Prolific Canadian documentary film maker Kevin Dunn has embarked upon his latest production FATAL FLAWS. In conjunction with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Mr. Dunn explores, amongst other things, the short step from physician assisted suicide to euthanasia. This is exactly what is happening in Canada in the 14 months since physician assisted suicide became legal.
- Fatal Flaws Film: The Candice Lewis Interview. Candice was pressured to die an assisted death.
More than 2,000 Canadians have died with medical assistance since 2015 (including Quebec). Cancer represented 64% of assisted deaths, followed by circulatory/respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
How did the numbers break down? (Excluding Québec, and the Territories) From June 17 – December 31, 2016, 507 people received medical assisted death, of which 503 were administered by doctors or nurse practitioners. Only 4 were self-administered suicides. From January 1st – June 30th 2017 there were 875 medically assisted deaths of which 874 were administered by a physician or nurse. One was self administered suicide. Of the 1,482 assisted death for the year, only 5 were self-administered suicides (0.0033%). In practice what Canada legalized in 2016 was not assisted suicide, it legalized euthanasia by another name.
What makes things worse is that pressures are starting to mount on sick and disabled people — or their families — to sign DNR orders or agree to euthanasia, and ideally organ donation. Why might that be? There a number of reasons:
- There is a shortage of organs for transplantation.
- Up-to-date palliative care is an area of specialty in which many family doctors are not particularly skilled.
- The last six months of life can be very expensive whereas euthanasia is cheap.
- Some people with disabilities can be difficult, peevish and bothersome patients. They may require frequent and expensive hospitalization. Many do not get better.
- Hospitals and nursing homes are overcrowded and care for the sick is so expensive.
Could it be mere coincidence that 6 months after medical assisted death was legalized in Canada a study came out of the University of Calgary and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal heralding the cost savings of killing dying patients? Drs Aaron Trachtenburg and Braden Manns proclaimed it could save up to $139-million annually! Of course, they took pains to state they were not suggesting people be euthanized to save money. The illustrious doctors noted that
“as death approaches, health care costs increase dramatically in the final months. Patients who choose medical assistance in dying may forego this resource-intensive period.” (How considerate of patients.)
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American journalist, cynic and cultural critic H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) once said, “When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” Why would anybody conduct, write and publish such a study if it was not about the money?
The medical killing net is sure to be cast ever wider to be more “inclusive” (as progressives will be sure to champion). Anybody with an incurable, degenerative disease or disability has every right to fear hospitals or nursing homes — and even their own future (or lack of one). It’s hard to get any rest with a parking meter ticking so loudly at the end of the bed.
My point is this: People like me cost too much and benevolence can quickly turn to malevolence. We need care and do not contribute to the nation’s GDP. I fear that eventually we will be considered what was once referred to as useless eaters or lebensunwertes leben (Life unworthy of life). Eventually some doctor, health care budget administrator or government policy will surely decide we’ve over-stayed our welcome and our organs will be worth more than we are worth.
 Kathleen Harris, “More than 2,000 Canadians with medical assistance since legalization: Cancer neurodegenerative disorders and circulatory or respiratory failures drive most requests.” CBC News online http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/medical-assistance-death-figures-1.4344267
 2nd Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada, Department of Health, Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/health-system-services/medical-assistance-dying-interim-report-sep-2017.html
 Sharon Kirkey, “Doctors harvesting organs from Canadian patients who underwent medical assisted death, National Post, 20 March 2017. (http://nationalpost.com/health/doctors-harvesting-organs-from-canadian-patients-who-underwent-medically-assisted-death)
 Sharon Kirkey, “Doctor-assisted suicide could save Canada up to $139 million each year, Alberta study suggests”, National Post, 23 January 2017. http://nationalpost.com/news/0124-na-assisted-dying
LifeNews Note: Mark Pickup is chronically ill and disabled with degenerative multiple sclerosis. He is an advocate for life issues and disability inclusion across North America. Mark is available to address issues of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and issues revolving around suffering that often fuel calls for euthanasia. He writes regularly at http://markpickup.org and http://humanlifematters.org and is available for speaking event.