Imposed Death – Definitions / Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide / VSED

VSED – Voluntary Stopping of Eating Drinking

She Killed Herself in an Assisted Suicide, But Could Brittany Maynard Have Been Saved?

This week, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that FDA has just granted “breakthrough status” for an innovative treatment for glioblastoma brain cancer that was first reported by 60 Minutes on March 29, 2015. Brittany Maynard had glioblastoma and died by physician-assisted suicide on November 1, 2014, just 5 months before the original TV segment aired. Brittany Maynard was a young newlywed who, with enormous media publicity and the support of the pro physician-assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices, announced her intention to commit assisted suicide. She asked for donations to the Brittany Maynard Foundation to raise money to help Compassion and Choices fight for legalization of physician-assisted suicide throughout the US. Using Brittany’s story and foundation, Compassion and Choices was finally successful after years of failed attempts to get a physician-assisted suicide law passed in California. Did Brittany, her doctors, or Compassion and Choices know about the promising clinical trials for glioblastoma reported by 60 Minutes before Brittany took her life with a physician ordered lethal overdose? Although reported medical breakthroughs are frequent and often over-hyped or prove disappointing, information is available at ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. This service was developed by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration and made available to the public in February 2000. The Decision to Forego Treatment According to Brittany’s own words: After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had...

Assisted Suicide Laws in Oregon and Washington: What Safeguards?

Update: Oregon & Washington Suicide Study A suicide study, published in the Southern Medical Journal, found an increase (6.3%) in total suicides, with a larger increase (14.5%) among individuals 65 or older, in Oregon and Washington after doctor-assisted suicide was legalized. Moreover, there was no decrease in non-assisted suicides, even for those over 65. The findings counter claims by prescribed-suicide advocates that legalizing the practice reduces the overall number of non-assisted suicides. Instead, according to the researchers, the introduction of doctor-assisted suicide “seemingly induces more self-inflicted deaths than it inhibits.” [Jones & Paton, “How Does Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Affect Rates of Suicide?” Southern Medical Journal, 10/15, pp. 599-604] In a commentary that accompanied the study, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatry professor at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine, wrote that the study’s findings point to a phenomenon called suicide contagion, when one suicide generates other copycat suicides. He suggests that the media attention given to doctor-prescribed suicides can encourage copycat suicides particularly for vulnerable individuals. Dr. Kheriaty described the widely-publicized assisted suicide of Brittany Maynard, the young, attractive newlywed with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to end her life using doctor-prescribed lethal drugs, as a case that could easily encourage copycat behavior. But suicides don’t need to be publicized to be “contagious,” Kheriaty wrote. “[R]esearch suggests that behaviors like suicide, whether assisted or nonassisted, influence the behaviors of not only one’s friends but also of one’s friends’ friends’ friends.” [Southern Medical Journal, 10/15, pp 605-606] [ http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/update-078-volume-29-number-4-2015-4/ ]   Assisted Suicide Laws in Oregon and Washington: What Safeguards?  (17 Aug 2015) [Comment: This factual analysis should...

Euthanasia: Theory and Reality

[Comment: Note especially the link to the euthanasia kits proposed for doctors in Canada. It describes the medications with the final one paralyzing the person’s respiratory muscles so that he/she can’t breathe. This is beyond chilling. N. Valko RN, 30 Sept 2015] On Feb. 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s assisted suicide ban, opening the door to assisted death (Carter v. Canada). This is an incredibly complex topic, one fraught with moral and ethical issues. Canadians have been sold the theory that euthanasia can freely end one’s life at the time and place of their choosing. This theory assumes that euthanasia will be voluntary and that the decision and the act is controlled by the person who dies by euthanasia. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) contends that the theory of legal euthanasia and its practice are very different. Since euthanasia, by definition, means that the physician will cause the death of the patient, therefore misuse of the law resulting in a person’s death would normally be understood to be homicide. Euthanasia in practice A study published in March 2015 concerning end-of-life practices in 2013 in Belgium found that 4.6 per cent of all deaths were euthanasia. The same study also found that 1.7 per cent of all deaths were hastened without explicit request. [NEJM, 19 March 2015, Recent Trends in Euthanasia and Other End-of-Life Practices in Belgium, http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2015/03/new-study-euthanasia-represents-46-of.html ] This means that approximately 1000 people were intentionally killed without request in 2013. [http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2015/03/almost-1000-deaths-are-hastened-without.html ] The data indicates deaths that were hastened without request were more likely to occur when a patient was in a hospital...

From the Netherlands to Vermont: Patients Under Pressure to Die

Around one in five patients who choose euthanasia in the Netherlands acts under pressure from family members, according to a leading expert on the ethics of assisted dying, as reported last week in Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/07/pressure-on-patients-is-cause-for-concern-euthanasia-expert/ According to the report, Professor Theo Boer, who teaches ethics at Groningen’s Protestant Theological University and has for nine years served as a member of one of five review committees that assess every euthanasia case, said, “Sometimes it’s the family who go to the doctor. Other times it’s the patient saying they don’t want their family to suffer. And you hear anecdotally of families saying: ‘Mum, there’s always euthanasia.’” Here in Vermont, where physician-assisted suicide has been legal for just two years, cases of pressure are already starting to emerge, and it isn’t always family members providing the pressure. True Dignity has spoken with the family of a 90-year-old Medicaid patient who felt pressured by caregivers in the facility where she was admitted for recovery from a fall. The patient did not have a terminal diagnosis. According to Beth Neill, clinicians at the Berlin Health and Rehab Center informed her mother at regular intervals during her 4-month stay there that she had a “right” to use Act 39, and that, “She didn’t even have to discuss it with her family.” It was the act of repeatedly bringing up Act 39 as a health care “option” that caused her mother to feel pressure, and not overt efforts by clinicians to convince her to request the lethal prescription, Neill said. However, she said her mother made it clear she wanted nothing to do with Act...

Study Shows Premature Babies Can Survive at Earlier Ages, But Will Hospitals Let Them Die? (2015)

A study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates widespread discriminatory denial of life-preserving medical treatment to premature infants based on fear that if assisted to live they might have disabilities – in defiance of protective federal law. It provided a startling snapshot into the treatment of very premature infants. The study looked at the survival and outcomes of almost 5,000 babies born before 27 weeks gestation at 24 hospitals from 2006 -2011. It found that 23% of infants are surviving at an astonishing 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks after fertilization) with treatment, but that many hospitals deliberately deny them life-saving medical treatment. In fact, the hospital attitude made the most significant difference in the probability of survival of these very premature babies. Writing about this first major look into hospital practices regarding premature babies, Marilynn Marchione, AP’s Chief Medical Writer, explains, “There was a wide range — some hospitals always gave active treatment to the youngest preemies as opposed to just comfort care, but others never did.” According to the AP article, “Parents need to know that ‘the hospital that you go to might determine what happens to your baby’, although many parents are not in a position to shop around when they find themselves in these emergency situations,” said one study leader, Dr. Edward Bell of the University of Iowa. “In the NEJM study, five hospitals always actively treated babies at 22 weeks, but four other hospitals never did. When a baby was actively treated at 22 weeks, he or she was 18% more likely to survive than if only comfort care had...

Why Disability Rights Advocates Oppose Assisted Suicide (Commentary 2015)

Diane Coleman is president and CEO of Not Dead Yet, a national disability organization that opposes legalization of assisted suicide. Not Dead Yet is based in Rochester. People are often surprised to learn that all of the major national disability rights groups that have taken a position on assisted suicide oppose bills to legalize it. It may seem counterintuitive that the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and similar organizations that fight for increased rights for people with disabilities would oppose a public policy often characterized as a new right. Simply put, assisted suicide sets up a double standard, with suicide prevention for some and suicide assistance for others, depending on their health or disability. If such distinctions were based on race or ethnicity, we’d call it bigotry. The dangers of mistake, coercion and abuse it poses to old, ill and disabled people are rooted in a profound and still largely unacknowledged devaluation of our lives. Those of us with serious disabilities have good reasons to be skeptical about the mantra of choice being used to market assisted suicide in our profit-driven health care system. Anyone could ask for assisted suicide, but the law gives doctors the authority to decide who is eligible. Doctors used to exercise near-total control over the lives of people like me with significant disabilities, discouraging parents from raising such children at home, sentencing us to institutions, and imposing their own ideas about what medical procedures would improve our lives. Consider the dangers to the many elders, ill and disabled people who are not safe from mistake, coercion and...

