How many have been pressured to die by assisted death

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On April 6, Candice Lewis died a natural death. Her obituary began, “She passed away suddenly but peacefully at home with her Mom by her side.” What was the controversy concerning Lewis?

In August 2016, Lewis, who was then 25, while receiving treatment at the hospital, was pressured by a doctor  to “request” a physician-assisted death.

No one questions that Candice was very sick at the time. But as Candice’s mother told CBC News

His words were ‘assisted suicide death was legal in Canada,'” she told CBC. “I was shocked, and said, ‘Well, I’m not really interested,’ and he told me I was being selfish.”

Kevin Dunn interviewed Candice and her mother Sheila for the Fatal Flaws film. (Link to purchase Fatal Flaws) During the interview Sheila said:

Not once did she say to them, “I want to end my life.” The doctor came in the next day after he told me about assisted suicide, stuck his face down in Candice’s [face] and said, “Do you know how sick you are?” When I got his eye contact we went out in the hallway and I told him, “Don’t you ever pull something like that again.”

How many cases, similar to Candice Lewis’, have occurred in Canada where a patient either died by lethal injection or was so shocked by the experience of being pressured that they have not spoken about it?

I have received emails and calls about people being pressured to die by MAiD [Medical Assistance in Dying]. Recently I received this email from a care-giver:

Several weeks ago, in the space of a two week time period, I was made aware of four instances in which nursing staff at … hospitals seemed to be initiating discussion of MAiD with family/friends, and, in the last instance, a patient, without any apparent prior reference to MAiD on the part of the patient.

During my Vancouver Island speaking tour, a man told the group how his mother, who required dialysis, was urged by healthcare “professionals” to ask for MAiD (euthanasia). He said that if he had not spoken to his mother, she may have died by euthanasia.

At the next talk a woman came up afterwards and shared with that her father, who had significant health issues, was urged by healthcare “professionals” on several occasions to consider MAiD.

It appears that many doctors and nurses are urging patients to ask for MAiD.

This type of pressure, at the most vulnerable time in a person’s life, will lead some people, who would never have otherwise considered death by lethal injection, an option. In fact, it is likely that many people have died by euthanasia after being urged by a doctor or a nurse to do so.

If you have a story or a concern, please share it. Knowledge and awareness will help others to resist euthanasia when they are pressured.

I urge you to be involved in the lives of those who you know and care for. When someone is pressured by a doctor or nurse to ask for an assisted death, you can make a difference in their lives by saying, “No, I care for you, I will not abandon you. Euthanasia is not the answer.”

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.