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Are People Being Deceived about Euthanasia?

Tue, 2017-09-19 22:54
This article was published by HOPE Australia on September 20, 2017
Many euthanasia and assisted suicide proponents frame their arguments around “facts” and declarations that there is a majority of citizens who support such legislation. Yet, when you take a closer look, their “strong” basis for support is based on misconceptions about such legislation – and misconstrued facts!

John Buchanan highlights some of the major discrepancies between what euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates consider to be a strong basis for their campaign, and what the true facts of the matter are:
Myth 1: Public polls are reliable, and a decision about assisted suicide must accord with their results.

Reality: a poll about any matter is only useful to the extent that the question asked is realistic, and those polled have some knowledge about the matter…. Is it clinically realistic to ask a question like “Are you in favour of assisted suicide if someone has uncontrollable pain, and is terminally ill?”

A reading of the 1037 submissions to the Victorian parliamentary committee shows that such scenarios have occurred in the past (before palliative care was available) but should not be the case in 2017, now that modern palliative care is available – if people will use it. Good pain control measures are now possible if used properly. 
Myth 2: Pain is the main issue.

Reality: Recent research with people in Canada who requested assisted suicide shows that pain is not the main issue. The main reason given was a desire for control of personal circumstances.

This means that the “uncontrollable pain” issue has been used somewhat as a selling point, and the assertion of ‘autonomy’ is the main underlying issue. However, an assisted suicide process is not really autonomy, since others would be involved, and to exercise such choice would require a major change to medical ethics.
Myth 3: Doctors can tell you how long you have to live.

Reality: Doctors can give five-year survival rates. No doctor can tell you how long a person has to live. Such comments are guesswork. A guideline for PAS involving a 12-month prognosis is an illusion.
Myth 4: Assisted suicide would affect that individual only.

Reality: A law change affects everyone in the community. Hence there is a need to evaluate the effect of PAS law on the common good and medical practice. The fact is that in The Netherlands, and Belgium, the criteria have slipped to include not just people who appear terminally ill, but those with psychiatric illness who are physically well, and those who state they suffer in some way (but who are not assessed for any possible treatment).

Myth 5: Families are always benign and caring.

Reality: Evidence is that elder abuse is most likely from those close to a person, especially family. It is also a reality that when a person is seriously ill, many family members find it very stressful, and have quite mixed feelings about the ill person: part of you wants them to go on; part of you wants the whole experience over asap. I have experienced this myself. It makes a seriously ill person vulnerable to coercion from family to go down the assisted suicide path.

Myth 6: Likely guidelines are adequate safeguards.

Reality: The guidelines set out by the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Panel do not provide for any medical assessment of palliation at all. They do not provide for a genuinely independent medical opinion and do not attempt to detect coercion of the person. The door to elder abuse is left wide open.
Myth 7: The standard of future healthcare will not be affected.

Reality: As has become apparent overseas, healthcare economists soon realize that it is likely cheaper for the bureaucracy to offer a ‘comfort medication’ (suicide pill) than to pay for palliative care or chemotherapy. It is therefore very likely that assisted suicide legislation will distort future health care delivery – and that conclusion is drawn without even considering the expense of future dementia care.

These myths and misconceptions can have (literally) deadly consequences. Before any decisions or even debate takes place, all citizens have the right to fully understand what effects potential euthanasia and assisted suicide legislation could have, AND what other options exist.

Prematurely killing people as a means to escape pain and fear is not the answer. Instead, we can focus on making care and life better for all citizens, at all ages and for any condition.

We can live without euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Categories: Discussion

The Nazis' First Victims Were the Disabled.

Mon, 2017-09-18 04:07
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The sad reality is that people will often forget human history. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Kenny FriesI think that everyone needs to read the article, The Nazi's First Victims Were the Disabled, that was published in the New York Times on September 13.

This excellent article is written by Kenny Fries, an author who recently published “In the Province of the Gods.” Fries is writing about his explanation to a young German neurologist of the truth about how the Nazi's T4 euthanasia program killed as many as 300,000 people with disabilities. The killing techniques were developed in the Psychiatric hospitals and then used in the Nazi death camps. Fries takes the killing of people with disabilities personally:I have a personal stake in making sure this history is remembered. In 1960, I was born missing bones in both legs. At the time, some thought I should not be allowed to live. Thankfully, my parents were not among them. I first discovered that people with disabilities were sterilized and killed by the Nazis when I was a teenager, watching the TV mini-series “Holocaust” in 1978. But it would be years before I understood the connections between the killing of the disabled and the killing of Jews and other “undesirables,” all of whom were, in one way or another, deemed “unfit.”Nazi euthanasia victimsMany facts about the Nazi T4 euthanasia program are not well known. Fries explains:While he does know that approximately 300,000 disabled people were killed in T4 and its aftermath, he doesn’t know about the direct connection between T4 and the Holocaust. He doesn’t know that it was at Brandenburg, the first T4 site, where methods of mass killing were tested, that the first victims of Nazi mass killings were the disabled, and that its personnel went on to establish and run the extermination camps at Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. Three years earlier, when I first arrived in Germany, I was consistently confronted with the treatment of those with disabilities under the Third Reich. But I soon realized I had to go back even farther. In the 1920s, the disabled were mistreated, sterilized, experimented on and killed in some German psychiatric institutions. In 1920, the psychiatrist Alfred Hoche and the jurist Karl Binding published their treatise, “Permitting the Destruction of Unworthy Life,” which became the blueprint for the exterminations of the disabled carried out by the Third Reich. I am also Jewish. At the Karl Bonhoeffer psychiatric hospital in the Berlin suburb of Wittenau, where the exhibition “A Double Stigma: The Fate of Jewish Psychiatric Patients” was held, I learned about, as the exhibition title suggests, how Jewish patients were doubly stigmatized by being separated from other patients, denied pastoral care, and were cared for not at the expense of the Reich but by Jewish organizations. Jewish patients were singled out for early extermination; by December 1942, the destruction of the Jewish patient population at Wittenau was complete.Nazi euthanasia victimsFries explains why the history of the Nazi T4 euthanasia program important to us today:Why is it important to know this history? We often say what happened in Nazi Germany couldn’t happen here. But some of it, like the mistreatment and sterilization of the disabled, did happen here.A reading of Hoche and Binding’s “Permitting the Destruction of Unworthy Life” shows the similarity between what they said and what exponents of practical ethics, such as Peter Singer, say about the disabled today. As recently as 2015, Singer, talking with the radio host Aaron Klein on his show, said, “I don’t want my health insurance premiums to be higher so that infants who can experience zero quality of life can have expensive treatments.” These philosophers talk about the drain on “resources” caused by lives lived with a disability, which eerily echoes what Hoche and Binding wrote about the “financial and moral burden” on “a person’s family, hospital, and state” caused by what they deem lives “unworthy of living.”Many people think that these attitudes towards people with disabilities are in the past. Fries asks the question:What kind of society do we want to be? Those of us who live with disabilities are at the forefront of the larger discussion of what constitutes a valued life. What is a life worth living? Too often, the lives of those of us who live with disabilities are not valued, and feared. At the root of this fear is misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and a lack of knowledge of disability history and, thus, disabled lives.
Categories: Discussion

Candice Lewis was pressured to die by euthanasia in Canada.

