Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide – Archive

California Woman Christy O’Donnell Fights to Die on Her Own Terms

Comment: Compassion and Choices has a lethal game plan for forcing assisted suicide on the nation. Note this quote: “Despite the growing death-with-dignity fight in various states, Coombs Lee doesn’t expect that it will find itself in front of the Supreme Court anytime soon: ‘I don’t think it’s reasonable to think the Supreme Court will act before the majority of states.’ But Coombs Lee is hopeful that the End of Life Option Act will pass in California within three years. ‘It will definitely pass,’ she says. ‘And if this legislature doesn’t pass it, there are two lawsuits working their way up.’” As a nurse, I am also appalled by the implications of this quote: “Attorney Barbara Coombs Lee, president of nonprofit death-with-dignity organization Compassion & Choices and co-author of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, tells Yahoo Health that those safeguards include extensive evaluations by two physicians, as well as several waiting periods, before a patient can fill a prescription for life-ending medication. “Even then, Coombs Lee points out, not everyone actually takes the medication. ‘Every year between 30 to 51 percent of the people who have the prescriptions do not administer them,’ she says, adding that many feel that the quality of their lives improves just by having the option.” So, these suicidal people not only have deadly drugs themselves but also drugs potentially accessible to anyone else in their household like a grandchild, whether or not these people eventually use them to kill themselves. When I was a hospice nurse, we had strict rules for accounting for and safely disposing unused drugs- especially controlled drugs. Apparently such standards...

Dutch and Belgian Induced-Death Practices Are Out of Control

Euthanasia laws in the Netherlands and Belgium took effect in 2002. What has occurred since that time is alarming to many inside and outside those countries. The Netherlands: A judge in Utrecht ordered the euthanasia death of an 80-year-old woman with dementia despite her doctors’ objections that she was not capable of consenting to a lethal injection. It was her family who said she wanted to die. The judge reprimanded the doctors for not respecting the woman’s wishes. She was euthanized the next day. [Daily Mail, 5/18/15] The Dutch law states that only physicians can legally engage in euthanasia and assisted suicide. Yet a Dutch appeals court in Arnhem disregarded the law and cleared all criminal charges against Albert Heringa for assisting his mother’s suicide in 2008. The court said he had an “unwritten moral duty” to help his mother die. [AP, 5/13/15; Jurist, 5/14/15] In June, the Dutch Pediatric Association (NVK) called for expanding the law to allow euthanasia for children under 12-years-old if their suffering is unbearable and hopeless and they understand what a euthanasia request means. If they don’t understand, then it should be up to the doctor and the child’s parents to decide if the child lives or dies. [dutchnews.nl, 6/19/15, 7/3/15](Continued, see “Belgium” on below.) ………………….. News briefs from home & abroad . . . Belgium: As is the case in the Netherlands, Belgium’s euthanasia and assisted-suicide practices are out of control. A recent study, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, found that Belgian doctors are ending the lives of thousands of patients each year without those patients’ consent—in spite of the fact...

Belgium: Report of Thousands Involuntarily Euthanized

A recent study out of Belgium reports thousands of patients are killed against their will by their doctors. The study in the Journal of Medical Ethics found 1 in 60 patient deaths included someone who didn’t want to die, half were over the age of 80, and two-thirds were not suffering a terminal illness. Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor of Hull University, the study’s author, warned the Belgian population that they could be killed if doctors deemed their life not worth living. “The decision as to which life is no longer worth living is not in the hands of the patient but in the hands of the doctor. “It should also be noted that deliberately ending the lives of patients without their request is taking place in Belgium more than in all other countries that document such practices, including the Netherlands. “It is worrying that some physicians take upon themselves the responsibility to deliberately shorten patients’ lives without a clear indication from the patients that this is what they would want,” said Cohen-Almagor. Belgium’s euthanasia law is the world’s most liberal, even permitting assisted suicide for children with disabilities and terminal illness. [12 June 2015, http://www.lifenews.com/2015/06/12/shocking-report-shows-thousands-of-patients-being-euthanized-by-doctors-without-consent/ ; 13 July 2015, http://www.pncius.org/...

