We Don't Need Euthanasia  

August 1st, 2013 | C. Wang

“This is the first time in Canada that any government has suggested that the intentional killing of a patient should form part of any level of healthcare delivery...and that is most disturbing.” - Hugh Scher of the Euthanasia Prevention Council on Bill 52



Every few years “Dying With Dignity” seems to rear its head in Canada. We’ve all seen the television news reports. Usually someone with some horrible disease is showcased as wanting to end their life. Much to their righteous indignation, they can’t get hospital staff to set that up for them. They then demand that the entire system change in order to suit their suicidal desires. Court cases unfold and protests are made. At the end of the day, not much changes. Why doesn’t much change? Because Canadians don’t want to set up a mass euthanasia club as a facet of our healthcare system. It creates too many problems and puts too much power into the hands of outside individuals.


When people are diagnosed with a terminal illness, they can choose whether or not they want treatment. Either way, their health will deteriorate until they are hospitalized. Once hospitalized, they can provide standing orders to withhold treatment until they die, allowing doctors to provide only pain relief on the way to death. This is about as close as one can get to assisted suicide in Canada. It’s straightforward and simple and there are really only two exceptions.


#1. A person deteriorates to the point of requiring life support.


Without standing orders to withhold all treatment, you’ll get everything the system can give you in order to keep you alive. Once your health deteriorates to the point of requiring life support measures, such as a ventilator, doctors can make the decision to remove that support and let nature take its course. This requires approval by the family or by the patient’s previously made standing orders. This allows doctors to kill people, without murdering them, because they are simply withholding the treatment that artificially prolongs the life of a terminal patient.


#2. Pain medication as an inducement to death.


If you’re confined to a hospital bed and you’re a terminal patient, doctors can provide pain medication such as morphine in order to minimize the pain. The dirty little secret in Canadian healthcare is that doctors can just crank up the dosage to ridiculous levels, thus providing the patient comfort and facilitating the patient’s painless death. (People might object to this and say, “They can’t do that!” To which I reply, yes...of course they “can’t”.)


These two exceptions still aren’t good enough for the death crowd. They want suicide centres built specifically to put people to death.


Why do they want this?


They say they want this in order to streamline the process and make death comfortable and dignified. The true reason they want this is because they feel guilty about suicide and they want the act of committing suicide to be put into the hands of professionals. This removes from them, the burden of responsibility for their actions and allows them to get their death in much the same way one would get their teeth cleaned. Efficient, clinical and supervised.


Europe is often mentioned as an example of how to kill people properly. As with most, “It works in Europe!” examples, a closer look at the facts should be cause for concern. There are a multitude of reasons that doctors should just stick to the Hippocratic Oath and the long list of unintended consequences that follow legalizing assisted suicide ought to remain in the realm of philosophy.


The last problem that needs to be honestly addressed is the issue of hypocrisy. People often say they don’t want to end up confined to a hospital bed in their last days. They boldly proclaim that if given the option to kill themselves they wouldn’t hesitate. Usually this proclamation is made from a position of good health and comfort. The truth is, however, most of us will be loathe to relinquish a single extra breath when the time comes. It’s human nature to fight for every last heartbeat, and the bravado fades when we actually face the end. The advocates for legally assisted suicide want the option, but they don’t really want the option.


How do I know this?


It’s incredibly easy to kill yourself. If you really wanted to do it, you could. Even if you are shaky and uncoordinated due to declining health, it’s still very easy to end your life.


So why don’t they just do it?


Because they want to squeak out every last day they have available to them and each level of deterioration they pass on the way down to a natural death becomes the standard by which they’re willing to live. Eventually they will hit a point in which they literally are unable to kill themselves. This is usually the point in which they are in a palliative care situation that simply requires pain management until they hit the #1 or #2 situations mentioned above.


Conclusion: There is simply no need to change Canada’s euthanasia laws. People are cared for and respected by our current system. When our time comes, there is enough of a grey area in the law for people to do as they wish. The Kevorkian capitalists, misguided leftists and insatiable progressive health-care bureaucrats would love to expand the role of killing people. They, of course, pretend this stems from compassion and honour, but whenever someone -- anyone --advocates killing people as a solution for anything, we must be vigilant. When societies throughout history have adopted death as a blueprint for social progress, those societies become very dark and very dangerous. If someone wants to kill themselves, that’s their problem, but let’s keep “the system” on the side of life.