Canada is facing a heated debate over the expansion of its euthanasia law, which was already quite flexible and from March this year will be extended to cover cases of so-called “psychiatric euthanasia”, in which people suffering a Health condition that is not necessarily terminal, but that makes your life very difficult mentally speaking.
Since 2016, Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying program, known by its acronym MED, has been available to seriously ill adults.
Initially, the law only considered cases of people with terminal illnesses, but the law was revised by 2021, When people with severe and chronic physical conditions were included, even if they were not life-threatening.
Specifically, the law was extended to people who suffer “permanent and intolerable physical or psychological suffering that cannot be alleviated in conditions that the person considers acceptable,” according to the text cited by Week,
That single amendment generated controversy, given that petitions to end life through medical procedures may be considered by people living in health conditions that could be improved.
According to Canadian national government data, as of December 2021, 31,664 Canadians have received assisted deaths, of which more than 10,000 deaths will occur in 2021, which meant an increase of 32 per cent with respect to the number of procedures. Year 2020. After the extension of the law in 2021, 224 people who did not have an incurable disease died.
Growth in the figures is evident from one year to the next, with the total number of MAID provisions in 2021 increasing by 32.4% compared to 2020. The growth between the years 2020 and 2019 was 34.3% and the value was 26.4%, according to government data from 2019 to 2018.
Eligibility for this type of case “for persons whose death was not properly commenced on March 17, 2021” began on March 17, 2021.
The possibility of self-administration of MAID exists in all jurisdictions of Canada, except for the Quebec region. Based on the most recent data, this is not a typical way to perform the procedure, as fewer than seven deaths from self-administered MAID occurred in 2021 across Canada, a trend that has continued in previous years.
The Challenge of Psychiatric Euthanasia
The amendment that has generated the most controversy, to be implemented by March this year, would cover people with serious mental conditions, as eligible for the process.
The process is already in place in four countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and more recently Spain, in all of them it has attracted a wide debate, given the flexibility of the rule and the possibility that the process involved People having it are not giving themselves the opportunity to access medical treatments that could alleviate their condition.
Some experts have cited the fact that many people lack clear criteria for deciding when they are suffering from these illnesses, which may lead them to consider assisted suicide without sufficient mental clarity. .
This is not an easy topic or one of absolute answers, many health professionals differ in their opinion, using the same role to refer to the profession, for example from psychiatry.
The truth is that those health professionals who have to deal with the practice of euthanasia (with the exception of cases of self-medication), while performing the procedures, face a difficult reality for those who believe in this challenge.