The American Journal of Bioethics published on October 25, 2023 an excellent article by Professor Trudo Lemmens titled: When Death Becomes Therapy: Canada’s Troubling Normalization of Health Care Provider Ending of Life. Trudo Lemmens, is Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Toronto. (Link to the article).

I have decided to comment on this article by separating the main topics to enable it to be fully appreciated.

Lemmens begins his article by commenting on a research article by Daryll Pullman who compared Canada’s euthanasia to California’s assisted suicide law. Lemmens writes:
Undeniably, a strikingly higher number of people die with direct health care provider involvement in Canada’s euthanasia regime, euphemistically termed “Medical Assistance in Dying” [MAiD], than under a California-style assisted suicide system. Daryl Pullman (2023) rightly identifies several key reasons: the fact that in about all cases it involves a lethal injection by health care providers, rather than assisted-suicide with self-administration of medication; the law’s vague and broadly interpreted access criteria; “acquiescence and […] indifference of federal and provincial authorities, the courts, and medical associations”; and, briefly mentioned, the failure to treat ending of life as a last resort (Pullman 2023). Particularly the last points are worth exploring further since they are likely among the key reasons why Canada’s regime results in substantially higher percentages of euthanasia deaths even when compared to the few other liberal euthanasia regimes, and with an accumulation of reports of arguably troubling practices. These points are also connected to the law’s origin in constitutional litigation, which has had a remarkable impact on the Canadian debate and policy.

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