Medical Assisted Dying in Canada Increases by 32.4% as Those with Mental Illness Can Now Legally Choose Euthanasia - New Statistics from 2021


 2021 Euthanasia Report


Health Canada released the Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (2021) this past July, which shows an increase of deaths by 32.4%,  from 7603 in 2020 to 10,064 assisted deaths in 2021. Also, since the passing of Bill C-7 in March 2021, 2.2% of the assisted deaths were people whose death was naturally unforeseeable. The bill approved of euthanasia for mental illness and for those whose death is unforeseeable, done away with the waiting period for those expecting natural death due to a condition, and has allowed medical personnel to inject a person incapable of consenting if they have previously approved of themselves being injected. 


The most common reasons people chose to end their life according to the report were a loss of engagement  in meaningful activities, loss of ability to perform activities of daily living, and inadequate control of pain, or stress concerning it (57.6%). In addition, approximately 1740 people (17.3%) died by euthanasia based on loneliness and isolation. 


In spite of the number of those who chose euthanasia because of pain or stress of managing it making up 57.6%,  the report states that 80.7% of the people who requested euthanasia were "receiving palliative care." How many were actually receiving palliative care?  The report provides basic data but it remains unanalyzed.


Québec is the only province that provides an analysis of the euthanasia reports, and has a multiple reporting system where the doctors and the hospitals, nurses, and other facilities each create a report on the deaths. Amy Hasbrouck, the past President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, examined the Québec report data (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021) and reported the data indicates a discrepancy between the 2426 euthanasia reports submitted by doctors and the 2688 euthanasia reports submitted by hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities. A discrepancy of 262 deaths.


Canada's federal report does not analyze the reports; it only provides data from the reports. Research needs to be done to ensure compliance with the law.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains why Euthanasia is not acceptable:

2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.


Sources: https://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2022/08/health-canada-releases-2021-euthanasia.html  and the Catechism of the Catholic Church


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