Fri, 2017-09-15 13:06
This article was originally published by OneNewsNow.

A case in Canada demonstrates that people who are seriously ill or disabled need to be accommodated, and doing that does not include a lethal injection.

Candice LewisCandice Lewis, who was born with multiple disabilities, lives in a small Newfoundland community. When she was hospitalized last year, two doctors pressured her to agree to be euthanized and strongly suggested it to her mother.
"It was obvious she was going through conditions, ..., which may have been very, very great," explains Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC). "But the fact is that there was no request for euthanasia, and as you know, in Canada euthanasia is legal now. There was no request, there was no desire for this, but there was pressure from the doctors."Lewis was ultimately transferred to another hospital where doctors found the problem was simply a need to adjust her medication. She is now doing better than ever and recently participated in her sister's wedding.

As for euthanasia, Schadenberg says proponents claim it is all about personal choice, but that is a big lie.
"That's one of the big cultural lies that they sell us because, in fact, what it is is that it gives the doctor the right in law to cause your death. And once the doctor has that power, you have to understand that goes along with their own attitudes, their own levels of discrimination, their own feelings," the EPC executive points out. "Obviously the doctors were saying, 'I wouldn't want to live like you, Candice.'"Yet Candice wants to live, and her family does not want to be deprived of the joy she bring them.
Categories: Discussion

“World Suicide Prevention Day” Omits Disabled Population

Wed, 2017-09-13 23:11

September 11, 2017 Taylor Hyatt – Policy Analyst & Outreach Coordinator, 
Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet

September 10th, was World Suicide Prevention Day. The decision to end one’s own life should always be met with sorrow and grief; every effort should be made to prevent human beings from reaching that level of despair. However, our society seems to make an exception for old, ill and disabled people.

Disabled people encounter a variety of obstacles to living secure, fulfilling and independent lives compared to the general population. There is a shortage of affordable and accessible housing, as well as home-based assistance services. Many people end up being forced into institutions as a result. These environments severely restrict residents’ personal freedoms, while unsanitary conditions and unhealthy practices may rise to the level of inhumane treatment. People with disabilities are also more likely to be unemployed or live in poverty. Income supports often do not cover basic living expenses. Moreover, correcting any of these problems is commonly thought to be a burden. It’s no wonder that some wrongly believe it is better to die than be disabled.

When suicidal tendencies become obvious, self-destruction is assumed to be a reasonable choice because a disability is present. Should the person seek help, medical professionals overlook typical sources of stress. Instead of investigating the underlying problems – strained relationships or social isolation – the person’s behaviour is assumed to be motivated by the disability, and therefore rational. For people with mental health issues, the wish to die may even be a symptom of their condition. In fact, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) released a position paper this week stating that assisted suicide solely for psychiatric disabilities “should remain illegal” for this reason. People with all kinds of disabilities are therefore at greater risk of suicide. This situation cannot be overlooked.

To make matters worse, the Canadian government legalized “medical aid in dying” or “assisted death” last year. The procedure should be called by its true name: assisted suicide and euthanasia. A false distinction between two “types” of suicide has been created. Current suicide prevention efforts disregard the legally-sanctioned form in an effort to avoid limiting personal choice. This approach makes no sense. Whether or not you are disabled, and whether or not you engage medical professionals to participate in your death, suicide is suicide.

Suicide prevention should apply equally to everyone – including and especially people with disabilities. Until that happens, we will be denied our rights to self-determination and full participation in society. / / 450-921-3057
Categories: Discussion

Euthanasia and assisted suicide - contagion and corruption of compassion.

Tue, 2017-09-12 19:02
By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Arthur Goldberg and Shimon Cowan have written an excellent analysis of euthanasia and assisted suicide laws from the point of view of Jewish scholars.

Goldberg and Cowan write about the issue based on several topic areas. They start their article by referring to the quick expansion of euthanasia "MAiD" in Canada.
In Canada, “natural death” must be “reasonably foreseeable” before a doctor may euthanize a patient. In spite of such statutory language, in A.B. v. Canada, a case decided this June, the Court judged that the anticipated natural death need not be “imminent”; it need not even be “connected to a particular terminal disease or condition.” Rather, Justice Paul Perell concluded, “what is a ‘reasonably foreseeable death’ is a person’s specific medical question to be made without necessarily making, but not precluding, a prognosis of the remaining lifespan.” Physician-assisted suicide may go forward as long as a medical professional considers “all of a particular person’s medical circumstances.” One wonders in what sort of case death would not be reasonably foreseeable, under this loose standard. The foundation for this decision was an earlier Canadian Supreme Court case, Carter v. Canada. It overturned the law that criminalized both the assisting of another’s suicide and the consenting to one’s own death, on the grounds that the law “unjustifiably infringed” upon the rights and freedoms of “competent adult persons.”
Goldberg and Cowan then write about the Contagion of euthanasia:
One vector for the contagion of euthanasia is the vagueness of the terms in which the conditions for termination of life are expressed. Alex Schadenberg, International Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, provides a couple examples. A.B. v. Canada, the case cited above, arose because the petitioner’s doctor was unwilling to execute a woman with excruciating osteoarthritis, fearing that if he did so, he might be charged with murder. If the requirement that death be “reasonably foreseeable” is supposed to rule anything out, it probably should rule out killing someone with painful, non-terminal arthritis—yet the court found some way to justify the killing. Schadenberg also points to a case of a young man in a Vancouver nursing home who was diagnosed with a neurological disease and struggled to “find a cure with massive doses of vitamins.” Nowhere near dying, this man was nevertheless killed by a Vancouver physician. The spread of the contagion is facilitated by financial motives also. Insurance companies, trying to save money, often seek to replace sanctity of life with so-called quality of life. Dr. Brian Callister, an associate professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and former head of the State’s Medical Association, attempted to transfer two patients to hospitals in other states, so they could receive potentially life-saving treatments unavailable in Nevada. His patients were denied insurance for their transfer and treatment. The insurers asked: “Have you considered suicide?” Speaking from personal experience, Dr. Callister says, “Assisted suicide changes the way we care for patients. It creates a dangerous segue to perverse incentives for insurance companies and there’s no going back from that.” But Dr. Callister’s experience is not isolated. Stephanie Packer, a vibrant mother of four from California, suffers with scholoderma, a terminal condition. She was advised by her insurance company to seek a prescription from her doctor for a lethal medicine that would only cost her a $1.20 co-pay, instead of granting her the financial assistance she sought for life-affirming treatments at UCLA.
Goldberg and Cowan then examine the question of the Psychological Contagion of Suicide:
On his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson highlighted the negative effect of 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix show, on two teenage girls in California. According to their parents, the girls committed suicides after “bringing” on episodes of the show. They blamed their children’s deaths on the show’s glamorization of suicide, its presentation of suicide as a response to the stresses of teenage life. It is perhaps no accident that Oregon, the first state to legalize assisted suicide, has a general suicide rate some 40 percent higher than the American national average. Whether legal “assisted suicide” fueled the State’s culture of suicide, or was fueled by an otherwise existing culture of suicide, the Oregon experience at least suggests that suicide as a culturally accepted “value” and legislation permitting “assisted suicide” go together.The authors then examine the issue of conscience rights. They wrote:
Permitting euthanasia does not just harm those who are killed. It also harms those who are forced to kill, or else suffer legal consequences or be forced from a profession. Legislation implemented in Ontario—and similar legislation proposed in Victoria, Australia—forces physicians who oppose personal involvement in euthanasia or “assisted suicide” to “effectively refer” their patients to another physician who will kill. “Effective referral” is defined as a referral to carry out the purposes of the Act. That means a specific referral either “to someone who will do it or someone who will arrange it. Either way,” EPC Chair Alex Schadenberg explains, “it’s a referral for the purpose of death.” It thus denies conscience rights to medical professionals who do not understand killing their patients to be part of their craft. In the view of Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Association of Canada, when doctors are told they must send their patient to an executioner, “we are being forced to violate our deeply held religious beliefs. Effective referral and participating in assisted death are morally and ethically the same thing. This forces people of conscience and faith to act against their moral convictions and threatens the very core of why they became physicians, which is to help to heal people.” Dr. Mark D’Souza, a palliative care physician and board director of Concerned Ontario Doctors, indicates that as a “conscientious objector,” he objects to killing a patient. As a result, he and several other doctors he knows will no longer accept patients needing palliative care. The palliative care system in the community in which he practices (Scarborough) is grossly under serviced. The effect of these retirements is to worsen available care for patients in severe pain. In addition to contradicting the very concept of palliative care, the availability of euthanasia also tends to undermine its practice; where euthanasia is available, funding for palliative care falls correspondingly.
The authors then examine the question of compassion:
Euthanasia therefore abandons people at their most vulnerable. Rather than providing compassion and support for people in their suffering, euthanasia presents a callous and insensitive “alternative.” As Viktor Frankl points out, the essential human dimension is neither body nor mind, but rather a soul or conscience with both mind and body as its vehicles and challenges. The task of soul or conscience is to respond purposefully and ethically to the predicaments of mind and body. We can see a shining example of true compassion in the case of an Oregon resident, Jeanette Hall. After receiving a terminal diagnosis of cancer, she requested lethal drugs, thinking it appropriate to “do what our law allowed”—a law for which she voted. Her doctor, however, encouraged her not to give up, even though medical diagnosis gave her six months to live. A decade later she is still surviving.The authors finally deal with the the inalienable rights and obligations we have towards persons. They conclude their article by stating:
In a previous Public Discourse essay, we spoke about the conditions required to achieve restoration of the political-moral center. One essential ingredient is to overcome a culture of sanctioned killing, to re-anchor our contemporary culture towards the protection of life, rather than its disposal. To do this we must crystallize into our collective consciousness the principles of the Noahide Code, the moral root of our great religious traditions and our civilization.Thank you Arthur Goldberg and Shimon Cowen for researching issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide from a Jewish point of view.
Categories: Discussion

