Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Euthanasia “is a dangerous leap into the unknown”

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

President Cavaco Silva
The Portugal News reported on November 29, 2022 that Portugal's former President, Cavaco Silva stated that the legalization of euthanasia:

"does not respect the spirit of the Constitution" and argues that the decriminalisation of this practice is "another sign of the deterioration in the quality of our democracy".
Silva was interviewed by Rádio Renascença concerning the euthanasia vote this week. The Portugal News reported Silva as saying:

"In a country like Portugal, with one of the worst risks of poverty and social exclusion in the European Union and without a network of palliative care that patients from disadvantaged families can access, in a Portugal where impoverishment is accentuated in relation to other countries, the priority of the deputies is the legalisation of the practice of euthanasia, authorising a doctor to kill another person"
Silva stated that he has no doubt that the euthanasia bill is unconstitutional. Silva also stated that:

"authorising a doctor to kill another person by law is an extremely dangerous leap into the unknown",

"in some European countries there have been reports of pressure on the elderly and sick to accept being killed".
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Portugal's parliament has passed a euthanasia bill twice and both times President, Marcelo Rebelo deSouza refused to sign the bill into law.

On January 29, 2021, Portugal's parliament passed its first euthanasia bill. On February 19, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa did not to sign the bill into law but referred the bill to Portugal's Constitutional court for evaluation.

On March 15, the Portuguese American Journal reported that the Constitutional court rejected the bill.

On November 30, 2021, President de Sousa vetoed the second euthanasia bill because of contradictions in the language of the bill.

I hope that either President De Sousa or the Constitutional Court once again reject the euthanasia legislation. Sadly, the previous election resulted in the election of a stronger contingent of pro-euthanasia legislators. 

Ontario: Euthanasia deaths in the first 10 months of 2022 exceed all of last year.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario released the October 2022 MAiD data which indicates that there were 3213 reported assisted deaths in the first ten months of 2022 which exceeds the 3102 in 2021. There have been 13,011 reported assisted deaths in Ontario since euthanasia was legalized.

The October 2022 Ontario data also showed a significant increase with 334 reported assisted deaths as compared to 299 in October 2021.

The growth in killing by lethal injection continues. According to the data:

Jan 1 - June 30, 2020 (1127 reported assisted deaths),
July 1 - Dec 31, 2020 (1251 reported assisted deaths),
Jan 1 - June 30, 2021 (1363 reported assisted deaths),
Jan 1 - June 30, 2021 (1363 reported assisted deaths),
July 1 - Dec 31, 2021 (1739 reported assised deaths),
Jan 1 - June 30, 2022 (1822 reported assisted deaths),
July 1, 2022 - Oct 31, 2022 (4 months 1391 reported assisted deaths)


There will likely be, in 2022, more than 2000 reported assisted deaths in the second half of the year and more than 3800 assisted deaths by year end.

The trends in Ontario mirror the national trends.

Health Canada released the Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (2021) in July 2022. According to the Third Annual report there were:     
 

10,064 assisted deaths in 2021 up from 7603 in 2020, 5661 in 2019, 4480 in 2018, 2838 in 2017 and 1018 in 2016. The report indicated that in 2021  the number of assisted deaths increased by 32.4% representing 3.3% of all deaths with the total number of reported (MAiD) assisted deaths in Canada from legalization until December 31, 2021 at 31,664.

The report data is submitted by the medical or nurse practitioners who carried out the euthanasia death. There is no requirement that a third party or neutral person submit the reports to ensure accuracy.

Is there enough killing yet?

Canada's federal government established a committee to discuss further expansions of euthanasia in Canada. This committee is considering euthanasia for incompetent people who requested death in their advanced directive, euthanasia for children and the rules to implement euthanasia for people with mental illness alone. Bill C-7 already approved euthanasia for mental illness.

A recent presentation by the Quebec College of Physicians urged the federal government to permit infant euthanasia, also known as infanticide.

There have been many media stories indicating that Canadians are now dying by euthanasia for reasons of poverty, disability, and mental illness.

Thousands of deaths means that there are thousands of stories. We need you to tell your story. Some of the people were depressed and had questionable competency. Some of these people were subtly coerced. Some of these stories are known by you. We can effectively challenge the culture but we need your stories.

Contact Alex Schadenberg at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: info@epcc.ca or 1-877-439-3348.

Links to euthanasia stories in Canada:

  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Canadian man claims that he was pressured to request euthanasia (Link).
  • Why did they kill my brother (Link).
  • Manitoba woman died by euthanasia based on inadequate home care (Link).
  • Quebec man seeks euthanasia based on changes to home care (Link). 
  • Alberta man requests euthanasia based on poverty (Link).
  • Ontario man approved for euthanasia because he can't get medical treatment (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

Monday, November 28, 2022

Dying Indignity. Witnessing my father's medically assisted death.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On November 26, Christopher Lyon shared an article on his site concerning the medically assisted death (euthanasia) of his father. I have republished parts of the story. Lyon begins his story this way:
My father was killed, in front of my family and me, by his Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) provider, a physician, in some numbered hospital room in Victoria, British Columbia, in the summer of 2021. Though he was mid-way through the 90-day assessment period required for Track 2 MAiD requests (non-foreseeable death), he was quickly moved from Track 2 to Track 1 (foreseeable death), having passed both required assessments.

