“Stigma Around Physician-Assisted Dying Lingers”
(New York Times — March 22, 2015)
[L]ooking back at where we have been to see where we may be headed.
Where better to start than with Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who came to be known as Doctor Death.
More on Jack Kevorkian
Note: The NYT article also refers to concern among some that certain patients might feel they owe it to their overburdened families to call it quits. An example of promotion of such sentiments was described in a 2011 letter to the editor from an Oregon woman:
“To my surprise and horror, during the exam I overheard the doctor giving my husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide. ‘Think of what it will spare your wife, we need to think of her’ he said, as a clincher.”
Read full letter, “I was afraid to leave my husband alone again with doctors and nurses” (4th letter in listing)
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- Canadian supreme Court declares both euthanasia & prescribed suicide legal
- Are activists trying to legalize assisted suicide in your state?
- Don’t be taken in by claims supporting Oregon-style “aid in dying”
- Euthanasia comes to Canada – Are we next?
- News briefs from home & abroad
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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
“Watch: Lauren Hill’s Interview on ‘The View’”
(WCPO — March 21, 2015)
They saw the same courageous, strong-willed Lauren Hill still speaking out on behalf of kids with cancer despite the advanced stages of her own incurable brain tumor….asked about what she said about recently falling out of her wheelchair, she said, “I gracefully assaulted the floor.”
“Shrinks Treat Suicide Wish with Euthanasia”
(National Review — March 21, 2015)
Now, a Belgian magazine has more details about the 50 or 60 mentally ill people euthanized by Belgian psychiatrists each year….Mentally ill people have great organs to be harvested! The slippery slope has become an avalanche of abandonment.
More on Belgium
In 2015, doctor-prescribed suicide bills have been introduced in:
District of Columbia
A bill to expand Oregon’s doctor-prescribed suicide law has been introduced in that state’s legislature.
HB 3337 would expand the definition of “terminal disease” in the state’s doctor-prescribed suicide law. Under the proposal, a patient who is predicted to die within one year — rather than the current six months prognosis — would be eligible to receive the lethal dose of drugs.
More on Oregon and on HB 3337.
“New Trading Card Features Cincinnati’s Lauren Hill”
(ABC6 — Cincinnati — March 6, 2015)
Lauren Hill, the Ohio college basketball player battling terminal brain cancer, how has her own [Upper Deck] trading care. A quote from Hill on the back of the card: “Never give up on your dreams, find something to fight for. I fight for others.”
“Belgian soccer team celebrates terminally ill fan’s life the day before his death by euthanasia”
(Washington Post — March 4, 2015)
More that 20,000 fans offered 41-year old Lorenzo Schoonbaert a heartfelt goodbye. He blew the opening referee whistle and kicked the ball around for a few seconds. The following day he died from a lethal injection.
More on Belgium
“Execution of Georgia Woman Postponed; Problem with Drug”
(ABC News – March 3, 2015)
The problematic drug is pentobarbital.
[Note: The latest official Oregon report indicates that more the 44% of reported deaths under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act” have been from pentobarbital. (See pg. 5 of the report).]
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
“Assisted suicide would be fraught with problems and abuses”
(CT Mirror — March 6, 2015)
Led by a vocal disability community, opposition to assisted suicide cannot be reduced to soundbites. Death is far too important for six-word slogans — like ‘My Life. My Death. My Choice.” Instead, let us examine the real issues — the mistakes, coercion, and abuse that are inevitable and which cannot be fixed.
More on Connecticut
More on Disability Perspective
Position Statement on SB 676/ HB 1021, Death with Dignity Act
(The Arc — March 2015)
The Arc Maryland’s concerns include lack of protections, historic discrimination in the medical field based on perceived “quality of life” of persons with disabilities, and lack of treatment and other options….
More on Maryland
More on Disability Perspective
“Out of Pocket, Out of Control”
(Bloomberg — February 10, 2015)
Obamacare’s goal to expand access to health care has been only half a success. More Americans have insurance, but a rise in cost sharing means fewer can use it. Copayments are a big part of the problem…22 percent of people now say the cost of getting care has led them to delay treatment for a serious condition.
More on Obamacare
“A safe place for abused seniors”
(Gazette.net — 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
“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
“As more hospices enroll patients who aren’t dying, questions about lethal doses arise”
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
“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.
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.