Canadian Mental Health Association opposes "MAiD" euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.

Sun, 2017-09-10 01:34
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in its submission to the Canadian Institute for Health Research has stated that MAiD (euthanasia) for psychiatric patients should remain illegal.

The position of the CMHA is:
As a recovery-oriented organization, CMHA does not believe that mental illnesses are irremediable, though they may be grievous or unbearable.  We recognize that people with mental illnesses can experience unbearable psychological suffering as a result of their illness, but there is always the hope of recovery.  CMHA’s position on medical assistance in dying in Canada, is that people with a mental health problem or illness should be assisted to live and thrive. The CMHA recommended that the government:
1. Support recovery,2. Continue to invest in community mental health and addiction services and supports,3. Develop a national suicide prevention strategy,4. Invest in research to accurately predict and understand the course of illness in mental health and substance abuse.
In December 2016 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) decided that in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on medical euthanasia, that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.
Categories: Discussion

California Hospital Sued for Refusing to Assist a Suicide.

Sat, 2017-09-09 14:35
The article was published by the National Review online on August 13, 2017.

Wesley SmithBy Wesley Smith

This lawsuit is a little before its time. 
Should assisted suicide become widely accepted in this country, activists will try to force all doctors to participate–either by doing the deed or referring to a doctor known to be willing to lethally prescribe. 
But it isn’t yet, and so the pretense of the movement that they only want an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy change in mores and law continues as SOP. 
But sometimes they show their true intentions. Thus, when UCSF oncologists refused to assist a cancer patient’s suicide, the woman died of her disease. Now, her family is suing–using the same attorney (Kathryn Tucker) who tried (unsuccessfully) to obtain an assisted suicide Roe v Wade in 1997 and has brought other pro-assisted suicide cases around the country. From the San Francisco Chronicle story: Judy Dale died of cancer in her San Francisco home in September, in agony, after being denied the pain-relieving medication she might have received under the state’s aid-in-dying law that had taken effect three months earlier. Bias alert! Pain relieving medication is palliative, to ease pain or other very uncomfortable. Dale was not issued a lethal prescription intended to kill her. That’s not the same thing. 

Back to the story: A lawsuit by her children will determine whether UCSF Medical Center, where Dale first went for treatment, was responsible for her suffering by allegedly concealing its oncologists’ decision not to provide life-ending drugs to patients who ask for them. More broadly, their suit illuminates the inner workings of a law that confers new rights on terminally ill patients, but few obligations on their health care providers. Specifically, doctors and hospitals are provided clear and explicit conscience protections in the law. No hospital or physician can be forced to participate or refer in an assisted suicide.
Demonstrating the disingenuousness of the lawyers bringing suit, that provision was–as the story reports–required to induce the California Medical Association to go neutral on the law, without which it almost surely would never have passed. 
The primary claim is elder abuse. If that theory prevails, not helping kill a patient would become a form of abuse! Unthinkable. 
The plaintiffs also contend that the hospital had assured Dale she would be able to receive assisted suicide, and then failed to follow through. I don’t know if that kind of statement would be actionable or not since there is no legal duty to do the deed, as it were. 
But this I do know: The lawsuit illustrates where the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement wants to go. As in Ontario, Canada, they want doctors and hospitals to be forced to participate in assisted suicide or get out of medicine.
Categories: Discussion

Disability Rights Groups Applaud NY Court of Appeals Assisted Suicide Ruling

Thu, 2017-09-07 20:30
The media release was published on the Not Dead Yet website on September 7, 2017


Diane Coleman 708-420-0539
Adam Prizio 518-320-7100 (office) 603-518-4910 (cell)

Diane ColemanFor Immediate Release:

Disability rights groups applaud today’s New York Court of Appeals unanimous ruling announcing that “we reject plaintiffs’ argument that an individual has a fundamental constitutional right to aid-in-dying . . . . We also reject plaintiffs’ assertion that the State’s prohibition on assisted suicide is not rationally related to legitimate state interests.”

