Thursday, October 12, 2017

Canada's Euthanasia Saves Millions (Dollars Not People)

This article was published by Mark Pickup on his HumanLifeMatters website on October 11, 2017

Mark Pickup with Kevin Dunn
By Mark Pickup

Prolific Canadian documentary film maker Kevin 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. 

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

How did the numbers break down? (Excluding Québec, and the Territories) 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 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.[4] 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 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."[5] (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.

[2] 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
[3] 2nd Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada, Department of Health, Government of Canada,
[4] Sharon Kirkey, "Doctors harvesting organs from Canadian patients who underwent medical assisted death, National Post, 20 March 2017. (
[5] Sharon Kirkey, "Doctor-assisted suicide could save Canada up to $139 million each year, Alberta study suggests", National Post, 23 January 2017.


Sean L. Tobin said...

Let's face it. Euthanasia, by any other name, is murder. The elders have all, in one way or another, made their contribution to making this Country great and our answer is, "it costs too much; force the kids to agree or give them the bill." This has always been the position of the "Liberals". And now, every elder fears going into a hospital because they know they will never come out alive. Cost has forced us to become a Nation which condones the murder of our elders.

Paul Anderson said...

Good point by Sean L. Tobin. One thing I find appalling is how well the pro-euthanasia lobby has managed to convince the general population that Medical Assistance in Dying is a right, a service to which one is entitled, and not simply murder.

I would, however, avoid the use of terms such as "Liberals" and "progressives" as these carry multiple meanings which can cloud the discussion.

In Canada, the party called Liberal and the party called Conservative each stand for values that are on some points at odds with the philosophical view known by the same name. The Conservative Party of Canada, for instance, tends to be philosophically liberal in regard to the economy; whereas the Liberal Party of Canada takes a more philosophically conservative approach to the economy.

And a truly "progressive" approach in politics and law is one that promotes greater justice. Truly progressive legislation aims to promote a better quality of life for everyone. By definition, C-14 is not progressive since it is aimed at ending life rather than enhancing its quality.

elizsend said...

It would be far wiser to allow natural death to occur earlier in life rather than to resort to actively end life

Unknown said...

God forbid the killing of vulnerable people for any reason. I am totally against euthanasia have fought for years in the lower courts to protect the most vulnerable of NSW.
The House of Lords in London are against euthanasia as well.
I say no to the bill trying to be passed in the upper house of NSW government
Miss Premier of NSW stop this bill please for our Country Australia and its citizens