One week before dying, he had moved into a newly renovated and appointed Assisted Living apartment and said the food was good and he was keen for the in-house barber shop. Two days later, he began refusing solid food. Two or three days after that, he fell, during a heat wave that overtaxed local ambulances and paramedics. As a result, he was left on the floor of his apartment for six or seven hours before an ambulance could reach him, and the staff had a ‘no lift’ policy. He was incensed. The first time my family and I heard from his MAiD Provider was at this time – forty-eight hours before death. My father indicated that his assessors could contact the family at any time, so it is unknown why we were not previously notified. We were told simply that Dad had been track-moved, and that we should get flights now if we wanted to attend his death in two days.

The provider told me that he was track-moved because a) he started refusing solid food (but not, as we discovered, caloric liquids), and b) that his elevated white blood cell count indicated an infection that he did not immediately want to investigate. Apparently, those fugitive choices were the basis for labelling his death as fixed and foreseeable. Yet it was never explained to me how either choice was irremediable or constituted imminent death or loss of capacity.
His father experienced several falls.
My family used his hospitalisations as an opportunity to convince social services to intervene and accelerate him into either assisted living or safe and sanitary accommodation. He had been very resistant to moving for several years and had a long history of suicidal expression that peaked during periods of change. Social services worked their wonders and managed to find him an urgent placement in a local assisted living residential facility.

He often appeared anxious about his move to assisted living and was fixated on the seventy percent deduction to his low, mostly Canada Pension Plan income ($1400/month as I recall) it would cost to reside there. He was never very skilled with money and would be left with barely enough to cover his mobile phone bill and living costs. Family help was always available. We offered to supplement his costs and had planned to buy him a mobility scooter before he was killed.

During one of our weekly calls, following his second-last hospitalisation, he claimed that he was bedridden and immobile and therefore needed MAiD. However, he was seated in a chair, got up to use the toilet, and was able to move about the room on his own. When we confronted him about this and other claims and inconsistencies, he would either become enraged and threaten to kill himself or, without explaining his decision, demand that we not question it.

His dad was suicidal.

In the months before he applied for MAiD, Dad was acutely suicidal. He cited the suicides of people like Robin Williams and Ernest Hemingway as inspirations – men who “just knew when it was their time to go”. He said he looked up ways to kill himself, online, such as starvation. Other times, he would say things like “ashes to ashes” and “we are dust in the wind,” as in previous bouts. When he said this, I arranged for the BC suicide hotline to phone him, and he had a conversation with them where he noted these deaths and claimed that he was not depressed.

...His suicidality became acute during involuntary upheavals in his life, such as the loss of his business, marital separation, and residential moves in ways that adversely impacted every member of my family. In my younger years, he threatened my mother with his suicide, an event in which I physically intervened. He also said he picked his MAiD provider because of her attractiveness to him, and declared her a second spouse or love, again suggestive of his romantic view of self-annihilation.

In his darkest moments, he used suicide to manipulate family members. In the weeks before MAiD, he said that when his family asked for an explanation or called him out on his inconsistencies or apparent dishonesty, it made him “want to do it more”. He threatened suicide if he was denied MAiD. While in the hospital, a family member asked him about his ideation, and he replied with a surly, “I’ll find a bit of cord”. He would back down from his threats when a family member very patiently walked him through how much of a burden and problem a suicide on their watch would create for the hospital staff doing their best to look after him. I believe the hospital staff was aware that he was suicidal.
The MAiD assessment.
During the period of his falls and hospitals, Bill C-7 passed and MAiD for Track 2, non-reasonably foreseeable natural death, became newly available. When he first told me he was looking at MAiD, weeks before he applied, he said that “a doctor” he spoke to in the hospital “told me I should have it”. I did not believe him due to his tendency for selective hearing and deferring responsibility. Yet I now have doubts, after learning that Vancouver Island hosts some of Canada’s most prolific and ideological MAiD assessors and providers, who favour vivisectional ideas of amputated autonomy and eligibility expansion, as well as the highest medically assisted death rate in the world. It is sickening to ponder.

His 90-day assessment period would have ended on his deceased mother’s birthday, and he took this as a ‘sign’ that he should proceed with MAiD. This echoed his later reaction when his assessment period was halved with his track-move and fell on the earliest day his chosen provider was available, also another family member’s birthday for whom he had often expressed a simmering resentment.
He wanted to make sure that his father's MAiD assessment was robust.
Within days of his application, I looked up and contacted a leading MAiD psychiatrist and expressed my concerns. I was advised to make a list of my family’s knowledge and worries about mental illness, suicide, and personality issues and to push hard to get it to his assessors to arrange a psychiatric evaluation. Unable to get the assessors' contact details, my family and I put together this information. I sent it to the local MAiD coordinator who said they would pass it on to his assessors.

When, at last, I heard from Provider before his death, I asked if she had received our list of concerns and received an evasive response. The provider seemed to want to hurry off the phone and appeared to be in a busy place, like a hospital corridor, as I could hear voices in the background. I therefore only had a few seconds to describe my father’s complex history. Provider also appeared to regard my father’s suicidal history and previous depression diagnosis as news. During that call, I also relayed, as had my other family members, that I had spoken to a MAiD psychiatrist who had advised me to push hard for a psychiatric assessment. Upon learning this, Provider reluctantly agreed to try to get a last-minute psychiatric evaluation but was unsure if a psychiatrist could be found so close to scheduled death.