Not Dead Yet led the filing of a Disability Rights friend-of-the-court brief in the state’s highest court in support of the New York State Attorney General. Joining in the Not Dead Yet brief were ten other national and New York state disability rights organizations: ADAPT, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Center for Disability Rights, the Disability Rights Center, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), the National Council on Independent Living, the New York Association on Independent Living, Regional Center for Independent Living and United Spinal Association, collectively referred to as the “Disability Rights Amici.”

“We are tremendously heartened by today’s decision,” said Adam Prizio, attorney for the Disability Rights Amici. “This was the right decision for the Court of Appeals and for the disability community, because the Petitioners were asking the Court to write into law an exception which the Legislature did not create and did not intend. The Court rightly declined to do this. I expect proponents of assisted suicide to redouble their efforts with the Legislature as a result, and to try to push assisted suicide through in a hurry next year. We will be there to push back when they do, because this issue is life and death for the disability community.”

Among other issues, the brief expressed concerns about advocacy for assisted suicide in the context of extreme pressures to cut health care costs. “Elders and people with disabilities too often face economic or other pressures to get out of the way,” said Diane Coleman, president/CEO of Not Dead Yet. “If assisted suicide becomes an accepted practice, coverage may be denied for more expensive healthcare, as we’ve already seen in Oregon and California. In this climate, what is being promoted as a ‘right to die’ could very quickly become an expectation, even a duty to die.”

In a concurring opinion, Justice Fahey quoted from the Disability Rights brief:

The Disability Rights amici argue that while the plaintiffs “use the term ‘dignified death’ to justify assisted suicide. . . . the ‘indignities’ nondisabled (and some newly disabled) people invariably describe are the need for assistance in daily activities like bathing, dressing, and other realities of having a disability. Legalizing assisted suicide enshrines in law the prejudice that death is preferable to receiving the assistance that many disabled people rely on” (Amicus Brief of Disability Rights Amici: Not Dead Yet et al., at 4). . . . Legalizing physician-assisted suicide would convey a societal value judgment that such “indignities” as physical vulnerability and dependence mean that life no longer has any intrinsic value.

A disability does not deprive life of integrity or value. There is no lack of nobility or true dignity in being dependent on others.
Categories: Discussion

New York High Court found that "aid-in-dying" is assisted suicide and there is no right to assisted suicide.

Thu, 2017-09-07 19:36
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition commends the New York High Court in its Meyers v. Schneiderman decision. The court found that aid-in-dying is assisted suicide and that there is no right to assisted suicide in New York.

This is not the first time that a State court has decided that aid-in-dying is assisted suicide while upholding a State assisted suicide law. 

The assisted suicide lobby is attempting to redefine the term "aid-in-dying" by claiming it is not a form of suicide or assisted suicide. I believe that the first failed attempt was in the Connecticut court in 2010 where the Connecticut court threw out the case and stated that aid-in-dying is assisted suicide.
Even though the New York court was clear, something tells me that the assisted suicide lobby, formerly known as the Hemlock society, will continue to bring false cases to court with the hope of finding a sympathetic judge who is willing to redefine suicide.

In New York, the high court responded to the claims of the assisted suicide lobby in Meyers v. Schneiderman by stating:"Suicide" is not defined in the Penal Law, and therefore "we must give the term its ordinary and commonly understood meaning" ... Suicide has long been understood as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.”…Black’s Law Dictionary defines “suicide” as “[t]he act of taking one’s own life,” and “assisted suicide” as “[t]he intentional act of providing a person with the medical means or the medical knowledge to commit suicide” (10th ed 2014). Aid-in-dying falls squarely within the ordinary meaning of the statutory prohibition on assisting a suicide.  As written, the assisted suicide statutes apply to a physician who intentionally prescribes a lethal dosage of a drug because such act constitutes "promoting a suicide attempt" (Penal Law § 120.30) or "aid[ing] another person to commit suicide" (Penal Law § 125.15 [3]). We therefore reject plaintiffs' statutory construction claim. The next claim by the assisted suicide lobby was that New York does not provide equal protection or equality under the law. The New York State high court disagreed.
Our State's equal protection guarantees are coextensive with the rights protected under the federal Equal Protection Clause (see People v Aviles, 28 NY3d 497, 502 [2016]; Esler v Walters, 56 NY2d 306, 313–314 [1982]). In Vacco v Quill, the United States Supreme Court held that New York State's laws banning assisted suicide do not unconstitutionally distinguish between individuals (521 US 793, 797 [1997]). As the Court explained, "[e]veryone, regardless of physical condition, is entitled, if competent, to refuse unwanted lifesaving medical treatment; no one is permitted to assist a suicide. Generally, laws that apply evenhandedly to all unquestionably comply with equal protection" (id. at 800 [emphasis in original]). The Supreme Court has not retreated from that conclusion, and we see no reason to hold otherwise.No assisted suicide.
No assisted elder abuse.The High Court also disagreed with the claim by the assisted suicide lobby that there is a fundamental right to self-determination and to control the course of their medical treatment encompasses the right to choose aid-in-dying. The court responded:
Contrary to plaintiffs' claim, we have never defined one's right to choose among medical treatments, or to refuse life-saving medical treatments, to include any broader "right to die" or still broader right to obtain assistance from another to end one's life. We have consistently adopted the well-established distinction between refusing life-sustaining treatment and assisted suicide

The right to refuse medical intervention is at least partially rooted in notions of bodily integrity, as the right to refuse treatment is a consequence of a person's right to resist unwanted bodily invasions (see Cruzan v Director, Mo. Dept. of Health, 497 US 261, 269-270 [1990]; Schloendorff, 211 NY at 130). In the case of the terminally ill, refusing treatment involves declining life-sustaining techniques that intervene to delay death. Aid-in-dying, by contrast, involves a physician actively prescribing lethal drugs for the purpose of directly causing the patient's death. ... the Supreme Court has noted that "the distinction between assisting suicide and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, a distinction widely recognized and endorsed in the medical profession and in our legal traditions, is both important and logical; it is certainly rational," and it turns on - 10 - - 11 - No. 77 "fundamental legal principles of causation and intent" (Vacco, 521 US at 801).The New York court upheld the clear and fundamental distinction between killing and letting die. The withdrawal of treatment does not cause death, but rather it does not delay natural death from occurring whereas assisted suicide directly and intentionally causes death.

The court then stated that there is no right to assisted suicide and they recognized that the State has a legitimate interest in prohibiting assisted suicide. The court stated:
As to the right asserted here, the State pursues a legitimate purpose in guarding against the risks of mistake and abuse. The State may rationally seek to prevent the distribution of prescriptions for lethal dosages of drugs that could, upon fulfillment, be deliberately or accidentally misused. The State also has a significant interest in preserving life and preventing suicide, a serious public health problem (see Bezio, 21 NY3d at 104; Storar, 52 NY2d at 377; see also Glucksberg, 521 US at 729). As summarized by the Supreme Court, the State's interests in prohibiting assisted suicide include: "prohibiting intentional killing and preserving life; preventing suicide; maintaining physicians' role as their patients' healers; protecting vulnerable people from indifference, prejudice, and psychological and financial pressure to end their lives; and avoiding a possible slide towards euthanasia" (Vacco, 521 US at 808-809). These legitimate and important State interests further "satisfy the constitutional requirement that a legislative classification bear a rational relation to some legitimate end" (id. at 809).The New York High Court concluded that:
Our Legislature has a rational basis for criminalizing assisted suicide, and plaintiffs have no constitutional right to the relief they seek herein. Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, without costs.The High Court decision was clear, aid-in-dying is assisted suicide and there is no right to assisted suicide in New York.

