Number of Canadians receiving medical assistance in dying on the rise

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      More Canadians are choosing to end their lives with medical assistance.

      Since the federal Liberal government introduced legislation legalizing physician-assisted suicide in 2016, the number of people choosing this way to go has been increasing.

      Statistics Canada indicates in a report Monday (January 10) that Health Canada reported 2,838 medically assisted deaths in 2017.

      The number rose to 4,478 in 2018.

      In 2019, there were 5,425 medically assisted deaths in Canada, which accounted for 1.9 percent of all deaths in the country.

      In 2020, this increased to 7,383 deaths, representing 2.4 percent of all deaths in Canada.

      On a year to year comparison, deaths from medically assisted dying or MAID rose 36 percent from 2019 to 2020.

      “The observed increases in medically assisted deaths are consistent with those seen internationally in jurisdictions where some form of assisted dying is legal, including the American states of Oregon and Washington, and the Netherlands,” Statistics Canada stated in the report.

      The agency also reported that cancer is the number one medical condition behind requests for MAID.

      Cancer represented 67.5 percent of all written requests for assistance in 2019 and 2020.

      Cardiovascular and chronic respiratory conditions were second and third with 12.4 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively.

      “Lung and colon cancer are the two most commonly reported cancer types for MAID recipients,” Statistics Canada reported.

      MAID applicants in 2019 and 2020 were on average 74.8 years old.

      Three-quarters or 75.5 percent of people who applied in 2019 and 2020 for the service “ultimately received MAID”, the agency noted.

      The Supreme Court of Canada in 2015 struck down the ban on euthanasia because it violates the charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.