Quebec euthanasia rates on track to match Belgian 6-8 year rates after 2 years

Sean Murphy*

Not all Quebec euthanasia statistics for the first half of 2017 have been made public.  However, available numbers indicate that the province is on track to reach levels  after two years that correspond to Belgian rates after six to eight years. Subject to the publication of the remaining statistics, the following points appear to be of interest:

  • About 18-19 requests for euthanasia were made weekly in the province in the first half of 2017, about the same as the last half of 2016.
  • The percentage of requests that did not result in euthanasia increased slightly from about 37% to 39%
    • Increases in this category, when reported, were attributed mainly to patients becoming incompetent, dying or withdrawing their requests.
  • Of the 22 agencies reporting euthanasia in the first half of 2017,
    •  in 18 the average weekly number of requests for euthanasia increased;
    • in 15 there was an increase in euthanasia provided weekly;
    • in 17 there was an increase in the rate of euthanasia per 100,000 palliative patients.
  • Of the 22 agencies reporting the use of “continuous palliative sedation” (CPS) in the first half of 2017
    • in 15 there was an increase in the rate of CPS per 100,000 palliative patients.

The Project’s analysis is available at Euthanasia Statistics: Quebec.