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The latest official report on doctor-prescribed suicide in Oregon was released on February 12, 2015.
The number of prescriptions written in the latest report year were 500% greater than those written during the 1st year Oregon’s law was in operation.
More on Oregon

In 2015, doctor-prescribed suicide bills have been introduced in:
District of Columbia
New York

“Colorado Rejects Right-to-Die Legislation”
(ABC News — February 7, 2015)
A House committee considering the bill voted 8-5….
More on Colorado

Canadian Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting doctor-assisted suicide and doctor-administered death
(February 6, 2015)
The Court agreed with a lower court ruling, concluding that the law “deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”
The decision does not indicate that doctor-prescribed suicide and doctor-administered death would be limited to those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The Court has suspended implementation of its decision for one year.
Text of Court ruling
More on Canada

Scroll down for other Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles.
For additional information, see Site Map.

The Latest PRC Update (2014 – Volume 28, No. 6,):

  • Brittany Maynard and the assisted-suicide campaign that went viral
  • Terminal diagnosis: other perspectives on dying & hope
  • When a political campaign is masked as a personal decision
  • The changing meaning of courage in the face of pending death
  • Assisted suicide advocacy group obtains petition names “under false pretenses”
  • Updates on states targeted for assisted-suicide legalization
  • News briefs from home & abroad
    View as plain text.  View as PDF

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.
Information about VSED

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).

Recent Major Developments

The latest official report on doctor-prescribed suicide in Oregon was released on February 12, 2015.
The number of prescriptions written in the latest report year were 500% greater than those written during the 1st year Oregon’s law was in operation.
More on Oregon

“Euthanasia Comes to Canada”
(Weekly Standard — February 23, 2015 edition)
This month, the Canadian Supreme Court trampled democratic deliberation by unanimously conjuring a constitutional right to “termination of life” for anyone who has an “irremediable medical condition” and wants to die.  Note the scope of the judicial fiat is not limited to the terminally ill: The ruling grants competent adults a right to die is they have an “illness, disease, or disability that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual “including psychological pain….Hence the court created a right in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to Dutch-style active euthanasia.
More on Canada

“Euthanasia Cases Leap 73% at Cautioned Clinic”
(Netherlands Times — February 12, 2015)
The Levenseindekliniek helped 232 people with their request to die in 2014, 98 more than in 2013…Just over a third of the people who requested euthanasia did so because of a psychiatric disorder…The youngest patient last year was 24 years old and the oldest patient was 103 years old.
More on Holland

“Pitt: New stroke treatment could reduce number of deaths”
(Pittsburgh Tribune Review — February 11, 2015)
Thousands of people might survive a stroke with a clot-killing method explored in part at the University of Pittsburgh….”We call it a game-changer because, up until now, there’s only been one proven, effective therapy for acute stroke,” said Dr. Lawrence Wechsler, a study co-investigator and the neurology chairman at Pitt and UPMC.

“Suit Seeks to Exempt Physicians From Assisted Suicide Law”
(New York Times — February 11, 2015)
A cancer patient and five doctors filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to exempt physicians who help terminally ill patients end their lives from a California ban on assisted suicide.
More on California

“Ginal plans to re-introduce right-to-die bill”
(Coloradoan — February 7, 2015)
Even though her right-to-die legislation failed in a House vote Friday night, Rep. Joann Ginal said she plans to bring it back next session….”I was very optimistic about getting it out of committee,” Ginal said.  “But 12 hours of testimony swayed some of our Democrats.”
More on Colorado

“Landmark Supreme Court ruling favouring ‘death with dignity’ could become election issue”
(Vancouver Sun — February 6, 2015)
According to the Court, the previous laws [against doctor-prescribed and doctor-administered death] are “of no force or effect to they extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person.”
A doctor-assisted death should be available to anyone who “clearly consents to the termination of life and has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease of disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her conditions.”  That suffering can be either “physical or psychological,” stated the ruling.
More on Canada

“Lawsuit Seeks to Legalize Doctor-Assisted Suicide for Terminally Ill Patients in New York”
(New York Times — February 3, 2015)
A group of doctors and terminally ill patients are asking New York courts to declare that doctor-assisted suicide is legal and not covered by the state’s prohibition on helping people take their own lives.
More on New York

“Lauren Hill named Spirit of Cincinnati USA Ambassador”
(Cincinnati– February 1, 2015)
Lauren Hill was honored for her positive spirit and courageous attitude Saturday afternoon…”Lauren represents the very best in all of us,” said the president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “Her light shines so bright, people from across the globe continue to feel its glow.”
(Lauren has a rare and inoperable form of brain cancer.  She has become an advocate for pediatric brain cancer awareness and research. Doctors had predicted that she would not live until Christmas.  More on Lauren Hill.)

“To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients”
(New York Times — January 25, 2015)
…In a random anonymized sample of 700 guardianship cases in Manhattan over a decade, Hunter College researchers found more than 12 percent were brought by nursing homes…[L]awyers and others versed in the guardianship process agree that nursing homes primarily use such petitions as a means of bill collection…. Guardianship transfers a person’s legal rights to make some or all decisions to someone appointed by the court…Legally, it can supplant a power of attorney and a health care proxy.
More on New York

“‘Death test’ could predict chance of dying within 30 days”
(Telegraph — January 23, 2015)
A test to determine if elderly patients will die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital has been developed by doctors to give them the chance to go home or say goodbye to loved ones….The screening test looks at 29 indicators of health, including age, frailty, illness, mental impairment, previous emergency admissions and heart rate and produces a percentage chance of death within one month and 12 weeks…The checklist is yet to be tested but the researchers hope it will eventually be used for all hospital admissions.
More on United Kingdom

“Why Vermont pulled the plug on single-payer healthcare”
(Modern Healthcare — December 23, 2014)
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin stunned the healthcare policy world last week when he announced the state was scrapping plans to create a single-payer system.  The state said the economics didn’t work, but not everyone is convinced.
More on Vermont

“Doctors In Massachusetts Now Required To Offer End-Of-Life Counseling”
(WBUR — December 19, 2014)
It’s believed to be the first such rule in the country.  A similar proposal in 2009 for Medicare patients triggered claims that the government was trying to create death panels.
More on Massachusetts

“German ethics body rejects organized assisted suicide”
(DW, Germany — December 19, 2014)
The German Ethics Council says it in principle rejects medically assisted suicide in the case of terminally ill patients.  But its recognition of some exceptions to this principle has caused contention…..The German parliament is to debate a draft bill regarding assisted suicide in February, and new legislation on the issue is to be passed later in the year.
More on Germany

“257,000 Doctors Will Get Medicare Pay Cut For Using Paper Records”
(Forbes — December 18, 2014)
More than 250,000 physicians and other health care professionals are being notified as early as today that their payments from Medicare and Medicaid will be cut because they aren’t adequately using electronic health records in their practices, the Obama administration confirmed.
More on ObamaCare   More on Medicare and Medicaid

Featured Articles

“A safe place for abused seniors”
( — February 9. 2015
“[A] person who is vulnerable because they have physical or cognitive challenges may be reluctant to leave an abusive situation, particularly because the abuser is also the victim’s caregiver….[A]wareness of elder abuse is probably about 40 years behind where awareness of child abuse or marital abuse is.”
More on Maryland

“Diane Coleman:’s Letter to Some New Jersey Senate Democrats”
(Not Dead Yet — February 5, 2015)
The idea of mixing a cost-cutting “treatment” such as assisted suicide into a broken, cost-conscious health care system that’s poorly designed to meet dying patient’s needs is dangerous to the thousands of people whose health care costs the most — mainly  people living with a disability, the elderly and chronically ill….
When you look at assisted suicide based on one individual, it often looks acceptable.  But when you examine how legalization affects the vast majority of us, the dangers to the many far outweigh any alleged benefits to a few.
More on New Jersey

“Physician-assisted suicide: A family struggles with the question of whether mom is capable of choosing to die” 
(Oregon Live — February 4, 2015)
Originally published in the Oregonian in 1999, Oregon Live republished the article on February 4, 2015.
It appeared that dementia was setting in.  And her daughter’s assertiveness about getting the lethal dose for her mother made the psychiatrist wonder whose agenda this really was…There is no single method for evaluating a dying person’s competence to commit assisted suicide or to gauge undue influence. Oregon’s law says the person must be able to make and communicate health car decisions and be aware of his or her medical condition, the risks of using a lethal dose and the feasible alternatives.  A psychological disorder — senility, for example — does not necessarily disqualify a person.
More on Oregon

“We should think twice about ‘death with dignity’”
(Los Angeles Times — February 1, 2015)
As someone who supports all those other liberal causes, yet opposes physician-assisted suicide, I’d ask my fellow progressives to shine a cold hard light on this issue. We have been the target of a decades-long branding campaign that paints hastening death as an extension of personal freedoms….The movement is also pushing to expand the means of hastening death to include lethal injections delivered by physicians.
More on California

“Euthanasia is so accepted that doctors must now justify prolonging a life”
(National Post — January 28, 2015)
Once “an average Dutchman who thought of euthanasia as one of the crown jewels of our liberal country,” van Loenen became “someone who was shocked by the harsh tone used by the Dutch when they talked about handicapped life.”…One of van Loenen’s settled convictions is that what begins in compassion invariably creeps over to the dark side.
More on Disability Concerns
More on Holland

“Lauren Hill: ‘Another goal met’ as homecoming queen crowns her successor”
(WCPO — January 27, 2015)
Cancer fighter sets goals while living day to day….Her first goal in 2015 was to crown her successor at homecoming.

“As more hospices enroll patients who aren’t dying, questions about lethal doses arise”
(Washington Post)
His death certificate, which was signed by the hospice doctor, listed the cause as “renal cell carcinoma” or kidney cancer.  But the doctor had never examined Coffey, his family said, and medical records from just a few weeks earlier do not mention it.
More on hospice

“Number of mentally ill patients killed by euthanasia in Holland trebles in a year as doctors warn assisted suicide is ‘out of control’”
(Daily Mail — October 3, 2014)
Forty-two people with mental illnesses killed by lethal injection in Holland last year. This is three times more than the number who were euthanised in 2012.  Overall figures for assisted deaths show a 15 percent surge in a year.  Doctors warn that the Dutch euthanasia experiment is “out of control.”
More on Holland

“The Progressive Case Against Assisted Suicide”
(Huffington Post — August 4, 2014)
I also reject the attempt by a small group of wealthy elites trying to turn assisted suicide into some right-wing or religious debate….We must all take a skeptical look and acknowledge the role that money and power play in end-of-life decisions, and how assisted suicide is being used by some health care companies and decision-makers to increase their bottom line by denying treatment.

“Beware the rush to help people die”
(Los Angeles Times — July 2, 2014)
Physician orders written in advance can’t possibly cover every real-world eventuality.  Sometimes you have to render decisions on the spot, in response to new information such as an allergic reaction — or a change of heart….
Worse still, some POLST programs don’t even require a doctor’s input.
More on POLST

“At These Hospitals, Recovery Is Rare, but Comfort Is Not”
(New York Times — June 23, 2014)
The man was a patient at the Hospital for Special Care here, one of 400 long-term care hospitals in the United States….Some, especially those recovering from accidents, eventually will leave.  Others will be here for the rest of their lives.
For a list of long-term-care hospitals go to the CMS website.  Scroll down to the bottom and click on the link “List of LTCHs”.

“Euthanasia deaths ‘not easy’”
(British Broadcasting Company)
Attempts by doctors to help people suffering from fatal illness take their own lives failed to give an “easy death” in one in five cases, researchers say.

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 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.