Every once in a while a newspaper article will jump out at you. On Feb. 2 in the Globe and Mail just such an article caught my attention. Beneath the headline called “How Do You Price Medical Aid in Dying”, we have a cold-blooded assessment of how much doctors are being paid to kill people. Let me take you through this chilling expense list: “For the provision of an assisted death by a family doctor Alberta pays $51.80 for 15 minutes; Quebec pays $41.65 for every 15 minutes; Manitoba pays $40 for every 15 minutes; and Saskatchewan pays $38.80 for every 15 minutes. If a doctor spent three hours start-to-finish on an assisted death – excluding the formal eligibility assessment – he or she could bill $621.60 in Alberta, $499.80 in Quebec, $480 in Manitoba and $465.60 in Saskatchewan. If doctors in those same four provinces billed for two hours, they could still earn more than $312.14 in every province but Saskatchewan, though not by much.”
What these numbers betray is a cynical calculation of how much executioners should be paid. Another telling quote is “Medically assisted death is something which, already, many physicians are anxious about,” Dr. Reggler said. “They recognize that it involves very intense work, emotional work. They are not going to want to provide medically assisted deaths if they know that not only will they have to do work that is much more difficult than routine office work, but that they will be compensated very poorly for it.”
We forget that in the midst of all the high-minded talk of assistance and caring, the stark truth is that doctors are killing their vulnerable patients and demanding more money for it.
One can’t help but think of the direct comparison of convicted killers in the United States being executed by lethal injection. In this same article the reporters speak of doctors “administering lethal injections”. Drug companies have refused to sell their lethal drugs to be used for state sponsored executions in the United States. Will these companies have the moral fiber to also refuse to have their drugs sold to our medical executioners? With all the access to information on the internet you wonder how much state-sponsored executioners get paid for each person they execute.
It is hard not to be cynical when you see the true face behind this facetious talk of compassion and care.
The fight isn’t over to restore protection for our vulnerable and helpless in the face of medical execution.
Father Thomas Lynch