Quebec politician makes plea for Alzheimer’s patients to have access to doctor-assisted death
Quebec politician François Bonnardel made an emotional call Thursday to expand the debate on doctor-assisted death to include Alzheimer’s disease.
“For too long now, fifteen years now, I’ve seen my mother, no longer able to recognize me, no longer smile, speak nor enjoy life,” said the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) MNA.
He said his mother, now 80, has become a prisoner of her own body.
“These last three years, I have wished that the Good Lord would come and take her home,” Bonnardel said.
On Tuesday, a Montreal man was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
On his Facebook page, Michel Cadotte wrote that he “cracked” and “responded to her request for aide to die.”
The CAQ says it hopes this tragedy will push the National Assembly to expand the current law.
About 45,000 people suffer from the disease in Quebec.
These patients don’t have the right to assisted death because they need to give their consent before it takes over their mind.
If the law is amended, people facing a degenerative disease would be able to ask in advance – for example, at the time of their diagnosis – for doctor-assisted death.
It was an issue debated while the current legislation was introduced, but there was no consensus.
“When Bill 52 was adopted, it wasn’t at all the end of the story. To me, it was the least common denominator,” said Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.
“So, I am not closing any doors.”
Bonnardel tried to explain he would be ready to accept his mother’s decision if she had given advanced consent 15 years ago, but wasn’t able to finish his sentence.
“Well, it’s hard to say,” he said before leaving the press conference.
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