A woman who sought safe haven at a hospital in Canada is claiming the medical staff offered her physician-assisted suicide after she disclosed her struggle with suicidal ideation.
The interaction, she said, left her feeling “worthless.”
Kathrin Mentler, 37, told The Christian Institute she went to Vancouver General Hospital’s Access and Assessment Centre in June, in hopes of finding protection from her intrusive suicidal thoughts.
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She was promptly informed by hospital staff there were no beds available for her and she should expect an extended wait before being seen by a psychiatrist in an outpatient capacity. Soon thereafter, a clinician asked Mentler if she had considered the country’s euthanasia program, MAID, which stands for “Medical Assistance in Dying.”
The hospital employee, the woman claimed, told her about experiencing “relief” in the wake of the death of another patient struggling with mental illness and suicidal ideation.
“That made me feel like my life was worthless or a problem that could be solved if I chose MAID,” said Mentler, later noting she fights against the suicidal thoughts she has and is committed to continuing her life. “I live with chronic suicidal thoughts but that doesn’t mean I never feel joy in my life.”
In a statement to The Christian Institute, the Vancouver hospital apologized “for any distress caused” by the clinician’s suggestion to Mentler. The medical center further claimed the option of euthanasia was presented as a way to determine whether the woman was at risk of self-harm.
Mentler, though, isn’t convinced that’s the truth.
“MAID for mental health is not legal yet,” she explained, “so giving someone the specifics of the process seems wrong. How can this be standard procedure for suicide crisis intervention?”
In 2022, the Canadian government expanded its MAID program to include non-life-threatening physical disabilities. The program was expected to extend to people suffering with mental disabilities — such as severe depression — but that has been temporarily delayed until 2024, according to CBC News.
“It is clear more time is needed to get this right,” said Justice Minister David Lametti. “The proposed one-year expansion is necessary to ensure that we move forward on this sensitive and complex issue in a prudent and measured way.”
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