The Danger of Euthanasia
By Alex Schadenberg, Ottawa CitizenRe: Time to rethink euthanasia, Dec. 29.
Marcel Lavoie implies that legalizing euthanasia would stop violent deaths in the elderly, such as the death of Doreen Flann by stabbing.
In many of these deaths, the perpetrator-husband also kills himself for a murder-suicide.
In Oregon, where assisted-suicide has been legal since 1997, murdersuicide has not been eliminated. Indeed, murder-suicide follows the national pattern.
Moreover, according to Donna Cohen, an expert on murder-suicide, the typical case involves a depressed, controlling husband who shoots his ill wife: "The wife does not want to die and is often shot in her sleep. If she was awake at the time, there are usually signs that she tried to defend herself."
If euthanasia were legal, the wife, not wanting to die, would still be a victim.
Our laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia are in place to protect vulnerable people. Assisted suicide and/or euthanasia should not be legalized in Canada.
[For more indepth information, see Dominique Bourget, MD, Pierre Gagne, MD, Laurie Whitehouse, PhD, "Domestic Homicide and Homicide-Suicide: The Older Offender," Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, September 2010 (Canadian study); Don Colburn, "Recent murder-suicides follow the national pattern," The Oregonian, November 17, 2009; and “Murder-suicides in Elderly Rise: Husbands commit most murder-suicides – without wives’ consent” ]
Alex Schadenberg, London
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition