In assisted dying, it would be unethical to carry out clinical trials. How could you design an experiment in which one person received counselling and another a lethal injection? So often we have to fall back on anecdotal evidence – and the plural of anecdote is data.
This is why stories of deaths in Canada’s medical assistance in dying regime are so important. They are stress-testing the notion that euthanasia and assisted suicide are fully voluntary, serene, and compassionate. In a Substack blog, a Canadian academic from the University of York in the UK, relates how his father died at the hands of a doctor back home, on Vancouver Island.
Christopher Lyons’s portrait of his father and his entrance into the MAiD system is harrowing and ought to be read in full.
The thrust of his essay is that his father was a deeply traumatized man who probably suffered from depression, compounded by a self-destructive lifestyle. Towards the end of his life he became suicidal.
But the MAiD system seemed to none of this into account. There was no effective psychiatric evaluation. He was only able to access some of his father’s psychiatric history as recorded in the MAiD bureaucracy – and much of it was factually wrong. “He was drinking wine the evening and morning before he was killed. He may not have been sober for his final consent.” The doctor who gave the lethal injection was dismissive, even hostile towards Dr Lyons.
Check it out.