A psychiatrist was found. Provider bluntly told me before my father’s evaluation that the psychiatrist would “just agree” and “provide cover” for her, yet also said he would be ineligible for MAiD if mental illness was found. However, “finding” mental illness would only be a comorbidity and not a sole diagnosis, given the approval and track move rationales, so this comment does not make sense to me. Despite my advisement that Dad had previously been diagnosed, the provider said she did not think he was depressed. I was very disturbed by Provider’s presumption of the outcome of the psychiatric assessment, which suggested to me the evaluation would lack independence and rigour.
The days approaching his father's death.
In his last days, under medical supervision, Dad drank juice, coffee, and wine with no reservations. He had hospital meals delivered, at which he poked, but disliked the food. He was drinking wine the evening and morning before he was killed. He may not have been sober for his final consent.

When my family arrived, my father or a clinical staff member informed us that he had “special permission” to drink alcohol. The evening before he died, he drank wine (about ½ bottle) after several days without solid food. At this point, my family managed to convince him to postpone his death so we could spend more time with him. The next morning, however, he appeared to have forgotten this conversation. He seemed confused and thought that day might also have been another assessment. I warned Provider about this, but she said only that she would “start from the beginning” and disappeared into his room alone. The provider later cancelled an early afternoon meeting with the family. My father drank coffee and wine that morning and fell asleep from about noon to two pm. I believe that this sleep could have been alcohol induced.

He also appeared confused during the previous weeks of his assessment period. He could not seem to differentiate between assessors and other clinicians who saw him. He may have been on (opioid) painkillers, as I recall him being offered, and possibly accepting them, by nursing staff before he died. In his earlier hospital stays he had demanded higher doses so that he could “feel” them, suggesting to me that he may have wanted their narcotic effect more than pain relief.

The day of his death was a family member’s birthday (not mine), and he declared this was his “special gift” after initially apologising that he had forgotten, but then decided otherwise. This family member witnessed the death and considered his choice a final act of malice or resentment. To my great distress, the Provider also knew about the birthday and made comments to that effect. In a moment alone together, I tried to deter my father, and explain why it was wrong, but he only reacted aggressively and dismissively.

No capacity assessment was done immediately before final consent was taken.
His father's death.
Provider was meant to arrive between three-thirty and four, but turned-up late, at about five past four, and voiced, callous and cheery, “I hear it’s someone’s birthday!” before proceeding to ‘obtain final consent’ for the suicide-homicide. My father declared his consent with a belligerent “Get me the hell out of here!” and Provider became Death.

Death tried one arm and then the other for an injection site, settling on his right side, and sat body-warm beside me on the small, smooth, clinical sofa. Death then delivered her long poison-parade of prepared syringes, fished out in order from a plastic toolbox - the chemicals, like the box, repurposed for something their makers did not intend. Adrift somewhere on the slow white river of propofol, flowing into him from three or four milk-bottle syringes, Dad disappeared. His warm face blanched and his head lolled where he was left propped upon the bed. It took him twenty minutes to die.

Death’s last words to me, just as she left a short time later, were a demand not to bring the concerns or issues I had raised “forward”.

He was 77.
Trying to find out why his father was approved for being killed.
My father’s Executor/Next-of-Kin and I later submitted a request for his MAiD records. The records officer denied us access to all records, except for the psychiatric evaluation report because it was not in the deceased patient’s interest to release them to us and enclosed a printout of the relevant legislation. However, we discovered that the psychiatric evaluation report is limited solely to ruling out depression, and no other mental illness. The report mostly claims the opposite of his medical history, stating: no suicidality, occasional drinker, and non-smoker (despite his lifelong tobacco use). It also records him as dwelling in assisted living for about a month, though he was there a mere five days before he fell and was hospitalised – a week before MAiD and death. Appropriately, no chronic clinical illnesses (mainly arthritis, diabetes, claudication) are listed as terminal. Yet the report does not mention any of the allegedly terminal conditions cited by Provider for the track move; rather, it only states that he had been moved. The information in this report is therefore largely wrong and inaccurate, indicating to me a gross failure of this final safeguard.

Some of the information Provider and the psychiatrist dismissed or got wrong would likely have been available in his normal GP medical records. I had passed this material on to the regional MAiD coordinator and told the provider before my father was killed. Because the Vancouver Island Health Authority did not release his full MAiD records, I do not know what information was accessed or used to approve his death.

I protested this in a text message (much contact with Provider was by text), stating that I was astounded that nothing was found, and reiterated my concerns. I asked if anyone in the process had tried to save his life. In response, the provider told me that due diligence had been done, and not to contact her again, as it was her private number and speaking on it was inappropriate. I read this as an implicit threat that I would be barred from the hospital if I kept pushing for answers. Provider had, however, initiated contact with me on her personal phone, which was the only means she used to contact my family and me.
Thank you Christopher Lyon for sharing the story of your father's death. It is not easy to share such a story but it is important for Canadians to know how cavalier the assessment and death of your father was treated by the "provider", the psychiatrist and the medical system.

New Zealand doctors group wants "brakes" put on expanding euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr Bryan Betty
On November 7 I reported that David Seymour, the leader of the ACT party and the MP who sponsored New Zealand's euthanasia law was calling for the law to be broadened.

Isaac Davison reported for the New Zealand Herald on November 6 that Seymour wants the 6 month terminal illness prognosis in the law removed. Seymour indicated that he only included the terminal illness requirement in the law to gain support for euthanasia from the other political parties.

New Zealand Royal College of GP's medical director, Dr Bryan Betty, on November 28, 2022, called for "brakes" to be put on the expansion of euthanasia. As published by Scoop Politics:

The practice of assisted suicide and euthanasia has been happening for little over a year in New Zealand, and already some proponents are calling for changes to the criteria saying many are “missing out”. The main criteria under fire is the 6 month terminal prognosis requirement, which prevents those with only chronic conditions or disabilities from being eligible.

But Dr Betty says broadening the eligibility criteria would not improve equitable choice to those facing end of life decisions. He is adamant that expansion of the End of Life Choice Act should not progress in light of the current palliative care climate in New Zealand, and not without careful analysis.
Dr Betty argues that since there is no strategic plan for palliative care in New Zealand that an inbalance has developed with the legalization and promotion of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

According to Dr Betty palliative care is not properly funded in New Zealand:

The Royal College of GPs includes more than 5,500 GPs, specialist GPs, trainee GPS, and rural hospital doctors who practise a range of different modalities from 1000 practices across the country.

Dr Betty says these doctors are often providing palliative care to their patients pro bono because there is no funding available for end of life care, and it’s a serious failing of the system.

“Palliative care is so dependent on local funding which is traditionally done by DHBs, but there’s a total lack of funding, resourcing and a national approach,”
As I previously stated, since New Zealand legalized euthanasia through a referendum and since the referendum stated that euthanasia would only be for terminally ill people with a six month prognosis, therefore any changes to the law should require another referendum.

Normalizing Death as “Treatment” in Canada: Whose Suicides do we Prevent, and Whose do we Abet?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The recent edition of the World Medical Association Journal (WMAJ) features an article titled: Normalizing Death as “Treatment” in Canada: Whose Suicides do we Prevent, and Whose do we Abet? The article is written by: Ramona Coelho, Trudo Lemmens, Sonu Gaind and John Maher.

Normalizing Death as “Treatment” in Canada: Whose Suicides do we Prevent, and Whose do we Abet? (Link)

The WMAJ has world-wide readership and significance. I encourage everyone to read this article but there are several key points that I am sharing in this article. The writers argue that with the passing of Bill C-7, Canadians should change the term Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) to Medically Administered Death (MAD).

Dr Ramona Coelho
MAD is available to Canadians even when that person is unable to attain needed treatment or services to live. The writers state:
As a result, there is a remarkable situation in Canada that MAD is fully funded and broadly accessible, and available for disabled Canadians who are otherwise not dying. At the same time, access to adequate health care and social support is not guaranteed and, in many instances, not given the same priority. In fact, although basic health care services are publicly funded, there is no positive right to health care in Canada ... Palliative care, most speciality chronic care, disability and community support services are inadequately funded, and in chronically short supply.

... Canada’s federal parliament and government have aggressively promoted access to MAD and imposed this as a practice that provinces have to implement and fund, but they have failed to do the same for timely and adequate access to many other components of health care and social support.

Trudo Lemmens
Canada has created a two tier law whereby people who are determined to be dying can be killed immediately but those who are not dying can be approved with a 90 day waiting period. The writers explain how someone is approved for death:
In order to qualify for MAD, a patient must be in a situation of irreversible decline of capability, and experience intolerable psychological or physical suffering. These terms are not further defined by the legislation, and suffering is treated as purely subjective. If the patient says their suffering is intolerable, there is no requirement or provision for further validation by clinicians, as there is in Belgium and the Netherlands, where physicians at least have to agree with the patient.

Patients need to be informed about alternative options to MAD, and physicians have to ensure that patients ‘considered’ all these. However, there is no legal requirement that the other means of alleviating suffering be accessible to the patient, nor is there any requirement that standard best-practice treatments have been appropriately attempted prior to providing death by MAD. In Belgium and the Netherlands, two other jurisdictions that allow state-sanctioned euthanasia or assisted suicide outside the end-of-life context, physicians need to agree that there are no further medical or social support options that can relieve patients’ suffering. Canada thus has now arguably the most wide-open state-facilitated suicide process in the world, which can be subjectively driven by patients declaring intolerable suffering during periods of despair. To reiterate this point: MAD can be provided despite lack of access to care and resources that could remediate symptoms, or if the patient refuses to try standard treatments in the depth of their despair, despite scientific literature demonstrating that this treatment would overwhelmingly lead to adjustment and recovery.
Dr Sonu Gaind
The writers then comment on the 90 day waiting period for euthanasia in the context of the wait times for patient care in many parts of Canada.
With the dangers of such broad and imprecise legislation, access to medical and social care in Canada is often not timely, which directly fosters and compounds patient suffering and desperation. For example, the average wait time to be treated by a psychiatrist can exceed six times the 90-day waiting period to access a lethal injection. That is to say, a person seeking treatment from a psychiatrist and also asking for death, could be given access to death long before they get appropriate treatment. Some MAD proponents have even suggested that being on such a waiting list for a long time should qualify someone for MAD. The wait times for many other specialized health care and social support services, including specialized pain clinics, specialized long-term care homes, community-based housing, and disability benefits, far exceed the 90-day assessment period.
Dr John Maher
The writers continue by commenting on the specific concerns for people with disabilities who often live in poverty or have difficulty obtaining timely medical treatment. Sadly, many people with disabilities find that they need to fight to receive the care that they need. Further to that the writers comment on the concerns around people who have acquired a disability, expecially since many people will consider dying by euthanasia before they have had a chance to adjust to their new reality.

The writers also comment on the concern with people who are living with suicidal ideation. Considering the lack of definition within Canada's euthanasia law, many of these people will be given euthanasia rather than treatment and hope in living.

