Quebec reports steep rise in organ donations after medical aid in dying legalized

Click to play video: 'Expansion of assisted dying for mental illness in Canada to be delayed until 2024'
Expansion of assisted dying for mental illness in Canada to be delayed until 2024
Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti announced the tabling of a bill on Thursday that will delay by a year an expansion of medically assisted dying (MAiD) to people with mental health disorders as their only underlying condition. Lametti said the delay "will provide time to help provincial and territorial partners and the medical and nursing communities to prepare to deliver MAiD in the circumstances. It will also allow the completion of in-depth studies of the risks and complexities associated with providing MAiD to individuals whose sole underlying condition is mental illness." – Feb 2, 2023

Quebec is reporting a tripling of the number of organ donors in the last five years, including a major jump last year in donations through medical aid in dying.

Transplant Quebec says it received 854 organ donation referrals in 2022, which it said was a “record number.”

The organization says that about 15 per cent of all donors in the past year had received MAID, adding that the vast majority of them – about 85 per cent – had been diagnosed with neurodegenerative or neurological disease.

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Quebec’s end-of-life care bill came into effect in December 2015, and the first two organ donations through MAID occurred in 2017, Transplant Quebec says.

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The organization says the data is in line with an underlying trend in the handful of countries that allow organ donations through MAID — Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

Martin Bouchard, the head of Transplant Quebec, says the increasing recourse to MAID in Quebec represents an opportunity to increase the number of organ donors in the province, allowing more people to benefit from a transplant.

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