HomeHealth Care NewsAiling Canadian Transgender Patient Denied Assisted Suicide

Ailing Canadian Transgender Patient Denied Assisted Suicide

A transgender patient was rejected by Canada’s Medical Assistance in Death (MAiD) program.

Lois Cardinal says debilitating pain following a 2009 vaginoplasty surgery for a male-to-female (MTF) transition led to the euthanasia request. Cardinal was rejected from MAiD for not meeting the program’s current criteria, the Daily Mail reported.

Cardinal says constant pressure, pain, and discomfort from the procedure which inverts penile tissue into a created cavity to form a “neovagina.” Other recipients of MTF vaginoplasty have similar post-operative symptoms.

A preliminary report from a yet-to-be-published study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida and Brooks Rehabilitation found 81 percent of the participating recipients of one or more gender-affirming surgeries still experienced regular pain and discomfort in the five years following the surgery. Another 57 percent found sexual intercourse painful, while 29 percent suffered urinary incontinence or a frequent and urgent need to go to the bathroom, researchers found.

Cardinal has stated regret for the transgender surgery in social media posts and does not “agree with the current rhetoric of the trans community.”  Cardinal has stated that young people are at risk of “falling prey to a trend that is medicalized.”

Lack of Effective Care

Cardinal, who was prescribed a topical anesthetic “numbing cream” that did not reduce the pain, has identified an inability to receive effective care for the problematic transgender surgery as the primary cause for seeking medically assisted death.

Cardinal’s story is symptomatic of a greater health care issue in Canada, says Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

“The story about Lois Cardinal is particularly distressing since Lois is seeking to be killed, not because of a terrible terminal condition, but rather because Lois feels that the medical community has abandoned her condition,” said Schadenberg. “Further to that, it is possible that Lois may be approved to be killed in the future based on the meaning of the phrase ‘irremediable medical condition’ which is essentially what is required to be approved for death by lethal drugs.”

Schadenberg noted that Cardinal may meet expanded criteria when Canada’s euthanasia law is updated to include people with mental health issues in March 2024.

Coming to America?

While Canada has embraced medically assisted death and continues to expand its scope, euthanasia is meeting more resistance in the United States.

The American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation’s second-largest network of physicians, stated its official opposition to euthanasia in a 2017 position paper.

“The ACP and its members, including those who might lawfully participate in the practice, should ensure that all persons can rely on high-quality care through to the end of life, with prevention or relief of suffering insofar as possible, a commitment to human dignity and the management of pain and other symptoms, and support for family,” states the paper.

Currently, 10 states and the District of Columbia permit medically assisted suicide. Vermont became the first state to allow doctor-assisted suicide for non-residents, in May.


Kevin Stone (kevin.s.stone@gmail.com) writes from Arlington, Texas.

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Kevin Stone
Kevin Stone
Kevin Stone writes from Dallas, Texas.


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