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Latest additions to web site: 10/17/2019
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“Federal study finds nation’s assisted suicide laws rife with dangers to people with disabilities”
(National Council on Disability — October 9, 2019)
The National Council on Disability (NCD) released the findings of a federal examination of the country’s assisted suicide laws and their effect on people with disabilities, finding the laws’ safeguards are ineffective and oversight of abuses and mistakes is absent.
More on Disability Perspective

“Don’t Force Patients Off Opioids Abruptly, New Guidelines Say, Warning of Severe Risks”
(NPR– October 10, 2019)
“Abrupt changes to a patient’s opioid prescription could harm them….”
“It must be done slowly and carefully,” says Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health for HHS. “If opioids are going to be reduced in a chronic patient it really needs to be done in a patient-centered, compassionate, guided way.”
More on Pain Control

If New York’s assisted-suicide proposal passes, New York could easily become a national suicide destination for individuals who are 18-years old or older.
The “Medical Aid in Dying Act” (A 2694) was introduced in New York in 2019.
Although Governor Andrew Cuomo supported the measure, it failed to pass in 2019.  However it is carried over to 2020.
Text of A 2694
Analysis of A 2694
More on New York

“A doctor and medical ethicist argues life after 75 is not worth living”
(MIT Technology Review — August 21, 2019)
Ezekiel Emanuel is a medical doctor and chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s department of medical ethics and health policy, as well as a chief architect of Obamacare….
Emanuel questions “whether our consumption is worth our contribution” in old age.

List of and links to all U.S. states where doctor-prescribed suicide bills have been introduced as of May 1, 2019
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Scroll down for other Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles.

For a listing of all categories on this web site, see Site Map.
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The Latest PRC Update (2019 – Volume 33, No. 3):
(September-October 2019)

  • Opponents attempt to stop implementation of two new assisted-suicide laws
  • HHS reports expose serious deficiencies in hospice programs
  • Medical diagnostic errors can be deadly
  • Reports issued on aided-suicide deaths
  • Assisted-Suicide Leader Says Eliminate Waiting Periods
  • News briefs from home & abroad
    View as plain text.  View as PDF

Who will speak for you?
Imagine you are in an accident tomorrow and so seriously injured that you aren’t able to communicate about your health care wishes for several weeks. Who would make health care decisions for you during that time? Do you need an advance directive?

To obtain a durable power of attorney for health care for the state in which you are a resident, call the Patients Rights Council (800-958-5678 or 740-282-3810) between 8:30am and 4:30pm (eastern time).
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Recent Major Developments

“Quebec court strikes down restriction to medically assisted dying law, calls it unconstitutional”
(The Globe and Mail, Health Reporter — September 11, 2019)
The portion of the federal assisted dying law [which permits both assisted suicide and death by lethal injection] was a clause that required patients’ natural deaths be “reasonably foreseeable.” That clause was found to be too restrictive.
More on Canada

“Dutch euthanasia case: Doctor acted in interest of patient, court rules”
(BBC — September 11, 2019)
A doctor accused of failing to verify consent before performing euthanasia on a dementia patient has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a Dutch Court….The doctor allegedly sedated the woman, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, then asked her family to hold her down as she administered a lethal drug.
More on The Netherlands

Minnesota held an informational hearing in a House committee on September 10, 2019.  No vote was taken. The Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee says the bill will not get a hearing in the Senate.
The bill (HF 2152), if passed would be far more expansive than any other law permitting assisted suicide.
Text of HF 2152
Analysis of HF 2152
More on Minnesota

“Minnesota is being asked to become a suicide tourism destination”
(Star Tribune — September 10, 2019)
A bill before the Minnesota Legislature, if enacted into law, would attract people from all over the country to travel to Minnesota to receive lethal suicide drugs.
More on Minnesota

“HHS Inspector General Finds Serious Flaws in 20% of U.S. Hospice Programs”
(NPR — July 9, 2019)
“The Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services found that from 2012 through 2016, health care inspectors cited 87% of hospices for deficiencies.  And 20% of hospices had lapses serious enough to endanger patients….”
“We live in a time when we don’t even think about booking a hotel without checking its ratings and reviews.  Why do we demand less for hospices?”
More on Hospice

“As seniors go into twilight years, some of them privately mull ‘rational suicide'”
(Washington Post — June 23, 2019)
The group gathered a few months ago to meet with Dena Davis, a bioethics professor at Lehigh University who defends “rational suicide” — the idea that suicide can be a well-reasoned decision, not the result of emotional or psychological problems.

