Both mother and disabled daughter in Canada, a nation that forged ahead into doctor-assisted suicide by court edict, are expressing shock over having been encouraged by a physician to take a lethal dose.
Candice Lewis, 25, has spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and chronic seizure disorder and was hospitalized in a St. Anthony, Newfoundland, hospital last November. Her mother, Sheila Elson, was sitting by her side until a doctor called her aside. CBC TV later talked with her about what the doctor said.
"Well, they told me she was dying," Elson shared. "The doctor wanted me to do an assisted suicide death on her, told me that it was legal in Canada now, and that he would like to help me with it. I just told him I wasn't interested in doing it. You know, to me it was [like them saying], 'We're going to kill your daughter.’ And he just told me I was being selfish."
CBC then asked the 25-year-old daughter, who could hear the conversation, what she thought about the doctor's statement.
"I didn't want going," Lewis replied.
Since Lewis is of age, it had to be her decision – not her mother's – to request a lethal dose. Under Canadian law, there has to be a reasonable expectation that a person is going to die, and fairly soon, perhaps within six months. The incident just described was nine months ago.
Lewis can communicate and has pursued her favorite hobby, painting. Elson went public because of the trauma inflicted on them and a desire that no one else be handled in that fashion. The hospital has offered her a chance to meet with her daughter's medical care team to rectify the situation.