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Health Canada says more than 2,000 medically assisted deaths since legalization

Health Canada says more than 2,000 medically assisted deaths since legalization
From Global News - October 7, 2017

A new report from Health Canada found more than 2,000 Canadians made the decision to end their lives with the help of a doctor since medically assisted death became legal in the country.

There were 1,982 medically assisted deaths in the one-year period after it became legal in June 2016, and another 167 in Quebec since it was legalized in that province in December 2015, according to the report released Friday.

Health Canada said the number of assisted deaths has been rising, with 803 assisted deaths reported in the first six months after it became legal compared to 1,179 deaths that occurred in the following six months from January to June 2017.

READ MORE:B.C. assisted dying review finds program working well, but room for improvement

This represents a 47 per cent increase, according to the report, but accounts for less than one per cent of all deaths in Canada.

Cancer was the most frequently cited underlying medical condition associated with an assisted death, representing approximately 63 per cent of all assisted dying cases among reporting jurisdictions, the report said.

This is consistent with other jurisdictions around the world that allow some form of assisted dying, including Oregon (72 per cent), Belgium (69 per cent) and the Netherlands (71 per cent.)

Other findings from Health Canadas second interim report on medically assisted deaths include that the average patient was 73 when they died, and there have been five total self-administered deaths (assisted suicide) since becoming legal.

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