An armed forces veteran calling in to seek help for his PTSD and traumatic brain injury was offered medical assistance in dying (MAID), or euthanasia, by a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) employee.
According to Global News, a VAC agent brought up MAID unprompted in the conversation after the veteran called in seeking assistance. The combat veteran never raised the issue and was not seeking death as a solution to his problems. VAC confirmed to Global News that the conversation took place.
Sources close to the veteran say he and his family felt betrayed by VAC, which is meant to help veterans. The veteran was apparently seeking services after he suffered an injury while serving.
VAC said in a statement that they are aware of an incident "where medical assistance in dying was discussed inappropriately."
“VAC deeply regrets what transpired,” the statement says, adding "appropriate administrative action will be taken."
VAC did not answer how often MAID is offered to veterans, or what guidance employees have been given about offering MAID.
MAID has been legal in Canada since 2016, with changes made in 2021 that broadened who could request to be put down. Those with mental disorders can receive MAID starting in March 2023.
VAC said in a statement “Providing advice pertaining to medical assistance in dying is not a VAC service, "and that the agency's employees “have no mandate or role to recommend medical assistance in dying to veteran clients."
The department did say that it may offer assistance to veteran clients and their families "after the veteran has already made the decision to pursue an assisted death with their primary care provider," Global News writes.
A 2017 VAC study showed that veterans have a higher risk of suicide compared to the average population.
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