Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"I don't want to speculate on where we will go from here. We have confidence that the law is the right law for Canadians, that it responded to the requests — to the decision — previous decision of the Supreme Court and that it is providing an opportunity for Canadians to have access."

Troubling that rather than seeking better care at supportive living facilities folks would rather die.
I imagine that eventually the death by doctor business which is already very popular will be extended to folks who do not want a lower quality of life.
In my opinion, it's best to focus on life .We're not talking about cattle here. These are human beings. We should try to ensure that life is good, that the supportive living facilities have sufficient staff to help residents, that the staff are well trained and also have external integrated care teams to ensure that they get the helps they need---and in this way we improve the care for the most severely handicapped. The quality of life is important and if it was better in institutions I would imagine folks would not choose the death by doctor route. It's a matter of priorities for government and our provincial health authorities and health ministries have no interest in these areas of improvement.
What's needed is for better life care and not better access to death.

Two Montrealers with degenerative diseases are challenging both Canada's and Quebec's medically assisted dying laws.

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While the body is important--the body is not everything. You can live many years in a body that is fading fast and even the brain can follow. But if you have the love of family, if you have the supports of the community, if you have a reasonable integrated care plan that allows for as much independence of life -you can get used to deficits. You can get used to institutional life. Heck you can get used to ANYTHING.
And so, this is why -believing life is more important than anything else-that I don't support the expansion of the death by doctor business which is already enjoying a lively level of customer interest in Alberta. Why would the system not be happy about lowering it's costs? When folks take the permanent way out the system loses the burden of these folks and so don't think that government cares about the citizens. In due time there will be an expansion of the death by doctor eligible population to include these poor folks who are intent on death as well as kids. It is just a matter of time.
But really does any of this chatter matter? We know the government at all levels does the legislation to serve it's own needs and not that of citizens. Why else did the government of Alberta do nothing about my handicapped sister's case over the five year period where she was at risk of premature termination by the doctors at the Grey Nuns Hospital? Well, that's the whole duty of government. To download its responsibilities to the health authority who then basically ignores the issues until they can't be ignored. The ethics and compliance folks I went to didn't want anything to do with my complaint. Go to the Patient Relations folks the office said. For what? To be told that the doctors have all the power? The circular maze that citizens travel to find out that we have no power is astonishing. But there you go. You won't encounter this junk until you are at the side of a dying family member and the unbelievable bureaucratic expediency decisions come forward to you in waves of a sea that won't be denied.

2 Montrealers with degenerative diseases challenge medically assisted dying law

Plaintiffs say federal and provincial laws don't respect 2015 Supreme Court ruling

By Verity Stevenson, CBC News Posted: Jun 14, 2017 12:00 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 14, 2017 3:51 PM ET
Nicole Gladu, 71, and Jean Truchon, 49, are the latest people to challenge Canadian law that restricts access to medically assisted dying to those for whom death is 'reasonably foreseeable.'
Nicole Gladu, 71, and Jean Truchon, 49, are the latest people to challenge Canadian law that restricts access to medically assisted dying to those for whom death is 'reasonably foreseeable.' (Charles Contant/CBC)
Two Montrealers with degenerative diseases are challenging both Canada's and Quebec's doctor-assisted dying laws.
They say the laws are too limiting in their criteria of who can obtain medical assistance to die, which goes against their charter rights.
Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 71, are the two plaintiffs in the first Quebec Superior Court challenge to the federal law, which requires that death be reasonably foreseeable for a patient to receive aid to die.
Their lawyer, Jean-Pierre Ménard, says the two suffer from serious and irremediable health problems that cause persistent and intolerable suffering. 
That's not enough to qualify for assisted death under the existing laws, Ménard said, but it does meet conditions set out in the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that ordered the federal government to create assisted-dying legislation.
"It's absolutely deplorable that these people who meet the law's criteria — a serious and irremediable illness with intolerable suffering — need to go to court to have their rights met," Ménard said Wednesday morning at a news conference with the plaintiffs. 

