Recently, a London Ontario man named Roger Foley, released the recordings of conversations that he had with two staff members of a London hospital. Throughout these recordings you can hear the staff members repeatedly promoting the now legal “treatment option” of medically assisted death to Foley, despite his desire to live. 

Foley, who has spent over two years in a London hospital, wants the ability to access self-directed healthcare in order to better deal with the degenerative neurological disability that he lives with.However, he has been unable to access that option to this point. As a result, Foley is stuck in the hospital and is extremely frustrated with the fact that a fully competent person like himself, can not seem to self-direct his own care in order to meet his needs. 

In one of the recorded conversations, Foley is asked by a hospital staff member if he is thinking about committing suicide. The man then encourages him to access medically assisted death if he wants it, instead of possibly committing suicide. This is something that is very troubling to me because of both: the increased rate of suicide in our society and our recognition as a society surrounding the subject of mental health.  To somehow offer the treatment option of medically assisted death to a person as an alternative to suicide is mind-boggling. Even though the end points of unassisted and assisted suicide are both the same, the difference between them is that you have a medical professional, who is supposed to be involved in healing, involved in the destruction of a life. 

Besides the issues already discussed, another problem that Roger is facing is the fact that he will be billed $1800 per day if he decides to stay in the hospital instead of accessing the state-provided home care that has failed to meet his needs in the past.

It is clear that both the financial aspect of the situation and the fact that Roger is being counselled to access assisted suicide are putting external pressure on him to possibly commit his death with the aid of a doctor., it is important to point out that Bill C 14, states that any request for assisted death must not be made under external pressure. 

Roger’s story is simply a manifestation of a culture that does not view human life as sacred and instead deduces a person's value based on an ability and economic algorithm. The question that I leave for you is this: in a society that speaks about the principles of diversity and equality more than a broken record, how do we reconcile the fact that we measure human value based on ability and economic factors instead of the fact that we are human?