The Corner

Politics & Policy

Canadian MDs Want More $ To Kill

Some Canadian homicide doctors–those that euthanize patients–believe they aren’t paid enough. From the Maclean’s article:

All in, a MAID [medical assistance in dying, e.g., lethal injection] provider can claim a maximum of $440. That would be a hefty paycheque for a couple hours’ work if that was indeed all the time it took to assess a patient and administer the fatal dose. In reality, it takes much longer…

The amount of time it all takes varies wildly from patient to patient, says Daws, but most providers say it takes a minimum of three and a half hours. In that time, a family doctor could earn double the MAID rate by doing routine office work, and many specialists could earn triple that amount at their day job.

Even “passionate” euthanasia-supporting doctors are refusing to kill patients because they are not paid enough.

It’s not sustainable,” says Daws, who describes herself as a “hard-core, passionate-to-the-bone” assisted-dying advocate.

Last week alone, she turned down three patients who wanted the service because she couldn’t afford to do it. “It’s not for lack of wanting,” she says, “but it’s financial suicide.”

The article points out that euthanasia saves a lot of money for the country’s single-payer system–which should be a warning but isn’t once euthanasia consciousness takes hold:

According to the Canadian Medical Association, assisted dying could cut health care costs by at least $34.7 million and up to $138.8 million a year in Canada.

Euthanasia advocates worry that the too-low pay may be a way of inserting morality into the system:

Both Green and Daws now can’t help but wonder whether the decision to set fees so low was a politically or ethically motivated one.

“I would hate to think that was the intention,” adds Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of Dying with Dignity, an end-of-life rights organization. “But ultimately it doesn’t matter,” she adds. “Intentionally or not, the outcome is the same: you’re putting up barriers to access, and now that [policy-makers] know, it’s their responsibility to make changes ASAP. If they don’t, then they are intentionally obstructing access with that decisions.”

Would that it were so. There would still be some hope for the country’s morality.

Here’s an idea: Canada should cut death-doctor fees and put that money into suicide prevention services for those who want to be euthanized.