“Baby M”, End of Life Policy, and the Stollery Children’s Hospital

Some of you may be aware of the matter of “Baby M”, involving a 2-year-old child who was admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 25, 2012. She required a ventilator for life support. Despite the parents’ opposition to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, which incorporated their religious beliefs, the Court of Queen’s Bench found that it was in the child’s best interests to terminate life support and, on September 14, 2012, ordered the withdrawal of the ventilator. The Court held that there is a general notion in society that a life dependent upon machines and without awareness is not in the best interests of any patient. On September 19, 2012, a three member panel of the Court of Appeal held that there was no error in principle in the Queen’s Bench decision and the appeal was dismissed. On September 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the parents’ application for a further stay. “Baby M’s” ventilator was removed, she suffocated, and died.

 
The parents are appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada to have Canada’s highest court decide important issues regarding termination of life-sustaining medical treatment. This decision of the lower courts and, if leave is granted, the ultimate decision of the Supreme Court of Canada will decide the process that will be used and who will make decisions to terminate life support.

These decisions of the Alberta Courts and how they will be followed in the future may ultimately affect individuals in your organization or your community. Should you believe that you, your organization, or community have a position on these life and death issues that should be heard and considered Continue reading

Canadian Tragedy Unfolding: The Incident of Ayn van Dyk

The following is another Canadian tragedy unfolding within our neighbouring Province of British Columbia, the case of Ayn van Dyk:

 

http://www.care2.com/causes/autistic-girl-ayn-van-dyk-removed-from-her-home-since-june-16.html

 

This incident is transpiring against my good friend, Derek Hoare and his family. Derek Hoare, the father of 3 children, has become the target of Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD.) Derek is a single father of a neurotypical child and 2 children with Autism. In guise of “helping” alleviate stress on the family, the youngest child, Ayn van Dyk, was captured by ministry representatives from her school when the father refused to surrender guardianship. Ayn was taken, restrained, placed on sedating drugs and sent to foster care where she has been languishing in the System for months awaiting the Court to hear circumstances.

 

No allegations of abuse or neglect are present in the case. Rather, Derek is lauded as a wonderful, extremely well-versed man whose love and concern for his children is evident to all, including the ministry themselves!

 

In the Spring of 2011, Ayn, while playing – supervised – with her siblings in the yard, manipulated a play structure and wandered into a neighbour’s yard. Concerned for Ayn’s safety, dad called upon police to assist in search; as any competent parent would do. Ayn was located safe and all seemed to be well. However, MCFD appeared shortly afterwards demanding Ayn receive psychiatric evaluation despite explanations that the behavior is in keeping with children on the Autism Spectrum. A hospital confirmed that the child was not psychotic, simply a little girl with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder.) However, officials have dug in their feet, refusing to return Ayn home to her loving family. It is not only Ayn who is suffering, but also her 2 brothers whom adore their young sister.

 

This case is a blatant example of the lack of understanding authorities have for persons with developmental diversity. Although Eugenic practice is said to have ceased in Canada, it remains a blemish on our nation. Individuals like Ayn, with developmental differences, used to be locked away and isolated in institutions and Society, when educated, said, no more! However, children with disabilities continue to be targeted with removal from loving families and instead of institutions, placed into government foster placements. Family units are being destroyed and children ripped from loving homes as experts pretend that they comprehend the unique needs of children who are not ever going to fit into “cookie-cutter” moulds. Supporting natural families with services and funding directly proves the most cost-effective, viable and humane solution.

 

This case sits very close to my heart because my child, too, was taken from our home into “care” – as directed by ministry representatives – the sole method of attaining required service supports that would offer “an opportunity at life” for anticipated severe needs. Only, our daughter was failed: Samantha Martin died at age 13 from a sudden heart attack. She had been subject to 7 broken limbs while in residence of a medical foster placement and denied intervention for a long-standing seizure disorder. I do not want what happened to my child to ever strike another little being. Having spent time with the Hoare – van Dyk family, I am particularly distressed that despite the lessons that Samantha’s life disclosed and should be impacting subsequent cases like Ayn’s, foreboding circumstances continue to transpire. Little Ayn has escaped her foster placement twice as she tries desperately to return to the only family she has ever known and loved. Somehow, officials fail to recognize this fact.

 

What will it take for authorities to remember that honouring the rights of the Child must be inclusive of all Children; those with disability too? Decisions are portrayed to be made in the best interests of the child and in a timely manner, yet in no uncertain terms have these premises been adhered to.

 

Canadians should be alarmed that this situation is taking place. Autism is the most common form of any neurological disorder on the rise, with “one in 54 boys” identified with it according to report from the National Epidemiologic Database for the Study of Autism in Canada. Thus, all of us will be impacted by diversity in some form – whether it is through the birth of one’s own child directly, a grandchild, friend or acquaintance – and the situation that is transpiring with Ayn van Dyk could easily be YOUR fate too unless we collectively say, “No more!”

 

Velvet Martin, Protecting Canadian Children, Spokesperson http://www.protectingcanadianchildren.ca/ Tetrasomy 18p Canada, Administrator http://www.tetrasomy18p.ca/

“SAMANTHA’S LAW”

☻♥☻ /█\./█\ .||….||. In Celebration of the Importance of Life & Loving Memory of: Samantha Lauren Martin, June 4, 1993 – December 3, 2006.

 

“The Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program to have separate legislation from that of child protection services.” http://www.child.alberta.ca/home/527.cfm

Contemporary practices of sterilization in Australia

As a follow up to the post in the first link below, here is a list of further related links on those wanting to know more.  Thanks to a helpful anonymous reader of the What Sorts blog who provided most of the links below but who doesn’t wish to be identified.  Folks in Oz: let us know if you have more information, are undertaking action, whatever.

Forced sterilization and disability in Australia

From a “better babies” competition, 1913

 

A Senate committee was recently established in Australia to review existing law and social policy concerning the sterilization of people with disabilities.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/forced_sterilisation/info.htm

It seems that the inquiry is a response to public response (surprise? outrage?) to finding out that this practice continues in Australia under state and territorial legislation, and beyond it.

I suspect that the commission will find that Continue reading