New stats on euthanasia from Ontario a red flag

The latest statistics on euthanasia from the Canadian province of Ontario covering euthanasia deaths to 30 September 2019 has just been released.

This report should raise a red flag for other jurisdictions considering legalising euthanasia.

 



There were 519 deaths by euthanasia in Ontario from July-September 2019.

In these 3 months in 2017 there were 24,437 deaths from all causes in Ontario. Allowing a 2% annual increase (used in the Canadian interim reports on euthanasia to calculate rates for 2018) this would mean 25424 deaths in Ontario in these three months in 2019, giving a death rate by euthanasia of 519/25424 or 2.04%.

If this rate applied in Western Australia, for example, it would mean around 300 deaths per year by euthanasia.

There was only one case of assisted suicide compared to 3821 cases of euthanasia (total statistics for Ontario since legalisation) equivalent to 0.02% of cases.

This confirms that were both are offered euthanasia is chosen in the vast majority of cases. It also seems that a higher overall rate is likely if we compared the 2% in Ontario after just 3 years of euthanasia being legalised compared to 0.44% of all deaths (18 years and older) in oregon where assisted suicide has been legal for over 21 years.


No specialist is required under Canadian law: Although 63% of cases were cancer cases only 2% of cases involved an oncologist. 70% of cases involved family medicine or general practitioners.


In nearly one in four cases (24%) the 10 days cooling off period between a first request for euthanasia and the lethal injection being given was waived. In 13% of cases (total = 535) the person was NOT imminently dying and the only justification for rushing the process was a claimed "imminent loss of capacity". One has to wonder how clear the person's decision making capacity could be if its loss was so imminent and when any assessments are done within a day or so of a first request.


This is the first report that mentions organ donation reporting a total of 30 cases of organ donation following euthanasia. This process involves organ removal within minutes for cardiac arrest following the lethal injection.

 


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