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Recorded: Canadian hospital staff urging patient to die

8 August 2018


Roger Foley has released recordings of hospital staff offering him assisted suicide.

A Canadian man suffering from an incurable disease claims that despite asking for home care, the medical team at an Ontario hospital would offer him only medically assisted suicide.

Ontario man Roger Foley is suing health officials and the attorneys general of Ontario. He is claiming he received improper care and that instead of the care he requested, he was offered the option for medically-assisted death.

Roger Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs. According to Foley, a government-selected home care provider had previously left him in ill health with injuries and food poisoning. Twice, he says he ended up in hospital because of the home care agencies contracted through the SW LHIN: once because of bad food, and a second time because the allegedly poor quality of care he was receiving left him contemplating suicide.

Foley has asked to be able to manage his own home care team – an arrangement called "self-directed care".

"I need self-directed funding in order to return to my home," Foley said. "I need to be able to hire my own workers to build my (home) care to work with me."

Repeated offers of death

Rather than offering him support, Roger Foley reports that hospital staff have instead repeatedly offered him medically-assisted death, particularly whenever he refers to his preference for self-directed care.

He is now sharing audio recordings of separate conversations he had with two health care workers at London Health Sciences Centre.

In one audio recording from September 2017, Foley is heard speaking to a man about what he has described as attempts at a "forced discharge," with threats of a hospital bill of "north of $1,500 a day."

Foley expresses shock at the figure and tells the man that he'd just read an article that quoted the Ontario health minister saying it's "not legal" for hospitals to coerce patients like that.

The conversation continues with Foley saying that he hasn't been informed of a plan for his care. "So what is the plan that you know of?" Foley asks the man.

"Roger, this is not my show," the man replies. "I told you my piece of this was to talk to you about if you had interest in assisted dying."

In a separate audio recording from January 2018, another man is heard asking Foley how he's doing and whether he feels like he wants to harm himself.

Foley tells the man that he's "always thinking I want to end my life" because of the way he's being treated at the hospital and because his requests for self-directed care have been denied.

The man is then heard telling Foley that he can "just apply to get an assisted, if you want to end your life, like you know what I mean?"

The truth… before it's too late

In a statement to CTV News, Foley says he decided to release the recordings "to all Canadians as my situation got very bad recently where I almost died."

He says he's "not in a position to elaborate on that currently," but he wants the public to know "the real truth before it is too late for my voice to be heard."

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