By continuing to browse our site, you are consenting to the use of cookies. Click here for more information on the cookies we use.


Defending life
from conception to natural death


Ontario man files lawsuit against health officials who offered euthanasia after refusing home care

16 March 2018

Mr Foley says he wants assisted life, not death

Is this how we want the vulnerable to be treated? 

An Ontario man with an incurable neurological disease is suing health officials for the right to choose his home healthcare team, as well the attorney generals of Ontario and Canada for offering medically-assisted death without guaranteeing the option to receive proper care.

Dreadful care

42 year old Roger Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs. He has been forced to live in hospital for two years, after his government-selected home care provider failed to provide proper care, he says.

"I have been given the wrong medications, I have been provided food where I got food poisoning, I’ve had workers fall asleep in my living room, burners and appliances constantly left on, a fire, and I have been injured during exercises and transfers," said Mr Foley from his bed at the London Health Science Centre’s Victoria Hospital in a video that was recently posted online. "When I report(ed) these things to the agency, I would not get a response."


Offering death

Refusing to live at home with that healthcare provider, Mr  Foley is suing for the right to set up his own health care team - a request he claims he has previously been denied. According to Mr Foley’s statement of claim, the only two options offered to him have been a "forced discharge" from the hospital "to work with contracted agencies that have failed him" or medically assisted death.

"My condition is grievous and irremediable," he said. "But the solution is assisted life with self-directed funding."

...Instead of care

His lawyer, Ken Berger added, "Before anyone… can even be considered for assisted death, they need to have all necessary services provided to help them relieve their substantial suffering. There are serious constitutional violations that we’re alleging, and we believe that the current provisions for assisted dying are unconstitutional because it doesn’t require that necessary services are put in place to relieve someone’s suffering first."

Commentators are saying the case proves the lack of safeguards in the assisted suicide system. Trudo Lemmens, a professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, said Mr Foley's allegations are "very troubling."

"If true, we would have here an instance of a patient receiving an offer for MAID (medical assistance in dying) while the patient precisely complains about receiving substandard levels of care," he said. "MAID should not be introduced as an option to someone who complains about sub-standard care and clearly not to someone who is suicidal."

News in brief:

Add your comment

Comments (1)

  • Sue Jamieson

    17 March 2018, 11:41pm

    I am flabbergasted that Mr Foley of Ontario has been offered assistance in dying instead of better standards of care to help him to live. it is despicable that in complaining about his substandard care which was supposed to hrlp him to live better he was offered medical assistance in dying. I am disabled and use a wheelchair. My care is good. I would be very insulted if I were offered assistance to die. I hope that Canada is listening very very carefully. disabled people need help to live. not to die.

    Your comment has been submitted and is currently awaiting approval

Share this article

  Donate to save lives