An elderly Canadian woman, who was not chronically ill or dying has been euthanised to avoid living through another COVID-19 lockdown, according to local news reports.
CTV News, Medical Correspondent, Avis Favaro reported that 90-year-old Nancy Russell, died last month by euthanasia to avoid living through another lockdown.
The long-term care resident was reportedly not disabled, chronically ill or dying.
Mrs Russell was described by her family as exceptionally social and spry. Her family says she chose a medically-assisted death (MAID) after she declined so sharply during lockdown that she didn’t want to go through more isolation during the northern hemisphere winter.
Current Canadian euthanasia legislation, passed in 2016, is supposed to be limited to the terminally ill, however last year a court struck down the requirement that a person be terminally ill before they qualify for euthanasia. This followed the case of Alan Nichols, a former school caretaker who was physically healthy, but struggled with depression. His life was ended by lethal injection in July. Or the case of Roger Foley, a disabled man who was repeatedly offered the drugs to kill himself, while being denied the social care he needed to live a dignified life, due to the cost.
Canadian parliamentarians are still debating how far any change should be made, with Bill C-7, which would see euthanasia extended to the those who are terminally ill, disabled people and even those with mental health problems.
Responding to the report, Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of the UK’s ‘Care Not Killing’ commented: “This is a shocking story, that highlights how quickly well-meaning, but dangerous changes, put forward under the false premise of alleviating suffering, can spin out of control.”
“In Canada we have seen the rapid increase in the number of people being euthanised and an expansion, ahead of legislative changes, of those who are having their lives ended. In the case of Alan Nichols case, this was done even before the Courts struck down the legal safeguard that limited euthanasia to the terminally ill.
“Closer to home, we see how laws introduced in the Netherlands or Belgium, which were also supposed to be limited to mentally competent terminally ill adults, now include non-mentally competent adults and children, profoundly disabled people, and even those with treatable psychiatric problems such as depression and anorexia. In the Netherlands, there was a 600% increase in cases of euthanasia of patients owing to psychiatric conditions between 2012 and 2017.
“Our current laws here in the UK, which ban both assisted suicide and euthanasia, exist to protect those who are sick, elderly, depressed or disabled from feeling obliged to end their lives – People like Nancy Russell who clearly felt alone, depressed and a burden, unable to cope with the isolation and restrictions of another Covid lockdown.
“The current laws protect those who have no voice against exploitation and coercion and those who care for them who might come under pressure to save money on care costs. They do not need changing.”
This article first appeared in Independent Catholic News.