What would you do , Man assists wife in assisted suicide in switzerland !!!
June 27, 2007 9:17pm CST
The husband of a Windsor woman who died at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland this month says he doesn’t fear a police investigation into the matter and doesn’t expect charges to be laid against him./p The RCMP’s Southwest Nova major crime unit said Tuesday it has opened a file into the death of Elizabeth MacDonald, who died June 8 in her husband Eric’s arms after taking barbiturates at the Dignitas clinic. She suffered from an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis that left her in a wheelchair and had begun to paralyze her throat. RCMP said they are looking to see if there are provisions of the Criminal Code that may apply. “(Investigators) will have to look at it and see if charges would stand," Const. Les Kakonyi said. He said police received a complaint from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Ontario. Mr. MacDonald said he has done nothing illegal and that his wife made the decision and arrangements to end her life. “She asked me to accompany her. It was the last loving thing I could do for her." He said he went along because she asked him to, but “I don’t think I’ve done anything contrary to the law in Canada." He called the coalition “a bunch of busybodies." He said RCMP contacted him Tuesday afternoon to tell him they wanted to interview him. He said he agreed to speak with investigators later this week. “I don’t know what the grounds are for them to be involved," he said. “But that’s fine, I have no problem with (talking to them)." He said he doesn’t plan to hire a lawyer or have one go to the interview with him. Under Swiss law, physicians can help someone commit suicide as long as they do so for unselfish reasons. Canadian law states that anyone who counsels a person to commit suicide or aids or abets a person to commit suicide is guilty of an indictable offence and faces a prison term of up to 14 years. Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said he’s pleased police will investigate. “That’s exactly what we requested," he said from London, Ont. “This is a very serious thing to aid suicide, to abet or to counsel suicide. To aid suicide would mean that he’s provided either the means to do so or he somehow made it possible." He said providing information isn’t considered assistance, “but to counsel somebody does break the law." In a previous investigation involving a Barrie psychiatrist who went to Switzerland with a woman who committed suicide, the doctor’s defence was that he merely accompanied the woman and didn’t help her. “There was no proof otherwise," said Mr. Schadenberg, who noted the psychiatrist was not found guilty. He referred further legal questions to Toronto lawyer Hugh Scher, who represents the coalition. Mr. Scher said the courts have clearly defined counselling, abetting or assisting suicide. “Basically, what it means is it involves counselling in the sense that you’re advising as to and providing the means by which to give effect to the taking of a life through assisted suicide." He said “it may include" helping someone get to a country in which assisted suicide is legal. “It may also include other aspects of it. For example, engaging in discussions here in Canada or alternatively it may include putting in place the steps, having the necessary communications with medical practitioners or others that may be involved in assisting suicide." Asked if driving someone to the airport is assistance, he said: “That’s a legal determination. It’s done on a caseby- case basis." Ruth von Fuchs, president of the Right to Die Society in Toronto, said she’s not surprised the RCMP are investigating. “They err on the side of caution," she said. “That’s their style and approach." But she doesn’t expect they’ll be able to do much with what they find. “Many police files are open-ended but there are no charges laid," she said, adding that that also holds true for assisted suicide cases. She said she hasn’t spoken to Mr. MacDonald, but “I would like to talk to him and make him an honorary life member" for mentioning the society in his wife’s obituary as a recipient of memorial donations. The society provides information and helps people who may find themselves in legal trouble. A couple of years ago, it spent $250,000 for the defence of a West Coast woman who was present when two companions ended their lives. Mr. MacDonald, a retired Anglican minister, said the fact his wife had to go to Switzerland to fulfil her wishes means the Canadian government has robbed him of time he could have spent with her. He said she could have lived several months longer if she hadn’t worried about becoming unable to travel. “I’m angry because I think she’d still be with me if it hadn’t been for the antiquated laws of our country," he said. “She might have lived a few months more had they given up this insane idea that everybody has a duty to go on and die (in) some God-appointed fashion. “They’re partly responsible for making it necessary for Elizabeth to fly half a world away in order to do something which should be available right here at home." Mr. MacDonald laughed at the suggestion he could have forced his wife into anything. "Anyone who thinks that someone could influence Elizabeth obviously didn’t know Elizabeth." Last year, she overdosed on sleeping pills but survived her suicide attempt, he said. “I told her that if that’s really what she wanted, then she could choose all the dates and I would accompany her on the way." According to its website, Dignitas, based in Zurich, was founded on May 17, 1998, and had helped 619 people end their lives by last September. With Laura Fraser
2 people like this
• United States
28 Jun 07
I believe that a person should be allowed to decide if they want to suffer through their illness or not. A doctor should be able to help his patient end their misery if he wants to. Why is it a government issue if someone wants to die with some dignity left? What business is it of other people who aren't involved on a personal level? Is it so hard to respect someone else wishes? Mr MacDonald did nothing wrong in my eyes. He did what a good husband is suppose to do.
1 Jul 07
Yes I do the same as you , it seems nothings enough when it comes to money ,I know it cost money to find these cures , but for the most part I believe these cures are already out there ... That makes me sick I mean we are part of what keeps the world going , but its up to the givernment when thses cures are made public , but why would they make them public and lose all that money filling their pockets ... I`m sorry I just don`t understand that our Goverments have that right , the government wouldn`t be there if it weren`t for their Public , they don`t care though as long as their filling their pockets .... Thank-you and keep writing your politions and I will do the same , maybe one day when one of their loved ones get sick they`ll have to make these cures public ... May God Forbid ... Thanks again ...
• United Kingdom
29 Jun 07
Well I really do not know what to say to this to be honest I mean if someone wants to go that bad for whatever Reason then why stop them But I do not understand if you love a Person so much that you can help this Person do it, Ok they say it is because of Love but I don't think I could ever help someone that I love so much do this
• United Kingdom
1 Jul 07
Sweetie I am not condeming what the Man did I just do not know if I could do it unless I was in that position that is what I was saying Remember my life changed drastically 6 years ago and I still need medication to deal with it If sometimes you could see me, or go into my thoughts you might be shocked So, Darling I am all the way behind you there I just don't know what I would do in that situation I really don't And no I have not taken anything to heart Love and hugs to you