On August 7, 2019, Sean Tagert of Powell River, British Columbia died by euthanasia at home, a choice he made after being denied funding for the round the clock in-home care he was seeking for his ALS. He was offered initially 15.5 hours of home care by Vancouver Coastal Health. In September 2018, the funding was increased to cover 20 hours a day. This was not sufficient as he required 24 hour care.
He was given the option of receiving 24 hour care at the George Pearson Centre in Vancouver, an option Mr. Tagert rejected as this would have meant not seeing his 11 year old son who resides in Powell River. At the time, Mr. Tagert indicated that $263.50 per day was required to provide the extra four hours of care at home, something he could not afford.
He was diagnosed with ALS in 2013. Mr. Tagert told CBC News in September 2018 that to relocate “would be a death sentence.”
A family Facebook post in his memory says that, “The few institutional options on hand, Sean pointed out, would have offered vastly inferior care while separating him from his family, and likely would have hastened his death.”
“Above all else Sean was devoted to his son, Aidan. Sean often said that Aidan was his reason for living and had a close relationship with him right to the end,” continues the post.
“We would ask, on Sean’s behalf, that the government recognize the serious problems in its treatment of ALS patients and their families, and find real solutions for those already suffering unimaginably,” states the post.
Sadly, in the end, unable to pay the amount needed to receive full care at home, Mr. Tagert, 41, opted for euthanasia. People who are ill and vulnerable sometimes despair in difficult circumstances. Why could the health care system not pay to provide 24 hour care at home?
The health care system was willing to pay for his euthanasia but not for the extra hours of care. What a tragedy!