Categories: Discussion

New York High Court says there is no right to assisted suicide.

Thu, 2017-09-07 16:12
This article was published by National Review online on September 7, 2017

Wesley SmithBy Wesley Smith

There is no constitutional right to assisted suicide, so the courts keep ruling. 

The Supreme Court of United States rejected an assisted suicide Roe v. Wade 9-0 in 1997.
State supreme courts have rejected state constitutional claims in Florida, New Mexico, and elsewhere. 
In fact no high court in the USA has ever ruled that there is a constitutional right to assisted suicide (including in Montana, which issued a muddled ruling that assisted suicide did not violate public policy). 
Now, New York can be added to the growing list. 

First, a little background: The zealots at Compassion and Choices–formerly the more honestly named Hemlock Society–want the courts to pretend that when a doctor prescribes a lethal overdose for use in self-killing, it isn’t really suicide. This blatant word engineering attempt is rejected outright by the court. From the Meyers v. Schneiderman: Suicide has long been understood as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.”…Black’s Law Dictionary defines “suicide” as “[t]he act of taking one’s own life,” and “assisted suicide” as “[t]he intentional act of providing a person with the medical means or the medical knowledge to commit suicide” (10th ed 2014). Aid-in-dying falls squarely within the ordinary meaning of the statutory prohibition on assisting a suicide. Duh. 
The court proceeds to reject the constitutional claim to assisted suicide by a terminally ill person on several grounds. Here’s one that bears noting: Refusing medical treatment when death is the likely outcome is not synonymous with a “right to die.” Contrary to plaintiffs’ claim, we have never defined one’s right to choose among medical treatments, or to refuse life-saving medical treatments, to include any broader “right to die” or still broader right to obtain assistance from another to end one’s life… We have consistently adopted the well-established distinction between refusing life-sustaining treatment and assisted suicide. The right to refuse medical intervention is at least partially rooted in notions of bodily integrity, as the right to refuse treatment is a consequence of a person’s right to resist unwanted bodily invasions. Yup. 
The court also notes that there is a rational basis for the state’s law against assisted suicide:As to the right asserted here, the State pursues a legitimate purpose in guarding against the risks of mistake and abuse. The State may rationally seek to prevent the distribution of prescriptions for lethal dosages of drugs that could, upon fulfillment, be deliberately or accidentally misused. This is very good. The last thing this country needs are courts imposing extra-democratically a radical social revolution against venerable values and mores, particularly in the face of hundreds of legalization rejections by voters and legislatures throughout the United States over the last twenty years. 
One more point: When a social movement feels the need to hide its actual agenda beneath a veneer of gooey euphemisms (“aid in dying,” “death with dignity,” etc.) there is something very subversive about the agenda.
Categories: Discussion

Euthanasia lobby confirms elder abuse risk – but doesn’t seem to care

Tue, 2017-09-05 14:55
This article was published by Mercatornet on September 5, 2017

Paul RussellBy Paul Russell - The director of HOPE Australia

The Netherlands legalised both euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2002. The data shows an overwhelming preference for euthanasia. In 2015, there were 6672 euthanasia deaths and only 150 assisted suicide deaths; the total comprising at least 4.5% of all deaths.

In recent years the discussion about ‘life ending actions’ has turned to assisted suicide for ‘completed life’; where a person over a certain age may declare that they wish to end their lives even though they may have no serious medical issues.

Debate has raged back and forth on this new development for some years. An expert committee recommended that changes to the law not proceed, but there remains support from within government and some of the minor parties.

Reports in 2016 suggested that the government had drafted legislation. Health Minister, Edith Schippers, has said that "because the wish for a self-chosen end of life primarily occurs in the elderly, the new system will be limited to them”. The lower age limit is rather arbitrary with debate ranging from 60 to 70 years of age.

Legislation is expected to be introduced in late 2017. It is expected to take the form of a new law rather than an amendment. This seems to be because the existing provisions require medical opinion and support whereas this new form of assisted suicide may have more in common with the mail or online order system made notorious by the Australian activist Dr Philip Nitschke and his organisation, Exit International.

But this is not the first time that such a move has been put forward. As with all of these debates, there’s a long lead-in time while the discussion of the agenda looks to forge a beachhead of public opinion.

In 1991, Dutch Supreme Court Judge, Huib Drion, argued for “The self-chosen end for old people,” over the age of 75. He suggested a two-stage process where a person would self-administer a substance that would have no immediate effect that could be followed up later by the second stage substance that would react with the first and bring about death by suicide. The idea became known as “the Drion Pill” though no such pill was ever developed.

The publication of his paper in a newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, in 1991, sparked a significant controversy with letters of support for many weeks and Drion receiving a great deal of public attention.

The World Federation of Right to Die Societies (WFRTDS) also picked up on the idea as did its Dutch counterpart the Dutch Right to Die society (NVVL) and the former Dutch health minister Els Borst who was instrumental in the introduction of the 2002 euthanasia law.

In 2003, the WFRTDS adopted a name change to their policy support for Drion’s idea, calling it, instead, “The Last Will Pill” and noting that the resonance of the use of Drion’s name limited the association of the idea to the elderly. WFRTDS sees its application more broadly than that.

Both Drion and the WFRTDS are clear in the distinction between the practice of euthanasia in Holland and this new proposal.

The rhetoric is eerily similar to Nitschke and Exit: current euthanasia and assisted suicide laws are medical models that only partially give voice to autonomy. As NVVL chief executive officer Rob Jonquière, pointed out: “People want the right to choose to end their life independent of doctors or illness.”

This independence from any medical model has implications. As observed already, there are similarities in the proposals to the modus operandi of Exit and Philip Nitschke.

Another Dutch right-to-die club, The Co-operative Last Will, are also pushing this barrow. They seem willing to sail close to the edges of the law in advocacy and information in a similar way to Exit. They are promoting “a new drug” but refuse to identify it.

“The stuff is legally available and deadly in pure form. It has already been used by people who wanted to commit self-exploitation. There have also been several murders committed by the means.”
This is dangerous talk. As we have seen with the Nitschke methods, people who are not otherwise ill and people who suffered depressive illnesses have been caught up in the hype with devastating personal and family consequences. The reference to murders is chilling: clearly people have been tricked into consuming the drug.

Again, like Nitschke (who once said: “There will be some casualties…”), The Co-operative Last Will organisation is frank about the possible collateral damage:

“The Cooperative Last Will and its members (3,500 people) point out the existence and functioning of the new drug. The club realizes that it involves the risks. An extreme consequence could be that children give the means to their old and wealthy parents because they want to claim their inheritance.