'Happy it's being challenged'

Truchon and Gladu lived most of their lives independently, despite illnesses they've had since birth, in Truchon's case, and early childhood in Gladu's. 
But in the past five and 20 years respectively, their conditions have worsened to the point where they've lost almost all their autonomy. 
medically assisted dying challenge montreal
Nicole Gladu is pictured with lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard, who is representing her and Jean Truchon. (CBC)
Ménard said Truchon, who has cerebral palsy, managed most of his life with only one functioning limb, his left arm, until he lost use of it in 2012.​
"A life in institutions is not for me. I've tasted what living for myself is like and since I've lost that, the little pleasures of everyday life are longer enough for me," Truchon said in a statement read by his caregiver. 
"If I'm still alive today, it's because I've wanted to obtain the right to die with dignity through medical assistance."
Truchon, who grew visibly emotional as his statement was read, said he's thought of other ways to end his life, such as starving himself to death or throwing himself in front of a car or Metro train.

But any other option would increase suffering for him and those around him, he said. "I wish to have the right to a gentle and dignified death."

'My body can't support me'

Gladu survived the 1949 polio epidemic before a vaccine was introduced.
After a three-month coma, physical therapy, surgery for scoliosis and with only one functional lung, she led an active career in communications, including at Radio-Canada, before post-polio syndrome hit and caused her muscles to atrophy.
She said her suffering has intensified and her condition has worsened since 1994 and especially in the last two years. 
"My body can't support me anymore," said Gladu, who has testified in a provincial commission examining medical aid in dying.
"What I'm asking for is respect for all those like me, who have been watching death in the face for a long time in a progressive rather than spectacular fashion."
Gladu noted that she's thought of going to Zurich, where non-residents can receive medical assistance in dying, but would like to die "in my apartment with my wonderful friends."
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says he has has some concerns with the federal assisted-dying law. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
Speaking earlier Wednesday, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said he's had his own concerns with the wording of the federal law.
He said he's already heard of people with degenerative diseases trying to starve themselves to bypass the criteria demanding that death be reasonably foreseeable.
"I am to some extent happy it's being challenged," he said.
It's not the first time the criteria have been disputed.
Last summer, a 25-year-old woman with spinal muscular atrophy in British Columbia filed a lawsuit with the BC Civil Liberties Association in the province's Supreme Court, challenging the same provision in the federal law. And in May, a 68-year-old Delta, B.C., woman suffering from Parkinson's disease added her name to the challenge.

Philpott confident 'law is the right law'

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott responded to questions about the challenge, saying the government has launched studies into the law and is still waiting for results.
Question Period 20170530
Health Minister Jane Philpott says the federal government has confidence in the assisted-dying law, but is studying it further. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
 "We know that there are some issues that people wanted more conversation about," Philpott said.
"I don't want to speculate on where we will go from here. We have confidence that the law is the right law for Canadians, that it responded to the requests — to the decision — previous decision of the Supreme Court and that it is providing an opportunity for Canadians to have access."
With files from Elias Abboud and Alison Northcott
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Julie Ali
Julie Ali
  • Julie Ali
I agree with Health Minister Jane Philpott that the current law is acceptable. I don't agree with broadening of the access to death by doctor. Why? I guess because I am the sister of a severely handicapped woman who was at risk of premature termination for five years and I feel that there are not enough protections in place for the severely handicapped with respect to end of life decisions. Broadening access simply increases risk for this population and I have no confidence in the medical system with reference to end of life decisions that respect the handicapped patient's wishes.

In Alberta, it is possible for doctors to unilaterally decide on withholding of life sustaining procedures such as intubation, resuscitation and ICU care and family cannot do anything about this matter. Doctor's orders prevail. Even if the handicapped person has a personal directive indicating full resuscitation this isn't of any value at the moment a doctor decides to withhold resuscitation.

While I sympathize with citizens who wish to die because they feel that their quality of life would be impacted by institution care the solution to this situation is not death by doctor. No. The solution is to improve the quality of services and supports for handicapped citizens who have every right to proper health care and mental health supports all through the life cycle. Death with dignity is possible for even the most severe cases-- if the staff:resident ratios and staff training at the supportive living facilities was appropriate and the quality of care was improved. Death is a permanent solution to a problem which is more readily solved by enhanced economic and leadership decision making at the provincial health authority and health ministry level.« less

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