Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Physically healthy depressed man died by euthanasia in BC.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Alan Nichols with his brother.
Watch video: CTV National News: Doctor-assisted death granted


Avis Favaro, the Medical correspondent with CTV News produced an excellent news story concerning the death of Alan Nichols, a 61-year-old man who was physically healthy but lived with chronic depression.

This story clearly shows how the recent Québec court decision that struck down the terminal illness criteria in the law will lead to an expansion of euthanasia, in Canada, to people who are physically healthy but experience psychological suffering.

Favaro interviews the family, and others, about the death of Alan. The news report states:
A British Columbia man who struggled with depression and showed no signs of facing an imminent demise was given a medically-assisted death despite desperate pleas from his loved ones, family members say. 
Alan Nichols was admitted to Chilliwack General Hospital in June, at age 61, after he was found dehydrated and malnourished. One month later, he died by injection. 
Days before his death, family members begged Nichols, a former school janitor who lived alone and struggled with depression, not to go through with the procedure. They still don’t know why doctors approved the life-ending procedure and insist that Nichols did not fit the government criteria of facing an “imminent death.” 
“He didn't have a life-threatening disease. He was capable of getting around. He was capable of doing almost anything that you had to do to survive,” his brother, Gary Nichols, told CTV News. “I didn’t think he had a sound mind at all.” 
The family has asked the RCMP to investigate the case.
Watch video: Trudo Lemmens of the University of Toronto says clearer criteria on whether MAID is appropriate is needed.

Favaro described Alan's health condition. She reported:
Alan Nichols was 12 when he first underwent brain surgery for a non-malignant tumour. Over time he lost his hearing in both ears and had a cochlear implant. 
But he finished school and worked much of his life. He developed depression but his family said he was doing well on medications. 
Nichols relied on his father to manage his day-to-day life. But when his father died in 2004, Nichols’ life went into a tailspin. He stopped taking the antidepressant and often became angry, said his family. 
Nichols wanted to live on his own, so his brother Wayne would visit him once a week, for groceries and banking. A neighbour would help out as well. 
But family members and the neighbour say Nichols would isolate himself. He got rid of all his furniture except for a chair and a bed. Family members said if something upset him, he would stop eating. Yet he refused to see a doctor or take his medications. 
“He would have maybe a period, a year, he would be very easy to deal with and make some decent changes. But then he would fall back into a very depressed state,” said his brother Gary Nichols. “Not going out in public, not seeing anybody, not eating properly.”
Watch video: "Who do we trust? Where do we go?"

The family was concerned about Alan and they unsuccessfully sought guardianship for his care. The family stated that Alan did not fit the criterion for euthanasia, Favaro reported:
As soon as Nichols’ family found out that he was in hospital, brothers Wayne and Gary went to see him. They say that, at first, Nichols wanted to leave hospital, but that family agreed with police that he needed medical help. 
“We thought this would be the best place for him to get back on track,” Gary said. “We would never have allowed this to happen if we knew the outcome.” 
From there, the family says, things became difficult. They say the hospital did not give them much information on Nichols’ case. Staff told the family that he was doing well but he did not want to speak with family. 
“I was always led on to believe that he was doing good,” Gary said. “They never informed me of any (medical assistance in dying) application.” 
On July 22, they received a shocking phone call from a doctor who said that, in four days’ time, Nichols was scheduled for an assisted death. According to the family, the doctor said they couldn’t provide any other information, including the medical reason for the procedure. 
“I started crying,” Gary said. “I was at work and never thought it would get to that. Just never thought he would ever be approved even if he applied for it.” 
Nichols’ sister-in-law, Trish Nichols, called the doctor to get more information. 
“I was appalled by all of it and I said we want this stopped, this can’t happen. Our family doesn’t agree with this,” she said.
“(The doctor) said, ‘Well, you can’t stop this. Alan is the only person who can stop this.”
The family tried to stop the lethal injection but the hospital said that only Alan can stop the euthanasia, even though the family insisted that Alan was not competent.
At the hospital, the family was told that two doctors had approved Nichols’ application for a medically assisted death, and that a psychologist and psychiatrist were there to assess Nichols’ competence. 
The family was not given access to those medical records. They still don’t know what grounds doctors used to approve the application. 
Nichols’ death certificate lists MAID, or medically assisted death, as his immediate cause of death. Officials also listed three “antecedent causes” connected to his death including a stroke, seizure disorder and “frailty.” 
Other “significant conditions” not directly contributing to his death include the tumour he suffered as a child and a shunt to help relieve pressure on his brain.

Under Canadian law, assisted death can only be offered to patients who are considered as having “a grievous and irremediable medical condition.” According to federal guidelines, a patient must meet four criteria.
The family urged the hospital to stop the process:
“Alan did not fit the criteria. Alan was capable of talking, he was sitting up, he was eating, he was going to the bathroom, we were laughing, he was out of bed,” Trish said. 
“I knew by looking at him that he still had living to do. He was not near the end of his life.” 
Family members pressured the hospital to postpone the procedure. They argued that, at one time, Nichols had agreed to look at moving into an assisted-living facility. 
But Nichols became angry, the family says, and at one point accused them of not being his “blood family.” 
They also say that Nichols told them, “It’s done. It’s going to happen.” 
Hospital staff said that the decision was up to Nichols. 
“We were told we couldn't stop it,” Trish said. 
“I said, listen, I want to see Alan's signature that he wants this procedure. I want to see the doctors that have signed for this. We have a right to see this information. (The doctor) said the only person that could release that information was Alan. At that point, to me, I knew things were way out of whack … How can you allow this with Alan, knowing his background of mental anguish and depression?”
Favaro interviews Michael Bach, the managing director of the Institutes for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society who reviewed the family’s report and said it raises many questions – particularly when it comes to what constitutes an “imminent death.” Bach states:
"This case exposes concerns that a number of legal experts and assisted health professionals have had since the legislation was introduced," Bach told CTV's Your Morning. 
There were 773 medically assisted deaths in B.C. from January 1 to October 31, 2018, compared to 1,211 in Ontario for the same time period. 
Bach referred to a B.C.-based advocacy group made up of doctors and lawyers who suggest "the reasonable foreseeable natural death requirement doesn't mean that you actually have to be at the end of life." 
"And so we're in a situation where we have a number of health professionals and lawyers which have been advocating for wide-open access with no clarification from the government of Canada," Bach said. 
"All of us should be concerned about this."
This is the family that EPC has been working with to attain justice. 

15 comments:

Thomas O'Neill said...

Horrifying and disgusting.

anna said...

"the reasonable foreseeable natural death requirement doesn't mean that you actually have to be at the end of life." so this means whenever. Reasonably, foreseeably, we are all going to die.

Lorraine McNaueal said...

This is actually very terrifying! This definitely needs investigating on many levels.
I am truly concerned with where this is going. Slippery slope.
I cannot understand how we as people are becoming so insensitive to life
all around. I fear for our disabled and being considered elderly, for our generation
as well.

marlene said...

Remember, in a global world (the One World Goverenment/NWO), everything that happens in one country will happen in all countries. Euthanasia used indiscriminately is murder and under the NWO, no country has sovereignty immunity.

Lorna said...

Life is sacred. God is the giver of life and He takes it in His time. As far as a sound
mind; it is when we give God the authority and rest in His forgiveness of sin and rest in His unceasing love for us when He paid it in full when He was crucified on the cross. It is only Satan who comes to kill, deceive and destroy. If people would only realize that we need to tell others of the Hope that only Jesus can give. We need to come along side and love people as Christ loved us. Seems as though many are lovers of themselves and that is why the world is becoming so chaotic.

Paul said...

Actually, we don't know all of what he suffered from. Medical records in Canada are private, and the family has no right to see them.