Commentary: Washington State Quickly Taking First Place in Promotion of Assisted Suicide (2009)

Live in Washington State? In a crisis? Suicidal? Call 911. Then what? A dispatcher sends crisis negotiators who, if they follow the suggestions provided at a recent negotiators’ training session, could help you consider “all options.” If you’re eligible, you may be referred to friendly volunteers who will help you find a doctor willing to prescribe a deadly drug overdose. Just take the prescription to a pharmacy. Have it filled by a pharmacist who hands it to you with instructions to “take this with a light snack and alcohol to cause death.” But what if the pharmacy has opted out of participation in assisted suicide? Not to worry. Washington pharmacies are required to fill your prescription. And what if you’re not “qualified” for assisted suicide under Washington’s Death with Dignity Act? No sweat. There’s help for you, too. Exit International, an equal opportunity death facilitator, has just established its North American headquarters in Bellingham, WA. Enter the twilight zone that is Washington State. Last November, Washingtonians went to the polls and approved Initiative 1000, the Washington “Death with Dignity Act,” a law that is almost identical to Oregon’s assisted-suicide law. During the campaign, assisted-suicide advocates assured voters that the measure, if passed, would be solely a matter of choice for patients who wanted “aid in dying” and that health care providers would not have to participate in it. That was Then, This is Now Soon after the law passed, residents of Mount Vernon, a city north of Seattle, heard that Skagit Valley Hospital was one of many health care institutions that had opted out of assisted suicide. They assumed...

A Very Real Story of “Direct Euthanasia” (2012)

This story is not unique. It is happening thousands of times a year. Please be aware of what is happening in some U.S. hospitals, nursing homes and Hospice. “I believe my mother was killed while in hospice care this August. Mother had congestive heart failure, kidney issues and some Dementia. I had moved mother to a new facility which meant she had to have a change in hospice nurses. Up to the point of her move, her nurse and another staff nurse told me explicitly that my mother definitely did not need any Morphine, at least not at this point. “A couple hours later Mom was at the new facility, eating lunch in the dining room. An hour after the meal was done; I meet with Mom, the new nurse and a social worker in the Activity room. Mother was answering questions, smiling and eating an ice cream soda. Mom told us that she had no pain, yet the nurse told me she wanted to give her a little bit of morphine just for “comfort.” This nurse ordered and scheduled, to begin that day, 5 mg. morphine, Xanax and Haldol gel (atavan, benadryl, haldol), to be administered through the day, not as needed but “scheduled”. “In the evening, in addition to these drugs, mother would get Seroquel, another anti-psychotic sedative and Restoral, a benzodiazepam for sleeping. I was completely duped. I was going on what the other nurse, just hours before had said. She was adamant that my mother was not at the point of needing any morphine. Mother was on Tylenol for pain until this new nurse and...

Prisoner Euthanasia Begins in Belgium (2012)

No doubt about it: Belgium is the place to be for creative applications of legalized euthanasia. Last year Belgian transplant surgeons revealed that they had harvested organs from four people who were voluntarily euthanized. Now it appears that one prisoner, a rapist-murderer, has already died after voluntary euthanasia and another has requested it (see article below). A few years ago Australian activist Dr Philip Nitschke was ridiculed when he called euthanasia possibly “the last frontier in prison reform”. But events in Belgium may ‘validate’ what once seemed an absurd prediction. One of the most sinister aspects of this news is its secrecy. Four people died and donated their organs between 2005 and 2009 but the news did not emerge until 2011. How many more have happened since then? Does anyone know? The practice is unlikely to have stopped. Similarly, the death of the prisoner only came to light because someone leaked the news to a politician. Prisoner euthanasia is an alarming development. Belgium has abolished the death penalty for even the most appalling crimes, but legalized euthanasia could revive it for relatively minor ones. Admittedly, there are some safeguards: a patient must be in “constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain” resulting from an accident or incurable illness, he must request it repeatedly, and two or three doctors must approve the request. But even if these criteria were adequate for ordinary citizens, for prisoners they are simply absurd. Prisoners are psychologically vulnerable. For some of them, their confinement itself is a source of constant and unbearable psychological pain. They are clearly a burden that the state will not regret...

