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Latest additions to web site: 8/20/14
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“Two Disability Advocates Respond to Two Assisted Suicide Proponents with Disabilities”
(Not Dead Yet — August 19, 2014)
More on Disability Perspective

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Scroll down Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles.
For additional information, see Site Map.
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The Latest PRC Update (2014 – Volume 28, No. 4,):

  • Dutch euthanasia expert: “We were wrong — terribly wrong, in fact”
  • Quebec legalizes euthanasia; one lawsuit filed — so far
  • Compassion & Choices wants to be the only assisted-suicide drug dealer in US
  • Massachusetts General issues DNR orders without patient or surrogate consent
  • New Jersey bill pulled before Assembly floor vote
  • Washington #1 in assisted-suicide percentage rise
  • No conscience against prescribed suicide allowed
  • “Aid-in-dying”: States should beware
  • UK: Two landmark court rulings address euthanasia and DNR orders
  • British House of Lords debates Oregon-like assisted-suicide bill
  • 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.  Important Questions & Answers about VSED
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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).
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Recent Major Developments

Washington State releases latest official annual report on doctor-prescribed suicide.
“Death with Dignity Act annual report shows a 43 percent rise in participation”
(Washington State Department of Health press release — June 4, 2014)

From the official report:

  • Top reasons reported for doctor-prescribed suicide:
    Concern about loss of autonomy, concern about loss of dignity, concern about loss of the ability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable. (p. 1)
  • More than half of deaths were of individuals who had only Medicare or Medicaid health insurance coverage. (p. 5)
  • Pentobarbital was the drug that caused 89% of doctor-prescribed suicide deaths. (p. 8)
    [Note: Pentobarbital has been the primary drug used for capital punishment]
  • The doctor who prescribed the drugs was present in only 2 of the 159 reported deaths. (p. 9)
    More on Washington

Featured Articles

“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.

“Repeal physician-assisted suicide, now”
(Burlington Free Press — July 30, 2014)
Years ago we did away with the death penalty…mistakes could be made and an innocent person could be wrongly put to death….Now we have Act 39 (physician-assisted suicide), another law whose only purpose is to result in the death of one of our citizens.
More on Vermont

“The Ethics of Food and Drink: Starvation is not mercy”
(Weekly Standard — July 28, 2014)
Should the law compel nursing homes to starve certain Alzheimer’s patients to death?  This is not an alarmist fantasy, but a real question, soon to be forced by advocates of ever-wider application or assisted euthanasia. The intellectual groundwork is already being laid for legislation or court orders requiring nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities to withhold spoon feeding from dementia patients who, though they take food and drink willingly , once requested the withholding of life-prolonging measures in an advance medical directive.
More on Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED)

“Tanni Grey-Thompson on assisted dying”
(New Statesman — July 15, 2014)
“People come up to me and say ‘I wouldn’t want to live if I was like you.”
More on United Kingdom

“Outrage as ‘Dr. Death’ offers euthanasia tours of ‘inspiring’ Auschwitz”
(Mail Online — July 12, 2014)
Belgian doctor Wim Distelmans has organized a “study tour” to Auschwitz.  He claims the Nazi death camp is ‘inspiring’ and will help “clarify confusion.”
More on Belgium

“Don’t make our mistake: As assisted suicide bill goes to Lords, Dutch watchdog who once backed euthanasia warns UK of ‘slippery slope’ to mass deaths”
(Mail Online — July 9, 2014)
Professor Boer admitted he was “wrong — terribly wrong, in fact” to have believed regulated euthanasia world work.
“I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law. But now, with 12 years of experience, I take a very different view.”
More on Holland
More on United Kingdom

“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

“Is that hospice safe?  Infrequent inspections mean it may be impossible to know”
(Washington Post — June 26, 2014)
Even the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a Washington-based trade group, has advocated for more frequent inspections.  “There are two kinds of hospices in America: the ones that get it right, and those that should be out of business,” Don Schumacher, president of the NHPCO, said in a statement.
More on hospice

“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”.

“How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry”
(Huffington Post — June 19, 2014)
Evelyn Maples’ last day as a hospice patient wasn’t anything like her family imagined when the nurse from Vitas Healthcare first pitched the service two months before….The average U.S. hospice has not undergone a full inspection in more than 4.5 years….The most difficult part of Maples’ experience to evaluate concerns her medications.
More on hospice

“A Trial of ICU Care: a true end-of-life story”
(Geriatrics for Caregivers — June 13, 2014)
He was DNR and we had planned for comfort care once his symptoms got worse. But when he fell dangerously ill, I ended up advocating for him to go into the Intensive Care Unit….Three days later, Mr. H was discharged back there, where he re-engaged in his favorite activities….

“With assisted suicide, context is everything”
Globe and Mail — June 6, 2014)
I am an oncologist, and I am Jewish.  Fortunately, at this moment, I am not terminally ill, nor do I bear an incurable disease. By virtue of my profession and my age, death, suffering and the indignity that can go with it are familiar to me.
That is my perspective. I lead with that declaration, because when it comes to the business of assisted suicide, context is everything.

“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.