Thursday, August 13, 2020

Jonathan Marchand: Assistance in Living: not Assisted Suicide

Jonathan Marchand is living in a "cage" outside the Quebec National Assembly and demanding a meeting with Premier Lagault. The press release from Jonathan Marchard (Link).

This media release was sent by the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice.

Montreal, Quebec, August 12, 2020 /

Jonathan Marchand outside the Quebec legislature.
People living with disabilities are appealing to the Premier of Quebec M. François Legault and the government to deinstitutionalize people with disabilities.

Jonathan Marchand is President of Coop ASSIST (Quebec Cooperative for Independent Living).

Jonathan is 43 and has lived with a form of muscular dystrophy since the age of 15. After a bout of severe pneumonia, he was hospitalized in the intensive care unit and required an emergency tracheotomy to help him breathe. He is now ventilator dependent and needs assistance. Previously Jonathan worked as a senior computer network engineer in Quebec and overseas in Australia.

Sign the petition supporting Jonathan Marchand (Link).
Jonathan has been forced to live in a government run institution against his will since 2012.

Nearly 70% of people with disabilities who need help like Jonathan are institutionalized in Quebec due to the lack of adequate support services in the community. This numbers around 15,000 people in Quebec.

According to Jonathan 
"Many doctors offered me euthanasia, which they call "comfort care” to end my life.
Because there is no support services to live outside hospitals for people like me in Quebec, I have to choose between death or live in a hospital or a nursing home for the rest of my life."
Jonathan Marchand protest
Jonathan states this situation exists despite the fact that governments can save millions of dollars to deinstitutionalize people with disabilities.

"I have never been offered the possibility of being able to continue my life at home with the help I need. In institutions, you lose autonomy and control over your life.

I never asked for help to die, I was getting better.

They were ready to help me commit suicide and not provide assistance for me to live. It's not a real choice."
Despite this, he refuses to give up his life, his wife, family and friends.

Jonathan questions how society can talk about “assisted suicide and euthanasia” for people with disabilities when they do not even have help to live.

What they are asking for is not to die, but rather the support to live in the community to participate and contribute actively to society.

Jonathan reiterates: 
“Let disabled people undertake solutions for themselves at home, we must be in charge of lives since this is a societal project. Everyone must have the choice of where, how and with whom to live, since living in the community is a human right”.
Dr Paul Saba
Dr. Paul Saba, who has been a leading advocate for patients’ rights to live, states that Quebec and Canada's euthanasia laws have created an open door for abuse and harm for all Canadians, who will one day face health challenges that will require health and life assistance. Since people like Jonathan face serious health risks living in institutionalized settings (whether from pandemics, seasonal influenza outbreaks or other contagions), they deserve to live in a safe environment. 

“Our governments are more interested in legislating and promoting death than improving health care and life assistance for all people. To live and to live well in community is a human right.”
Sign the petition supporting Jonathan Marchand (Link). 

Dr. Paul Saba
Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice
+1 514-886-3447 
Email (Link).

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