The following letter is from the chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of British Columbia ( http://www.epcbc.ca/). He is also a physician.
Patrick Stewart concedes that legalizing assisted suicide
would be a problem if “you can bump off your old granny.” [“Spare the
dying . . .,” Oct. 15]. This one of the major reasons why assisted
suicide must not be legalized in Canada. As a Vancouver family
doctor I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family
members and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is
typical. To make it worse, the victims protect the perpetrators. In
one case, an older woman knew that her son was robbing her blind and
lied to protect him. Why? Family loyalty, shame, and fear that
confronting the abuser will cost love and care.
The result: elder abuse is often a hidden and unreported
situation. Indeed, a 2008 government poll found that “96% of
Canadians think most of the abuse experienced by adults is hidden or
Under current law, abusers take their victims to the bank and to
the lawyer for a new will. With legal assisted suicide, the next
stop would be the doctor’s office for a lethal prescription. How
exactly are we going to detect the victimization when we can’t do it now?
Will Johnston MD
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC