|Kevin Dunn, documentary film maker|
professor of law and
"Assisted suicide and euthanasia are different. Assisted suicide is providing another with the knowledge or means to intentionally end his or her own life; euthanasia is deliberate action undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person to relieve that person’s suffering where that act is the cause of death. An example of assisted suicide is a physician who prescribes barbiturates to a patient with advanced ALS who uses the drugs to kill herself. An example of euthanasia is a physician who administers a combination of a sedative, a barbiturate, and a neuromuscular block to a man suffering from advanced spinal muscular atrophy with the intention of ending his life in order to relieve the pain and suffering caused by his condition where the barbiturates cause death."
More than 2,000 Canadians have died with medical assistance since 2015 (including Quebec). Cancer represented 64% of assisted suicides, followed by circulatory/respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
How did the numbers break down? From June 17 - December 31, 2016, 507 people received medical assisted death, of which 503 were administered by doctors or nurse practitioners. Only 4 were self-administered suicides. From January 1st - June 30th 2017 there were 875 medically assisted deaths of which 874 were administered by a physician or nurse. One was self administered suicide. Of the 1,482 assisted death for the year, only 5 were self-administered suicides (0.0033%). In practice (according to the Dalhousie university's definition), what Canada legalized in 2016 was not assisted suicide, it legalized euthanasia by another name.
What makes things worse is that pressures are starting to mount on sick and disabled people -- or their families -- to sign DNR orders or agree to euthanasia, and ideally organ donation. Why might that be? There a number of reasons:
- There is a shortage of organs for transplantation.
- Up-to-date palliative care is an area of specialty in which many family doctors are not particularly skilled.
- The last six months of life can be very expensive whereas euthanasia is cheap.
- Some people with disabilities can be difficult, peevish and bothersome patients. They may require frequent and expensive hospitalization. Many do not get better.
- Hospitals and nursing homes are overcrowded and care for the sick is so expensive.
|Drs Manns & Trachtenburg|
American journalist, cynic and cultural critic H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) once said, "When somebody says it's not about the money, it's about the money." Why would anybody conduct, write and publish such a study if it was not about the money?
The medical killing net is sure to be cast ever wider to be more "inclusive" (as progressives will be sure to champion). Anybody with an incurable, degenerative disease or disability has every right to fear hospitals or nursing homes -- and even their own future (or lack of one). It's hard to get any rest with a parking meter ticking so loudly at the end of the bed.
My point is this: People like me cost too much and benevolence can quickly turn to malevolence. We need care and do not contribute to the nation's GDP. I fear that eventually we will be considered what was once referred to as useless eaters or lebensunwertes leben (Life unworthy of life). Eventually some doctor, health care budget administrator
or government policy will surely decide we've over-stayed our welcome and our organs will be worth more than we are worth.
 End-of-Life Law and Policy in Canada, Health Law Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. http://eol.law.dal.ca/?page_id=238
 Kathleen Harris, "More than 2,000 Canadians with medical assistance since legalization: Cancer neurodegenerative disorders and circulatory or respiratory failures drive most requests." CBC News online http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/medical-assistance-death-figures-1.4344267
 2nd Interim Report on MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IN DYING IN CANADA, Department of Health, Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-system-services/medical-assistance-dying-interim-report-sep-2017.html
 Sharon Kirkey, "Doctors harvesting organs from Canadian patients who underwent medical assisted death, National Post, 20 March 2017. (http://nationalpost.com/health/doctors-harvesting-organs-from-canadian-patients-who-underwent-medically-assisted-death)
Sharon Kirkey, "Doctor-assisted suicide could save Canada up to $139 million each year, Alberta study suggests", National Post, 23 January 2017. http://nationalpost.com/news/0124-na-assisted-dying