Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Canada: Hospices Must Perform Euthanasia or be Closed

An article at National Review led me to this story. 

Delta Hospice (DHS) is in British Columbia, Canada. The government run Fraser Health Authority controls the lives of more than 1.8 million people, from Burnaby to Boston Bar. Fraser Health is shutting down Delta Hospice because the hospice will not kill its patients. The press release from Delta Hospice is here, 

"The board of DHS deeply regrets being compelled to take this action. Tragically, as the video and the attached background document make clear, we have been left no other choice due to the Fraser Health Authority canceling our service agreement and 35-year lease. Fraser Health is about to evict us and expropriate approximately $15 million of our assets simply because we decline to euthanize our patients at our 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner, B.C.

To be clear, we accept that the provision of MAiD (the Canadian medical assistance in dying law -U.P.) is an elective, legal service across Canada. Nothing in Canadian law, however, requires medically assisted death to be made available everywhere, at all times, to everyone. The Constitution of our private Society and our commitment to palliative care, bars us from offering it. Neither the board of the DHS, nor the vast majority of our patients and members want to change that."

The modern hospice movement is credited to the late Dame Cecily Saunders who fought against the forces pushing euthanasia in her day as this article in The Independent points out, 

"Saunders was strongly against euthanasia, partly because she was a committed Christian, and also because she argued that effective pain control is always possible (though some would disagree) and that euthanasia is therefore not needed. Her position was that a person who requested euthanasia had been failed in some way by others. She did acknowledge, however, that both sides in the euthanasia debate are against pointless pain and impersonal indignity. On one occasion - and there may well have been others - she invited a distinguished doctor on to a committee, but withdrew the invitation after he told her that he was a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society."

The reporter at The National Review points out, 

"...there is a hospital directly next door to Delta where patients can go to be lethally injected, so it isn’t as if suicidal patients won’t be able to obtain their desire to be made dead."

I have been intimately involved in the hospice movement in the U.S. since the 1980's, and believe that the greatest sign that we love our neighbors is when we care for them as they are dying. Pain and suffering are relieved effectively with today's medications and techniques. Spiritual needs are addressed and met. Physician or nurse assisted suicide is never needed in a Hospice.

There is no reason for the Canadian Government's Health Authority to force hospices to hasten death, unless the government wishes to reduce lengths of stay and reduce costs.



  1. Next will be "Logan's Run"

  2. Katherine9:04 PM

    Yes, I think it's about reducing days of care and cutting costs, but it's also about devaluing the dying.

    1. They will never admit it. Government run healthcare inevitably leads to dehumanization.

  3. Katherine6:52 AM

    My widowed father's second wife discarded him emotionally and tried to discard him physically when he was dying. She was a sociopath who viewed other people as objects. Government-run healthcare is going to be like her -- coldly calculating whether the old and sick are "worth anything" to society any more.

    1. I have seen several instances where spouses abandoned their dying or ailing or aging spouses. None of this “Till death doth us part” business. The world can be a cold hearted place, but thank God for the caring angels he sends us in those who stay by the side of their souses and those hospice nurses who pray with them.

    2. Oops "spouses" although some might have been souses.

    3. Katherine11:43 AM

      It was bad. We had to hire an attorney to protect Dad from his own wife, and we had to manage his dying in his retirement community nursing facility by phone, since we live far away and at the time I had two teenaged girls at home and a husband who traveled internationally.

      God bless hospice.