Patients in Belgium are Euthanized Without Consent, Half of Assisted Suicides Not Reported/ Doctors Want to Decide Who Gets Lethal Drugs (2014)

Belgian Doctors: Lethal Drugs Should be Given to Patients Regardless of Family Wishes The Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine has asserted the right of doctors to give lethal doses of sedatives to patients they claim have “no prospect of a meaningful recovery,” a decision they say “should be discussed with and understood by the relatives (or the patient’s surrogate if one has been appointed)” but “it must be made clear that the final decision is made by the care team and not by the relatives.” http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsApril2014.pdf Patients in Belgium are Euthanized Without Consent, Half of Assisted Suicides Not Reported The recent video promoting the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as shown on Vision TV, tells the story of people who want to die by euthanasia.. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/04/08/patients-in-belgium-are-euthanized-without-consent-half-of-assisted-suicides-not-reported/ Case in Point: REST IN PEACE, EDDIE GUFFEY On January 17, 2011, my husband Eddie told me, “I think I have to go to the hospital.” It was about midnight and I asked, “Why?” He just kept saying, “I need to go to the hospital.” So, I called 911. The EMTs came, stabilized Eddie and transported him to the emergency room at Arlington Memorial Hospital. There, the doctors said that he would have died if he hadn’t gotten help in time. He had what they called a “silent heart attack,” but Eddie had sensed something wasn’t right. After triple bypass surgery, Eddie recuperated at Arlington Memorial for about three months. Then he was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Arlington for 6 weeks. Following that, a team of doctors, nurses, caregivers and I continued his rehabilitation at home for about a...

Botched Execution in Arizona Causing Death Penalty Debate Used Assisted Suicide Drug (2014)

Comment: If death penalty opponents are so critical of the drugs used in lethal injection executions because of the length of time and suffering involved, why don’t they just ask the assisted suicide supporters for their alleged “humane” drug regimen? One likely answer is that the assisted suicides group don’t want any of their procedures, arguments, etc. tainted by the death penalty controversy. For example many years ago, I called in to a big radio program where the featured person was a death penalty opponent who insisted that capital punishment was intrinsically wrong. She made the case that state-sanctioned killing hurts our society by lessening our respect for the lives of troubled and usually poor and minority people. She went on to add that that lethal injections were inhumane and that if we did not oppose capital punishment, we all become de facto murderers. She also cited the AMA’s opposition to doctors’ participating in capital punishment (See AMA’ position statement at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion206.page?). I called in and asked what was her group’s position on legalizing assisted suicide. She said that her group did not have a position on this. I pressed further, citing that her reasons for opposing lethal overdose executions were equally valid for opposing assisted suicide. And, in addition, I mentioned the fact that some convicts have actually even asked that no one appeal their case because they WANTED to die while groups like hers continued to push for appeals. Obviously, these convicts also thought their lives were not worth living and wanted to escape further suffering. The speaker then became angry and refused to answer, saying that...

The Ethics of Food and Drink (2014)

