An expansion of the criteria for medically assisted death comes into force in March 2024 will allow Canadians like Pauli, aged 47, who battles anorexia and whose sole underlying condition is mental illness, to choose medically assisted death.
Patients who request assisted dying are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts, Dr Cheung told a GP CME audience in Rotorua last month. The time following a declined assisted dying application is one of heightened mental health risk, says the psychiatrist and University of Auckland senior lecturer.
Yet another tragic story that highlights the dangers of liberal euthanasia laws (aka “assisted suicide”).
A Belgian woman, aged 23, was recently euthanised after being ‘traumatised’ by the 2016 ISIS attack on Brussels Airport. She was physically healthy but was euthanised due to ongoing mental health issues.
Shanti De Corte developed depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being caught up in ISIS attack on Brussels Airport, which killed 32 people. She survived the March 2016 terrorist attack, but ongoing depression and PTSD led to her request to die being approved by psychiatrists. She was then euthanised on May 7 this year.
Read full story here.
Renowned Belgian neurologist, Paul Deltenre argued that euthanasia should not have been authorised because some therapeutic options had not been made available to the Ms De Corte to treat post-traumatic stress wounds.
This highlights how easily euthanasia laws can be loosened over time to include those with mental health problems. Under Belgian law, euthanasia is allowed to a person in ‘a medically futile condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental pain that cannot be alleviated’. There is no lower age limit.
Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said:
“It is truly shocking that an otherwise healthy, but traumatised 23-year-old was euthanised rather than cared for. With proper help, she could have lived a long, fulfilling life. This case shows how slippery the slope is once you allow euthanasia in law.”
According to our own Ministry of Health “Assisted dying involves a person who is experiencing unbearable suffering from a terminal illness taking or being given medication to end their life. There are strict eligibility criteria to have an assisted death.”
But how long before our euthanasia laws are loosened to include cases such as Shanti De Corte?
As this case in Belgium proves, pressure intensifies over time to include more people and more conditions. The laws are inevitably loosened and broadened.
Medical care and expert psychological therapies should be the preferred treatment, not euthanasia.
**The post was written by Family First staff writers.
One of the major concerns around the assisted suicide / euthanasia law is that the law relies on a diagnosis that a person suffers from a terminal illness which is “likely” to end his or her life within six months. But there’s a problem with that. A major problem. We are not God (even though some people would like to think they are.) There are many examples of individuals who have outlived their prognoses – sometimes by months, even years.
This is why we opposed legalising assisted suicide. Vulnerable people can live without it. But when it’s an option on the table (as it now is), coercion, depression and a feeling of having a ‘duty to die’ make the law harmful and deadly.
“lan Nichols had a history of depression and other medical issues, but none were life-threatening. When the 61-year-old Canadian was hospitalized in June 2019 over fears he might be suicidal, he asked his brother to “bust him out” as soon as possible. Within a month, Nichols submitted a request to be euthanized and he was killed, despite concerns raised by his family and a nurse practitioner. His application for euthanasia listed only one health condition as the reason for his request to die: hearing loss.”
“Alan was basically put to death,” his brother Gary Nichols said.
Canada is set to expand euthanasia access next year, but human rights advocates say the system warrants further scrutiny now.
Euthanasia “cannot be a default for Canada’s failure to fulfill its human rights obligations,” said Marie-Claude Landry, the head of its Human Rights Commission.
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