A 41-year-old father with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was forced into assisted suicide in Powell River, Canada, on Aug. 6, because the federal government refused to provide the resources necessary for him to remain at home so he could see his son on weekends.
Sean Tagert, an American living in Canada, was diagnosed with ALS in 2013, says the Canadian media CBC.
“For years he endured the steady deterioration of his abilities, until suffering cardiac arrest in late Oct. 2017,” the family explains in a post on Sean’s Facebook profile.
After this incident, Sean was resuscitated and placed on a ventilator, since then he lived on life support, completely immobile and communicating only via an eye-tracking computer setup.
His illness prevented him from walking, breathing on his own, eating, and talking, so he needed 24-hour care at home and Sean invested all of his savings in this care.
The young father had outfitted his home for proper treatment, including an expensive saliva-suction machine needed to prevent him from choking.
But Canadian health services only covered 20 hours a day, which was not enough to ensure his survival, according to his doctor.
The only alternative offered by the Canadian government was to be placed in a specialized center in Vancouver, but that would have meant not being able to see his son Aidan on weekends as agreed with his ex-wife, with whom he shared custody of the child.
“It would be a death sentence,” Sean Tagert told CBC last year.
Tagert said he needed an additional $263.50 per day to stay in his home, so he asked Vancouver Coastal Health for increased funding to ensure he could continue to live in Powell River.
“Ensuring consistent care was a constant struggle and source of stress for Sean as a patient,” the Facebook post explained.
“The few institutional options on hand, Sean pointed out, would have offered vastly inferior care while separating him from his family, and likely would have hastened his death,” the family said in the Facebook post.
“Above all else Sean was devoted to his son, Aidan,” the post says. “Sean often said that Aidan was his reason for living, and had a close relationship with him right to the end.”
Unable to access the care that would have allowed him to continue living close to his son, he finally ran out of options and was euthanized on Aug. 6.
An official Canadian government report has revealed that more than 1 percent of the deaths that occurred in Canada in 2018 were due to euthanasia.
The Fourth Interim Report on Medical Assistance In Dying In Canada, published this month by Health Canada, states that, from January to October 2018, a total of 2,613 people in Canada received “medical assistance to die,” representing 1.12% of all deaths in the country.
“At a time when our priority should be to foster a culture of love and improve resources for those who suffer and face death, assisted suicide takes us down a dark path,” says Cardinal Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto according to Aciprensa.