A photo illustration shows tools used in euthanasia. CNS photo/Norbert Fellechner, www.imago via Reuters

Exposing the evil face of MAiD

  • September 1, 2022

A war veteran, recovering from PTSD and a brain injury, approaches a Veteran Affairs Canada service agent to seek a treatment plan that would continue the progress he was making.

The treatment plan casually suggested by the service worker? Medically assisted death.

Days before Global News broke that story in mid-August, the Associated Press reported on the case of Roger Foley, a patient in an Ontario hospital being treated for a degenerative brain disorder. The hospital’s director of ethics tells Foley he is costing the hospital “north of $1,500 a day.” The ethics director’s response to Foley’s inquiry about another long-term care plan? “My piece of this was to talk to you, (to see) if you had an interest in assisted dying.”

The mask of a kind, compassionate “MAiD” offering a humane response to end-of-life suffering is slipping to reveal the ugly, evil face of the so-called Medical Assistance in Dying practice. The goal posts have shifted dramatically. What was once the last resort for someone with weeks to live became the last resort for terminal illness, then a treatment option for people living with “serious illness, disease or disability.” After March 17, 2023, it will expand to include mental illness and possibly minors.

Death as a treatment option is a blatant disrespect of life, fuelled by a lack of resources and willpower to provide medical, economic and social support to those suffering from serious conditions.

Consider these examples:

• 51-year-old “Sophia,”  who had severe sensitivities to chemicals, chose death after failing to secure affordable housing free of cigarette smoke and chemical cleaners;

• 54-year-old “Madeline” is considering MAiD after amassing $40,000 in debts trying to treat myalgic encephalomyelitis and other ailments;

• 61-year-old Donna Duncan, who developed mental illness that wasn’t officially diagnosed following a concussion, had a medically assisted death after falling through the cracks of the mental health-care system.

“MAiD” is a misnomer. The practice is no longer medical assistance to put an early end to an agonizing, rapidly approaching physical death, which in itself is highly problematic but was used as a justification when first introduced years ago. The practice has become State-sanctioned suicide for those who, with the proper supports, could otherwise continue on the path of life.

Medically assisted suicide is reprehensible, violating many Catholic Church principles and teachings. Pope Francis, in one of his speeches during his recent visit to Canada, referred to “patients who, in place of affection, are administered death.”

We play God when we choose to end life on our own timing. We short-circuit any purposes God has for the sick and their families that are fulfilled through suffering.

We fail to protect the rights and dignity of vulnerable people such as the sick, elderly and disabled; when that happens, they and others increasingly view themselves as being disposable burdens.

If those who choose medically assisted suicide do so because they are pressured directly or indirectly by seeing no hope of getting needs met other than through death, then we have blood on our hands.

The practice is growing at an alarming rate. In five years alone — from 2016 to 2021 — the number of cases of medically assisted suicide rose from 1,018 to 10,064 according to the federal government’s Third annual report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada 2021.

There is a real danger of unintended consequences that range far beyond individual cases. Our youth are living in unprecedented times. Negative influences arising from social media, a global pandemic and and more are factors putting tremendous pressures on youth.

We’re not teaching young people how to handle these pressures and the resulting fears, anxieties, depression and physical health impacts. Instead, we’re modelling for them the use of death as a way of circumventing serious physical, mental, emotional, social, economic and psychological challenges, putting the more fragile youth at greater risk of suicide.

We’re also teaching our youth that the needs of the vulnerable should be taken care of up to a certain point, but when those needs become too intense or burdensome, then death is the preferred option. This has tremendous implications for future health-care and social welfare systems.

We must halt medically assisted suicide now. Let us heed the warnings of the United Nations, academics, physicians and others that our “MAiD” system, the most liberal in the world, is perpetrating human rights violations, especially against the vulnerable.

(Majtenyi is a public relations officer specializing in research at an Ontario university.)

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