Disability rights leaders and the Newfoundland government Minister responsible for disability issues are speaking out against the recent complaint by Sheila Elson after a doctor had urged her to approve assisted death for her 25-year-old daughter, Candice, with multiple disabilities.
Peter Cowan, reporting for CBC News Newfoundland interviewed Emily Christy the head of the Newfoundland Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, who stated:
“I was shocked and terrified that this was actually happening in our province, and I think it’s the biggest issue — and a point of concern around medical aid and dying that the disability community has,” she said.
Christy said Elson and Lewis both deserve an apology, and health care professionals need to be better informed about the rules around assisted dying
Sherry Gambin-Walsh, the government Minister responsible for disability issues told CBC News:
“It’s not acceptable to government, it’s not acceptable to the individual citizens, families or our society. Disability is not to be confused with suffering.”
For Gambin-Walsh, who also has a 21-year-old with complex disabilities, disability and suffering are two very different things.
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“As a mom, I can’t imagine. I would be appalled and disappointed, and I would have to collect my thoughts to determine how I was going to deal with it,” she said of Elson’s story.
“Disability can not, and will not, be used in discussions about medical assistance in dying.
Toujours-Not Dead Yet distributed a Press Release today: Disability Rights Activists Decry Newfoundland doctors suicide suggestion.