A recent court case in Canada has highlighted some of the very real concerns about the consequences of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide.
“I have not received the care that I need to relieve my suffering and have only been offered assisted dying.”
These are the words of Canadian man, Roger Foley. Mr Foley is 42 and suffers from an incurable neurological disease that has let him with severe disabilities and completely dependent on care.
Mr Foley has taken legal action against a hospital, several health agencies and the attorneys-general of Ontario and Canada, claiming that he was offered medically assisted suicide rather than providing “opportunities to work with him to relieve intolerable suffering in a respectful patient centred manner”.
Mr Foley filed the lawsuit on 14 February 2018 and claims that he wanted the opportunity to set up a health care team to help him live at home (called ‘self-directed care’.)
Mr Foley complained that the home care provider selected for him by the government had not provided him with sufficient care, leaving him in bad health, injured and with food poisoning. He has said that when he complained about these occurrences, the government-selected care provider threatened to not send anyone at all.
He is currently in hospital, and eager to leave and be supported by a care provider of his choice. But his request for self-directed care was denied.
While he awaits a review of this denial, he claims that the options offered to him were either paying $1800 a day to remain in hospital, a ‘forced discharge from hospital to work with the contracted agencies that have failed him, or medically assisted death.’ Mr Foley has released an audio tape on social media of hospital staff offering him assisted suicide.
This is a worrying development and shows the lack of choices available and risks to vulnerable people when a jurisdiction legalises euthanasia and assisted suicide.