Canada harvests more organs from euthanized patients than any other nation in the world

The Canadian Institute for Health Information states that this new means of acquiring organs now accounts for six percent of all transplants from the deceased in Canada in 2021.

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Canada is responsible for more organ transplants from its medical assistance in dying (MAiD) program than any other country in the world that offers this practice, according to a study published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

This study is the first time that organ transplants from assisted suicide patients are being analyzed, as the practice of euthanizing members of the population increases. The data for this study was gathered in 2021 and published last year.



"We saw everyone is working in different directions. And then we said 'OK, well, let's start an international (discussion) of all the countries involved,'" Dr. Johannes Mulder, one of the authors of the study and a MAiD provider in the Netherlands, told CTV News.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information states that this new means of acquiring organs now accounts for six percent of all transplants from the deceased in Canada in 2021.

Between 2016 – when MAiD became legal in Canada – and 2021, more than half of the world's organ transplants from MAiD patients were performed by Doctors in Canada.

Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, told CTV News that he believes Canada's strong showing on this front is a win-win.

"So I say, 'Good on us.' It’s a wonderful opportunity for someone facing death to make something significant out of the end of their life," Schafer said. 

Mulder said that one of the concerns he has that led to this study is that patients might be pressured into choosing MAiD to increase the availability of organ donors. 

Trudo Lemmens, a professor in health law and policy at the University of Toronto, shared similar concerns, pointing to statistics that show that more than a third of Canadians who took MAiD expressed that they were "a burden on family, friends or caregivers."

"I am concerned that people who struggle with a lack of self-esteem and self-worth may be pushed to see this as an opportunity to mean something," he told CTV News.

The government has come under fire recently for the way that MAiD is offered.

Last year, there were multiple cases of Canadian veterans, including one Paralympian, having MAiD suggested to them as an alternative to other treatments.

A man in Ontario applied for MAiD last year because he was about to lose his house and stated he would rather be dead than homeless.


 
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