In their conclusions the writers comment on the report from Canada's parliamentary budget officer explaining the healthcare cost savings that will be associated with the expansion of euthanasia. (Link to article on healthcare savings). The writers then conclude:
The legalizing of MAiD, or MAD, has been claimed to offer ‘choice’ to Canadians, despite the known gaps in our health care system that fail to provide medical care or community support to the chronically ill, the disabled, and the mentally ill. Particularly, the expansion of MAD provides the illusion of choice, while in reality it pushes the most vulnerable and marginalized Canadians towards choosing an enticed death instead of allowing them a meaningful and fulfilled life.

With the recent expansion of MAD, Canadians with disabilities are deprived of an equal protection against premature death and suicide, which others continue to receive. Canadians are increasingly opting to receive medical state-funded death, not because they no longer want to live, but because our society has failed them.

As I stated earlier, everyone should read this article. Unlike many journal articles this one is written in a manner that can be understood. Normalizing Death as “Treatment” in Canada: Whose Suicides do we Prevent, and Whose do we Abet? (Link).

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Is killing babies by euthanasia just another form of care?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Michael Higgins, was published in the National Post on November 22, asking the Quebec College of Physicians if killing babies is just another form of care.

Higgins explains that the Quebec College of Physicians told the Special Parliamentary Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying that they support infant euthanasia, otherwise known as infanticide.
Higgins writes that Dr Mauril Gaudreault, the President of the Quebec College, further clarified the position of the Quebec Physicians. Higgins writes:
The president of the Quebec College of Physicians wants to explore the prospect of euthanizing suffering babies and believes it’s nobody’s business but doctors’. 
To be fair, Dr. Mauril Gaudreault would let parents have a say as well, so he’s not being totally arrogant.

Gaudreault’s rather obscene suggestion illustrates just how far down the slippery slope we have plunged when it comes to mercy killing, euthanasia, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), call it what you will.
Higgins continues to quote from Gaudreault's testimony to the Parliamentary Committee:
“Medical assistance in dying is a form of care, a medical act that may be appropriate in certain circumstances,” he said, according to the parliamentary translator. “It is not a political or moral or religious issue. It is a medical issue.”

“Medical assistance in dying is governed by the Criminal Code. It is regulated by court rulings, and it has been the subject of ethical and deontological discussions for nearly two decades. Its acceptance is now complete. Society has evolved.”
In other words, Killing is a form of care. Higgins further quotes Gaudreault:
Gaudreault continued: “On the issue of babies from zero to one year of age, the college believes that for this group as well, medical assistance in dying can offer an ethical and responsible alternative to avoid an unacceptable and unavoidable end of life in unbearable suffering.”

Pain and suffering can, indeed, make life unbearable, but is that the only criteria on which we should decide to euthanize someone? 
In other words, killing is acceptable when the doctor determines that the child has a life unworthy of life.

Higgins writes that Gaudreault also thinks that infant euthanasia is good for the parents. You can feel better though because Gaudreault told the parliamentary committee that suffering can be assessed by direct observation and through a questionnaire. Doctors will know who should die.

Two euthanasia cases were examined before and after Gaudreault's testimony at the Committee. Higgins writes:
Alicia & Christie Duncan
Alicia and Christie Duncan told how their mother, Donna, a psychiatric nurse, suffered a concussion in a car accident in 2020. COVID caused delays in treatment and Donna Duncan suffered headaches, anxiety and depression.

Eventually, Donna Duncan went to her doctor of 20 years and asked to be approved for MAID. He declined but she managed to get another doctor and a nurse practitioner to approve her request.

Christie Duncan told the committee: “How did the opinion of someone who had cared for my mother for 20 years carry less weight than the opinion of two people who had just met her and simply ticked off boxes on a MAID assessment form?”

Meanwhile, Kerri Joffe, of the ARCH Disability Law Centre in Toronto, told of a disabled person in their 30s, living in their own home and with a part-time job because of the support of family, friends and volunteers. But the death of a family member left the disabled person facing the prospect of going into a long-term care home with the loss of home, independence and community. The person had requested MAID.

“They have been very clear, they don’t want to die. They are not suffering because of their disability, they want to go on living in a dignified way in the community,” said Joffe. “That’s not possible because their supports are not available.”
Of course nothing will go wrong with infant euthanasia!

Canada has become known, world-wide, for its killing program. Killing people by euthanasia became legal in 2016, it was expanded in 2021 and parliament is now considering euthanasia for infants, euthanaisa for minors, euthanasia for dementia, and more.

World take note. Don't legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

People on disability benefits are applying for euthanasia (MAiD) based on poverty.

This letter was sent to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition by Sean Lewis.

I am an Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) client so I know 100 percent how crazy the system is, lack of support, etc. The recent letter from the Arch Disability Law Center sought a Public Hearing on Canada’s MAiD Law at International Human Rights Body. I'm sure they are aware that MAiD for mental illness begins in March 2023 and the government is debating what to do with mature minors now.

Is the government listening?

In an extremely high percentage of cases most people with disabilities are "choosing" MAiD because of poverty. Just one example people are getting approximately $1200 dollars a month from ODSP when the average 1 bedroom apartment is $1700 - 2000 a month. I just heard, the other day, on the news rent is set to increase again in the new year. I have read all the other horror stories too (people not being able to get homecare, housing) "choosing" MAiD.