“Maine effectively legalizes assisted suicide”
(CNN — June 13, 2019)
The law “states that actions taken under the act should not be considered ‘suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide under the law’ although the process outlined in the measure would effectively allow medically  assisted suicide.”
More on Maine, including text and analysis of law

Bill introduced in New Jersey to repeal the state’s law permitting assisted suicide before bill permitting it goes into effect.  (June 6, 2019)
More on New Jersey, including text and analysis of law as passed and text of bill to repeal that law.

“Ohio doctor charged with 25 counts of murder, accused of prescribing excessive doses of painkillers”
(NBC news — June 5, 2019)
William Husel voluntarily surrendered to authorities in Columbus and was charged in 25 deaths following a six-month investigation by the Franklin County Prosecutors Office. The patient deaths exposed a stunning case of medical oversight and alleged medical malpractice…
More on Ohio

“Dozens of deaths prompt look at Ohio hospital regulation”
(Modern Healthcare — April 18, 2019)
Ohio [is] the only state that doesn’t license general hospitals….
Mount Carmel acknowledged in recent months that a now-fired doctor, William Husel, ordered potentially fatal  drug doses for 29 patients over several years….
Husel and the hospital system face at least 27 related wrongful-death lawsuits.
More on Ohio

“NJ legalizes assisted suicide as Gov. Phil Murphy signs contentious bill into law”
(northjersey.com — April 12, 2019)
The law gives state regulators, health care systems and doctors until Aug. 1 to prepare for the new policy….
More on New Jersey
[Note: The New Jersey law was proposed in 2018 and carried over to 2019.]

“Medical Aid in Dying Bill Fails in Maryland Senate”
(U.S. News — March 27, 2019)
More on Maryland

“We don’t want to pay for oldies, say Belgians”
(BioEdge — March 24, 2019)
According to the Belgian French language newspaper, Le Soir, 40% of Belgians believe that costs could be contained “by no longer administering costly treatments that prolong the lives of over-85s”.  It further noted that “in the Netherlands, pacemakers are no longer provided for people over 75.”
Original article (in French) from Le Soir.
More on Belgium

Doctor-prescribed suicide bill passes in New Jersey.
A bill introduced by Assemblyman John Burzichelli in 2018 was later amended and held over to 2019. The bill, titled the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” (A 1504), passed in March 2019.
Text of amended A 1504
Analysis of amended A 1504

“House quashes ‘right to die’ bill”
(Santa Fe New Mexican — March 12, 2019)
New Mexico assisted-suicide bill fails.
More on New Mexico

“Good News: Opioid Prescribing Fell.  The Bad? Pain Patients Suffer, Doctors Say.”
(New York Times — March 6, 2018)
[G]uidelines are harming one group of vulnerable patients: those with severe chronic pain, who have been taking high doses of opioids for years without becoming addicted….[P]atients who could benefit from medications are being thrown into withdrawal and suffering renewed pain and a diminished quality of life, even to the point of suicide.”
More on Pain Control.

“Sen. Cassilly: Medically assisted suicide sends message to elderly that they are a burden”
(Baltimore Sun — February 26, 2019)
Adding to the seriousness of the doctor-assisted suicide debate is the fact that the bill being pushed by well-funded national advocates in Maryland and across the country is carefully crafted to stifle opposition, hide the facts and aggressively push a pro-suicide agenda.  It shrouds the entire process with an impenetrable bubble of non-disclosure, gives undue influence to the health care industry and prevents even close family members from uncovering the facts or taking any action to protect a loved one’s interest.
More on Maryland

“Mount Carmel doctor sidestepped pharmacists, persuaded nurses, sources say”
(Columbus Dispatch — February 8 , 2019)
Sidestepping pharmacists and persuading nurses to follow his orders are among the actions used by Dr. William Husel to prescribe lethal doses of pain medication for dozens of patients while working the night shift at Mount Carmel West hospital’s intensive-care unit, sources told The Dispatch.
More on Ohio

