Doctors harvesting organs from assisted suicides creates new pressure on patients to opt-in

Doctors have already harvested organs from dozens of Canadians who underwent medically assisted death, a practice supporters say expands the pool of desperately needed organs, but ethicists worry could make it harder for euthanasia patients to voice a last-minute change of heart.

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“This is a theoretical possibility,” says Jennifer Chandler, a professor in the centre for health law, policy and ethics at the University of Ottawa. “Imagine a situation where the work up is done — people have gone out and done the medical tests and found the recipients and set everything up. And then you change your mind.

“One wonders if perhaps that might create pressure to continue with the MAID,” Chandler said. “It would be very important in these scenarios to make it very clear to people that they can change their mind at any time — that someone shouldn’t stick with MAID just because they feel an obligation, having set the process in motion.”

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