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Assisted deaths: Quebec passes Netherlands to lead world in number per capita

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o3023 (Published 16 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o3023
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Quebec is now the jurisdiction with the highest proportion of people choosing medical assistance in dying (MAID), said Michel Bureau, president of the province’s Commission on End of Life Care.

“In Quebec 5.1% of deaths result from MAID,” he told a press conference. “In the Netherlands it’s 4.8% of deaths and in Belgium 2.3%.”

Rates have also been steadily rising in the rest of Canada, reaching 3.3% of all deaths in 2021. Quebec operates under its own MAID law, passed in June 2016.

Asked whether the rising numbers were a sign of loosening criteria or inappropriate deaths, Bureau, a physician, said, “Not at all. The Québécois who receive MAID are at the end of their lives. They have suffering that cannot be eased and meet all the criteria.”

One likely reason for the increase, …

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