System Failures

The Third Annual Federal MAID report offers some statistics about last year’s Track 1 deaths — i.e. the “reasonably foreseeable natural deaths” [RFND’s] for which MAID was originally legalized — right down to which organ failed in what percentage of patients.  And which disease caused that organ to fail.   

Track 2 deaths are a different matter.  There is a dearth of specificity.  The organs would not have failed.  The heart would have gone on beating, the lungs would have kept on exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide.  The kidneys and liver would have continued to clean the blood. The brain would have kept on thinking and coordinating the various other physical parts to work as a whole.  But instead, 219 people are dead.

So what has failed?  We contend that it is systems that have failed.

1,577 doctors were involved in ending the lives of people in both Tracks. Some ended only one life, while others ended ten or more. How many more than ten? The report doesn’t tell us. But we know that a very few doctors have ended hundreds of lives. Hundreds. This fact should not be obscured in their annual report.

There were 10,064 “MAID provisions” in Canada in 2021, bringing the total number of medically assisted deaths since 2016 to 31,664. Each and every one of these deaths would have been called murder before the passage of the MAID law. Some of them (about half) may be justified on the basis of pain, which is the only thing people think of when they think about euthanasia. But some of those deaths (an unspecified number) are due to concern that there might be intolerable pain. Here are the “causes of intolerable suffering” that physicians have recorded on the paperwork:

Loss of ability to engage in meaningful activities: 86.3%
Loss of ability to perform activities of daily living: 83.4%
Inadequate control of pain (or concern): 57.6%
Loss of dignity: 54.3%
Inadequate control of symptoms other than pain (or concern): 46.0%
Perceived burden on family, friends or caregivers: 35.7%
Loss of control of bodily functions: 33.8%
Isolation or loneliness: 17.1%
Emotional distress / anxiety / fear / existential suffering: 3.0%
No / poor / loss of quality of life: 2.8%
Loss of control / autonomy / independence: 1.7%
Other: 0.7%

“Providers” were able to select more than one reason when reporting; therefore, the total greatly exceeds 100%. Thus real numbers are difficult to work out. But if 17.1% of people cited “Isolation or loneliness” as a source of intolerable suffering, even if it was one among several sources of suffering, in the 2021 numbers, that amounts to 1,721 lonely people. 3% amounts to 302 people coping with emotional distress, anxiety, fear or existential suffering. 0.7% amounts to 70 Canadians who died for “other” reasons. We don’t know if these were dying or non-dying people. A doctor (or nurse/practitioner) found them eligible for MAID and administered death at the patient’s request.

In 2021, due to the passage of Bill C-7, which expanded the categories of people whose lives could legally be ended, 219 of those individuals were not dying, but are now dead. We know from news reports published over the past three years that people with conditions such as hearing loss, environmental sensitivity, non-lethal stroke, and non-existent COPD have been lawfully euthanized. As of March 2023, people with mental illness will also be assisted to end their lives, unless the public rises up in horror, as we think they should.

So we return to the question at the top of this post. What has failed?  We contend that it is systems that have failed.

We need to know what systems failed to preserve the lives of these non-dying people. At Living with Dignity Canada, we believe that doctors (and nurses) who are ending lives which are not naturally ending should be required to report on system failure, just as they report on organ failure in so-called Track 1 patients. Was it the income support system? The subsidized housing system? The pain management system? The home care system? The mental health system? What social problems are we trying to deal with by ending expensive or inconvenient lives? What should we be doing instead?

Please comment below. (Comments are moderated).



    1. Hi Mandy. We don’t usually post links to “that other site” since they already have so much oxygen and so much money! However your comment draws attention to one of the most worrying aspects of Canada’s new regime and its imminent expansion. Too many “recommendations” that the committee has heard from the “professionals” offer reassurances that the system already has all the safeguards in place to protect minors from wrongful death by euthanasia. We do not agree!!

  1. The disabled community is in a great deal of distress in Canada, which is practicing eugenics. Eugenics R Us, I now call this country when I’m not calling it Gaslight Central. Against the disabled, there is a 4-pronged approach to our genocide: ableism which creeps through our lives and through medicine in particular, legislated poverty/lack of affordable/accessible housing (people live so far under the already-tragically-low poverty line they’re now starving; rents have quadrupled in the last few years, leaving already-thin-stretched resources completely out of reach), triage in hospitals (I live in BC, where in September 1/3 of all hospital patients, all disabled and needing medical care, were “decanted.” We don’t know where they ended up, but we do know no one in govt warned LTC homes and other caregivers this was upcoming. Many LTC homes have taken in “decanted” hospital patients without having either the beds/staffing nor HCWs experienced in caring for these serious illnesses. Some regular LTC residents have been asked to leave) and, of course, MAiD, a legalization of murder in which we use a paralytic banned as cruel and unusual in US executions because deaths that looked peaceful were in fact anything but. Has Canada done autopsies? I doubt it very much, and, certainly, until we do, we can’t say this paralytic is safe. As well, another expansion of MAiD to the mentally ill comes into play in March. After that, we intend to extend it to “mature minors.” They try to tell us there are safeguards in place, but these are easily brushed aside when ableism that has always said you’re a burden is in play. It always is in play. What a horror show of legalized murder and genocide of a vital community. I hope for international outrage. We can die, but we are not offered the supports to live reasonable lives.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Please follow the blog and speak out whenever you have something to add. We at LWD are trying to figure out ways we can help, and trying to raise public awareness before things get even more out of hand. Know that you are not alone in your concern. Reach out to anyone you know with disabilities and/or mental health challenges — reach out, support and strategize! Thanks again for your comment.

  2. I don’t even know what to say about all of this. It is so distressing that the human life continues to have less value. How do you remind those that are suffering that they do have value and their life is worth living? I hav e son whose life fits many of the causes listed as intolerable suffering. I know life is difficult for him so I work everyday to ensure he has positive aspects to his day despite “the system” in place that chooses not to support him or take any responsibility for him. The largest percenages on the list are a loss of ability to engage in meaninful activities and person activities of daily living… can this be considered intolerable suffering? Are we losing sight of how to take care of one another.

    1. Yes, Judy, it IS distressing. We are working to prevent the inclusion of mental illness on the list of conditions cleared for euthanasia. But we also need to demand better monitoring and really effective safeguards if we’re going to continue with this practice. Another statistic that I didn’t highlight listed “Other” as the source of suffering in a full 40% of so-called Track 2 cases. Really? OTHER!?

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