Canadian man says he asked for home care, was offered assisted suicide

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A Canadian man suffering from an incurable disease claims that despite asking for home care, the medical team at an Ontario hospital would offer him only medically assisted suicide.

Roger Foley, a 42-year-old from Ontario, has cerebellar ataxia, a rare disorder that limits his neurological abilities, restricting mobility in his arms, legs, as well as the performance of other daily tasks.

Earlier this year, Foley filed a lawsuit against London Health Sciences Centre – where he has been bedridden for over two years – as well as the Canadian government and numerous health agencies.

Foley claims that he has repeatedly asked for self-directed home care, but his requests have been denied. Government-directed home care has left him with injuries and food poisoning, he says.

Recently, Foley provided Canada’s CTV News with two separate audio recordings, in which medical personnel appear to offer him assisted suicide.

“It is the real truth of what is going on in Canada regarding so many assisted deaths without appropriate safeguards, in combination with the lack of necessary care that is not being provided to persons who are suffering,” he told CTV News.

In the first recording from September 2017, a medical worker is heard telling Foley that he will be charged some $1,500 a day if he stays at the hospital.

Foley labels the attempt as illegal coercion and says his preferences have already been violated. He asks what the plan is for him moving forward.
“Roger, this is not my show,” the man responds. “I told you my piece of this was to talk to you about if you had interest in assisted dying.”

In the other audio recording, reportedly from January 2018, a medical worker is heard asking Foley if he would like to pursue assisted suicide and whether he has had thoughts of self-harm. Foley says he feels like he wants to end his life because of his experience at the hospital, but that if he were given self-directed home care, he would “be fine.”

“You can just apply to get assisted, if you wanted to end your life, you know what I mean?” the medical worker says. “You don’t have to do it in some dramatic manner, you can just apply.”

“Well, they already presented the outcome option to me, but it’s like, Why force me to end my life?” says Foley.

The worker quickly denies this, stating he does not want Foley to be sitting in the hospital considering suicide, but cites these same suicidal feelings as reasons for looking into assisted dying.  

“Oh, no, no, no, I’m saying if you feel that way…You know what I mean?” the medical worker says. “I’m saying I don’t want you to be in here and wanting to take your life.”

More than 3,700 people have died via assisted suicide between the time the practice was legalized in June 2016 and the end of 2017, according to government numbers.

Foley told CTV News that he wants to speak up now so that the public can know “the real truth before it is too late for my voice to be heard.”

“I have not received the care that I need to relieve my suffering and have only been offered assisted dying. I have many severe disabilities and I am fully dependent. With the remaining time I have left, I want to live with dignity and live as independently as possible.”

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