Euthanasia brings many issues to the surface. One of these is the presumption of a person’s desire for it in the first place. Even under so called “voluntary” consent, the possibility for a person in no condition to understand a consent form let alone willingly “choose” euthanasia is vast.
Seeing the room for error even in this situation, we cannot, especially without prior discussion or consent, simply assume someone would want to be euthanized.
Stephan Bolton of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, is seeking confirmation from some authority that euthanizing his wife without her consent was the right thing to do:
Bolton drove the few minutes to the Queens RCMP detachment on the other side of Liverpool to tell police he had played a role in his terminally ill wife’s death last month.
But before he did that, Bolton telephoned The Chronicle Herald to explain that he wanted to go public to spur much-needed public debate about the issue of euthanasia.
“I don’t have an agenda. I have a guilty conscience,” he said.
And then he told this newspaper what he said he did.
It was Jan. 22.
His wife, 59, was suffering with Stage 4 breast cancer and in palliative care, with Bolton her primary caregiver.
One Liverpool resident who asked not to be named said it was well known in the community that Barbara was very ill and in great distress.
Stephan Bolton said his wife had, at most, a couple of months to live.
While she wasn’t in terrible pain, Bolton told The Herald his wife was very depressed. He said he gave her a lethal injection of two medications — morphine and Nozinan — and was taking the drugs to the detachment with him.
They had not discussed the possibility of euthanasia, he said, or did he ask Barbara if she wanted the lethal injections.