"That kind of criticism is to be expected. But the sale of rope is also not forbidden, and so people rob themselves of life, "says a spokeswoman.” (Emphasis added)
A glib retort and hardly apposite. Robbing oneself of life is suicide – elder abuse to death is murder. But who would ever know.

But collateral damage it will be. Far from stopping Dutch “right-to-die” types in their tracks, such an acknowledgement seems more about deflecting criticism than it is about protecting Dutch citizens from abuse.

One wonders if the Zeitgeist had not been infected this past 20 years and more with the Dutch strain of the euthanasia virus if there might have been more pause for thought. Given that Drion’s infamous idea predates Dutch euthanasia by a full decade; perhaps not!

Paul Russell is director of HOPE: preventing euthanasia & assisted suicide, which is based in Australia.
Categories: Discussion

2017 Euthanasia Symposium - October 28, 2017

Fri, 2017-09-01 16:08

Join us for the 2017 National Euthanasia Symposium. 

It is an opportunity for us to learn from each other and network with like-minded people. It is happening this year on Saturday, October 28 from 9 am - 5 pm at the Best Western Premier Toronto Airport Carlingview Hotel

You can register online (Registration link) or you can also register by calling the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 or by emailing
Dr. Mark KomradThe cost for the Symposium is $50, and includes lunch
New this year, we are live streaming of the Symposium to enable anyone to watch the Symposium live, anywhere in the world. We will send you the link and code to log in for only $30.

We have arranged for many amazing speakers:

Dr. Mark Komrad is an American professor and psychiatrist who will speak about opposing euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. He has written a book on how to convince troubled family members, loved ones and friends to get psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Mark specialized in medical ethics in mental health care.

Jen RomnesJen Romnes is an artist, author and advocate who will speak about her personal experience opposing euthanasia. Jen has recently released her second book entitled Entangled 2: Betrayed From Within which continues the story of how she fought to protect her Mom from abuse. Her advocacy focuses on protecting people who become vulnerable due to diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Jacqueline AbernathyDr Jacqueline Abernathy is Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Tarleton State University in Texas and an end-of-life researcher. She will talk about her analysis of the defeated assisted suicide legislation in the US.

Kevin DunnKevin Dunn is a movie producer who co-produced The Euthanasia Deception and many other documentaries for social change. Kevin is currently working on two new films for EPC and will speak on the topic of using media to drive social and cultural change.
Taylor HyattAmy Hasbrouck, President of EPC and Taylor Hyatt, Policy Analyst and Outreach Coodinator for Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet will speak about the federal debate on expanding the euthanasia law in Canada from the perspective of people with disabilities. 

Dr. Ramona CoelhoDr. Ramona Coelho, a Medical Doctor in London, Ontario, will be speaking on physicians' conscience rights. 

Charles Lewis, a former columnist with the National Post and a member of the EPC Board, will be speaking about the need to care for and protect people from euthanasia.

Amy HasbrouckWhen booking your room at the Best Western, be sure to mention you are attending the Symposium to get the special conference rate of $109 (includes breakfast). Visit their website at or call: 1-800-780-7234.

Please share this information with any family members and friends who may be interested in learning more about how they can better resist the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide in their community. We need you to become more involved in our work to create positive change.

For more information call: 1-877-439-3348 or email:
Categories: Discussion

Euthanasia Expertise Available To Local London Clergy

Wed, 2017-08-30 21:12


LONDON, ON – Local author and scholar, Lorna Gunning Fratschko, is delivering a series of workshops this fall to assist clergy in preparing for the euthanasia legislation as it impacts their parishioners and parishes. The first event, “Legal Implications for Clergy & Parishioners,” takes place September 12, 2017, at St. Stephen’s Memorial Anglican Church Campus, 727 Southdale Road East, London, Ontario.

During this workshop, the topic will be discussed in terms of the federal Euthanasia Bill C-14 and the provincial Euthanasia Bill 84. Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, is the keynote speaker and will tie these pieces of legislation together, how they are applied, and the impact on clergy and their parishioners.

The Reverend Keith Nethery writes,
"It seems to me that Medically Assisted Death is poised to become a significant issue in a society that is consumed with living, but now having to come to terms with the fall out of that search. At the same time, with the increased acknowledgement of social justice issues, protecting the most vulnerable among us must remain key. It is time that the discussions on this subject in the faith community become much deeper and far ranging." Lorna Gunning Fratschko’s expertise is validated through the recent completion and publication of her dissertation, “The Euthanasia Debate: International Experience and Canadian Policy Proposals.” This paper has been read 879 times around the world. Now this expertise is being made available to clergy in the London area in order to assist clergy as they deal with this new reality.

These workshops offer a safe and open environment for discussion. Remaining seminar dates are October 17th and November 14, 2017.

Tickets are available at The cost is $25.00 + HST each or $60.00 + HST for the series of 3 fall seminars.


CONTACT: Lorna Gunning Fratschko, Living 360, 519-472-9060 or

Lorna Gunning Fratschko, HBSc, MTS, MA

Lead Facilitator, Living 360

Categories: Discussion

Disability bias killed UK teen

Wed, 2017-08-30 19:30

By Taylor Hyatt

Policy Analyst & Outreach Coordinator, Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet.

Taylor HyattLast week, the death of 19-year-old Tommy Swales made headlines in the UK. He had been diagnosed with Friedrich’s ataxia – a rare genetic disorder that causes heart disease and a gradual loss of mobility – four years ago. The teen fell easily and walked with a slouch, using a backpack to hide it. Those close to him were asked not to acknowledge his condition. The sudden change in his abilities caused him to become withdrawn, depressed, and isolated. He reportedly researched the assisted suicide organization Dignitas. While the family was out for the afternoon, he took his own life.
My first reaction to this story is grief. A young man who should be excited about everything life has to offer does not get to partake in it. His family and friends are left to mourn and wonder what could have been. Stronger than the sadness, though, is my frustration at the combination of factors that pushed him over the edge.
He told his mother, Michelle, about his greatest fear: having to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Before his death, he traveled to the United States, attended concerts, and cheered on his favourite soccer team – all activities he feared missing once he relied on a mobility device. After living without a disability for so long, learning to navigate the world all over again might seem overwhelming…but it is possible. Why didn’t anyone tell him that wheelchair users of all ages can still travel, work, and have active social lives? No mention was made of referrals to disability supports after his diagnosis. He also refused assistance from mental health professionals. Like many other youth with disabilities, he was isolated from a larger community that could have given him hope for the future.

The most concerning part of the story is his mother’s response. In statements given to media, Ms. Swales said “Tommy tackled life with a quiet dignity and amazing strength and courage. We take comfort from all of this, alongside the knowledge that Tommy is where he wanted to be.” She noted that although people who have depression should reach out for support, her son was “different” and “didn’t want help” for his suffering.
I am floored that his death was accepted so casually. No one would express relief at a non-disabled person’s suicide. It seems everyone involved saw disability as a fate worse than death. Why did the family go along with this? If the average teen’s desire to die was treated the same way, outside authorities would intervene. As stories like Jerika Bolen’s demonstrate, disability is the only “acceptable” reason for a young person to end their life.
Friedrich’s ataxia was the diagnosis he received. Ultimately, it was society’s bias against disability – and the fear of having to contend with this bias – that drove him to despair. He was not the first to respond this way; nor will he be the last. 

