If your doctor offers to kill you, get a second opinion
Alternatives to MAiD and Canadian doctors who advocate for patients' lives
If your physician planted the idea of death in your mind as a form of treatment, then it’s time to get a new doctor.
I’m sorry that your government sees your death or the death of someone you love as a solution to your current health problem.
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Sadly, you are not alone. Canadians are being offered medical assisted dying without requesting it or wanting it. And this is the new normal.1
I was alarmed this week to learn that an elderly person in my faith community was offered MAiD as an option for someone in their care. They didn't bring it up: the doctor initiated the conversation, and this forever broke the individual's trust in their doctor.
In the moment when they were most in need and most vulnerable, the trusted expert suggested the morgue, not medicine. And this lifeless advice shattered the confidence the individual had in their physician.
Thankfully the horrified individual decided to end their relationship with their family doctor rather than their family member's life.
And they also spread word to their community, alerting other vulnerable individuals to avoid the doctor and the clinic.
If your trust in your doctor is similarly shattered, I'm so sorry. But please take heart.
Your life is valuable, and there are doctors who will provide life-giving care
No matter what pain you are in or what prognosis you face, your life is worth living. There are physicians and organizations in Canada that will advocate for your life and well-being. They will support you to find a dignified treatment plan.
A physician recommending that you die as “healthcare” is not normal and it never should be. You are not strange to think it strange that MAiD was offered to you. If you feel violated, unsafe or afraid, that makes sense.
The good news is that there are other options (even if you’re not aware of them right now). As with any advice given to you by any expert in any field, you can and should get a second opinion.2
The following statement was written by physicians in Canada who have announced their opinion that people like you deserve to be treated to live, not left to die:
Medicine, understood over the centuries as a profession that never intentionally harmed, but rather healed, comforted, and advocated for the lives of those who are sick and vulnerable, has been transformed into a technical occupation that allows physicians to deliberately end the lives of their suffering patients.…
We advocate for the lives of our patients, not their deaths. We believe in garnering adequate supports for all our patients so that they have the basic requirements needed to live; we do not sanction and facilitate their death as a response to their suffering.
Second Opinions and Other Options to MAiD
A starting point may be to consult the list of doctors who've publicly stated that they “advocate for the lives of their patients” (see Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3) and google their practices. Seek their help.
Talk to your pastor or priest (or your rabbi, imam or a faith-leader in your community). I can think of at least five doctors and Nurse Practitioners who attend my church (and there are probably more!) Most faith communities are a microcosm of society and there will certainly be someone in the community who knows a doctor you can trust. The pastor or leader, there to shepherd and care for the community, will be able to help connect you.
Visit the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s website, which has helpful resources, including the document How to prevent people you love from euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Reach out to groups like Disability Without Poverty or the Indigenous-focused BCANDS who have made this promise to offer their services and not recommend, suggest or refer you (or anyone seeking their services) for MAiD.
Ways you can protect others:
If your physician (or a loved-one’s physician) recommend MAiD to you and it shocked you, brought discomfort, or made you feel unsafe, report the event to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in your province to let them know. These bodies should be advocating for patients and ensuring you are safe, and that hospitals and clinics are safe too. In Ontario, you can report to the CPSO here.
Tell people in your circle about the physician and make sure they know they could be put in the same position when they're vulnerable and feel unsafe by the doctor.
Call or email your MLA or MPP. Provinces in Canada determine health care policy and can limit euthanasia (even as the Federal government makes it legal and expands it). Call your representative. Raise a holy ruckus.
As more and more Canadians awaken to the shocking facts of how prevalent MAiD has become and how it will continue to expand, they are becoming advocates.
If you found this post because you feel vulnerable, I hope that this has provided some help.
If you know someone who will be supported by the words or links in this post, please share it.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice, but human-to-human encouragement and support.
If you need help right now because you are considering ending your life, you can call 1-833-456-4566
See the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers “Bringing up MAiD as clinical care option” guidelines. The document emphasizes: “There is no provision in the law that prohibits healthcare professionals from initiating a discussion about MAiD or responding to questions about MAiD from a patient” (emphasis added).
I can imagine it’s frustrating to have someone say, “get a second opinion,” especially if you’re in the terrible backlog of a bloated healthcare system that has been slow to treat your pain, especially if MAiD was offered as an alternative while you still wait for an assessment for your health condition. There are thousands of physicians in Canada who will give you a second opinion as well as organizations that exist to fight for dignity in life. See the list above.