“What we know so far about the probe of 34 patient deaths at Mount Carmel”
(Columbus Dispatch — January 30, 2019)
Twenty-three hospital employees have been placed on leave while an investigation continues, including pharmacists, nurses and some managers….
On Jan. 22, the doctor [Dr. William Husel] attended an investigative conference with State Medical Board representatives and asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked about his knowledge of lethal doses of fentanyl….He also asserted the right when asked if he administered lethal doses or drug combinations for the purpose of ending the lives of Mount Carmel patients….
Some [of the patients] had been hospitalized a few days, others a few hours….
More on Ohio

Proposed New Mexico law (HB 90) would have permitted a non-physician to diagnose a patient and prescribe drugs to cause that patient’s death…and it could have been done by telemedicine, without ever seeing the patient in person.
Text and analysis of New Mexico bill as originally introduced.

The bill was amended on January 28.
Text of New Mexico bill as amended on January 28.
The amendments changed the definition of terminal illness and would not permit the diagnosing and prescribing via telemedicine.

Bill proposed in Oregon would greatly expand the current law permitting assisted suicide.
HB 2232 would permit doctors to prescribe deadly drugs to individuals who could live for decades.  It would also permit death by lethal injection.
More on Oregon and HB 2232

“Hawaii law allowing medically assisted suicide takes effect”
(Associated Press — January 3, 2019)
Hawaii’s new medically assisted suicide law has gone into effect, but few doctors and pharmacies are willing to prescribe and dispense the life-ending medications.
More on Hawaii

“US life expectancy drops as opioid deaths and suicide rates rise”
(CNBCNovember 29, 2018)
Suicides overall were up by 3.7 percent in 2017.  Since 1999, the national suicide rate has increased by 33 percent.  [That figure does not include deaths from opioid overdoses.

“Suicide rates are up 33% in the U.S., yet funding lags behind that of all other top causes of death– leaving suicide research in its ‘infancy'”
(USA Today — November 28, 2018)
More than 47,000 Americans killed themselves in 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, contributing to an overall decline in U.S. life expectancy.
More on Suicide awareness, consequences and statistics.

“Suicide, at 50-year peak, pushes down US life expectancy”
(Associated Press — November 29, 2018)
The suicide rate last year was the highest it’s been in at least 50 years, according to U.S. government records.  There were more than 47,000 suicides, up from a little under 45,000 the year before.
More on Suicide awareness, consequences and statistics.

For additional articles and information, see Site Map.

Featured Articles
“End-of-life care requires careful planning”
(Philadelphia Inquirer — July 1, 2019 )
“Each time I accompany my mother — now in her 80s — to the hospital, she’s asked the same question: Do  you have a living will?”
…”Confronting this question over and over again, I explored our options.  It was only recently that I got my answer– while watching television.”
More on Advance Directives

Gavin Newsom and his mother’s death.  According to an article in the New  Yorker, Gavin Newsom assisted his mother’s suicide in May 2002.
“Gavin Newsom, the Next Head of the California Resistance”
(New Yorker — November 5, 2018)
“In May, 2002, his mother decided to end her life through assisted suicide.  Newsom recalled, “She left me a message because I was too busy: ‘Hope you’re well. Next Wednesday will be the last day for me.  Hope you can make it.’ I saved the cassette with the message on it,  that’s how sick I am.” He crossed his arms and jammed his hands into his armpits. “I have P.T.S.D., and this is bringing it all back,” he said.  “The night before we gave her the drugs, I cooked her dinner, hard-boiled eggs, and she told me, ‘Get out of politics.’ She was worried about the stress on me.” [Page 23 of article]
More on California

“The Criminalization of Pain”
(Not Dead Yet — October 4, 2018)
Many people who depend on opioids and similar medications to manage pain are now finding that their access to them has been limited and they are being subjected by doctors to drug testing and pill counting. They feel as if they are being treated like criminals, charged with the crime of having chronic pain….
As more and more people experience poor pain management, it is easy to see that in states where doctor assisted suicide is legal, there will be an increase in requests for lethal drugs.  How ironic that it may become easier in some places for get a prescription to die than one to relieve pain.
More on Disability Perspective
More on Pain Control

Promotion of assisted suicide for anyone who wants to commit suicide.
“Legalizing assisted suicide would help counter stigma”
(Eugene Register-Guard — September 27, 2018)
A necessary step to truly remove this stigma [against suicide] is to legalize assisted suicide for everyone.  Why would a person who wants to do something talk to people that will only tell them not to do it and that they are mentally ill?  People need to know that assistance with the act is a real possibility.
More on Oregon

“NJ should reject assisted suicide bill”
(northjersey.com –September 22, 2018)
Currently the New Jersey Legislature is considering assisted suicide known as A1504.  Proponents claim this is a compassionate law that is limited in scope and has a number of safeguards.  That characterization is not only inaccurate; it fails to recognize some very serious problems in both its language and implementation.
More on New Jersey
More on Disability Perspective

“My Mother was in favour of assisted dying — when old age arrived it was a different story”
(Devonlive — July 12, 2018)
A life which looks intolerable to our younger selves really might be worth living.

