“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Kevin Dunn, documentary film maker
 on location
Prolific Canadian documentary film maker Keven Dunn has embarked upon his latest production FATAL FLAWS.  In conjunction with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Mr. Dunn explores, amongst other things, the short step from physician assisted suicide to euthanasia.[1] This is exactly what is happening in Canada in the 14 months since physician assisted suicide became legal. 

Jocelyn Downie
professor of law and
medicine, Dalhousie
What is the difference between physician assisted suicide and euthanasia? A vociferous advocate for legalizing physician assisted suicide was Jocelyn Downie, professor of law and medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University.  I will use the explanation of the difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia given by the Dalhousie's Health Law Institute, of which Downie is a member:

"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."[2]

More than 2,000 Canadians have died with medical assistance since 2015 (including Quebec).[3] Cancer represented 64% of assisted suicides, followed by circulatory/respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).[4]

How did the numbers break down? From June 17 - December 31, 2016, 507 people received medical assisted deaths, 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 suicideOf 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.[5] 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.
Could it be mere coincidence that 6 months after medical assisted
Drs Manns & Trachtenburg
death was legalized in Canada a study came out of the University of Calgary and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal heralding the cost savings of killing dying patients? Drs Aaron Trachtenburg and Braden Manns proclaimed it could save up to $139-million annually! Of course, they took pains to state they were not suggesting people be euthanized to save money. The illustrious doctors noted that "as death approaches, health care costs increase dramatically in the final months. Patients who choose medical assistance in dying may forego this resource-intensive period."
[6] (How considerate of patients.) 

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.


[1]  https://fatalflawsfilm.com/
[2] 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
[3] 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
[4] 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
[5] 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)
[6]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

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