CW: Assisted Suicide
A quadriplegic woman in Bowmanville, Ontario, applied for medical assistance in dying (MAiD), arguing it is easier to obtain than the support services she requires to live. Rose Finlay, is a wheelchair user. She has been a quadriplegic since a diving accident when she was 17 years old. For years, she has lived a full life.
However, she says that she has been without the consistent daily assistance she requires for the past year. Without that care, which includes help with activities of daily living, she deals with recurring urinary tract and kidney infections.
Previously, the single mother of three sons supported her family through disability advocacy work through her company, Inclusive Solutions. This allowed her to hire her own caregivers.
Her caregivers left approximately a year ago. As a result her health began to deteriorate. She began experiencing urinary tract infections and kidney infections.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that infiltrates the otherwise sterile urinary system and is one of the most frequent bacterial infections worldwide. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) include infections of the urethra (urethritis), bladder (cystitis), ureters (ureteritis), and kidney (pyelonephritis).
Finlay applied for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) since she had no other way to earn money and was informed over the phone that it would take at least six to eight months for her application to be approved. While waiting to hear about ODSP and facing the prospect that her reoccurring infections may lead to severe illness, including sepsis, Finlay decided to apply for MAiD in March.
Finlay hopes to move her family to Toronto. In Toronto, she hopes that she will have access to more resources such as Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and the Centre for Independent Living. If the move is successful, Finlay hopes to resume working, and not be dependent on ODSP which she says wouldn’t pay all of her family’s bills.
Disabled people should be able to have a livable income. Keeping disabled people in poverty is antiquated. It should not be easier for disabled people to die than to live. Instead, disabled people are dying because of a broken system.
Barber, Amelia E., et al. ‘Urinary Tract Infections: Current and Emerging Management Strategies’. Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 57, no. 5, Sept. 2013, pp. 719–724, https://doi.org10.1093/cid/cit284.
Cheese, Tyler. “Quadriplegic Ontario Woman Considers Medically Assisted Dying Because of Long ODSP Wait Times .” CBC News, 22 June 2023, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rose-finlay-medically-assisted-dying-odsp-1.6868917.