In Ontario, Canada in March 2020, 33 people died from COVID-19. In the same month, 199 people died from euthanasia.
Things are in a sorry state in Canada.
The tele-euthanasia is just one aspect of the sorry state currently on display in Canada, with euthanasia doctors competing with doctors treating COVID-19 for drugs and personal protective equipment (PPE).
A news report outlining the issue detailed the concerns expressed by Dr. Stefanie Green, founder of the Canadian Association of MAID (Medical Aid in Dying) Assessors:
Dr. Green said doctors are worried about shortages in the drugs used in medically assisted deaths. Many of those drugs are used in intubating patients being placed on ventilators and in palliative sedation, she said — which means they're in high demand among health professionals caring for victims of the pandemic.
The same drugs that are used in euthanasia deaths are also used to intubate patients on ventilators and so there is a conflict occurring; a battle between life and death. Should the drugs be used to care for COVID patients, or should they be used to increase the skyrocketing death toll we are already seeing in Canada?
There is also concern about the shortage in PPE. Dr Chantal Perrot, director of Dying With Dignity Canada, outlined how doctors who usually only wear gloves when euthanising their patients are now in need of a full range of PPE:
Dr. Perrot said one pressing concern is the shortage of personal protective equipment. Before the pandemic struck, she said, she would wear gloves while attending to an assisted death; now, she and her colleagues also need masks, gowns and sometimes goggles or visors, depending on the health status of the patient.
"We've got no gowns," she said. "I resurrected an old lab coat from my medical school days going back decades. I'm using that as opposed to a gown but it's definitely not ideal and not very comforting."
Again, it appears that there is a battle for resources between those doctors trying to save lives, and those trying to end them. But instead of slowing down their practice and ensuring that the necessary drugs and equipment are made available to those who want to live, euthanasia doctors are pushing ahead, doing virtual assessments and signing off on lethal injections without even examining the patient physically. They are also assisting patients who want to bring their date of death forward, because of fear of COVID or isolation or other reasons.
When the rest of the community is focused on saving lives and livelihoods, there are still some intent on preserving their own livelihoods by ensuring their “business” of ending lives continues unabated.
Is that really the type of society we want?