What is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the act of intentionally, knowingly and directly causing the death of a patient. If someone other than the person who dies performs the last act, euthanasia has occurred. Euthanasia is sometimes called aid-in-dying, mercy killing, or death with dignity.
What is Assisted Suicide?
Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally, knowingly and directly providing the means of death to another person so that the person can use that means to commit suicide. If the person who dies performs the last act, assisted suicide has occurred.
For example, if a doctor writes a prescription for an intentional overdose of drugs for a patient to use to commit suicide and if the patient who dies performs the last act (the act of swallowing), assisted suicide has taken place.
Assisted-suicide is sometimes called aid-in-dying, death with dignity, or physician-assisted death
Neither consent nor motive changes the reality that both assisted suicide and euthanasia involve killing another human being. Killing the patient should never be the treatment for suffering.
"There is an essential difference between causing one to die, which is euthanasia, helping one to die, which would be assisted suicide, and allowing natural death to occur, which I referred to as withholding or withdrawing treatment. Frequently, there is confusion regarding the third category, that is, allowing natural death to occur when death is inevitable, and there is no clinical or ethical reason to intervene. This is not euthanasia. It is both morally and ethically acceptable and it should continue to be legally acceptable."
Dr. Paul V. Adams of Manitoba Physicians for Life, Witness to the Special Senate Committee, 1995
What is the law in Canada concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide?
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide were legalized in Canada in June of 2016 following a Supreme Court decision the previous year. Learn more about euthanasia in Canada.
Help is Available
Are you or someone you know being pressured to choose assisted suicide? Are you concerned about the care a loved one is receiving? Do you need support through a chronic care or end-of-life journey?
Compassionate Community Care is a confidential and free service that provides care planning, patient advocacy, education, and help with issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide. They can help you find answers to questions about end-of-life concerns, navigate the health care system, and find the educational and support resources you deserve.
Call Compassionate Community Care toll-free (1-855-675-8749) or visit their website.