Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Coroner Calls Public Inquiry

Quebec's chief coroner has called a public inquest into the death of Normand Meunier [pictured here], the man who used medical aid in dying to end his life after complications during a stay at Saint-Jérôme hospital.

The public inquiry, to be presided over by Coroner Dave Kimpton, was triggered by a request from Public Security Minister François Bonnardel.

According to the Coroner's Office, it will allow "any interested person to express their views concerning the circumstances of this death in order to analyze all the contributing factors, with a view to issuing recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances."

Last January, Normand Meunier, a 66-year-old quadriplegic man, went to hospital in Saint-Jérôme to treat a respiratory virus. He developed a major pressure sore on his buttocks and, on March 29, resorted to medical aid in dying [euthanasia] to end his suffering.

Meunier's death sparked widespread reaction in the Quebec legislature, where opposition parties united in calling for an independent inquiry, claiming abuse and calling his death a "real disgrace" for the province.

Health Minister Christian Dubé accepted their request. The regional health board, the CISSS des Laurentides, also launched an internal investigation.

Details of the coroner's inquest, including hearing dates, will be announced later. 

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 25, 2024.