CTV News Vancouver Multi-Media Journalist
Published June 8, 2022
A B.C. woman speaking out about “death care” being easier to access than adequate health care is sending shockwaves throughout the country, with disabled advocates, doctors and observers holding up her experience as a potent example of the slippery slope of expanded dying with dignity legislation.
The topic of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is in the spotlight and many experts, patients and advocates have testified at a special committee that the elderly, chronically ill and disabled are at risk of feeling pressured or cornered into choosing to die under expanded legislation – which is exactly what “Kat” described.
The woman in her late 30s asked to be referred to with a pseudonym and does not have a terminal diagnosis but is in constant pain and now experiencing organ failure due to complications from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, so she applied to the Fraser Health Authority for assisted death in the hope it would lead to more medical or social supports.
“If I’m not able to access health care am I then able to access death care?” she said of her thought process. “My suffering was validated to the extent of being approved for MAID, but no additional resource has opened up.”
Disabled Canadians who have been holding marathon roundtable discussions on MAID and the implications for the vulnerable cited her situation the day after Kat spoke up.
“We are raising our voices because Kat and many others like Kat need us in their corner,” said Disability Filibuster participant, Catherine Frazee. “We are still outraged and distraught with every new report that one of our kinfolk have succumbed to a MAID application.”
Others are taking to social media voicing similar concern and dismay at the details.