Due to Assisted Suicide, Oregon Suicide Rates Among Highest in the Nation (2015)

In 1997, Oregon became the first government in the world to legalize assisted suicide, allowing doctors to prescribe lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients. Since then, 1,173 people have received a lethal prescription, and 752 of them have taken the medication to end their life. Obviously, this law has far-reaching impact that is only now being revealed. Since Oregon was the first by 12 years of only three states to have an assisted suicide law, the so-called “Death with Dignity” Act has been an experiment. In scientific work, one must form a hypothesis and do scores of tests and trials before acting on it. However, in Oregon, liberal ideology promoted the belief that people should have the right to kill themselves with doctors’ aid. Without true research into the side effects and consequences, Oregonians, convinced by the campaign rhetoric of assisted suicide proponents, voted to legalize assisted suicide. Today, Oregon-based Physicians for Compassionate Care has pointed out one more devastating impact of this law: When a state has so deeply invested itself in aiding and encouraging the deaths of one set of its citizens, how can it possibly work to stop the deaths of another group of its citizens? Overall, Oregon has the ninth highest suicide rate in the nation. Our average is 41% higher than the national average. But for the years 1999-2010, Oregon had the second-highest suicide rate for people aged 35-64 (27.3 per 100,000 people). Even though mental health problems are a rampant problem in Oregon, less than one third of men and less than 60% of women who committed suicide were receiving any treatment at...

Parents Will Appeal Ruling Saying Disabled Patient Can be Starved to Death Against His Will (2015)

After a European court issued a ruling saying a disabled patient can be starved to death against his will, his parents are vowing to fight it. Vincent Lambert, a tetraplegic patient who has been in a state of minimal consciousness in hospital for six years following a car accident, is current receiving food and water via a feeding tube. Click to Read at LifeNews.com:...

Woman Smothered Man to Death in “Mercy Killing,” His Family Says He Was Killed Against His Will

A British woman was given the mandatory minimum sentence (at least 9 years) for smothering a man to death. Heather Davidson (54) pled guilty to smothering David Paterson (81) to death on February 11, 2015. According to the York Press Davidson claimed that she was motivated by “mercy” whereas the Paterson family said that David was murdered. The case was based on the fact that Paterson clearly wanted to die a natural death. The York Press reported the Paterson family’s powerful tribute: Uncle David was such a strong character, great fun and outwardly very sociable, inwardly he was an incredibly private and guarded person. Towards the end of his life, Uncle David became less able to manage and needed our help which he accepted with great grace. However, he still retained his privacy and dignity. Only a few months ago we were helping to sort his home out in the anticipation he would be able to leave hospital and live there. We all knew of, and respected his deeply held Christian beliefs. We are, and Uncle David would have been, horrified that someone he classed as a friend and who he thought shared his Christian values, would have acted in this way. … She had no right to do this to him. We were anticipating a funeral that would be a celebration of his life but instead of having the space and time to remember all the good he brought, this has thrown our lives and thoughts into chaos. We have been deprived of the opportunity to grieve as we should have. We all have moments considering the horror...

Almost 2% of All People Who Die in Belgium are Patients Euthanized Without Consent

Almost 2% of ALL who die in Belgium… The bottom line of euthanasia consciousness is that killing is splendid way to end human suffering. Advocates say it is also about “choice.” But once one accepts the first destructive premise, what’s choice got to do with it? A study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics shows that 1.7% of Belgian deaths are caused by termination without request or consent. From the study: In 2007, the use of life-ending drugs with the intention to shorten life and without explicit request occurred in 1.8% of deaths and in 2013 it was 1.7% of deaths. Using U.S. demographics (2.5 million deaths annually), that would be roughly 42,500 non voluntary euthanasia killings! And here’s a howler trying to explain why the percentage of non-voluntary terminations has dropped from 3.2% since 1998: (1) physicians have gained experience and confidence in the practice of euthanasia and involve the patients in the decision-making process, (2) physicians resort to practices such as terminal sedation that is different than euthanasia and (3) physicians may not always be well acquainted with the labelling of all the medical practices at the end of life. Here’s a fourth: They didn’t report their crimes. I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. Belgium has jumped head-first off a vertical moral cliff. LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exceptionalism....

Supreme Court Gets Brief Defending Oregon Assisted Suicide (2005)

Members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation on 20July05 filed a brief with the top court asking it not to side with the Bush administration against allowing federally controlled drugs to be used in assisted suicides. Sen. Ron Wyden and Reps. Wu, Blumenauer, DeFazio and Hooley filed a brief together arguing against the White House’s contention that the Controlled Substances Act allows the federal government to determine that the narcotics should not be used. “The brief tells the Supreme Court that there’s simply no legal or logical basis for the Justice Department’s continued efforts to thwart the will of Oregon voters on this medical matter traditionally left to the states,” Wyden said. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft determined that the drugs do not constitute a “legitimate medical purpose” and, therefore, they should be prohibited from being used to kill patients. All of the drugs in the assisted suicides in Oregon have involved such narcotics. Ashcroft determined that any doctor prescribing the regulated drugs for assisted suicides would lose their medical license as a result. The lawmakers, however, made similar arguments in a 2002 brief filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided in Oregon’s favor. [22July05, Washington, DC...

