The well-known platitude “but for the grace of God go I” played in my brain while reading the tragic story of a disabled Canadian father who chose to end his own life, leaving behind an 11-year-old son. It would be easy to judge Sean Tagert, who was diagnosed with ALS six years ago. Do I believe he made the wrong choice? Sure. But I wasn’t the one who was struggling to pay for my health care after losing my ability to breathe on my own or feed myself. I’m not the one living under Canada’s health care system that was more than happy to pay for my suicide but not the care I needed. So, yes, I disagree with Tagert’s “choice” and mourn the loss of his life, but I blame Canada and their “touted” socialized medicine.
Sean was diagnosed with ALS in March 2013. For years he endured the steady deterioration of his abilities, until suffering cardiac arrest in late Oct. 2017. He was resuscitated and placed on a ventilator, and lived since then on life support, completely immobile, communicating only via an eye-tracking computer setup. Finally, with his health rapidly deteriorating, Sean opted for a medically assisted death.
The post goes on to point the finger in the direction of the government and the mandated health care:
Ensuring consistent care was a constant struggle and source of stress for Sean as a patient. While he succeeded, with the help of many, in piecing together a suitable care facility in his own home (including an expensive saliva-suction machine, needed to prevent him from choking, obtained with the help of donations raised online), gaining the 24-hour care he required was extremely difficult, especially as the provincial government refused to fully fund home care. The few institutional options on hand, Sean pointed out, would have offered vastly inferior care while separating him from his family, and likely would have hastened his death. We would ask, on Sean’s behalf, that the government recognize the serious problems in its treatment of ALS patients and their families, and find real solutions for those already suffering unimaginably.
According to CBC:
Vancouver Coastal Health offered him 15.5 hours of home care under the Choice in Supports for Independent Living program but not the 24-hour care he needed. Tagert was later offered as much as 20 hours per day, which his doctor said was still not enough. Relocation was not an option as that would have taken him away from his son, of whom he had partial custody.
A single-payer health care system will always sink to the lowest common denominator, removing choice. If death is more efficient for the system, than death it will be. And that’s on top of the gaps in medical care that those with socialized medicine suffer. Instead of finding ways to serve Tagert and his son, the Canadian health care system found it more convenient to kill him. Now a young boy has lost his father sooner than necessary. This is the medical future promised by the Democrats.