The patient was mentally competent, because no court had found otherwise. He had a life ending illness or the doctors would never have proceeded for fear of legal consequences: that would be murder.

The family just didn't agree. Sorry, I truly am, but that is not your decision. It's his. Otherwise, prove murder.

Paul said...

What?? What on earth are you talking about?

Agi nurse said...

Make certain that you accompany any family member when they are in hospital. You mustn’t leave them alone. My mother was in hospital for almost a year. By the grace of God she is still here and back home. But during her stay she was on life support several times due to sepsis and we were approached many times during her stay asking us if we wanted them to stop treatment and let her go. I yelled “absolutely not!! “. I even blasted the doctors for even bringing it up. “How dare you” I said. “You do everything in your power to save my mother”. One time my mother was awake and lucid but in life saving drugs in ICU.
A doctor asked her personally if she wanted him to keep her comfortable and stop the medications. She had absolutely no idea what he was talking about (English isn’t her first language). Thank Gid I was there. I said “Doctor, let me clarify what you are asking my mother”. I looked at my mother and said “ this doctor is asking you if you would like him to take away your life saving medications, and allow you to die, he will keep you comfortable while you die”. My mother was horrified, you should have seen the look on her face. She screamed “No!!!!!!!!!!”. I looked at the doctor and told him never to approach us again about this.

My concerns are that
a) they are the ones approaching patients and family about taking away life saving medications and measures.

b) That they repeatedly asked us if we wanted them to stop trying to save my mothers life. Even though we had made it clear that they were to do everything in their power to save my mom. This was not only verbalized but it was also put in writing and placed at the front of my mothers medical chart.


c) my mother’s first response was “yes doctor, whatever you say doctor”. She said this because all she understood from the doctor was that he said he would make her comfortable. That is all she understood. Of course she wants to be comfortable, she trusted that he was a doctor and that he is there to save her. She has absolutely no idea that he meant that he would help her to die!!
Thank God I was there, what would have happened if I wasn’t?

We are living in dangerous times, please do not leave your loved ones in hospital alone.

bvs said...

The doctors clearly decided he wasn't a 'productive enough' member of society and preferred to kill him .
They cared not a wit for him as a human being

Corrina Conlan said...

I agree

Corrina Conlan said...

They did the same thing to my mom Karen J Smith at the same Chilliwack hospital a month prior but these people have money for a lawyer! The doctor Ryan Gant asked me if I owned a house and what my mom did for an income. Now I realize it's because he wanted to know if I could sue him.

Voice of Gone Ballistic said...



I do not understand what the doctors are doing. A doctor can refuse to euthanasia a patient. Euthanasia is killing a patient not treating him.

It is the doctors we cannot trust.

I hope the Nicholls family keeps in touch with me. audreyjlaferriere@gmail.com 604.321.2276

DJ said...

So doctors in Canada will now offer "medically assisted death" but Refuse to continue to supply Chronic Pain patients the opiods they have relied on to make them at least comfortable, for Decades? How is that Right or Fair? Lose your Dr & are on Opiods? Good Luck finding a new Dr!! All that's offered is "Rapid Detox" in hospital! Would these patients who are Refused Life Saving Opiods be "Eligible" for Assisted Death? Or do they just have to commit suicide the old fashioned way?

Jan O'Leary said...

What a tragedy. O Canada! What have we come to that we kill the vulnerable instead of protecting them?

sfmna said...

Canadian doctors have been shielded from litigation by meek Canadian patients and families so long that they are not sufficiently worried about it. (I know, being a US doctor/lawyer observing the Canadian medical system as a patient. They do NOT exhibit the same degree of care and caution, because they do not fear the legal /social consequences of cutting corners.) This family and others SHOULD sue the hospital and doctor(s) involved. It will keep the issue before the public, and cast attention on this particular hospital that seems to be making a side business of killing patients. Of course, there is the chance that the judge and public will side with the hospital, but the alternative is to just accept this as the status quo going forward in BC.

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