Dutch Doctors Hasten the Death of Sick Children (2005)

A new analysis of Dutch doctors by researchers in the Netherlands finds that they are more frequently using euthanasia to kill sick children, sometimes taking the country’s assisted suicide laws as far as they will allow. The European nation legalized euthanasia in 2002 and previous reports show Dutch doctors granting most patients’ request to be killed. The new study involves the deaths of 64 children during a four month period and finds that doctors hastened the deaths of 42 of them. The government-sponsored study gave the doctors immunity from having their names revealed or being prosecuted for their actions and their responses were kept anonymous. According to the Irish Examiner newspaper, the report finds doctors engaged in actions varying from withholding life support from patients doctors believed would die anyway to administering drugs such as morphine with the intent of hurrying a patient’s death. One case involved euthanasia in the strictest sense — a doctor making the decision to directly take a patient’s life because he believed the patient was beyond hope. Astrid Vrakking of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam told the Examiner that, in other situations, the actions “take place at the boundaries of what is legally allowed.” “Whether or not these boundaries are supportive or rightful is, of course, a matter of debate,” Vrakking added. The report describes one case where physicians gave an 18 month old suffering from a progressive neuro-degenerative disease drugs & sedatives after the parents requested them. [Netherlands, LifeNews.com,...

Britain and Canada to Debate Assisted Suicide (2005)

The battle lines are being set for what promises to be highly emotional, acerbic debates in both the British and Canadian parliaments in October. The topic: legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. In Britain, the euthanasia debate flared earlier this year after a House of Lords select committee issued a favorable report on Lord Joel Joffe?s “Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill,” a measure that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Lords also called for a full House debate on the induced death issues. Also earlier this year, the British Medical Association (BMA) abandoned it’s long held opposition to euthanasia/assisted suicide, and adopted a neutral stance on both practices. The vote was reportedly staged to be taken after the majority of representatives had left on the meeting’s last day. [Daily Post, 7/14/05] Michael Cook, editor of the international bioethics newsletter, BioEdge, noted, “In short, a rigged vote by a fraction of delegates to the annual representative meeting made what is probably the most momentous decision in the BMA’s history.” [spiked-online.com, 9/05] Outraged over the BMA’s action, the Royal College of General Practitioners, with the overwhelming support of its members, changed its position from neutral to strongly opposing any change in the law banning euthanasia. [Press Release, Royal College of General Practitioners, 9/21/05] The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has no plans to review its opposition to physician-assisted suicide, even though the Canadian Parliament will debate a euthanasia/assisted-suicide bill on October 31. [medicalpost.com, 8/9/05] The measure, “Bill C-407,” would legalize both induced-death practices, making them available to the terminally ill and those with chronic physical and mental pain. The...

Nitschke Moves to New Zealand (2005)

Australian euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke plans to transfer his operations & hold workshops at New Zealand’s Voluntary Euthanasia Society in Auckland. Later, he hopes to hold “peaceful pill” workshops in New Zealand teaching participants how to produce a lethal drug. The move to New Zealand will come before some of his activities are outlawed in Australia; he will relocate the origin of his Exit International’s website at the offices of Auckland’s right-to-die group. Nitschke is making the move before 6Jan06 enactment of an Australian law, which bans the promotion of euthanasia by telephone or internet. [Sydney Morning Herald; http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3494314a11,00.html; N Valko RN,...

Dutch Commission Would Set Euthanasia ‘Rules’ of Newborn Babies (2005)

