Oct 20, 2016

Barrette has witnessed the influence of religious groups on patients

Montreal Gazette


October 19, 2016


Though he wouldn’t comment on the recent death of a young Jehovah’s Witness, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said Wednesday that he had witnessed the influence religious groups can have on patients while he was working as a doctor.

A coroner’s investigation is underway to determine if Éloïse Dupuis, a 27-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, had refused to receive a blood transfusion before dying last week from complications following a difficult child delivery.

In a news conference Wednesday, Barrette said members of religious groups are sometimes present in situations similar to Dupuis’s case, and debates about what steps should be followed do take place.

“I can tell you that I have seen it before, that’s true,” Barrette said. “But I cannot comment about the case at hand.”

Stressing that a coroner’s investigation is underway, Barrette said that from the information that is known so far about Dupuis’s death, the rules around consent seem to have been respected.

In Quebec City, the Coalition Avenir Québec demanded that security measures be put in place in hospitals to avoid patients being pressured by religious communities in similar situations.

CAQ MNA Simon Jolin-Barrette said that it’s well known that “blood police” are present in Quebec hospitals “pressuring patients and their families, and stopping people who aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses from accessing the patient’s room.”

Barrette, in turn, warned the CAQ of the risk of taking actions that are “socially imprudent” and called Jolin-Barrette’s remarks “incendiary.”

The Parti Québécois, for its part, asked for an external investigation of the influence religious groups have on patients and medical staff.



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