The FMSQ Speaks Out Regarding the Expert Committee's Report on the Subject of Dying With Dignity

Montreal, January 15, 2013 - It was with a high level of interest and to its great satisfaction that the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) took note of the report produced by the legal experts' committee, under the chairmanship of Me Jean-Pierre Ménard, on the legal implementation of the recommendations issued by the National Assembly's Select Committee on Dying with Dignity.

According to the President of the FMSQ, Dr Gaétan Barrette, "this is a very comprehensive text that clearly sets out every possible healthcare scenario when it comes to the level of end-of-life care to be made available to patients, including medical assistance to die."

In this report, the committee's recommendations are based on the patient's obvious desire to choose how his or her life should end; the decision belongs to the patient. The report is just as clear in the case of a person incapable of making a decision. Moreover, the Federation takes note of the fact that the physician is free to act in all conscience with regard to the patient's choice and that, in the case of medical assistance to die, the physician cannot be prosecuted for providing it. Finally, the report refers to countries where medical assistance to die does exist and where no abuses have been recorded.

Let's remember that the FMSQ was the first medical organization in Quebec to take position publicly on the issue and to demand that the government update its laws in this respect.

"We hope that Quebec will move forward as the report is intended for the entire health system, not just physicians, and its recommendations reflect how society's opinion has evolved. We are convinced that the subject has gained consensus in Quebec," concludes Dr Barrette.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents more than 9000 medical specialists certified in one of the 53 recognized medical specialties.