Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Donna Duncan was fast-tracked for euthanasia even though she wasn't terminally ill

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Liz Carr is an actress, comedian and disability rights activist produced a documentary titled; Better off Dead? that was aired on May 14 by BBC1.

Alicia Duncan
In the documentary, Carr interviewed Alicia Duncan, the daughter of Donna Duncan, who died by euthanasia in October 2021

Alicia explains that her mother was fast-tracked for euthanasia after experiencing depression and mental issues related to a concussion acquired in a car accident.

Elmira Tanatarova reporting for the Daily Mail on May 15, 2024 writes:

The daughter of a Canadian woman who was 'fast tracked' for euthanasia after she 'starved herself' - because she was 'depressed' following car accident complications - broke down in tears as she recounted being given 48-hours' notice that her mother was going to die.

Alicia Duncan spoke to Liz Carr for Tuesday night's BBC documentary, Better Off Dead?

Donna Duncan, 61, from Abbotsford, was involved in a minor car accident, resulting in concussion. Her health declined in the months that followed, but the exact cause remained a mystery.

However, she was 'not terminal', nor was she 'facing imminent death' - but rather was suffering from mental health issues, Alicia stressed.
Alicia Duncan explains that her mother was experiencing mental health problems. Tanatarova reports:
'What we we didn't know was that she was restricting her diet. She would say that it would hurt to eat solid foods so she was pureeing everything, having soups.'

Alicia also explained how her and her sister's worries for Donna escalated.

'She was very paranoid, she worried that if she left the house, she might be shot by a sniper at any moment.

'And I think that's when we really started becoming extremely concerned that this might be a mental health issue.'

She said the behaviour was 'completely uncharacteristic' of her mother, who 'was a highly educated psychiatric nurse'.

Alicia and her sister were shocked when learning that their mother was approved to be killed. Tanatarova reports:

Alicia tearfully revealed how little time she was given to process her mother's signing up for Canada's controversial euthanasia programme - called MAiD.

'I received a text message from my mom's common law partner he wanted us to know that my mom was in the beginning stages of looking into MAiD,' she told the documentary.

'We just thought there was no way - there was no way - she would be approved.

They were given a 48 hour notice for her death

'And my sister went to go see her and asked, "how did the assessment go". And she said "do you want to know". And my sister said yes, and she said "I've been approved".

'So we had less than 48 hours' notice that my mom was going to die.'

Alicia and her sister unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the death:

Donna was approved for track one of MAiD - the 'fast track' - on the grounds that her condition was terminal.

She and her sister managed to then 'gather enough evidence to have Donna taken into custody under the Mental Health Act'. 

Alicia 'pleaded with a doctor' because 'her mom was a psychiatric nurse who knew all of the right things to say'.

'At the end of the 48 hour hold they did another assessment,' she continued. 'We received a text message from my mom's partner that evening that my mom was dead and her body had been taken to a crematorium.'

Alicia told Tanatarova that her mother wasn't terminally ill and therefore didn't qualify under "track 1" but since she had stopped eating and drinking, she was immediately deemed to be terminally ill. Tanatarova then reports on the irregularity in her mother's death.

Alicia said that her mother had been approved by the head of the MAiD programme and a nurse practitioner.

'The second assessment, it was done over the phone,' she added. 'He never saw my mom. 

'And her general practitioner, who had been her GP for 20 years, would not approve her to die.'

Tanatarova reports that Alicia and her sister Christie launched an investigation into their mother's death that concluded without any arrests.

It is impossible for medical practitioners in Canada to be prosecuted for euthanasia since the law says that the medical practitioner only has be "of the opinion" that you fit the criteria of the law.

The Canadian law is not designed with effective oversight, as long as two doctors or nurse practitioners agree that a person qualifies under the law, then they qualify, even if many doctors and nurse practitioners say they do not qualify.

Previous articles about Liz Carr:
  • Canadian euthanasia doctor giggles about killing (Link).
  • Liz Carr: I'm fighting for the right to live (Link).
  • Better off Dead? documentary to be aired on BBC1 on May 14 (Link).
  • Laws against assisted suicide provide equal protection (Link).
  • Liz Carr address to Victoria Australia parliament on assisted suicide (Link).
  • Disability activists say no to euthanasia bill (Link).

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