By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The alleged murder in Montréal Monday of a woman with Alzheimer’s has led to renewed pressure by the euthanasia lobby to extend “MAID” [Medical Assistance In Dying] to incompetent people.
“Under Quebec’s ‘end-of-life care’ act, which came into effect on Dec. 10, 2015, a patient seeking medical assistance in dying must make the request ‘in a free and informed manner,’” according to reporter Aaron Derfel. “Although Law 52 does allow for advance medical directives like the ‘do not resuscitate’ order in the event a patient becomes incapable of giving consent during palliative care, the legislation specifically excludes assisted dying from such directives.”
Allegedly, Michel Cadotte killed his ailing wife, Jocelyne Lizette, because she had been refused death by euthanasia. Cadotte has been charged with second-degree murder.
In response to her death, the euthanasia lobby is pressuring the government to extend euthanasia to people who are incompetent, such as those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, if they had previously indicated a wish to die by euthanasia. The media is also using this tragic story to promote the extension of euthanasia.
If euthanasia is extended to incompetent people, how would it be possible to determine whether or not someone has changed their mind?
The Alzheimer Society of Canada disagrees with extending euthanasia to incompetent people. According to the CBC news report, the Alzheimer Society of Canada stated that it does not support euthanasia for incompetent people. According to the Statement:
people can live with dementia for longer than ten years, and in that time, they may change their mind on doctor-assisted death.
The statement says it’s difficult or impossible for caregivers “to know what the person with dementia comes to value over time, especially if those values are at odds with previously expressed desires.”
Instead of calling for a broadening of the laws, the organization is calling for better palliative care in Canada.
Recently a woman in the Netherlands who stated, while competent, that she wanted euthanasia died by euthanasia without consent. According to the article in the Daily Mail:
The doctor secretly placed a soporific in her coffee to calm her, and then had started to give her a lethal injection.
Yet while injecting the woman she woke up, and fought the doctor. The paperwork showed that the only way the doctor could complete the injection was by getting family members to help restrain her.
It (the paperwork) also revealed that the patient said several times ‘I don’t want to die’ in the days before she was put to death, and that the doctor had not spoken to her about what was planned because she did not want to cause unnecessary extra distress. She also did not tell her about what was in her coffee as it was also likely to cause further disruptions to the planned euthanasia process.
Legalizing euthanasia gives the power to kill to physicians. No one should have the legal power to kill.