Life with a disability is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. How many more lives will be lost before this is understood?
Categories: Discussion

Doctors pressured this woman to die by euthanasia. One year later she is much better.

Tue, 2017-08-29 03:29
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Candice LewisLast month Candice Lewis's mother received a disappointing response from the local hospital after sending an official complaint about being pressured by doctors who wanted Candice to die by euthanasia.

Mother upset after doctor urged her to approve assisted suicide for her daughter with disabilities.

Today, an article by Stephen Roberts that was published in the Northern Pen newspaper explained that Candice is doing much better after receiving excellent care from a hospital in St Johns's Newfoundland. The article reported:
According to her mom, Sheila Elson, Candice hasn’t been having any seizures, is now able to feed herself, walk with assistance, use her iPad, and is more alert, energetic and communicative since her stay in St. John’s. “She’s back to about where she was five or six years ago,” says Elson. After a two-week hospital stay, Candice, along with her mother, walked her sister Glennis down the aisle at her wedding in Dildo in August. She’s been able to do all this despite the fact that in 2016, doctors suggested that Candice might be dying. In September of that year, a doctor at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony had also suggested to Elson that physician-assisted death could be an option for Candice. What is satisfying her these days is her daughter’s health. Since returning to St. Anthony earlier this month, Candice hasn’t required a visit to the hospital. Elson believes Candice’s condition has improved because she is now on fewer medications.Legalizing euthanasia (MAiD) gives physicians the right in law to lethally inject their patients. Candice's quality of life based on their negative and discriminatory attitudes towards the lives of people with disabilities.
Categories: Discussion

New Zealand assisted suicide bill would undermine suicide prevention

Mon, 2017-08-28 19:39

Press Release - Monday August 28, 2017
David Seymour's Bill would undermine suicide prevention
The number of suicide deaths in New Zealand have increased for the third year in a row. The provisional suicide statistics released today show:
  • 606 people died by suicide in the 12 months to June 2017 – almost twice the road toll (363 for the 12 months to 28 August).
  • Males are represented in about three-quarters of suicide deaths.
  • The highest number of suicide deaths are among 20 - 24 year-olds.
  • Maori continue to have the highest suicide rate of all ethnic groups.
“It is concerning that there is an assisted suicide bill before Parliament, despite our high suicide rate”, says Renee Joubert, executive officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.

“Essentially the only difference between suicide and assisted suicide is the number of people involved in bringing about the death. In both cases the person likely desires death due to feeling that they’re suffering unbearably and/or have no hope for a better future.

“If suicide is to be prevented, assisted suicide should be prevented also.

“There is definitely a demand for ‘assisted dying’ as a means of suicide”, says Ms Joubert.

“We regularly receive phone calls and emails from suicidal people inquiring about ways to access euthanasia because they can’t bring themselves to executing other suicide methods. They usually start out talking only about their emotional reasons, and later mention physical medical conditions that would make them eligible for assisted suicide and euthanasia under David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill.

“Even if depression would be explicitly excluded from the eligibility criteria, suicidal people would still be at risk of accessing ‘assisted dying’. Depression and suicidal ideation can too easily be denied, hidden, dismissed or misdiagnosed. Even mild, subclinical depression could still affect a person’s will to live.

‘Assisted dying’ legislation would send the message that death is an appropriate response to suffering – a dangerous message to people who are emotionally vulnerable.

Such a law would change the role of doctors from only helping to prevent suicide, to also facilitating suicide.

Euthanasia-Free NZ call on politicians and the public to reject ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill in principle.

If you or someone you know is in distress, please phone 0800 TAUTOKO (0800 828 865).

Categories: Discussion

Windsor man who was expected to die, is now home.

Mon, 2017-08-28 18:41
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Don BrunelleA Windsor Ontario man, who was expected to die, returned home last week, after living through three months of treatment including weeks in Coma. CBC news reported:
A 64-year-old Windsor man who fought for his life in hospital for three months following a harrowing car crash arrived home Friday to a hero's welcome, his body battered but his spirit unbroken. Don Brunelle was a passenger in a corvette that struck a cement hydro pole at close to 200 km/hr on May 26 in Wheatley. The driver was charged with drunk, stunt and reckless driving. Brunelle was in a medically induced coma for weeks. Doctors did not expect him to survive. His wife Brenda maintained a vigil at his bedside and remained unrelentingly positive. "I refused to believe what all the doctors — and I mean all of them — were telling me about how sick he was," Brenda said. "I asked all of that conversation about him not surviving this crash be taken outside of his room." "I'm just very grateful that I'm on the road to getting my life back with all my friends," he said.This is a story of hope, but this story also causes us to question, what if Don had stated, in a legal document, that he would not want to live this way?

The Canadian government is researching the expansion of euthanasia to include incompetent people who had previously asked to be killed by euthanasia, when living with certain medical conditions.

The CBC article reports his wife, Brenda as saying.
"I think our battle now begins,"

"I think this is day one of his recovery. I think we're out of the hospital phase now."​Thank you Brenda for showing us how to have hope.
Categories: Discussion

German nurse may have killed 84 people.

Mon, 2017-08-28 18:04
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

If you think that safeguards can control euthanasia or that legalizing euthanasia will eliminate the medical killings that occur, think again.

First: Euthanasia laws lack effective third-party oversight. All of the laws require two doctors to approve euthanasia or assisted suicide (in Canada nurse practitioners can approve) and once death occurs all of the laws require the physician who carries out the act to self-report the act. No third-party oversight or witness at the time of the death is required. Physicians and nurse practitioners do not self-report abuse of the law.

Second: The abuse of the law that already occurs is usually not reported because the medical system lacks effective oversight and when abuse is uncovered, they rarely report the problem to the legal authorities, often based on fear of lawsuits. Just read about the Elizabeth Wettlauffer case in Ontario.

Now, a former German nurse who was convicted of killing 2 patients between 2000 - 2005 and later found responsible for 33 deaths is suspected of killing 84 people. Deutche Well news reported:Niels Högel Following a three-year probe into all patients under Niels Högel's care, investigators revealed on Monday that the former nurse was responsible for 84 more deaths than initially thought. Högel, who is already serving two separate prison sentences, was found to have injected patients with cardiovascular medication at hospitals in the northern towns of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst between 1999 and 2005. His aim was to induce heart failure or circulatory collapse before successfully resuscitating his patients to impress his colleagues. He was sentenced in 2008 to seven-and-a-half years for attempted murder after he was discovered trying to give an overdose to a patient. He was then jailed for life in 2015 after being found guilty on six counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one charge of battery after his "trick" failed to work. However, prosecutors alleged that he had likely killed many more people but kept the charges low to make their case easier to prove. During the 2015 trial, Högel also admitted to a psychologist to killing 30 people while working at the clinic in Delmenhorst, having injected the medication into at least 60 patients. Last year, prosecutors estimated the total number of deaths to be 43.

