In recent years, the issue of euthanasia, or Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), in Canada has come under intense scrutiny. Journalist Alexander Raikin, a notable voice in the field, made a startling prediction in September 2022. His assertion that MAiD would soon become a leading cause of death in Canada has now been validated by the release of the “Fourth Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada 2022.” The numbers revealed in this report are indeed staggering, raising significant concerns. This article delves into the key findings from the report, highlighting the exponential growth of assisted suicide in Canada and its impact on the nation’s healthcare system.
The Sobering Statistics
The 2022 report disclosed that over 13,200 Canadians chose assisted suicide as an option, marking a 31.2 percent increase from the previous year. This brings the total number of deaths by lethal injection in Canada since 2016 to a troubling 44,958. These alarming statistics unfold against the backdrop of a healthcare crisis, where comprehensive psychiatric services, suicide prevention, and palliative care remain woefully inadequate. The stories of despair and desperation emerging from around the world emphasize that many Canadians resort to state-sanctioned and state-funded suicide due to a perceived lack of alternatives.
In far too many cases, MAiD is the only recourse available to those who seek it.
The Dismal Data
The report is filled with data that should set off alarm bells. All provinces, except Manitoba and Yukon, continue to witness a steady year-over-year growth in assisted suicides in 2022. Males accounted for 51.4 percent of the death count, with females making up the remaining 48.6 percent. The average age of individuals who chose MAiD was 77. While cancer remains the most frequently cited medical condition among those requesting assisted suicide, “other conditions” (14.9 percent) and “neurological conditions” (12.6 percent) also play a significant role. Disturbingly, at least 463 individuals who opted for assisted suicide did not have a “reasonably foreseeable death” in the near future, a significant increase from the previous year’s 223 cases. It’s essential to note that these are only officially recorded cases.
Underscoring the Tragic Trends
Of those individuals without a foreseeable death, most were afflicted with “neurological conditions” (50 percent) or “other conditions” (37.1 percent). The report reveals that “the loss of the ability to engage in meaningful activities” was the most commonly cited source of suffering for those requesting MAiD, standing at 86.3 percent. This suffering pattern has persisted consistently over the past four years, reflecting the ongoing nature of distress that leads individuals to seek assisted suicide.
The Role of Medical Professionals
The growing number of Canadians requesting assisted suicide has also resulted in more medical professionals becoming involved. In 2022, a total of 1,837 practitioners administered lethal injections, marking a 19.1 percent increase from the previous year’s 1,542. Of these practitioners, 95 percent were doctors, and the remaining five percent were nurses. Notably, 39.5 percent of assisted suicides occurred in private homes. The report points out that the number of requests is surging, with very few being declined:
In 2022, there were 16,104 written requests for MAiD, a 26.5 percent increase from 2021. Requests have grown steadily by an average of 28.2 percent each year between 2020 and 2022. The majority of written requests (81.4 percent) in 2022 resulted in the administration of MAiD.
Despite the alarming numbers, which are likely to escalate further if assisted suicide for mental illness, addiction, and other afflictions is approved in the future, Canada’s Health Minister, Mark Holland, expressed his pride in presenting the report. It remains unclear what specifically he takes pride in. Canada currently holds the dubious distinction of having one of the world’s most aggressive euthanasia regimes, and unless there is a change in government policy before March, this concerning trend is only expected to worsen.
The 2022 report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada has revealed a distressing reality. Assisted suicide is on the rise, with numbers that should concern us all. As we grapple with the consequences of this trend, it’s crucial to address the complex ethical and healthcare issues that it raises.