An Ontario man suffering from an incurable neurological disease has provided CTV News with audio recordings that he says are proof that hospital staff offered him medically assisted death, despite his repeated requests to live at home.
Roger Foley, 42, who earlier this year launched a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government, alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death.
Foley suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a brain disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs, and prevents him from independently performing daily tasks.
In his lawsuit, Foley claims that a government-selected home care provider had previously left him in ill health with injuries and food poisoning. He claims that he has been denied the right to self-directed care, which allows certain patients to take a central role in planning and receiving personal and medical services from the comfort of their own homes.
None of the claims in Foley’s lawsuit has been tested in court.
He is now sharing audio recordings of separate conversations he had with two health care workers at London Health Sciences Centre, where he has been stuck in a hospital bed for more than two years.
In one audio recording from September 2017, Foley is heard speaking to a man about what he has described as attempts at a “forced discharge,” with threats of a hefty hospital bill.
When Foley asks the man how much he’d have to pay to remain in hospital, the man replies, “I don’t know what the exact number is, but it is north of $1,500 a day.”
Foley expresses shock at the figure and tells the man that he’d just read an article that quoted the Ontario health minister saying it’s “not legal” for hospitals to coerce patients like that.
The man is heard saying that the hospital does not use “this conversation in every situation.”
“It is only in situations where somebody has a plan in the community that is feasible that they’re not going to accept and that’s OK,” the man says.
Foley then says that he hasn’t been informed of a plan for his care and that his rights as a patient are being violated.
“You have already violated my preferences…So what is the plan that you know of?” Foley asks the man.
“Roger, this is not my show,” the man replies. “I told you my piece of this was to talk to you about if you had interest in assisted dying.”