Over three years, investigators said they exhumed and probed 134 bodies for the traces of Högel's cardiovascular medication, raising the number of suspected killings to a further 84.

Oldenburg Police Chief Johann Kühme said the sheer scale of Högel's crimes "leaves us speechless," adding that some cases will never be proved as the bodies had since been cremated. "And as if all that were not enough, we must realize that the real dimension of the killings by Högel is likely many times worse."

The police chief also faulted local health authorities who failed to act as it allegedly came apparent that the death rate at Delmenhorst hospital's intensive care unit almost doubled while Högel worked there. "If the people responsible at the time, particularly at the Oldenburg clinic but also later in Delmenhorst, hadn't hesitated to alert authorities - for example police, prosecutors -" Högel could have been apprehended sooner, Kühme said.In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2001, a study of deaths in the Netherlands found that 431 people died an assisted death without explicit request in 2015. 
A study examining deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, found that there were more than 1000 assisted deaths without explicit request in 2013
The only way to protect people is by prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide and closely monitoring the medical use of drugs and potential medical abuse.
Categories: Discussion

Medical errors represent the third leading cause of death. Should this concern you about legal euthanasia?

Wed, 2017-08-23 22:12
Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Recent studies indicate that, in the United States, medical errors have become the third leading cause of death.
A recent article by, lawyer Meghan Hull Jacquin points out that one out of every 18 patients in Canadian hospitals will experience a potentially avoidable harmful event.Unfortunately, surgical and medical errors happen, and they can cause patients injury, disability, or even death. One recent study found that one in 18 people admitted to Canadian hospitals each year – 138,000 patients – experienced a harmful event that was potentially preventable. Of those patients, 30,000 faced more than one preventable harmful event. Some statistics suggest these hospital errors may be the third leading cause of avoidable death.Now that euthanasia is legal in Canada and assisted suicide is legal in several US States the reality that medical errors will lead to death by euthanasia or assisted suicide.
For instance, the Canadian law permits euthanasia (lethal injection) if a person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition - meaning:
  • the person has a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability;
  • the person is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability;
  • the illness disease or state of disability or the state of decline causes enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable and cannot be relieved under conditions that the person considers acceptable; and
  • natural death has become reasonably forseeable taking into account all of the medical circumstances, although a prognosis as to the specific length of time remaining is not necessary.
Since a grievous and irremediable medical condition, or disability, can be caused by medical error, therefore medical errors will lead to deaths by euthanasia.
Further to that, medical misdiagnosis has led to death by euthanasia or assisted suicide. Laws permitting assisted death require the approval of two doctors (in Canada a nurse practitioner can approve euthanasia), but none of the laws require both doctors to examine the patient to ensure that a proper diagnosis has been made.
For instance, in April 2013, Pietro D'Amico died at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic, after receiving a wrong diagnosis. An article published in the Swiss news service, The Local, stated:... lawyer Michele Roccisano told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.  An autopsy carried out by the University of Basel’s Institute of Forensic Medicine found that D’Amico was not suffering from a life-threatening illness at the time of his death.  Roccisano has called on the Italian and Swiss authorities to examine D’Amico’s medical records to determine what went wrong.It is too late to discover a medical misdiagnosis, after the death.
Death by euthanasia and assisted suicide will also enable unscrupulous doctors to cover-up their medical errors. 
Legalizing assisted death is not safe.
Categories: Discussion

Dying of Despair

Wed, 2017-08-23 20:59
This article was published by the National Review online on August 22, 2017

Wesley SmithBy Wesley Smith

I began my work against assisted suicide in 1993. 

In the intervening years, I have witnessed a very disturbing change. When I began, the emotional zeitgeist of society focused intensely on preventing suicide. Today, in many cases, the emotional oomph (if you will) supports suicide, not in all cases to be sure, but certainly in some. 
There has been a concomitant downgrading of suicide prevention intensity. As I wrote a few years ago, we now have what I call “invisible” suicide prevention campaigns. 
I write this because there is a very good article in First Things by UC Irvine psychiatrist Aaron Kheriaty that explores the general issue of suicide. He diagnoses the causes of our crisis as coming from a loss of hope, and to some degree, the decline of religious practice (as distinguished from affiliation). 
I intend to dig deeper into his article later. But for now, I want to focus on the assisted suicide aspect. 
I have long believed that promoting assisted suicide–even if you call it something else, like “death with dignity” or “aid in dying”–sends an enervating message to the suicidal that self-killing is an acceptable answer to suffering and life’s most difficult problems. 
Indeed I believe that the elevation of Brittany Maynard to movie star levels of adulation and celebrity–solely because she promoted and committed assisted suicide–was a tremendously destructive and subversive act that could help push people in dark directions. 
Dr Aaron KheriatyKheriaty discusses that question too. From, “Dying of Despair: The law is a teacher, and American law ­increasingly teaches indifference to life when it runs up against respect for radical autonomy. California and Colorado recently joined four other states in permitting doctors to assist terminally ill patients to take their own lives. In the same week that Gov. Brown signed the California bill, two British scholars published a study showing that laws permitting assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington have led to a rise in overall suicide rates in those states. I wrote about that study here too. Back to Kheriaty: These findings should not surprise us. We know that publicized cases of suicide tend to produce copycat cases, often disproportionately among young people. Recall the recent spate of adolescent suicides in Silicon Valley. Social scientists call this “the Werther effect,” from Goethe’s eighteenth-century novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, in which the protagonist, thwarted in his romantic pursuits, takes his own life with a pistol. After the book’s publication, a rash of suicides among young men using the same means alarmed authorities in Germany…  The case of fourteen-year-old Valentina Maureira, a Chilean girl who suffered from cystic fibrosis, illustrates both effects while highlighting the power of social influences.  Maureira made a YouTube video begging her government to legalize assisted suicide. She admitted that the idea to end her life began after she heard about the case of Brittany Maynard, the twenty-nine-year-old woman who campaigned for the legalization of assisted suicide before ending her own life.  Maureira, however, later changed her mind after meeting another young woman suffering from cystic fibrosis who encouraged her to persevere in the face of adversity. Her father complained that the media were only interested in her story when she wanted to die. 
If Maureira had killed herself, we never would have known she would, one day, change her mind. 
But that fact won’t resonate at all with those who increasingly believe that suicide, at least of the sick, is a right rather than a cultural crisis. They will simply shrug and sniff, “She didn’t do it so what’s the problem?” 
But there is a huge problem that could be taking the lives of some who would later want to live. Consider: We now see suicide parties extolled in the media–even joint suicides and euthanasia killings of elderly couples. Movies promote suicide of the sick and elderly. And one can’t discuss assisted suicide with out seeing the photo of a beautifully smiling Brittany Maynard holding a puppy. 
In all of this, I am reminded of a quote from Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne. Writing in the wake of widespread public support for a father who murdered his daughter because she had cerebral palsy, Coyne worried: A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured. We aren’t there yet, but if we aren’t careful, we could become a pro-suicide culture, or at least a suicide-indifferent one. 
Indeed, when it comes to the ill, disabled, and elderly, many of us are already there. And the casualties are mounting.
Categories: Discussion