Starvation is not mercy. Should the law compel nursing homes to starve certain Alzheimer’s patients to death? This is not an alarmist fantasy, but a real question, soon to be forced by advocates of ever-wider application of assisted euthanasia. The intellectual groundwork is already being laid for legislation or court orders requiring nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities to withhold spoon feeding from dementia patients who, though they take food and drink willingly, once requested the withholding of life-prolonging measures in an advance medical directive. Consider the Bentley case in Canada. A lawsuit was filed in 2013 in British Columbia by the family of an Alzheimer’s patient named Margot Bentley. Bentley had signed an advance directive instructing that she be refused life-sustaining treatment—or be euthanized—if she became unable to recognize her children. Bentley is now in that lamentable condition. But she doesn’t need life-sustaining treatment like a respirator or feeding tube, and she willingly takes food and water by mouth. Moreover, euthanasia is illegal in Canada. Thus, there is no legal way of making sure she dies immediately. Bentley’s family thinks this is unjust and asked a court to order her nursing home to starve her to death. The trial court refused, in part because Bentley’s advance directive did not specifically reject spoon-feeding. The case is now on appeal. Of all the current litigation aimed at undermining the sanctity of human life, this may be the most dangerous. If successful, it would open the door to what I call VSED-by-proxy. Let me explain. Suicide itself is not illegal, and patients have long enjoyed the right to refuse medical treatment,...

Washington State #1 In Assisted Suicide Percentage Increase (2014)

A hallmark of legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide is the ever increasing number of reported cases annually. While it was disturbing that Washington State—after only four years of legalized doctor-prescribed suicide practice—surpassed Oregon’s mounting assisted-suicide body count in 2012, the latest Washington report on 2013 assisted-suicide cases shows a 37% increase in reported assisted deaths over the previous year. It is the largest percentage increase of any jurisdiction worldwide that has legalized euthanasia and/or assisted suicide and makes statistical reports on those deaths available to the public—including the Netherlands and Belgium. According to the latest figures issued by the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH), there were 159 doctor-assisted suicide cases in 2013 as opposed to 116 such cases in 2012. The vast majority (96%) of the 159 who died lived in the western part of the state (west of the Cascade Mountains). The ages of all the assisted-suicide patients ranged from 29 to 95 years. Cancer was the most frequently cited illness (77%). Ninety-seven percent (97%) of those who died were white, non-Hispanic; 52% were married; and 76% had at least some college education. For most (86%), their only insurance was Medicare or Medicaid. As in Oregon, only a small fraction of Washington patients who requested assisted suicide were referred for a psychiatric or psychological evaluation—just 6 (4%) in 2013 and 3 (3%) in 2012. Also, concern or fear over pain was not the reason most patients wanted to die. Fears over loss of autonomy, inability to enjoy activities, loss of dignity, and being a burden topped the list. In the 2013 report, the WSDH indicated that 173...

Massachusetts General Hospital Issues DNR Orders Without Patient or Surrogate Consent (2014)

According to a study presented at the May 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Diego, Massachusetts General Hospital’s ethics committee has had a policy allowing unilateral do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders since 2006. These orders, as defined by the study’s authors, are “a specific type of medical futility decision in which clinicians withhold advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest despite objections of patients or their surrogates.” (Emphasis added.) Researchers studied all the ethics committee’s consults involving DNR conflicts between doctors and their patients or the patients’ surrogate decision makers since 2006. There were 147 cases where there was conflict over intensity of treatment and DNR status. The ethics committee recommended a unilateral DNR order 35% of the time. That recommendation was implemented in 83% of those cases. The study found that a patient’s age, gender, and functional status prior to being hospitalized were “not associated” with a unilateral DNR recommendation, but non-white patients and “patients judged to have end stage conditions” were more likely to have a unilateral DNR recommended by the committee. Researchers also found that patients who actually were issued unilateral DNRs were more likely to die in the hospital. [Medical Futility Blogspot, 5/11/14] PRC consultant Wesley J. Smith called the Massachusetts General policy “a medical tyranny.” [Summer 2014, Vol.28, No.4, Patients Rights Council Update, http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/update-071-volume-28-number-4-2014-4/ ]     UK: Two Landmark Court Rulings Address Euthanasia and DNR Orders …Aiding Those Seriously Disabled to End Their Lives The British Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal, brought by Paul Lamb and the widow of Tony Nicklinson, claiming that the law against euthanasia and assisted...

