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Latest additions to web site: 4/28/17
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Canadian report indicates that the vast majority of deaths under the country’s “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) law are from euthanasia, not assisted suicide.
(April 26, 2017)
Of 507 reported deaths, 504 were clinician-administered (euthanasia)  [from lethal injection].  Only 3 reported deaths were self-administered (assisted suicide).
[Page 3, Table 2]
More on Canada

2017 Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills Proposed
Note: New Mexico is also considering giving non-physicians the power to prescribe lethal drugs for suicide.

Scroll down for more of the latest developments and featured articles.

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Scroll down for other Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles.
For additional information, see Site Map.
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The Latest PRC Update (2017 – Volume 31, No. 1):

  • New year brings dangerous doctor-prescribed suicide bills to targeted states
  • How legal assisted suicide harms patients who want care
  • Congress runs out of time to overturn Washington D.C.’s assisted-suicide law
  • Claims of “no abuse” not substantiated in latest Oregon assisted-suicide report
  • 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

Canadian report indicates that the vast majority of deaths under the country’s “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) law are from euthanasia, not assisted suicide.
(April 26, 2017)
Of 507 reported deaths, 504 were clinician-administered (euthanasia)  [from lethal injection].  Only 3 reported deaths were self-administered (assisted suicide).
[Page 3, Table 2]
More on Canada

New Mexico assisted suicide bill fails.
(March 15, 2017)
Although significantly amended from its original version which would have permitted non-physicians to diagnose the patient and prescribe the lethal drugs, New Mexico’s assisted-suicide bill, titled,  the “End of Life Options Act,” failed on March 15 by a vote of 20-22.
More on New Mexico

“By Law, Hospitals Now Must Tell Medicare Patients When Care Is ‘Observation’ Only”
(Kaiser Health News — March 13, 2017)
Under a new federal law, hospitals must now alert Medicare patients when they are getting observation care and why they were not admitted — even if they stay in the hospital a few nights.  For years, seniors often found out only when they got surprise bills for the services Medicare doesn’t cover for observation patients, including some drugs and expensive nursing home care.
More on Medicare

Maryland’s doctor-prescribed suicide bill has been withdrawn.
“Lawmakers say death with dignity law ‘just a matter of time,’ despite bill withdrawal”
(Carroll County Times — March 5, 2017)
Del. Shane Pendergrass and Sen. Guy Guzzone, both Howard County Democrats, said they do no have enough support to pass the bill, marking the third year in a row Democrats have given up on passing aid-in-dying legislation.
More on Maryland

Bill to expand the state’s “Death with Dignity Law” has been introduced in Oregon.
(March 2, 2017)
SB 893 would permit an “expressly identified agent” to obtain and administer the deadly overdose of drugs to a patient who ceases to be able to make and communicate health care decisions.
More on Oregon

“American Psychiatric Association Position on Medical Euthanasia”
(Psychiatric Times — February 25, 2017)
Early in December, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees passed an historic Position Statement that originated in the Assembly and was unanimously supported by the APA Ethics Committee….The APA position implies that, even where legal for the non-terminally ill, it is neither the duty of a psychiatrist to fulfill that right, nor is it ethically appropriate to do so….[T]here are some principals that transcend cultures.

Oregon’s latest official report on the state’s doctor-prescribed suicide law
(February 21, 2017)
As in recent official reports, “unknowns” have increased.  In the latest report, the number and types of complications were unknown in 75% of reported cases.  Fear of being a burden on family, friends or caregivers has increased.
More on Oregon

“Docs in Northwest tweak aid-in-dying drugs to prevent prolonged deaths.”
(USA Today — February 16, 2017)
The first Seconal alternative turned out to be too harsh, burning patients’ mouths and throats, causing some to scream in pain….In Oregon, even with fast-acting barbiturates, time to death has ranged from one minute to 104 hours.
More on “Drugs Prescribed for Doctor-Prescribed Suicide”
More on Washington
More on Oregon

“Disability Advocate Sheryl Grossman Gives Moving Testimony Against Maryland Assisted Suicide Bill”
(Not Dead Yet — February 16, 2017)
“As a disabled person, this bill scares me even more because I know the societal barriers (stigma and discrimination) that we face.  [Referring to a doctor] On her way out she said, ‘I don’t understand why you want to live like this….'”
More on Maryland
More on Disability Perspective

“Clinic falsely told dozens they had Alzheimer’s, suit says”
(Times Union — February 10, 2017)
Gary fell into depression, spending his final weeks sitting in a chair with his hands in his lap until he went into their garage and shot himself in the head, she said.  An autopsy did not show any signs of Alzheimer’s she said.
More on Alzheimer’s
More on Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

South Dakota Senate passes resolution opposing physician-assisted suicide
(February 8, 2017)
“….[T]he Legislature strongly opposes and condemns physician-assisted suicide because the Legislature has an unqualified interest in the preservation of human life, and because anything less than a prohibition leads to foreseeable abuses and eventually to euthanasia by devaluing human life, particularly the lives of the terminally ill, elderly, disabled and depressed whose lives are of no less value or quality than any other citizen of this state…..”
Text of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 11
More on South Dakota

“Doctor who made an 80-year-old dementia patient’s family hold her down while he gave her a lethal euthanasia injection ‘acted in good faith,’ rules Dutch review panel”
(Daily Mail — February 2, 2017)
As the doctor went to administer the injection the woman tried to fight him off.  the doctor then ordered the woman’s family to hold her down to give the drugs.
More on Holland

“AG, O’Keefe seek dismissal of right-to-die case”
(Cape Cod Times — January 10, 2017)
A push by two Cape physicians for the right to use medical assistance in dying doesn’t belong in the courts, according to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey….
The law firm representing the two physicians worked with Boston-based legal firm Morgan Lewis to help Denver-based Compassion & Choices file the suit.
More on Massachusetts

“DC mayor signs assisted suicide bill”
(Washington Examiner — December 20, 2016)
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law Tuesday a bill that would make assisted suicide legal in the district, if it gets through Congress.
It is not clear if Congress will approve the legislation. It has blocked D.C. legislation before, most recently the city’s recreational marijuana law.
Under the Constitution, Congress has to sign off on all D.C. Laws.Note:  The DC bill was originally Docket No. B21-38.  It is now titled “D.C. Act 21-577.”
More on District of Columbia.

“Mexico City legalizes right to euthanasia”
(Global Times — January 6, 2017)
Mexico City has become the first entity within Mexico to legalize euthanasia, after the issue was approved Wednesday by the city’s constitutional assembly
The right to euthanasia will be enshrined in Article 11 of Mexico City’s new constitution, which will come into force in 2018.
In January 2016, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a law, allowing Mexico City to have its own local constitution.

A measure to permit doctor-prescribed suicide in South Dakota could appear on the state’s 2018 ballot if sufficient signatures of registered voters are collected by November 2017.
More on South Dakota

Governor Kasich Signs Bill Making Assisted Suicide a Felony
(WMFD — December 20, 2016)
Governor Kasich signed House Bill 470, making assisted suicide a third degree felony in Ohio, punishable by up to five years in prison.  The bill strengthens Ohio’s protections against assisted suicide,  which previously only permitted a court to issue an injunction against anyone helping people to kill themselves.

“California Tests Electronic Database For End-of-Life Wishes”
(Kaiser Health News — December 7, 2016)
A coalition of emergency and social service providers is working to create an electronic registry for POLST forms in California….
“California has been using them for nearly 20 years.  Filling out the forms is voluntary, but once they are completed and signed, they must be followed, and providers have immunity from criminal prosecution or civil liability when they do so in good faith.”
(Emphasis added.)
More on POLST

“Dutch euthanasia law is used to kill alcoholic, 41, who decided death was the only way to escape his problems”
(Daily Mail — December 6, 2016)
Mark Langedijk joked and drank before GP administered injections.  Dutch euthanasia practice killed more than 5,500 people last year.  Dutch law now includes those enduring “social isolation and loneliness.”
More on Holland

“Healthcare groups urge repeal of ‘death panel'”
(Modern Health Care — December 1, 2016)
The Independent Payment Advisory Board [IPAB] was created by the Affordable Care Act.  It is actually mean to make cuts to Medicare in the case that spending growth exceeds projections… The 16 member board has never been appointed.  The law stipulates that if the board is not appointed, the HHS Secretary would then be charged with making the cuts.  The cuts could then only be overridden by a supermajority of Congress.
More on Obamacare

For additional articles and information, see Site Map.

Featured Articles

“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

“‘ I know they are going to die.’ This foster father takes in only terminally ill children”
(Los Angeles Times — February 8, 2017)
Bzeek, a quiet, devout Libyan-born Muslim who lives in Azusa, just wants her to know she’s not alone in this life….”The key is, you have to love them like your own,” Bzeek said recently.  “I know they are sick.  I know they are going to die.  I do my best and leave the rest to God.”
More on Children and Teens

“Physician-assisted suicide is too risky”
(Albuquerque Journal — November 30, 2016)
By providing cheap and early deaths, insurance companies can save millions of dollars each year.  The elderly, the poor, and minorities are also prone to abuse, especially if younger family members view them as a financial burden instead of an honored elder.  The dying person is guilted into their duty to die.
More on New Mexico

“Everyone should have the right to assisted suicide — or no one should”
(VOX — November 21, 2016)
Equal rights means equal suicide protection….Are you healthy? Do you think that your health makes your life more valuable that a terminally ill person’s? Do you think that his life should get less protection from suicidal desires?
If so, the disability rights movement has a bumper sticker for you: “I support the right to die. You go first.”
More on Disability Perspective

A Bad Recipe for D.C.
(November 2016)
Ingredients and directions for doctor-prescribed suicide.
More on District of Columbia

“Doctor-assisted suicide? Neutrality is not an option”
(Orlando Sentinel — November 13, 2016)
A medical ethicist says its cowardly to be neutral about doctor-assisted suicide.
“And as for medical societies — if those organizations make even a passing effort to set ethical standards and codes for the medical profession, then they should not tell society that they are “neutral” on physician-assisted suicide.

Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled
(Kaiser Health News- August 9, 2016)
Hospital staff often fail to feed older patients properly, get them out of bed enough or control their pain adequately.
More on Medicare

“Automatic sign-ups for Medicare Advantage coverage surprise seniors”
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review — August 1, 2016)
Only days after Judy Hanttula came home from the hospital after surgery in November, her doctor’s office called with bad news: Records showed that instead of traditional Medicare, she had a private Medicare Advantage plan, and her doctor and hospital were not in its network.  Neither the plan nor Medicare now would cover her medical costs.
More on Medicare

“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.

“Brain scans reveal hidden consciousness in patients”
(AP – Central Ohio, The Source –May 26, 2016)
A standard brain scanning technique is showing promise for helping doctors distinguish between patients in a vegetative state and those with hidden signs of consciousness….The researchers checked the patient status again a year later.  They found that 8 of the 11 vegetative patients who had scored above the cutoff, which had been associated with minimal consciousness, had in fact recovered consciousness.

“Cancer breakthrough: Duke clinical trial destroys SC woman’s brain tumor”
(WNCN television CBS — May 16, 2016)
The FDA is calling a clinical trial that killed a cancerous brain tumor (Stage 4 Glioblastoma) a medical breakthrough.  Stephanie Lipscomb, now a nurse has now been cancer free for 4 years and considers herself cured. Dozens of patients responded positively to the trial and because of the success with Stephanie, the FDA has deemed the trial a medical breakthrough.
[Note: This was the same type of cancer that Brittany Maynard had.]

“Where the prescription for autism can be death”
(Washington Post — February 24, 2016)
Thus did a man in his 30s whose only diagnosis was autism become one of 110 people to be euthanized for mental disorders in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2014.  That’s the rough equivalent of 2,000 people in the United States.
More on Holland

“The sole survivor: Fort Lee woman beats the deadliest form of brain cancer”
(NorthJersey.com — December 13, 2015)
Nearly a decade after learning she had only three months to live, Sandy Hillburn grabbed a taxi last Sunday to LaGuardia Airport for one of her regular “business trips” to North Carolina.

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…
Twenty-six years ago, 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.