The horrors of the Liberal government’s physician-assisted suicide law have been camouflaged by giving the procedure a euphemistic name, “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID). This ploy covers up the hideous fact that the law allows physicians to deliberately kill their patients. Warning after warning against allowing physicians to legally kill their patients have been ignored, creating disastrous problems for humanity.
Assisted Suicide Is Not Compassionate
Physician-assisted suicide is not really about compassion for the suffering patient, or his/her autonomy. Rather, its ultimate objective is to efficiently and economically obtain human organs for transplantation.
The tipoff about this objective was given by physician Jack Kevorkian, a pathologist who never treated a living patient after medical school. He became notorious for his seeming delight in euthanizing 130 patients. He admitted, however, in his book, Prescription Medicide, – The Goodness of Planned Death, that compassion was never the motivation for his actions. He had a utilitarian objective, which was to remove the tiresome “sanctity of life” ethic practiced by physicians as a first step to legalizing euthanasia. Kevorkian regarded this ethic as merely an irrational religious belief. He thought that the bodies of people who obtained death by lethal injection should be used as a natural resource for experimentation and organ donation. He argued, “If we’re going to help people die, we might as well derive benefit from their deaths.”
Removing Organs from Euthanized Patients
It seems that Canada has passed the point of merely discussing organ retrieval from euthanized patients to now acting on it. This fact surfaced when it was discovered, tucked away in the footnotes of the publication by the Ontario government “September Quarter Euthanasia Statistics” (2019), that, during the first months of 2019, 30 euthanasia victims in the province accounted for 18 organ and 95 tissue donations. This was a notable 14% increase over 2018 and a whopping 109% increase over 2017. This information did not become widely known until the Wall Street Journal published an article, on June 18, 2019, written by law professor, Frank Buckley. In this article, he disclosed this information and also that the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) had, on June 3, 2018, provided guidelines for Canadian doctors that allowed them to canvas their vulnerable, suicidal patients for their organs. The CMA did make clear that organ removal should not begin until the patient was medically deceased. This is known as the “dead donor rule”, which requires that the patient be “dead” before organs are removed. This rule was in place to protect severely ill patients from being killed for the sake of their organs. The difficulty for transplant physicians is that the “dead donor rule” means that a person’s heartbeat and breathing must stop for a specified period of time before the patient can be regarded as legally dead. However, during the dying process, organ damage occurs within five to ten minutes caused by the absence of blood flow. Consequently, to get around this hurdle of damage to the organs, the medical community has developed a new ethic to determine death. Called “brain death”, it is an absence of brain waves. In reality, such patients are not actually dead since the heart is still beating and they are breathing. This new ethic is only a myth used by physicians to obtain organs, and it is not a legitimate criterion for determining actual death. It has been invented in order to harvest viable organs from still-living people.
A multi-billion dollar industry has been created around the harvesting of organs, and the new ethic has provided an easier method of obtaining the organs quickly after assisted suicide process has begun. There is a downside, however, to harvesting organs after assisted suicide, in that such patients generally prefer their deaths to occur at home. As organ donation is only legal when a donor dies in a hospital, this prevents many donations from taking place.
To increase the number of organs for transplant, Canada now permits physicians to actively seek the consent to donate their organs from the patients they are going to kill. For example, in Ontario, the Trillium Gift of Life Network, which oversees organ and tissue donations, has made it a legal requirement that the network be notified when death is imminent, either through the hospital or MAID operators, so that the network can “reach out proactively to those who have been approved for assisted death to discuss their organ donation”.
This sends a clear message to both the suicidal, ill and disabled Canadians that their death may have a greater value than their lives and that their death will be of benefit to others.
This proposition, to retain human organs before death, raises alarm bells with regard to people with physical or mental disabilities, who already feel stigmatized and undervalued. The message, subtle or otherwise, is to get them out of the way in order to do something noble with their healthy organs. What about those who can’t speak for themselves? This proposition directly overturns a nearly 2500-year-long prohibition against taking a life.
This utilitarian concept of organ transplants was discussed in an article “Counting the Cost of Assisted Dying”, published in the Journal of Clinical Ethics (2020) by two Scottish academics, David Shaw and Alec Morton, who listed the economic advantages of obtaining human organs in this manner. They stated that terminally ill patients experience a poor quality of life, that the high cost to care for them could be better spent elsewhere, and of course, that society will benefit from the organ donations.
This report is disturbing because it points out how quickly the argument about euthanasia has moved from that of supposed compassion and personal autonomy, to doctors and nurses making value judgements about the quality of other people’s lives, while seeking to save money and tackling the blocking of healthcare services due to the scarcity of beds. These authors are attempting to persuade society that allowing the sick, the mentally ill, the elderly and the disabled to be killed by assisted suicide is a worthwhile endeavour.
A New Phase in Obtaining Human Organs from Assisted Suicide Patients
This is Canada, where we never let a loony progressive notion go unfulfilled. Consequently, we are now entering a new phase in the pursuit of harvesting human organs – namely, obtaining them before the donor’s death.
In 2018, two Canadian medical researchers from the University of Western Ontario and a Harvard bioethicist published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) arguing that organs would be of better quality if they could be removed from donors while they were still alive. Removing the organs from a still living donor would result in death, not from a lethal injection, but from the deliberate removal of organs. Some would call this murder. In their article, the authors callously stated the advantages of removing organs from a prospective euthanasia patient while he or she is still alive – namely, the organs would be as fresh as possible and would be more satisfactory for transplant. The authors thoughtfully recommended that the patients be deeply anesthetized to avoid any discomfort during this process.
The transplant industry generates $20 billion annually, over one billion dollars on immunosuppressive drugs, with transplant surgeons being paid handsomely. Hospitals aren’t left empty-handed either. They receive a “finder’s fee” explained as “administrative costs.” The only ones left out of the organ transplant gravy train are the dead donors.