744 people dead by euthanasia in Canada in six months
30 December 2016
Four Canadians are being killed by euthanasia a day. Image: Shutterstock
CTV news has reported that 744 adults have been killed by euthanasia in the six months since it was legalised across Canada.
The news channel surveyed provincial and territorial health ministries to gather the most comprehensive picture of "assisted dying" in Canada to date. The numbers show that, on average, four Canadians per day had medically assisted deaths between 17 June and 16 December 2016. In Ontario, there are now approximately 13 people killed by euthanasia every week.
The survey indicated that the number of people choosing euthanasia is increasing as the idea becomes more acceptable. Dr Ellen Wiebe, a Vancouver based physician responsible for lethally injecting 40 people this year, said: "I know that it will increase. I expect that we'll get to the point of the Netherlands and Belgium because their laws are similar to ours, and that would mean about 5 per cent of all deaths."
A friend of a victim of euthanasia slammed palliative care homes and hospitals who refuse to co-operate in legalised killing as being "just really very oppressive".
Lack of data could be concealing abuse
Very few details about each death are collected, and reports are submitted by the medical practitioner who carries it out. Ethicist and University of Toronto health law professor Trudo Lemmens says provinces should release more data to help protect patients from potential abuse.
"There is a concern that people who are vulnerable or who find themselves in a situation of vulnerability may be pressured consciously or unconsciously to opt for medical assistance in dying either because of financial circumstances or because the medical help that they need is not necessarily available." he told CTV News.