VANCOUVER, Nov. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - On November 14, 2011, trial will begin
in Carter v. Attorney General of Canada, which seeks to legalize
assisted suicide and euthanasia. Last year, Parliament defeated a bill
seeking a similar result. The vote was 228 to 59. EPC was an
instrumental force in obtaining this overwhelming defeat. EPC and EPC
- BC have intervenor standing in Carter. They oppose assisted suicide
because legalization is a recipe for elder abuse and a threat to
individual patient rights.
A recipe for elder abuse
Will Johnston, a Vancouver physician and Chair of the EPC - BC states:
"I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family members
and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is typical. To
make it worse, the victims protect the perpetrators. In one case, an
older woman knew that her son was robbing her blind and lied to protect
him. Why? Family loyalty, shame, and fear that confronting the abuser
will cost love and care.
Under current law, abusers take their victims to the bank and to the
lawyer for a new will. With legal assisted suicide, the next stop would
be the doctor’s office for a lethal prescription. How exactly are we
going to detect the victimization when we can’t do it now?"
If assisted suicide were to be legalized under Carter's Amended Notice
of Civil Claim, new paths of abuse would be created. A more obvious
path is due to a lack of oversight when the lethal dose is
administered. This situation creates an opportunity for a family member
or someone else to administer the lethal dose to the patient without
his consent. Even if he struggled, who could know?
Preventing elder abuse is official Government of Canada policy.
A threat to individual patient rights
In Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal since 1997, people
desiring treatment under the Oregon Health Plan have been offered
assisted suicide instead. The most well known cases involve Barbara
Wagner and Randy Stroup. Each wanted treatment. The Plan offered them
assisted suicide instead.
Neither Wagner nor Stroup saw this scenario as a celebration of their
individual rights. Wagner said: “I'm not ready to die.” Stroup said:
“This is my life they’re playing with.”
Wagner and Stroup were steered to suicide. Moreover, it was the Oregon
Health Plan, a government entity, doing the steering. If assisted
suicide were to be legalized in Canada, the Canadian health care system
would be similarly empowered to steer patients to suicide.
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of EPC, states: "With legal
assisted suicide, the healthcare system, doctors and the government
would be empowered, not individual patients."
To learn more about problems with the Carter case, click here: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2011/11/carter-case-and-assisted-suicide-recipe.html
SOURCE Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada (EPC)
For further information:
Will Johnston, MD, firstname.lastname@example.org (604) 220 2042
Alex Schadenberg, email@example.com (519) 851 1434