You may have also seen Trudo Lemmens in the news who said he warned the government that not increasing supports but expanding MAiD this drastically was a human rights violation. It's at 7:38 of the below newsclip video (Link to the Newsclip). He mentions how even the countries, like the Netherlands, who are very liberal have stronger safeguards. They make sure people aren't doing it because of poverty, etc. I guess the other countries give better disability supports then us.

Unless it's got any better in the last few years, I was shocked to see the lack of support also from ODSP employment support providers. I'm not sure if it's true the opportunities fund for persons with disabilities? The wage subsidy program? I heard the employers would be sent people by an ODSP employment supports provider, then once the wage subsidy ran out the employer used the seasonal only excuse to the employee then scrapped them and then hired the next batch of ODSP clients shortly after, then would repeat again. The ODSP employment supports providers also get paid, the employer saved money, and the person with the disability got fired.

I have seen many people on YouTube comment how as they are all for helping other countries (Eg Ukraine). Is the government ever going to help Canadians with disabilities? Some people say if another war broke out somewhere else, they would send another 2 Billion to that place. In other words, people with disabilities seem to be the absolute last group that they want to fund.

Some people leave YouTube comments wondering if this really is for cost savings vs fixing the problem. After all, if it was truly because of compassion, people with disabilities' would be getting drastically improved support so most would not want MAiD, right? Some people think that since our OHIP is also getting so bad, baby boomers are suddenly getting old and sick by the thousands, that this is a big reason why MAiD was expanded so much. So basically, how much money you have determines if you live, some argue.

Another thing is the sad reality of discrimination. If a hiring manager sees someone walking with a cane or who appears slow, sadly they will probably choose someone else. Most cases managers are trained to look for who looks most physically and mentally fit. Many managers aren't fully educated in the duty to accommodate either (or forget sometimes when there hiring). Same thing applies to landlords looking for new tenants.

The last and final thing is that Premier Ford announced anyone on disability who is willing to work can now keep more money (Link to news article).

However, the ODSP action coalition tweeted that the majority of people on ODSP cannot work so how will this help them. Only 5 percent of the people on ODSP are in the workforce. There is a small percentage of people on ODSP who have jobs, whose disability may not be as severe as others, and may be able to do something if helped.

I will give you just two last examples of quick clips from the news. The first lady her intestines are missing (Link to news video), and the second is a man who is disabled from a back injury and all he does all day long is take care of his severe pain. A lot of people on ODSP have issues similar to this how are they expected to be able to adhere to a job with a strict schedule?

Sean Lewis
Brampton Ontario

Links to more stories of the euthanasia experience in Canada:

  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Canadian man claims that he was pressured to request euthanasia (Link).
  • Why did they kill my brother (Link).
  • Manitoba woman died by euthanasia based on inadequate home care (Link).
  • Quebec man seeks euthanasia based on changes to home care (Link). 
  • Alberta man requests euthanasia based on poverty (Link).
  • Ontario man approved for euthanasia because he can't get medical treatment (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

Friday, November 18, 2022

Man who sought MAiD (euthanasia) to avoid homelessness has been helped to get a place to live.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Cynthia Mulligan and Meredith Bond reported for CityTV news on November 16 that Amir Farsoud has changed his mind about euthanasia, after receiving help from friends and strangers. Farsoud didn’t want to die, but he feared that he would lose his housing, he applied for medically assisted death (MAID) our of fear of being homeless.

Mulligan and Bond reported:
But just over a month after CityNews first shared his story, Farsoud said the outpouring of support will allow him to live with a roof over his head.

“I’m a different person,” said Farsoud. “The first time we spoke, I had nothing but darkness, misery, stress and hopelessness. Now I have all the opposite of those things.”

The 54-year-old St. Catharines man said he is eternally grateful for those who donated to the GoFundMe, started by a woman named Effy, a stranger to Farsoud, after she saw his story.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition helped by promoting the GoFundMe that was started by Effy.

Farsoud told Mulligan and Bond that if the government improved supports for people with disabilities that they wouldn't be seeking MAiD. They reported:
He said governments should be focusing on fixing the issues causing poverty, rather than the moral ramifications of those in poverty seeking MAID.

“I think the proper solution is to not have that problem, is to alleviate what’s causing the problem,” explained Farsoud.

“If society is concerned about people like me, and like the half million other people on ODSP in poverty, then bring them out of poverty. That’s the obvious solution. If they were out of poverty and if they had a roof over their head and food in their mouths, I guarantee you MAID wouldn’t be a consideration. The whole debate would become superfluous.”

MAID officially became legal in Canada in 2016 under the requirement that death was reasonably foreseeable. The eligibility to apply expanded in March of 2021 to include people with disabilities or those suffering pain even if they are not close to death.
Several months ago a 31-year-old woman with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) requested euthanasia because she needed a clean place to live. She changed her mind about euthanasia after people raised money and helped find her a clean place to live.

People with disabilities and those who are living in poverty need the necessary supports to live. They are seeking euthanasia not because of their disability but because they feel that death is their only choice.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Canada's euthanasia law is a moral outrage

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kevin Yuill
Kevin Yuill, who spoke at the Euthanasia Symposium at the European Parliament in Brussels on November 16 was published by Spiked on November 17 with his article: Canada's euthanasia laws are a moral outrage. Yuill explains his position:
Canada has the dubious honour of being the global capital of euthanasia. Through its medical assistance in dying (MAID) programme, Canada killed more people with lethal injections last year than any other country on Earth – many of them poor, homeless or hopeless. And soon, from March 2023, lethal injections will be offered to anyone who judges their mental-health difficulties to be intolerable.
Yuill writes about the recent case of Amir Farsoud:
The recent case of Amir Farsoud has shocked Canada and the world, leading many Canadians to start questioning the regime of assisted dying that has emerged over the past decade. Farsoud is a disabled 54-year old who has been approved for MAID by his GP. He applied for MAID because is about to be made homeless and has no money. He needs just one more doctor’s signature and then he can be killed in 90 days time. In a disturbing interview with Toronto-based City News last month, he says: ‘I don’t want to die. But I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die.’