The Commission may allow doctors to euthanize more “seriously suffering” newborn babies they believe will not live even with medical care and attention. Euthanasia of newborns is still technically illegal but the commission, which would consist of 3 doctors, an attorney and a bioethicist, will likely recommend that physicians who kill newborns but follow certain guidelines will not be charged with manslaughter or murder. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Junior Health Minister Clemence Ross-van Dorp said the commission would begin its work in mid-2006 [Reuters]. They hoped it would add “transparency” to what’s taking place there. Bert Dorenbos [Dutch pro-life group Scream for Life] said the commission would just provide cover for doctors to engage in more euthanasia. “It means that doctors will have a freer hand as to whether to end the life of a child or not. It is a slippery slope.” [30Nov05, LifeNews.com]   DUTCH STUDIES DON’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY ABOUT EUTHANASIA PRACTICES. Dutch euthanasia studies, recently published in American medical journals, present new data on end-of-life decision-making as it pertains to the induced deaths of adults and children in the Netherlands. A Dutch, government-sponsored, euthanasia study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, examined patients’ requests for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS), and the responses of Dutch doctors to those requests. Researchers from Amsterdam?s VU University Medical Center sent written questionnaires to general practitioners (GPs) in 18 of the country’s 23 GP districts. A total of 3,614 GPs (60%) filled out the questionnaire and returned it. They were asked about all euthanasia and PAS requests they had received in the previous 12 and...

California Senate Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide (2015)

A California state Senate committee [28 May 2015] signed off on a bill to legalize assisted suicide and has sent the bill to the full state Senate for a vote. The Democrat-dominated California Senate Appropriations Committee approved SB 128, “physician-assisted suicide,” where often-misdiagnosed and depressed “terminal” patients would be prescribed a lethal dose of drugs, “inspiring” a suicide culture. The group Save California called the vote a wimpy “substitute roll call” vote, announced passing 5 to 2, Democrats for and “Republicans against.” “We wish the Republicans on the committee had demanded a roll call vote, because then it could have been close. Democrat Connie Leyva announced she would be voting yes on the bill’s fiscal aspects, but “still has a little research” to do on the merits of the bill,” the group said. The organization is concerned Democrats in California will turn the state into a beacon for those wanting to kill themselves with a law preying on the elderly and disabled. “Will California do suicide prevention or suicide promotion?” asked SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson. “Because it’s a totally mixed message to tell depressed people ‘live’ and ‘die,’ ‘save yourself’ and ‘kill yourself.’ If the State of California promotes ‘physician-assisted suicide’ with SB 128, there will be copycat suicides and self-inflicted suicides, especially among young people, because you’re sending the deadly message that ‘suicide is the answer.’” … Click link below for entire article… [Steven Ertelt, May 29, 2015, Sacramento, CA, http://www.lifenews.com/2015/05/29/california-senate-committee-passes-bill-to-legalize-assisted-suicide/...

Man Facing Terminal Illness Rejects Euthanasia: ‘Quit Figuring Out Reasons to Justify Killing People’ (2015)

As state legislators across America grapple with proposed laws on euthanasia, South Dakota State Rep. Steve Hickey (R-Sioux Falls) – facing a terminal illness himself – has no qualms sharing exactly where he stands on the issue. Yesterday, Rep. Hickey sent a letter in reply to a constituent’s question on “death with dignity” and felt strongly enough to tweet it to his followers (full text transcribed below): In the letter, Rep. Hickey shares from his experiences as a police chaplain and minister as well as how he may have “only 3-5 years” to live after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. “The world of death and dying is world that I spend quite a bit of time in,” he comments. “Death is strictly the domain of God,” he writes with conviction. “We need to quit figuring out reasons to justify killing people: abortion, death penalty, euthanasia.” This year alone, 24 states and Washington, DC are actively considering new laws to provide “death with dignity” – legalizing the practice of a person taking deadly drugs to end their life prematurely, also known as euthanasia. South Dakota has yet to introduce such a bill. Map – physician assisted suicide – 2015 – (click link below) Twenty-four states and D.C. have introduced euthanasia measures in 2015 (Courtesy of Charlotte Lozier Institute) The full text of his original letter is reprinted below: Thank you for your letter inquiring about my interest in supporting Right to Die legislation. Initially I want to extend my concern and prayers for you with regard to your declining health. Reading your letter reminded me of my Uncle Thomas, who...

Euthanasia Campaigners Pushing Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Ireland (2015)

Pro-life campaigners in Ireland are preparing for the battle to introduce assisted suicide into Irish law in the coming weeks. Right-to-die campaigners have drafted a Bill which they intend to present to the Irish parliament in a bid to allow someone to assist in the death of another person for the first time. Although the actually wording of the Bill has not yet been seen, it is reported that it would allow a right to die only to people over the age of 18 who have permanent and life-ending illnesses. Other so-called safeguards are also said to be included, such as the provision that of the two doctors involved, one must be independent and not the doctor providing long-time care to the patient. The person in question must have the legal capacity to make the request themselves without help or pressure from any other person. Of course, pro-life supporters are well aware that there are no “safeguards” which can be satisfactorily relied upon to protect vulnerable people where assisted suicide is concerned. We only have to look to other countries to see the abuses that have happened, and the way in which unwell and elderly people come to see themselves as a burden on their own family. It is far too easy for societies to come to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as something acceptable, instead of the life-ending option that it really represents. This latest attempt to introduce a right to die is being brought by Tom Curran, whose partner Marie died in 2013 after a failed court battle to secure a right to be helped to die....

