They Call it “Mercy Killing.” No title could be further from the truth.
A 41 year old Canadian man who suffered from Amytrophic Lateral Disease (ALS), was killed by assisted suicide on August 6 in British Columbia. Sean Tagert’s illness had reduced his ability to independently move his body, speak, or eat. His mental functioning, however, remained fully intact. Tragically, Tagert’s doctors denied him the funding he needed to stay at home with his 11 year old son.
Tagert was first diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) 6 years ago. Since that time, his disease advanced to the state of his needing round-the-clock care. The most labor-intensive part of Tagert’s care involved specialized suctioning of his trachea site to prevent choking, and his need to be turned every half hour.
For Tagert, life was worth living for the love of his 11 year old son, Aidan, of whom he had partial custody. Said Tagert, “My boy is everything to me.” As his disease progressed aggressively, Tagert struggled heroically to piece together his own at-home-care in order to be close to Aidan. He invested all he owned in his care and raised funds online to purchase the expensive saliva-suction machine he required. Sadly, the one part of his care Tagert could not secure was round-the-clock care.
While Tagert’s doctors called for 24 hour care, the local Vancougar Coastal Health found it within their budget to cover only 20 hours a day. Mr. Tagert was asked to pick up the tab for his life and breath-$263.50 a day.
“They didn’t even respond… Welcome to the Great Canadian Healthcare System.”
Recently, Mr. Tagert went on social media to describe a home visit he received from the local health officials who explained to him the inconvenient expense he had become. During this visit Tagert learned officials were cutting funding for his already inadequate care hours.
Although Tagert was offered full-time residential care, he considered this option to to be a “death sentence” as the only options close to his son would have offered vastly inferior care he felt would have hastened his death. Since Canada supports euthanasia for any reason, Mr. Tagert’s life-plan changed to a death plan:
“So last Friday I officially submitted my medically assisted death paperwork, with lawyers and doctors, everything is in proper order. It’s been a month since I submitted my appeal to the Vancouver Coastal Health patient care quality department. They didn’t even respond… Welcome to the great Canadian healthcare system.”
This is the inevitable result of a culture that teaches its citizens the virtues of dying. In Canada, where medicine is socialized, the most chilling euthanasia laws guide end-of-life decisions. Even those with no terminal illness or patients suffering from severe depression may legally request a medically-assisted suicide.
This leaves the weak, the elderly, helpless and supposedly ‘unwanted’ among us prey to medical advice and dehumanizing pressure to no longer “be a burden.” Tragically, such scenarios are becoming more and more commonplace. Last year alone over 3,000 Canadians were killed by their physicians.
Responding to Tagert’s suicide, one observer on PJ media, John Ellis, wrote that a single-payer health care system “will always sink to the lowest common denominator, removing choice.”
“If death is more efficient for the system, then death it will be,” he observed. “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.”
In other words, this is what happens when we allow a government to act like a god. Sean Tagert wanted desperately to be cared for at home with the son he loved. His government’s deified healthcare system found the price beyond their budget and offered a “safe,” legal invitation to die.
As Christians who love the Giver of Life and see His image on this man, we mourn this merciless response to his suffering. God spare our own nation from this wicked trend.