Sean Tagert, 41, of Powell River. B.C. was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in March 2013. In October 2017, he suffered cardiac arrest, and was subsequently placed on a ventilator. His illness robbed him of the ability to move his body, eat, or speak, and he communicated via an eye-gaze computer. His mental acuity was unaffected.
At that time, Tagert’s doctors recommended 24-hour in-home care, which is typical for a person who uses a ventilator full time. Vancouver Coastal Health only initially offered 15.5 hours of care a day. Eventually, after much effort, they increased their offer to 20 hours a day – which still meant that Tagert had to pay $263.50 each day for the remaining four hours of required care.
Tagert and his family continued to fight for coverage of a full day’s care, to no avail.
“Hey everyone. I’ve been quiet lately because I’m just done, worn-out,” wrote Tagert in a July 25 post on his Facebook page.
“So last Friday I officially submitted my Medically assisted death paperwork, with lawyers and doctors, everything in proper order. It’s been over a month since I submitted my appeal to the Vancouver Coastal Health patient care quality department. They didn’t even respond.”
Tagert went on to explain that earlier in the day, two Vancouver Coastal Health officials came to his home, and had refused to talk to him when they realized he was recording the conversation. Eventually, they told his mother that they were there to cut his funding for care hours.
“Welcome to the great Canadian Healthcare system people,” Tagert wrote.
On Aug. 6, he received a medically-assisted death and passed away.