“Risk of coercion too high to OK assisted suicide”
(The Daily Star — May 14, 2018)
Comparing people with a terminal prognosis to a pet that is “unable to care for itself and is in constant pain” raises understandable concerns among disabled people who need personal care services like me.  When it comes to killing our pets, studies show it’s more about putting them out of the owner’s misery than the pet’s….
So let’s stop conflating pets and people.  In a society with an alarming increase in elder abuse, the risks of coercion and foul play should be obvious.  There are no “safeguards” that work behind closed doors.
More on Disability Perspective
More on New York

“‘Dr. Death’ Philip Nitschke tells what really happens in suicide clinics”
(Starts at 60 — May 4, 2018)
Nitschke said he’d like elderly people over a certain age to be offered the drugs, (which could be kept securely at their homes), should they ever wish to take them.
“If we had a model whereby people over the age of 70 were issued the drugs, and they had to be secured in the house, then it’s no more dangerous than having rat poison in the house,” he added.
More on Australia

“Pain Doctors Face Greater Scrutiny Than Death Doctors”
(National Review — May 3, 2018)
At a time when assisted-suicide pushers fear-monger about unrelieved pain as a reason to legalize doctor-prescribed death, physicians are so afraid of the feds they leave some pain patients in the lurch, thereby unintentionally pushing them toward suicide — assisted and otherwise.
More on pain control

“Hospitals Pulling the Plug against Families’ Wishes”
(Townhall — April 25, 2018)
Who decides whether  your sick child lives or dies?
Alfie [Evans] isn’t  the first child sentenced to die by a British hospital…
Can it happen in the U.S.?  You bet.  It depends on what state you live in.
More on Futile Care
More on United Kingdom

“Assisted Suicide: Rhetoric v. Reality”
(Patients Rights Council)
Proponents of doctor-prescribed suicide point to Oregon to show that there have been no problems or abuses in the  years since its law went into effect.  Contrasting this rhetoric with the reality is crucial.
More on Oregon

“NDY Urges AMA to Affirm Longstanding Opposition to Legalizing Assisted Suicide”
(Not Dead Yet — February 15, 2017)
One of the most frequently repeated claims by proponents of assisted suicide laws is that there is “no evidence or data” to support any claim that these laws are subject to abuse…” These claims are demonstrably false.
More on Disability Perspective
More on Oregon

“Do patients pay when they leave against medical advice?”
Patients who are leaving the hospital against medical advice are often told by hospital staff that doing so will leave them liable for the entire bill because insurance will not pay if they leave against medical advice.
As described in a study, that is a myth, a medical urban legend, and one which is widespread.

Previously Featured Articles
Also see site map to access specific topics which include previously featured articles.

Have you heard about VSED?  
It stands for voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. VSED is being promoted by assisted-suicide activists who are also working to force health care providers to participate in it.  Important Questions & Answers about VSED

From the bookshelf…
In 1991, Ann Humphry, the co-founder of the Hemlock Society (now called Compassion and Choices) committed suicide. Her death made headlines worldwide.

Prior to her death, Ann contacted Rita Marker, a staunch euthanasia opponent. Over time, the two became close friends, and Ann asked Rita to make public secrets about the right-to-die movement — secrets that had weighed heavily on Ann.

Two years after Ann’s tragic death, the book, Deadly Compassion: The Death of Ann Humphry and the Truth About Euthanasia was published. It recounts Ann’s personal story, the founding of the Hemlock Society, and activities of euthanasia and doctor-prescribed suicide advocates. Thousands of copies of the book were sold in the United States, England, Canada and Australia. (Read excerpts from reviews of the book.)

Now, for the first time, you can read Deadly Compassion in its entirety on line in PDF format.