,” said Latour-Bourque. “So why suffer?”
Latour-Bourque sought a second opinion and is glad she did.
“If I would have chosen to die, I would have given up five years,” she said. “I’ve seen my grandson. I see my grandson who is nine years old. I have a granddaughter who’s 16 months, I wouldn’t have seen them.”
WATCH: Debate over the assisted dying law in Quebec
Latour-Bourque is not the only one taking advantage of a second lease on life.
Mario Bazzocchi’s wife, Ginette, passed away from her bout with cancer in 2015.
When she was diagnosed, doctors initially gave her six months to live.
She ended up living for another six years and took advantage to keep up an active lifestyle.
“I don’t think that people because they get treatment or get diagnosed for something specifically, right away should jump into, OK now I have a choice, either I suffer or do this,” said Bazzocchi. “No, you should go through the process.”
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