After the news report on Farsoud went viral, many have taken to Twitter to accuse Canada of ‘quite literally killing off poor people’. Even the head of Dying with Dignity Canada – a leading advocate of euthanasia – has been forced to say that the case shames the nation.
The number of euthanasia deaths in Canada have expanded quickly since legalization in 2016. Yuill explains that since the passing Bill C-7:
Simply having a disability or suffering physical pain is now enough to access MAID. According to City News, this is why Farsoud, who suffers from back pain, likely qualifies. And in March 2023, euthanasia will be made available to those suffering only from mental-health conditions.
Yuill explains that Canada's euthanasia regime has become the most permissive in the world.
Unlike other countries that have legalised assisted dying, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, Canadian doctors are not compelled to find other medical or social-support options that can relieve a patient’s suffering. It can be enough for a patient to say his or her suffering is intolerable. As an article in the World Medical Journal notes: ‘Canada… has now arguably the most wide-open state-facilitated suicide process in the world.’
Yuill concludes by stating:
In my 2013 book, Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalisation, I warned that even allowing euthanasia in cases of terminal illness could open ‘a Pandora’s box’. If assisted dying is justified on the basis of ‘alleviating suffering’, then we should expect ‘more and more categories’ of people to ‘seek recognition of their suffering by demanding assisted suicide for themselves. The categories have a tendency to expand and those who insist that it should only be those with terminal illnesses had better be ready to answer these demands from those who, on good grounds, can demonstrate their own suffering.’ This is precisely what has happened.
More articles by Kevin Yuill

Study on Dementia and suicide risk. Insight into assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Gina Shaw, published in NeurologyToday on November 17, 2022 comments on a study concerning Dementia and Suicide risk that was published by JAMA Neurology on October 3, 2022.

According to Shaw, the study: Dementia and Suicide Risk Early-Onset Patients, New Diagnoses, and Those with Psychiatric Illness Most at Risk indicates that, for people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a higher risk for suicide exists for:
three groups of people with dementia: those within the first three months of their diagnosis, individuals with a history of psychiatric illness, and those diagnosed with early-onset dementia (younger than 65 years).
This study is significant knowing that assisted death has been extended to certain groups of people with dementia in the Netherlands and Belgium and is being discussed in Canada.

Shaw reports that "Researchers at the University of Nottingham, England, and the Wolfson Institute of Population Health in London analyzed electronic medical records from 2001 through 2019 for all patients in England 15 and older who had a cause of death coded as suicide or “open verdict” (a large majority of open verdicts are attributable to suicide). The study included 594,674 patients, of whom 14,515 died by suicide."

Shaw reported that according to the study, compared to people who were not diagnosed with dementia:
suicide risk was nearly threefold higher among those diagnosed with dementia before age 65 (aOR, 2.82), more than twofold higher within the first three months of diagnosis (aOR, 2.47), and significantly higher in those with comorbid psychiatric illness (aOR, 1.52). Adults younger than 65 who were within three months of diagnosis were of particularly high risk, with a suicide risk nearly seven times higher than their peers without dementia (aOR, 6.69).
People who are diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 are almost 7 times more likely to die by suicide within three months of being diagnosed. In jurisdictions that have legalized euthanasia, these people will often be approved for euthanasia within this time-frame, as they are still considered competent to request a death by lethal injection.

Shaw interviewed James Noble, MD, FAAN, associate professor of neurology in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain and the G.H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York who indicated that many of his patients diagnosed with Dementia will talk about assisted suicide. Shaw reported:
“It comes up even in the absence of a depression conversation or screening. They'll say, ‘I know what I would do, I would go find a place and be done with it,’ and they'll name off places that they think have physician-assisted suicide.”
Neuropsychiatrist and behavioral neurologist Trey Bateman, MD, MPH, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, praised the size and rigor of the study and told Shaw:
“neurologists across the board, not just dementia specialists, would do well to have a proper ability to identify, assess, and care for people with suicidal ideation.”
People who have been recently diagosed with dementia are more likely to ask for an assisted death in jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal. Similar to people with mental illness, this study indicates that suicidal ideation is more prevalent in certain groups of people who have been diagnosed with dementia. As Dr Bateman stated, these people should be provided care for their suicidal ideation, but sadly they may be approved for assisted suicide.

Shaw indicates that studies from other jurisdictions have found different levels of association with a dementia diagnosis and risk for suicide.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Canada requires doctors to falsify death certificates.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An essay by Amanda Achtman was published by lawliberty.org challenging the fact that Canadian doctors are required to falsify death certificate

Achtman wrote her article in response to the fact that the Ontario College of Physicians is soliciting feedback on a draft policy, concerning euthanasia which includes a section concerning death certificates.

Achtman writes:

Physicians who provide MAID must complete the medical certificate of death.

