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Jennyfer’s Story: Better Off Dead

Jennyfer’s Story: Better Off Dead

Every day doctors kill about 40 Canadians. The government euphemism for this is “Medical Assistance in Dying”. Under Canada’s euthanasia legislation MAiD is open to anyone who is experiencing “unbearable physical or mental suffering from your illness, disease, disability or state of decline that cannot be relieved under conditions that you consider acceptable”.

A Vancouver woman named Jennyfer Hatch died on October 23 at the hands of a MAiD doctor. She was suffering from a rare disease, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, which gave her constant pain. There is no cure for EDS; the best doctors can do is manage the symptoms and check for complications.

Before she died, Jennyfer was the protagonist of a very artistic short film, “The Most Beautiful Exit”, about the hard “beauty” of dying through MAiD. It was part of a marketing campaign for a Quebec-based upscale fashion chain, La Maison Simons. As we reported last month, the “the glittering video can’t quite hide the ghoulish side of this stunt”.

The film – which went viral on YouTube — did not disclose Jennyfer’s identity. But last week CTVNews named her and explained why she chose to die.

Because the Canadian health system failed her.

Speaking at a memorial service organised by Vancouver Unitarians, her friend Tama Recker said tearfully: “She was such a fierce advocate for her own health and she was let down over and over and over again.”

“What she hoped that it would do is push the envelope that people could understand that it was her choice,” Ms Recker later told CTVNews. “Our (health-care) system is very broken and part of what Jennyfer wanted to do is get people talking.”

In fact, Jennyfer wanted to live. Back in June, she spoke to CTVNews under a pseudonym. This is how she described her predicament.

“I thought, ‘Goodness, I feel like I’m falling through the cracks so if I’m not able to access health care am I then able to access death care?’ And that’s what led me to look into MAID and I applied last year”. She went on to say that she had hoped to access palliative care or other means of support. However, she said, her “suffering was validated to the extent of being approved for MAID, but no additional resource has opened up.”

Jennyfer was, by the way, well connected. She worked with Lumara, an organisation which provided grief and bereavement counselling. If she could not squeeze compassionate support out of the health bureaucracy, what chance do others have?

A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit described Vancouver as the fifth most livable city in the world. In health care it had a perfect score. The Economist obviously didn’t ask Jennyfer.

Jennyfer was a chronically ill Canadian woman who was intelligent and well-connected and lived in a city which boasts some of the best health care in the world.

But she still felt compelled to choose euthanasia.

More and more Jennyfers are becoming eligible for euthanasia in Canada. Like her, they don’t need to be in unbearable pain. Like her, their illness need not be terminal. And last year a bill permitting people with mental illness to request euthanasia sailed through parliament.

What they were really voting for is a system which tells chronically ill patients that they are better off dead. I don’t know how Canadian parliamentarians can bear to look at themselves in the mirror.

This article is republished courtesy of MercatorNet.

Image credit: Flickr-ZaldyImg, CC BY 2.0



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  • Avatar
    Dan Riser
    December 13, 2022, 1:21 am

    The author states that Canadian politicians can look in the mirror. Well it started with abortion and that same dark heart with its evil ways doesnt see a human being in that womb. We have had over 67 million of those deaths. How can America look in the mirror. Better yet how will our nation act when we face the Creator of all life and have to give an explanation as why did we not do something about it. Where is the church? Where are all those that claim Christ.

  • Avatar
    December 15, 2022, 3:03 pm

    I have Ehlers–Danlos syndrome which is not so much a "disease" as a genetic condition with which one is born and is therefore ever present and chronic.

    Tragic to consider suicide rather than life with family, friends, meaningful work whether volunteer or paid (thankful for computers and working for home!), and so much more that life has to offer.

    I have found no help from "western" medicine other than to manage pain which is still Very important to people in chronic pain and often severe pain.

    I have found significant improvement through specific supplements, esp. methylated B12, and high beef protein intake (Daily beef), complete abstinence from Any soy (even trace amounts) and canola oil (even trace amounts like pan spray) and by eating a gluten free and very low gluten free grains diet. Others may find slight variances of what will help them but gluten free (I didn’t notice significant improvements until about weeks 6-8 of gluten free), high quality protein/red meat, quality dairy and soy/canola oil free (no exceptions) will be a HUGE help.

    Quality chiropractic to manage the pain from contact joint displacement is a must for me. Herbal teas, essential oils, supplements and a diet that is proper for me (with pain being the motivator to stick with a strict diet!) all help with the pain and lessen the episodes of pain as well as decrease their intensity. Also, I have less of the chronic discomfort/low grade pain.

    Supplements include Vitamin B, esp the special B12, anti oxidants, Vit D & Vit C.

    Life still isn’t perfect for me. I have my bed in front of a window (unusual placement!) so when on bed rest from pain, etc., I see the sunrise, the birds at the bird feeder, etc. I keep a list of movies for those times. Audio books as a I lay flat in bed. I have found very meaningful volunteer work and community work from my lap top that I can do even when not feel great.

    Please keep trying, think outside the box and work on finding solutions to live.


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