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Canada: Medical assistance in dying (euthanising the poor?)

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Haji 2003

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Provision set to be expanded next year

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Canada is set to expand euthanasia access next year, but these advocates say the system warrants further scrutiny now. 

Euthanasia “cannot be a default for Canada’s failure to fulfill its human rights obligations,” said Marie-Claude Landry, the head of its Human Rights Commission.

https://apnews.com/article/covid-science-health-toronto-7c631558a457188d2bd2b5cfd360a867

But ...

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After pleading unsuccessfully for affordable housing to help ease her chronic health condition, a Canadian woman ended her life in February under the country’s assisted-suicide laws. Another woman, suffering from the same condition and also living on disability payments, has nearly reached final approval to end her life.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/11/canada-cases-right-to-die-laws

And ...

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Even before Bill C-7 was enacted, reports of abuse were rife. A man with a neurodegenerative disease testified to Parliament that nurses and a medical ethicist at a hospital tried to coerce him into killing himself by threatening to bankrupt him with extra costs or by kicking him out of the hospital, and by withholding water from him for 20 days. Virtually every disability rights group in the country opposed the new law. To no effect: for once, the government found it convenient to ignore these otherwise impeccably progressive groups.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-is-canada-euthanising-the-poor/

The Canadian government account: 

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In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Carter v. Canada that parts of the Criminal Code would need to change to satisfy the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The parts that prohibited medical assistance in dying would no longer be valid. The Supreme Court gave the government until June 6, 2016, to create a new law.

In June 2016, the Parliament of Canada passed federal legislation that allows eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying.

On October 5, 2020, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada introduced Bill C-7: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) in Parliament, which proposes changes to Canada’s law on medical assistance in dying.

On March 17, 2021, Parliament passed revised legislation that makes important changes to who may be eligible to obtain medical assistance in dying and the process of assessment. These changes take effect immediately. The government is working with provinces and territories and with health care professionals to ensure eligible Canadians will be able to request MAID according to the new law, and that the appropriate protections are in place.

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/medical-assistance-dying.html

As for the numbers involved:

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More Canadians are ending their lives with a medically-assisted death, says the third federal annual report on medical assistance in dying (MAID). Data shows that 10,064 people died in 2021 with medical aid, an increase of 32 per cent over 2020.

The report says that 3.3 per cent of all deaths in Canada in 2021 were assisted deaths. On a provincial level, the rate was higher in provinces such as Quebec, at 4.7 per cent, and British Columbia, at 4.8 per cent.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/more-than-10-000-canadians-received-a-medically-assisted-death-in-2021-report-1.6025922

my highlight

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Listen. Medical assistance in dying (MAID)  should never be coerced, never be pushed on a patient, especially simply for reason of economic hardship. MAID is something that is supposed to originate in the wishes of a patient with the mental faculties to make that decision that they are suffering from illness and they have had enough.


There are already as I understand it, relatively robust safeguards in place to check that the person can make the decision and that the decision is made freely without coercion. If those safeguards need to be further strengthened and can be done without unduly hindering the people who are legitimately of their own will trying to get this medical assurance, then that should be done. If there are abuses, then that needs to be shut down. 

But MAID is very clearly not about “euthanizing the poor,” and it’s maliciously dishonest propaganda to claim it is. 

Intelligent adults can have a frank and open discussion about how to secure the system further from abuses without poisoning the conversation by lying or conspiratorializing about what it’s all about.

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Medical aid in dying (MAID)

The US version of MAID. Physician-assisted suicide, or "medical aid in dying" is legal in eleven jurisdictions: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

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A relativly easy solution when faced with intractable issue(s):

https://vancouversun.com/news/canada/woman-euthanasia-commercial-wanted-to-live/wcm/b6469eae-c3d3-4c98-beed-894428e6a4d9

 

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Like more than a million British Columbians, Hatch was left without primary care after her family doctor moved away. And so, after her Ehlers-Danlos diagnosis 10 years ago, Hatch’s treatment had largely consisted of a chaotic and ineffective stream of specialist appointments, none of whom had any background in her condition.

“It is far easier to let go than keep fighting,” she told CTV.

Even when it seemed apparent that her condition was terminal, Hatch noted that the B.C. health-care system hadn’t even been able to provide her with appropriate palliative care.

 

(Based on daily visits for two months with someone with a terminal condition, the palliative care in my area is pretty good)

 

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7 hours ago, Andaros said:

A relativly easy solution when faced with intractable issue(s):

https://vancouversun.com/news/canada/woman-euthanasia-commercial-wanted-to-live/wcm/b6469eae-c3d3-4c98-beed-894428e6a4d9

 

(Based on daily visits for two months with someone with a terminal condition, the palliative care in my area is pretty good)

 

Absolutely, MAID should never ever be used as some sort of lazy alternative to fixing dysfunctions and strains in the health care system. Safeguards against these sorts of failures need to be reinforced. 

But again, that’s obviously a bug, not a feature. That is not why suffering people took the government to the Supreme Court to win the right to MAID.

Palliative care is an amazing, humane, compassionate solution for dying people. This is a perfectly satisfactory solution for many/most terminal/dying people, to ride things out in as much comfort as possible to their natural end. The healthcare professionals who work in palliative care do God’s work, and that field of medical care needs to be properly reinforced too.

But there is a minority of terminal case people for whom, whether because of unfathomable pain and suffering, or other indignities inevitably to come that they personally do not want to face, MAID is a solution that makes the most sense to them. It may not necessarily be what we would choose for ourselves, but it’s the legitimate choice of those particular people. 

So reinforce safeguards, close the door firmly to dystopian abuses, but leave these other people alone and respect their choices. 

 

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Progress?

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Starting in March, people whose sole underlying condition is mental illness will be able to access assisted death. Mental illness was excluded when the most recent medical assistance in dying (MAiD) law was passed in 2021.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-prepares-expand-assisted-death-amid-debate-2022-12-11/?taid=6395e4c4424cc10001c1e990&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

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22 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

I will say that this development specifically I do find problematic. 

Edited by kadhim
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