A 54-year-old Canadian man has applied for euthanasia because he fears becoming homeless.
Amir Farsoud, who lives in St Catharines, near Niagara Falls, is in constant pain from a back injury and says that his quality of life is “awful, non-existent and terrible … I do nothing other than manage pain.” However, it would be bearable if he didn’t have to cope with the fear of homelessness.
Mr Farsoud lives in a shared rooming house but its owner has placed it on the market. He depends on social assistance and says he can’t find affordable accommodation.
“I don’t want to die but I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die,” he told .
“I know, in my present health condition, I wouldn’t survive it anyway. It wouldn’t be at all dignified waiting, so if that becomes my two options, it’s pretty much a no-brainer,” said Farsoud.
Farsoud lives in a rooming house he shares with two other people, and it is currently up for sale. He is on social assistance and says he can’t find anywhere else to live that he can afford. One doctor has already signed off on his application for MAiD; one more is required.
“I don’t want to die but I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die,” he told CityNews. “I know, in my present health condition, I wouldn’t survive it anyway. It wouldn’t be at all dignified waiting, so if that becomes my two options, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.”
CityNews asked if he would consider euthanasia if he had stable housing. Farsoud said No. “It would be on my radar because my physical condition is only going to get worse,” he said. “At that point, I would be probably availing myself of the option, but that would be presumably years down the road.”
Last year, three United Nations human rights experts reported that Canada’s euthanasia law seems to violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A former special rapporteur for people with disabilities has cautioned that “assisted dying must not be seen as a cost-effective alternative to providing personal assistance and disability services for persons with disabilities, in particular those with high support needs”.
Even if government agencies do not look upon MAiD as a “cost-effective alternative”, it appears that patients do.
Dr Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist from the University of Toronto, told CityNews that: “Cases like [Farsoud’s] are emerging with increasing frequency across the country. We were unbelievably naive as a nation to think that vulnerability, disability, poverty [was something] that we could parcel that off and it wasn’t going to be a problem. It’s a huge problem.”
“I worry about this because it is people living with disability, people living with pain, people living in poverty, that are requesting medical assistance in dying, not because of the physical experience they’re going through, but because of the social circumstances themselves and this is wrong. It’s really a very terrible thing.”