June 12, 2018 9:07 pm

Quebec doctors demand better palliative care services for patients

WATCH: A group of Quebec doctors say the province is favouring medically assisted dying instead of providing adequate palliative care to terminally ill patients. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, the coalition led by Dr. Paul Saba is taking its case to the Quebec court of appeal this week.


Lisa D’Amico, diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, has been fighting to stay alive ever since she was born.

Alongside a group of 10 Quebec doctors at a press conference Tuesday, D’Amico demanded better palliative care services across the province.

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Dr. Paul Saba is a family practitioner who is spearheading the coalition, and he made the announcement a day before he is set to argue against Bill 52 in the Quebec Court of Appeal.

“The laws are not being respected, and until that is done, the law needs to be stopped or suspend,” Saba said.

D’Amico, who lives on welfare because of her illness, cannot afford treatment and is left like many to make a difficult choice.

“The only choice that you have is to take the pills that will abolish the sharpness of your mind, and on the other hand, if you don’t want to take pills then you have euthanasia,” D’Amico said.

She feels that when it comes to life or death decisions, the government isn’t giving her and others in her situation much choice.

“When you enact a law that pushes people to on the cliff, suicide, and when you only allow them to live in sheer poverty, you create the perfect opportunity to pretend that they agree to be euthanized,” D’Amico said.

Saba says the government is not respecting or enforcing enacted safeguards, such as getting a second opinion.

“People are being euthanized because of lack of palliative care services,” Saba said.

“You have to remember palliative care is not just treating pain, it is also giving people psychological and spiritual support.”

READ MORE: Opponents of Bill 52 call dying-with-dignity legislation ‘a slap in the face’

Dr. Theodore Krass agrees with Saba, “Personally, I would not be involved anyway, giving a treatment or medicine which is aimed at terminating the patients life,” Krass said.

D’Amico says she enjoys every day of her life, but lives with a looming fear,

“It’s very frightening because we never know when we will break down and collapse and say, ‘That’s enough, I can’t bear it any more,” D’Amico said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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