Euthanasia: Theory and Reality

[Comment: Note especially the link to the euthanasia kits proposed for doctors in Canada. It describes the medications with the final one paralyzing the person’s respiratory muscles so that he/she can’t breathe. This is beyond chilling. N. Valko RN, 30 Sept 2015] On Feb. 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s assisted suicide ban, opening the door to assisted death (Carter v. Canada). This is an incredibly complex topic, one fraught with moral and ethical issues. Canadians have been sold the theory that euthanasia can freely end one’s life at the time and place of their choosing. This theory assumes that euthanasia will be voluntary and that the decision and the act is controlled by the person who dies by euthanasia. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) contends that the theory of legal euthanasia and its practice are very different. Since euthanasia, by definition, means that the physician will cause the death of the patient, therefore misuse of the law resulting in a person’s death would normally be understood to be homicide. Euthanasia in practice A study published in March 2015 concerning end-of-life practices in 2013 in Belgium found that 4.6 per cent of all deaths were euthanasia. The same study also found that 1.7 per cent of all deaths were hastened without explicit request. [NEJM, 19 March 2015, Recent Trends in Euthanasia and Other End-of-Life Practices in Belgium, http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2015/03/new-study-euthanasia-represents-46-of.html ] This means that approximately 1000 people were intentionally killed without request in 2013. [http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2015/03/almost-1000-deaths-are-hastened-without.html ] The data indicates deaths that were hastened without request were more likely to occur when a patient was in a hospital...