Canadian Cancer Patient Euthanized Because He Couldn’t Obtain Chemotherapy

By Wesley J. Smith

We are told continually that the Canadian system of health care is better than ours. Hardly.

A Canadian cancer patient was euthanized after opting for a lethal jab in desperation because he was unable to access chemotherapy that could’ve extended his life. From the National Post story:

Dan Quayle marked his 52nd birthday on Oct. 7 in Victoria General Hospital waiting to find out when chemotherapy would start for an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. He would die waiting.

After 10 weeks in hospital, Quayle, a gregarious grandfather who put on his best silly act for his two grandkids, was in so much pain, unable to eat or walk, he opted for a medically assisted death on Nov. 24. This was despite assurances from doctors that chemotherapy had the potential to prolong his life by a year. . . .

His family prayed he would change his mind or get an 11th-hour call that the chemo had been scheduled, said his step-daughter Shayleen Griffiths, whose mother, Kathleen Carmichael, had been with Quayle for 16 years. As the weeks dragged on in hospital, Carmichael kept pressing for answers on when chemo would be scheduled.

“There was never a timeline on that,” said Griffiths, who lives in Victoria. “Their exact words were, ‘We’re backlogged.’”

Even as they are still grieving Quayle’s death and planning his celebration of life, the family felt compelled to speak out about his inadequate care, following the stories of two Vancouver Island women who went public with their decisions to seek treatment in the U.S. to avoid delays in B.C. “I think I could still have my Dan if he had gotten treatment sooner,” Carmichael said.

Euthanasia is about “choice,” they say. It is about compassion, they say. Bah.

Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with his permission.