Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide - Archive

April 2006: End of Life Information

The Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation

Update on 12-Year-Old “Comatose” Abuse Victim

Flemish Party Calls for Under-18s to Be Given Euthanasia Rights

URL for the 8th Annual Report on Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law

British Doctors Call Premature Babies ‘Bed Blockers’

THE TERRI SCHINDLER SCHIAVO FOUNDATION, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the rights of disabled, elderly, and vulnerable citizens against care-rationing, euthanasia, and medical killing, was formally established on 30Mar06, one day shy of the anniversary of the death of Terri Shiavo.

 
CALL FOR UNDER-18S TO BE GIVEN EUTHANASIA RIGHTS. The Flemish Socialist party, a member of Belgium’s coalition government, called 5Apr06 for a change in the country’s euthanasia rules to give under 18s – or the parents of younger children – the right to choose assisted suicide. The proposed rules for children would be similar to those for adults. Currently a patient seeking euthanasia must request it more than once, and be terminally ill and constantly suffering. The proposal is similar to one floated by prime minister Guy Verhofstadt’s Liberal Democrats, but is unlikely to become law. Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002. [Associated Press in Brussels, http://society.guardian.co.uk/health/story/0,,1747875,00.html
6April06, The Guardian; Cheryl Eckstein, Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN) www.chninternational.com]

URL for the 8th Annual Report on Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law: http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/docs/year8.pdf

 

DOCTORS CALL PREMATURE BABIES ‘BED BLOCKERS’. Premature babies who require months of expensive intensive care in neonatal units have been labelled “bed blockers” by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG); it says the huge efforts to save babies born under 25 weeks are hampering the treatment of other infants with a better chance of survival and a healthy life.

As the NHS faces an increasing financial crisis, with beds being closed and jobs axed, it says these very premature babies are “blocking” much-needed intensive care cots, sometimes forcing expectant mothers with potentially healthier babies to be transported by ambulance to other hospitals.

In a submission to a two-year inquiry into premature babies by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the college says: “Some weight should be given to the economic considerations as there is a real issue in neonatal units of ‘bed blocking’, whereby women have to be transferred in labour to other units, compromising both their and their babies’ care.”

The statement reflects a growing view among child specialists that babies born under 25 weeks should be denied intensive care and allowed to die. Next month the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health will debate a motion at its annual conference that it is “unethical” to provide intensive care routinely to babies born under 25 weeks. In practice, they would only be saved in exceptional circumstances.

It would shift Britain towards practice in Holland, the only European country that accepts such babies should die. One paediatrician opposing such a change described it as “involuntary euthanasia”.

However, Susan Bewley, chairwoman of the ethics committee of the RCOG, said: “I would prefer that every baby could be treated, but we cannot get away from the fact resources are not endless.”

About 800 babies are born each year under 25 weeks. Medical advances mean about 39% of those born at 24 weeks now survive, and 17% of those at 23 weeks. Most babies are born at 40 weeks.

The cost of treating very premature babies is high. A neonatal intensive care bed costs about £1,000 a day and very premature babies can require intensive care for four months. Any change to a Dutch model would be opposed by parents such as those of Joey McCormick, born three weeks ago at 24 weeks’ gestation.

Doctors say he has a 90% chance of living. His father Daniel McCormick, a chef from Norwich, said: “The doctors behind the proposals must regard Joey as a number and an expense, but to us he is our little boy.” Joey’s doctor, Paul Clarke, a neonatologist, said: “To me it all sounds too much like attempts to bring in involuntary euthanasia at the opposite end of life.”

David Thomas, from Oxford, was born at 24 weeks, spent 4 months in hospital but now at two is healthy. His mother Michelle, a psychiatric nurse, said: “Not to have given David the right to life would have been unethical.” [The Sunday Times – Britain, 26Mar06, Sarah-Kate Templeton]

 

UPDATE ON 12-YEAR-OLD “COMATOSE” ABUSE VICTIM. Massachusetts’ Haleigh Poutre, who was nearly beaten to death by her adoptive mother and stepfather in 9/05, was declared by doctors to be in a persistent vegetative state, “virtually brain dead,” with no hope of recovery. The MA courts upheld the Dept of Social Services’ (DSS) request to remove her respirator and feeding tube.

However, just one day later, Haleigh began emerging from her so-called “persistent vegetative state”. She was breathing on her own and responding to simple requests. The DSS called off the removal of the feeding tube, stating her condition had changed. Poutre has since been removed from the hospital and is being treated in a rehabilitative center. [LifeNews.com 2Feb06; Michelle Malkin.com; HLA Action News, Spring 2006]