When completing the medical certificate of death, physicians: must list the illness, disease, or disability leading to the request for MAID as the cause of death; and must not make any reference to MAID or the medications administered on the certificate. (emphasis mine)

Here we have the deliberate directive by a governing professional body to falsify medical records. A doctor’s administration of midazolam, propofol, and rocuronium is undeniably the cause of his or her patient’s premature death.

Achtman then states that:

However, despite euthanasia lobbyists insisting that “medical assistance in dying is a legal, federally regulated end-of-life choice, driven by hope and autonomy,” the mandating of professional cover-up betrays the pangs of conscience that still admit there is something fundamentally wrong with it. 

I agree. Read Amanda's essay (here). 

You can respond to the Ontario College of Physicians Draft Policy on MAiD (here).

Legalizing assisted suicide increases suicide.

This article was published by National Review online on November 15, 2022

Wesley Smith
Wesley J Smith

Another study — actually, a study of other studies — has concluded that legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide leads to more suicide. From “Does Legalising Assisted Suicide Make Things Better Or Worse?” published by the Anscombe Bioethics Center:
Whether legalising EAS encourages suicide or helps prevent suicide is an empirical question. We need to look at the evidence. There have been several studies published on this topic in peer review journals in recent years.

These studies have found that, after EAS is introduced:
    • Rates of EAS increase significantly
    • Rates of self-initiated deaths (EAS plus non-assisted suicide) increase significantly
    • The increase in self-initiated death is disproportionately high in women
    • Rates of non-assisted suicide also increase, in some cases significantly
No study has found a reduction in non-assisted suicide relative to non-EAS states.

It’s only logical. When the popular culture, media, some doctors, political advocates, and the law push some suicides, people with suicidal ideation for causes outside the (then) permitted legal parameters for facilitation hear the message that suicide is proper, which may encourage them to take lethal action, too.

As Lincoln said about American slavery and its opposition back in the day, eventually, the country would either become all one thing or all the other. The same is true about suicide. Encouraging and aiding suicide for some — while trying to prevent others from killing themselves — is inconsistent and over time, untenable. We either try to prevent them all, or eventually we will end up akin to where Germany is now, thanks to a court ruling: suicide on demand for any reason — or no reason at all.

It's our choice.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Assisted suicide activist promotes Oregon for suicide tourism

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have written on several occasions how the State of Oregon, on March 28, 2022, agreed to remove it's residency requirement for assisted suicide enabling anyone to die by assisted suicide in Oregon.

In his recent presentation in Ohio, where assisted suicide is prohibited, Thaddeus Pope, a long-time promoter of euthanasia and assisted suicide, argued that Ohio physicians should inform patients that may qualify, that death by assisted suicide is an option in Oregon.

Recently the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) published an article by Thaddeus Pope et al concerning Oregon withdrawing its residency requirement for assisted suicide. In his JGIM article Pope explains:
In Gideonse v. Brown, an Oregon physician challenged the constitutionality of Oregon’s residency requirement in federal court. Rather than defend its law, Oregon settled the case with a promise to eliminate the requirement, thus making MAiD available to patients anywhere in the USA or the world. In this article, we discuss the lawsuit and its settlement.
Pope explains the crux of the Gideonse v. Brown case:
Dr. Gideonse claimed that the residency requirement “prevents him from providing his non-resident patients with care consistent with his best medical judgment at one of the most important moments in their lives.” He also noted that MAiD was “the only medical procedure in [his] day to day practice where a patient’s lack of Oregon residency status categorically denies the otherwise appropriate care he can provide them.
Pope further explained that Gideonse argued that Oregon's assisted suicide law residency requirement violated the federal constitution in two ways. First that it prevented Gideonse from providing medical care to non-residents but secondly that it restricted interstate commerce. The crux of the issue is the question of whether or not assisted suicide is a medical treatment.

I contend that assisted suicide is not a medical act. Assisting a suicide offers no medical benefit and it doesn't require a medical practitioner to participate, even though the Oregon law requires physicians to participate.

Pope then explains the response of the Oregon Health Authority.
Rather than respond to the merits of these claims, surprisingly on March 28, 2022, the state of Oregon settled for reasons that have not been reported. The state agreed to “not apply or otherwise enforce the residency requirement in the Act” and that at the next regular legislative session, the Oregon Health Authority will submit a “legislative concept that would repeal the residency requirement.”
Pope then mentions, as I reported, that a similar case was launched on August 26, 2022 challenging Vermont's assisted suicide residency requirement.

Pope continues his article by explaining that even though the State of Oregon has made assisted suicide available to out-of-state persons the issue is not settled. He questions whether states that prohibit assisted suicide might restrict residents from receiving information about assisted suicide or prohibit referrals for assisted suicide. Pope wrote:
These states might respond either by using existing criminal prohibitions on assisted suicide to prosecute or by otherwise prohibiting instate activities related to MAiD such as helping the patient travel to Oregon or helping prepare the medications for ingestion upon return from Oregon. States might also prohibit referrals for MAiD or even providing of information about this option.
Pope concludes his article by suggesting that the Supreme Court will need to decide the issue.

I am convinced that the issue hinges on the question of whether or not assisted suicide is a medical treatment. Even if the State of Oregon defines assisted suicide as medical care, that does not mean that other states will define assisted suicide as medical care. If it is not medical care then doctors do not have to inform or refer their patients for assisted suicide in Oregon.

What about conscience rights? 

Assisted suicide is prohibited in most states because it constitutes an act to intentionally cause the death of another person. It is about killing another person. Whether it is legal or not, no one should be forced to participate in killing another person.

More articles on this topic: