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(Mercury News — May 15, 2016)
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the Legislature violated the state constitution by passing the 2015 law during a special session called to address emergency needs in the state’s health care system…

According to Modern Healthcare, “It’s likely Attorney General Xavier Bacerra will appeal Ottollia’s decision. It’s also possible that Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic -controlled Legislature, which is in session through August, could move to re-pass the law in regular session to settle the procedural objections.”
More on California

American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs:  “Assisted suicide” should be called what it is — “assisted suicide.”  Advocates of assisted suicide have sought to have the American Medical Association (AMA) refer to the practice by euphemistic terms such as “aid in dying” or “death with dignity.”

However, the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) recommends that the AMA continue to call assisted suicide what it is – “assisted suicide.”  The full resolution on the recommendation will be on the June 9 – 13, 2018 agenda for the AMA’s annual meeting.
More on verbal engineering

If proposed OHIO bill (SB 249) is approved, a drug overdose would become a legal choice for some.
More on Ohio, including text and analysis of SB 249.

“‘Terminal’: What does it mean?”
Doctors who favor doctor-prescribed suicide are prescribing the lethal drugs for patients who could live for decades. 

2018 Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills Proposed or Carried Over from 2017

Scroll down for other Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles.

For a listing of all categories on this web site, see Site Map.

The Latest PRC Update (2018 – Volume 32, No. 1):

  • With the new year comes more dangerous doctor-assisted suicide bills
  • When “terminal” does not mean six months left to live
  • Colorado & Vermont issue 1st assisted-suicide reports
  • Oregon releases 2017 prescribed-suicide report with high death count
  • 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).

Recent Major Developments

(Mercury News — May 15, 2016)
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the Legislature violated the state constitution by passing the 2015 law during a special session called to address emergency needs in the state’s health care system…
More on California

“‘Miracle’ Boy, 13, Who Was Apparently Brain Dead Wakes After Parents Sign Organ Donation Papers”
(People Magazine — May 6, 2018)
Trenton McKinley defied all the odds.  After the 13-year-old boy was severely injured in a dune buggy accident, his parents made the difficult decision to donate his organs following  days of him being apparently brain dead, according to Fox 10.  But, after the papers were signed, he miraculously regained consciousness.
More on Organ Donation
More on Death & Brain Death

Colombia — euthanasia for children now permitted.
Three years after its law permitting euthanasia went into effect, Colombia has passed a resolution permitting euthanasia for children. For children ages 7 to 12, parental consent is required in addition to the child’s request.  Adolescents 12 to 14 years old may also obtain euthanasia with the consent of their parents.  Children ages 14 or older may consent for themselves without any parental agreement.
More on Colombia

“Assisted suicide bill removed from agenda again”
(Delaware State News — April 26, 2018)
The House of Representatives did not vote on a controversial assisted suicide bill Thursday, the second time in three months the measure has been yanked from the agenda.
More on Delaware

“D.C. Health Defends Assisted-Suicide Implementations”
(Washington Free Beacon — April 25, 2018)
Agency says registries are designed to protect vulnerable patients disputing assisted-suicide advocates’ criticism. The Washington D.C. Department of Health said its assisted-suicide program is designed to protect vulnerable patients, disputing criticism from advocates that it has hampered access to lethal medication….
Zero patients have utilized their newfound freedom to commit suicide and only 2 of the city’s 11,000 doctors have signed up to prescribe lethal doses of medication to their patients in the wake of legalization.
More on District of Columbia

New York Assembly holds hearing on doctor-prescribed suicide proposal (A2383A) (April 23, 2018)
Testimony of Kathryn Carroll, Esq., of the Center for Disability Rights, Inc.
Testimony of Mel Tanzman of NY Assn. on Independent Living
More on New York

Hawaii legalizes doctor-prescribed suicide
Gov. David Ige signed Hawaii’s doctor-prescribed suicide bill (HB 2739 as amended) into law on Thursday, April 5, 2018.  The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
More on Hawaii

Colorado issues a sparse report on first year of legal doctor-prescribed suicide
“69 Coloradans seek assisted suicide in first year of program”

(Skyhinews — March 2, 2018)|
According to Kirk Bol of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, the law doesn’t allow follow-up to information submitted by doctors, nor does it give the right to find out if patients actually took the medication or any information about the duration between taking the drugs and death, complications, impressions or concerns.
More on Colorado.

Oregon releases 2017 doctor-prescribed suicide report
Official state report
More on Oregon

Virginia Passes Futile Care Law
(February 2018)
SB 222 and HB 226 have passed. 
The legislation gives health care providers the right to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment without consent or even against the wishes of the patient or the patient’s designated decision maker.
The new law is virtually identical to the futile care policies and law in Texas with one exception.  The Virginia law gives families the right to a court review.
“Life-sustaining treatment” is defined as “any ongoing health care that utilizes mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore, or supplant a spontaneous vital function, including hydration, nutrition, maintenance medication, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”  (§ 54.1-2990)
More on Futile Care

Independent Payment Advisory Board has been killed
GOP Sends IPAB to the Death Panel
(American Spectator — February 9, 2018)
The board was to be composed of unelected bureaucrats vested with the power to “recommend” reductions in Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals.  This would have inevitably reduced access to care for the elderly. That dangerous Obamacare provision was repealed this morning.
More on Obamacare

“Drug overdose could become a legal choice for some”
(Herald Star — February 4, 2018)
Ohio bill (SB 249) would permit doctors to prescribe lethal drug overdose for patients who are expected to die within a “relatively short time.”
More on Ohio

If the NY “Medical Aid in Dying Act” (A0283) becomes law, New York could become the national suicide destination.
More on New York, including the text and documented analysis of the proposal.

Vermont Report about state law permitting assisted suicide released
(December 18, 2017)
Official statistics about “Patient Choice at the End of Life” law which permits doctor-prescribed suicide.
More on Vermont

For additional articles and information, see Site Map.

Featured Articles

“‘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

“Should Nursing Homes Be Forced to Starve Dementia Patients?”
(National Review — March 30, 2018)
Assisted-suicide advocates are pushing an “aggressive advance directive” that would force nursing homes to starve dementia patients — even if they willingly eat — when they reach a specified stage of cognitive decline.
More on Food and Fluids

“Forum: Why the disability community opposes doctor assisted suicide”
(New Haven Register — March 28, 2018)
For us, the issue centers around how much and what kind of power a doctor should be given….If we enact assisted suicide laws, we normalize death as part of the doctor’s black bag.  We expand the role of a doctor from provider of healthcare, be it curative, rehabilitative or palliative, to agent of death.
More on Disability Perspective

“How a push to cut costs and boost profits at surgery centers led to a trail of death”
(USA Today — March 2, 2018)
“The surgery went fine.  Her doctors left for the day… By the time an ambulance delivered Tam to the emergency room the 58-yearold mother of three was lifeless….Dr. Nancy Epstein, chief of neurosurgical and spine care at New York University Winthrop Hospital, said surgery centers doing delicate work near the spinal cord, windpipe and esophagus in a same-day procedure is ‘pretty revolting.’ But she said the centers are making so much money — ‘reeling it in hand over fist’ that the potential dangers are being ignored.
More on Cost Containment

“The Opioid Crisis the News Isn’t Talking About”
(Not Dead Yet — February 20, 2018)
What we are seeing is many disabled people who are suffering due to the lack of access to opioid medication previously available as part of comprehensive strategies and approaches to address chronic pain….For some disabled people, opioids are the only medication or treatment that can help their pain. Now, those who have chronic pain are treated with suspicion.
More on Disability Perspective
More on Pain Control

“Switzerland Follies”
(National Review — January 16, 2018)
Switzerland has amended its constitution to recognize the individual dignity of plants…[I]t is immoral to “decapitate” a wildflower….[However] Switzerland allows “suicide tourism” through which locals and foreigners attend suicide clinics that charge thousands of dollars to make their clients dead — including joint suicides of elderly couples and an Italian elderly woman despairing over lost looks.
More on Switzerland

“Six Things You Need to Know about Physician-Assisted Suicide”
(The Public Discourse — December 19, 2017)
Is the real healthcare crisis not enough physician-assisted suicide laws?  Or is it the staggering and increasing number of people losing their battles with mental illness and committing suicide.
More on Suicide awareness, consequences & statistics

“Are You Old? Infirm? Then Kindly Disappear”
(New York Times — December 16, 2017)
“Doctors’ offices are the worst,” she added, describing how receptionists address whoever’s pushing her. “I’m not acknowledged.  Does this lady have an appointment?” “Does this lady have a medical card?” They don’t allow this lady to have a brain.
But it’s not just receptionists.  Its Flight attendants…They make dismissive assumptions about people above a certain age or below a certain level of physical competence.  Or they simply edit those people out of the frame.
More on Disability Perspective

“‘Strong Fighters,’ ALS Patients with Locked-in Syndrome Report Decent Quality of Life in Small Study”
(ALS News Today — December 13, 2017)
Results contradicted prevailing beliefs regarding ALS patients with locked-in syndrome’s views on quality of and the will to live, researchers reported.
More on ALS

“I want to care for people, not kill them”
(Daily Telegraph — November 16, 2017)
The real question for politicians is not whether they should legislate to allow “assisted dying,” but rather why they have not ensured adequate funding for palliative care and geriatric medicine services so that all patients approaching the end of life can access the type of medical care that will truly give them dignity and relief of suffering….
While assisted suicide and euthanasia are advocated in terms of an individual’s autonomy and the “right to choose” there is overwhelming evidence from overseas jurisdictions that what appears to be a personal choice is often in fact someone else’s choice and what starts as a “right to die” soon becomes a duty to die.
More on Australia

“‘No One Is Coming’: Hospice Patients Abandoned At Death’s Door”
(California Healthline — October 26, 2017)
The hospice care people expect — and sign up for — sometimes disappears when they need it most.  Families across the country, from Alaska to Appalachia, have called for help in times of crisis and been met with delays, no-shows and unanswered calls…. Only in rare cases were hospices punished for providing poor care, the investigation showed.
More on Hospice

“Financial abuse of elderly parents on the rise as housing becomes more unaffordable”
( – The Age newspaper – August 27, 2017)
Parents are increasingly being bullied into downsizing prematurely…This “inheritance impatience” can have dire consequences on their lives…Some are forced into retirement villages too early.
More on Elder Abuse

“Case of maggots in throat offers rare look at neglect probes”
(AP News — August 10, 2017)
In his bed at a New York state group home for the severely disabled, Steven Wenger lay helpless against a silent invader. It was the first of two infestations of the larval flies in his throat over successive days last summer…If the Associated Press had not obtained a confidential report on the case, it’s unlikely anyone in the outside world would have known anything about it.
That’s because in New York and most other states, details of abuse and neglect investigations in state-regulated institutions for the disabled, addicted and mentally ill are almost never made public, even with the names blacked out.
[What can families do if they have a loved one who needs a group home?]
In the absence of publicly available information, Leslie Morrison, director of investigations for the advocacy group Disability Rights California, advises families to do their own detective work.
“Go visit the facility.  There’s nothing better than walking around, doing a sniff test, doing is unannounced,” she said.  “If  you can get in the door, that is.  If you can’t get in the door, that might suggest something to me also.”
More on Disability Perspective

“Stop Assisted Suicide Opioid Abuse”
(First Things — August 8, 2017)
“[O]ne important piece of the opioid problem was omitted…
The Commission’s report fails to consider the mixed message doctors send when they make opioids available to patients for use in committing suicide:
‘Don’t abuse opioids, because they can kill you — unless you have a terminal illness and want them to kill you, in which case your overdose will be considered ‘death with dignity.'”

“How the Medicaid Debate Affects Long-Term Care Insurance Decisions”
(New York Times — July 14, 2017)
Susan Flanders, a retired Episcopal priest who watched her father die slowly while in the throes of Alzheimer’s, believes that the aid-in-dying movement will eventually catch up to the desire of many people to make plans in advance to end their lives, should their minds permanently falter in a severe fashion.
She’s also utterly unafraid to mix money into the conversation…”It’s hundreds of dollars each day that could go towards their grandchildren’s education or care for people who could get well…”. How soon will the federal and state governments come around….
More on Medicare and Medicaid
More on Cost Containment
More on Alzheimer’s

“Disability Rights Toolkit for Advocacy Against Legalization of Assisted Suicide”
(Not Dead Yet — posted June 23 2017)
The perspective of the disability rights organizations and advocates that oppose legalization of assisted suicide are an essential part of the public debate, in keeping with the fundamental principle, “Nothing About Us Without Us!”
More on Disability Perspective

“Abusing assisted suicide laws”
(Washington Times — June 7, 2017)
With the passage of assisted-suicide laws, there are new reports that health insurance companies are refusing to cover lifesaving medical care and are offering to pay patients to kill themselves instead…..Allowing insurance company bureaucrats to overrule how a doctor will treat a patient at any point is absurd, but in an age when some states are legalizing assisted suicide, it can be downright deadly.
More on Cost Containment

“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

“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…
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.