September 9, 2019
Euthanasia in Canada – Fourth Interim Report
Health Canada released its Fourth Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying.
Medical assistance in dying refers to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Total number of euthanasia deaths from December 10, 2015 to October 31, 2018 including available data for Quebec: 6,749.
This number is less than the actual number due to the fact that data for the province of Quebec is only available until March 31, 2018.
Approximately 7 months of Quebec data is missing because the Commission responsible for euthanasia statistics in the province changed its last reporting period. It does not include as well data for the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories because of small numbers and privacy concerns.
The number of euthanasia deaths in Canada for the period of January 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018, excluding Quebec, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut: 2,614.
Total number of euthanasia deaths in Quebec from December 10, 2015 to March 31, 2018: 1,664.
For the period of January 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018: 2,613 deaths out of 2,614 were done by euthanasia where the clinician administers a lethal injection.
2,421 of these injections were done by physicians and 193 were administered by nurse practitioners. Only 1 death was by assisted suicide where the patient is given a lethal dose of drugs which must be self-administered. Quebec’s law permits only euthanasia with physicians providing the lethal injection.
44% of deaths occurred in hospital while 42% occurred in the patient’s home. 5% took place in a long term care facility or nursing home. 4% were done in a location listed as Other or Unknown. According to Health Canada’s report, “Other may include: retirement homes; assisted or supportive living;ambulatory setting; day program space; clinician’s office; funeral home; hotel/motel; hospices; outdoor public areas or, undisclosed.”
We are told that the percentage of euthanasia deaths has “increased only slightly since the last reporting period.”
If we estimate the number of euthanasia deaths for the year 2018 to be over 3,000 for all of Canada, this means approximately:
250 deaths a month
60 a week
8 per day
Action Life believes that euthanasia is not the solution nor is it healthcare. We are concerned that palliative care is available to only 30% of Canadians who need it.
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