Dying Vermonters Deserve Adequate Palliative Care (2005)

The VT House Human Services Committee heard testimony recently on bill H.168, the proposal to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Much of the testimony was about patients with overwhelming suffering during the dying process. These are sad and tragic cases; — those patients should have received better palliative care services. However, it is time to put to rest the misconception that assisted suicide is about suffering. Neither the OR law permitting physician-assisted suicide, nor the VT proposal requires that the patient experience any suffering at all — only that the patient has less than 6 months to live and wants to die. An OR physician testified last week that not one of the 208 assisted deaths in OR was requested because of pain, though 22% feared pain in the future. The issue is one of control, not “overwhelming suffering.” Yes, patient control is very important. But let’s deal with it face on, instead of pretending the issue is pain and suffering. What is becoming increasingly clear is that assisted suicide in OR is also about cost. The most recent Prioritized List of Health Services for OR Medicaid patients added a new condition: No payment for diagnostic testing or active treatment for 26 types of cancer unless the patient has at least a 5% chance of living another 5 years. So someone who is terminally ill with cancer of the stomach or bowel, for example, and might live many more months or perhaps years cannot receive state funding for measures that could slow down the disease. But one of the “comfort care” measures the state will pay for is “physician aid-in-dying.” There...

Kent County Woman Arrested in Death of Husband (2005)

On 10March03, the 49-yr-old wife of Jerry Savoy said he was unconscious at their home. He died nine days later. An investigation showed that there was an extremely high level of insulin in Savoy’s body; authorities say that is what killed him. She was arrested on murder charges. Her daughter-in-law reportedly told investigators that she approached her a few months before his death and asked if she knew a drug dealer that could help put Jerry “permanently to sleep.” Kent County Sheriff’s Department detectives found a partially used insulin bottle in the Savoys’ home after the murder. The Savoys filed for bankruptcy the year before Jerry’s death. Investigators think those bad finances may be why she killed her husband. [Note from Ron Panzer: when I interviewed nurse Carla Sauer Iyer, RN over a year ago on the Highway2health.net show, she mentioned that she found an insulin bottle in the room of Terri Schiavo (in the mid 1990s) when she cared for Terri in a nursing home. She stated that after Michael Schiavo left the room, nurse Iyer found Terri to be in hypoglycemic shock where the glucometer found Terri’s blood glucose level so low that it would not register on the meter. Here, a woman is being prosecuted for killing her husband using insulin. May 6, 2005 Woodtv.com http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?s=3311086; 24 Hour News 8 show N Valko RN,...

British Survey: Public Favors Right to Live in Euthanasia Cases (2005)

A survey conducted by a doctors group finds that the British public favors allowing patients to receive food and water if they have asked in advance not to have it removed. The polling results are similar to those in a recent survey conducted in the USA. First Do No Harm, a coalition of doctors and physicians who oppose euthanasia, conducted the poll of 1,000 people and found 77 percent thought patients who made a previous request to have food and water should not be deprived of it regardless of the views of doctors or family members. The survey also looked at the case of Leslie Burke, a patient with a degenerative brain condition. Burke won a case at the British High Court because he feared that doctors would refuse to provide him wanted food and water when his condition deteriorates to the point that he has to receive nourishment through a feeding tube. Current British Medical Association ethical guidelines permit doctors to stop tube-supplied nutrition/hydration if they believe the patient’s quality of life is poor, leading to eventual death. The poll found only one-third of respondents favored guidelines for doctors allowing them to withhold food and water from patients who can’t make their own medical decisions. [London, LifeNews.com,...

Kentucky Authorizes Euthanasia (2005)

KY Supreme Court decided that families of “permanently unconscious” patients may have their lives ended by removing their life support, even if a person had not declared a desire for this to happen. Persons in “persistent vegetative state” (still very open to interpretation) or when “inevitable death is expected by reasonable medical judgment within a few days” may be removed from “life support” without a court order unless there is “family disagreement”. [Dr. Willke, Rt to Life Greater Cincinnati,...