Tuesday, July 12, 2022

MAiD (Euthanasia) for Long Covid and poverty.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

One of the outcomes of the Covid pandemic is that some people are experiencing what is known as Long Covid. I know several people who are living with long Covid and experiencing different symptoms over a long period of time. One of the difficulties with Long Covid is that the symptoms vary and the person who lives with Long Covid does not have a prognosis for when they will get better.

Hannah Alberga reported for CTV news that Tracey Thompson, a Toronto resident who is in her 50's, has requested MAiD (euthanasia) because she is living with Long Covid and is approaching poverty as she is unable to work. Alberga reported:
Thompson, a Toronto resident in her 50s, says the enduring illness and lack of substantive financial support has led her to begin the process of applying for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), a procedure that first became legal in Canada in 2016.
“[MAiD] is exclusively a financial consideration,” she told CTV News Toronto.

After 26 months of lost income since the onset of symptoms, no foreseeable ability to work and an absence of support, Thompson said she expects to run out of money in about five months.
When parliament passed Bill C-7 (March 2021) Canada's euthanasia law was expanded by not requiring that a person's death be reasonably foreseeable. Based on the current law Alberga probably qualifies for euthanasia (MAiD) even though her condition does not have a prognosis.

Alberga explains that Thompson doesn't want to die, but she says that she cannot live without an income or support. Alberga reports:
It’s not that Thompson wants to die. In fact, she still treasures the little bursts of joys in life.

“I'm very happy to be alive. I still enjoy life. Birds chirping, small things that make up a day are still pleasant to me, they're still enjoyable. I still enjoy my friends,” she said.

“There's a lot to enjoy in life, even if it's small.”

Yet, a world in which Thompson cannot access an income is not one she thinks she’ll survive.
Alberga explains that Thompson's condition may not qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and even if she does qualify it would take a long time to be approved, and even then, ODSP only pays $1169 per month, which would only cover her rent. 

In other words, Thompson probably qualifies to be killed but she may not qualify for income support to enable her to live.

When euthanasia was debated in the courts and then in parliament, the concept of euthanasia for people living in poverty was considered reactionary and yet this is happening. 

In April an Ontario woman (51) with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) died by euthanasia because she was living in poverty and couldn't find a suitable place to live.

A federal government committee is currently examining the expansion of euthanasia (MAiD) to children, by advanced directive, and they are debating the rules for MAiD given to people with mental illness.

Canada's federal government needs to re-evaluate the MAiD program. From its inception, Canada's MAiD law employs undefined terms, and it states that the assessor only needs to be 'of the opinion' that a person fits the criteria of the law. Therefore, when cases of questionable euthanasia deaths are identified, the assessor is assured by the law that they cannot be prosecuted.

Countries that have not legalized assisted death need to recognize that when the clear line (kill or not kill) is crossed and doctors and/or nurses are legally permitted to kill their patients, the law will expand. 

There are many reasons why someone may seek death; once death is deemed to be a reasonable response to human suffering, then more reasons will be approved for death.

Society needs to care for its citizens, not kill its citizens.

Canada is an example of how killing becomes contagious.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope Tracey Thompson will choose life!💜🦋