Quebec Legalizes Euthanasia; Next, Quebec Requires Hospitals & Nursing Homes to Offer Euthanasia… (2014)

Quebec Law in 2014 Requires All Hospitals, Nursing Homes to Offer Euthanasia Late last week, a radical new euthanasia bill passed into law by a free vote in the National Assembly in Quebec… http://www.lifenews.com/2014/06/11/new-quebec-law-requires-all-hospitals-nursing-homes-to-offer-euthanasia/     Quebec, Canada’s largest and arguably most politically liberal province, has become the only jurisdiction in North America to ever legalize euthanasia. Earlier this year, Bill 52, An Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, technically died when the Quebec National Assembly failed to vote on it in February before the Assembly recessed and a new election was scheduled. But after the National Assembly reconvened with a new government installed, the bill was resurrected and passed easily on June 5 by a vote of 94 to 22. It is due to take effect 18 months after passage. The new law permits both direct euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide without ever using those terms. Instead, the terms are replaced by the euphemism “medical aid-in-dying” in an attempt by drafters to redefine those death-inducing actions as medical treatment, thereby circumventing Canada’s Criminal Code that clearly makes both euthanasia and assisted suicide punishable crimes. It was a clever ploy because, in Canada, the federal government has jurisdiction over criminal matters, but the provinces have jurisdiction over health care. While it is likely that the federal government will challenge Quebec’s law in court, no action has been taken as of this writing. A Justice Ministry spokeswoman did state, “It is our government’s position that the Criminal Code provisions prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia are constitutionally valid, and in place to protect all persons.…” [Globe & Mail, 6/5/14] Meanwhile, a recent court challenge...

Dutch Euthanasia Expert: “We Were Wrong — Terribly Wrong, In Fact” (2014)

A Dutch expert on euthanasia has not only stopped supporting the death practice and the euthanasia law for which he campaigned, but he has made the reasons for his about-face public—something usually frowned upon in Dutch circles. Professor Theo Boer held a unique position for seeing how the country’s euthanasia/assisted-suicide law, enacted in 2002, actually worked. For nine years, Boer, a medical ethicist, was a member of one of five Dutch regional review committees charged with investigating all reported euthanasia and assisted-suicide deaths for the government to see if each case complied with the law. In an article Boer submitted to London’s Daily Mail—in the hope of persuading Britain’s House of Lords not to pass an assisted-suicide law (see p. 6)—Boer said he and his colleagues were “terribly wrong” when they concluded five years after the Dutch euthanasia law took effect that there was no “slippery slope” associated with that law. Starting in 2008, the numbers of induced deaths began increasing 15% each year. By 2012, the euthanasia review committees recorded 4,188 deaths (compared to 1,882 in 2002), and Boer expects the reported annual death count to reach 6,000 this year or next year at the latest. “Euthanasia is on the way to become a ‘default’ mode of dying for cancer patients,” he wrote, and there’s been a sharp increase in the deaths of people with psychiatric illnesses or dementia, and those simply suffering from grief, loneliness, or age. “Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades,” he explained. There have been other undeniable signs of a serious ethical slide due to the law. One example...

Delaware Passes POLST Bill (DMOST) (2015)

[Comment: If you connect to the link about getting legal status for Delaware’s POLST, you will be taken to a very interesting and apparently power point presentation on the promotion of EOL (end of life) legislation. The last link is for a $395, updatable “Right to Die” book that “analyzes the statutory and case law surrounding the profound issues of end-of-life decisionmaking.” N. Valko RN, 13 May 2015] Medical Futility Blog On this blog, Professor Thaddeus Mason Pope tracks judicial, legislative, policy, and academic developments concerning medical futility and the limits on individual autonomy at the end of life. For more resources, visit www.thaddeuspope.com. Delaware Passes POLST Bill (DMOST) Yesterday, the Delaware Senate passed H.B. 64, which the House passed at the end of March. Once signed by the governor, this will add a new title 25A to title 16 of the Delaware Code: “Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment Act” (DMOST Act).” Getting a legal status for POLST in Delaware has been a long a bumpy road. I review some of that here. This summer, I will be assessing this and other new POLST and surrogate decision making statutes for the 2016 supplement to the RIGHT TO DIE legal reference treatise. Posted by Thaddeus Mason Pope, J.D., Ph.D. at 6:21 AM, Friday, May 8, 2015...

