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Montrealers head to court to get assistance in dying
Two people from Montreal are turning to Quebec Superior Court to help them receive medical aid in dying.
Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 71 both suffer from incurable degenerative diseases but don't qualify for the act under federal or provincial law.
They are arguing that the eligibility requirements for physician-assisted death are too restrictive.
Under the current law, they are not allowed to choose when to end their own lives with the help of a doctor because their deaths are not ‘reasonably foreseeable’ and they are not at the end of their lives.
Truchon has had cerebral palsy since birth. Gladu contracted polio as a child and said she is in frequent pain.
"My childhood scoliosis has been reactivated and combined with severe osteoporosis, twisting my body to the price of my balance. causing stomach hernia and ruthlessy squeezing my half lung. Each breath has become, for me, a conscious effort which consumes three-quarters of my waning energy," said Gladu.
Both are dependent on others and say they are miserable and want control of their end of lives.
Advocate and CHSLD psychologist Suzanne Malo read a statement on Truchon's behalf.
"I have enjoyed another side of life before and I can no longer endure my misery," she read.
Truchon said he has contemplated other ways to end his life "but I'm aware that it would destroy the lives of other people."
They want the court to allow doctors to provide them with medical aid in dying and to invalidate the articles of the laws setting the criteria, particularly the federal clause regarding a reasonable foreseeability of death.
"An unexpected setback, cruel and shocking," said Gladu.
They say they meet all the other criteria for assisted death and should be allowed to end their suffering.
“I look at myself in the mirror and I do not recognize the man I was before. By now wanting to destroy other lives, my options are greatly limited. I thought of various ways to end my life -- fasting to death – but I find that I have suffered enough to this day and I do not want to add any more misery for me and my loved ones,” read Malo.
Their lawyer, Jean-Pierre Menard, said he expects this to be a long legal battle but that he hopes to see the case before the court in a year.
"The plaintiff is simply trying to recover their rights that were given to them by the supreme court, and that the federal law has deprived them since then," said Menard.
Quebec's Health Minister said he is glad someone is contesting the federal law which he considers impractical.
"C14 does not answer fully to Carter. It doesn't, simply put it doesn't. And now we are the second province where groups or patients are going to the courts to solve this issue," said Gaetan Barrette.
"It's about death has to be foreseeable. And I said many times that this is impractical, first, and second that very provision, article, is not an answer to Carter, it's a limitation to Carter."
Carter, also known as Carter vs. Canada, is the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that struck down criminal laws barring physicians from assisting someone from dying.