Pro-Euthanasia Movement Splitting Into Two Factions

Comment: The euthanasia movement routinely denies the existence of a slippery slope and touts the effectiveness of its “safeguards.” Note that the UK experience is rarely cited by euthanasia promoters. [N. Valko RN, 24 July 12] Pro-Euthanasia Movement Splitting Into Two Factions When euthanasia became a dirty word the Voluntary Euthanasia Society changed its name to ‘Dignity in Dying’ in January 2006. In 2008 Conservative MP for Reigate Crispin Blunt (pictured) claimed responsibility for the move. ‘I claim responsibility for encouraging the Voluntary Euthanasia Society to change its name’ he exclaimed in a in a Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate on 11 November 2008. A Daily Telegraph editorial titled ‘Euthanasia’s euphemism’ remarked at the time of the name-change that it was ‘hard to shake off the suspicion that euthanasiasts are shy of spelling out what they are really about, viz killing people’. Then when assisted suicide became a dirty term ‘Dignity In Dying’ (DID) began talking about ‘assisted dying’ instead. But whilst appearing to become more and more modest in their language at the same time they now so divided in their agendas such that we don’t actually know what they want. When Lord Falconer published his sham assisted dying commission report in January this year (he has now published a new draft bill based on its recommendations) it was clear that the pro-euthanasia lobby had messed up their coordinated choreography. Falconer said that it would only be for people who were mentally competent and mentally ill. ‘Stringent safeguards’ would be put in place to protect those who may not have the mental capacity to make the choice, anyone suffering...

Not Dead Yet: Support to Live, Not to Die

GOODBYE DEAR FRIEND! It is with sadness that we learned today of the death of our friend Alison Davis. Alison worked long and hard to promote the dignity of every human life and stood steadfastly against euthanasia and assisted suicide. Following is her article from the HLA Imposed Death publication: Not Dead Yet: Support to Live, Not to Die I have spina bifida, hydrocephalus, emphysema, osteoporosis, arthritis and kypho-scoliosis. I use a wheelchair full time. Due to the osteoporosis, my spine is slowly collapsing, trapping nerves in the process. This causes extreme spinal pain which even large doses of morphine cannot fully control. When the pain is at its worst I cannot think, speak or move. It can go on for hours. The prognosis is that it will continue to get worse. Twenty-three years ago, due to several factors, I decided I wanted to die-a settled wish that lasted over ten years. I seriously attempted suicide several times and was saved only because friends found me in time and got me taken to the hospital, where I was resuscitated against my will. Then I was extremely angry that my life had been saved. Now I’m eternally grateful. I still have the same severe pain I had then. What has changed is my outlook on life. If “assisted dying” had been legal, I wouldn’t be here now. I would have missed the best years of my life. What I wish most for those who despair of life is that they could have the sort of support and the reasons for hope which turned my life around, bringing me from the...

Suicide Prevention Plans at Odds with Right to Die

Retired politician Bob Rae used the occasion of a friend’s apparent suicide to call on Canada to establish a national suicide prevention plan. Chris Peloso was Rae’s friend and well known in Ontario’s political circles as the husband to George Smitherman, a former high-profile cabinet minister and politician. Media reports haven’t utilized the term suicide, but the phrase “lost his battle with depression” seems to indicate that was the case. Calls for such a strategy are made every time there is a high-profile suicide in this country (such as Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, two girls who suffered unbearable bullying in school and on the Internet). Parliament passed a suicide prevention strategy one year ago, but few seem to be aware of its existence or its implementation, and society continues to call for somebody to do something to prevent such tragedies from occurring. Prevention is usually a good policy. But I have questions about whether any suicide prevention policy can be successful with Canada’s health-care system and be consistent with other societal messages. The first question is how can we effectively prevent suicides by those who are depressed when our health-care system offers limited (at best) access to psychiatric care and treatment? A depressed person can call a suicide hotline or speak with a counsellor, and a crisis may be prevented. Or maybe not. But, at some point, the only way to prevent suicide is to access medical treatment. The Fraser Institute’s 2013 report, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, reveals that the national average wait time from referral by a general practitioner to the...