Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide - Archive

January 2006: Euthanasia / End-of-Life Issues

Belgian Pharmacists Given Green Light to Supply Euthanasia Cocktail

Swiss Hospital Sanctions Euthanasia

Attorney Who Helped Cause Terri Schiavo’s Death Leads a “Euthanasia Cruise”

Georgia Feeding Tube Bill Filed for 2006

Parole Board Denies Ailing Kevorkian

 

BELGIAN PHARMACISTS GIVEN GREEN LIGHT TO SUPPLY EUTHANASIA COCKTAIL– Belgian pharmacists were given the go-ahead to dispense lethal cocktails to physicians who request them for the purpose of euthanizing patients, three years after the practice was legalized.

Until now, pharmacists were not protected under the euthanasia law enacted in 2002 that made it legal for physicians to kill their patients. In the event that doctors were charged in an illegal death, pharmacists until now were subject to potential prosecution. The new measure makes physician-assisted suicide more accessible to all.

Up until now, pharmacists were seemingly undaunted by the potential backlash, however, as 250 pharmacies had already begun distribution of a “euthanasia kit” there last spring. The kits, which cost 60 Euros ($77 US), were proposed as a means to make the jobs of doctors who commit euthanasia in homes easier. In April of this year, Belgian health authorities had reported almost 700 euthanasia killings by physicians since its legalization in 2002.
400 Reported Belgian Euthanasia Cases in Two Years  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jul/04070911.html
Euthanasia of Infants by Doctors Responsible for Nearly Half of Newborn Deaths in Belgium http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/apr/05041108.html,  Terry Vanderheyden BRUSSELS, 19Dec05 LifeSiteNews.com]

SWISS HOSPITAL SANCTIONS EUTHANASIA– A leading Swiss hospital has announced it will allow doctors to kill their patients beginning in the New Year. University hospital in Lausanne said the hospital, the first to sanction active euthanasia since the practice was legalized, argues as the Dutch did before euthanasia became legal there, that suicide should be “strictly regulated.”

Abuses are, of course, rampant in the Netherlands, while 70% of terminally-ill Swiss – at least those in Zurich – already succumb to either passive (when life-sustaining nutrition and hydration is denied) or active euthanasia.

Until now, patients desiring assisted suicide had to rely on private clinics such as the notorious Dignitas, which guarantees death within 24 hours to all comers.

A doctor or a member of the Swiss voluntary euthanasia society, Exit, will now be allowed to kill terminally ill patients on request. Presumably allowing hospital-based suicides will mean the practice is also publicly-funded.
Seven of Ten Terminally Ill People Die by Euthanasia in Switzerland  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/jun/03061907.html
Inquest Opens into Couple’s Double Suicide Death at Swiss Dignitas Facility  http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/jun/04062210.html
Euthanasia Doctor Commits Suicide after Finding Patient He Killed Not Terminally Ill www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/nov/05112103.html [LifeSiteNews.com, 19Dec05; By Terry Vanderheyden]

ATTY WHO HELPED KILL TERRI SCHIAVO LEADS “EUTHANASIA CRUISE” in 1/06. Doctors and attorneys who participate in the 5-day Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas can earn continuing education credits by learning more about the medical and legal tactics that can be employed to end patients’ lives.

Felos will be one of 2 faculty members leading a program called the “Advance Directives/End-of-Life Care and Neurology.” James Barnhill, a physician and longtime partner with Felos in advocating euthanasia, will assist in leading the courses.  In 1998, Barnhill saw Terri for 10 minutes and told Circuit Court Judge Greer that he believed she had no chance of recovery. That claim was later refuted by other doctors and experts of care for incapacitated patients but Greer allowed Michael to take Terri’s life anyway.

According to the Gazette, Felos has been listed with Eagles Talent Connection Inc. of New Jersey, which represents speakers. For fees ranging from $10,000 to $15,000, organizations or businesses can get Felos to speak. The Gazette reports that Felos is now represented by Roth Talent Associates of Encino, CA, who says Felos is an attorney and “right to die expert” but doesn’t list a speaking fee.

Felos was quietly named to the board of directors of pro-euthanasia Project Grace, which stands for Guidelines for Resuscitation And Care at End-of-life, within days of Terri’s late March death from starvation/dehydration.

Felos denies that denying food and water to a patient like Terri Schiavo  is a problem or constitutes starving a patient to death. Just after Terri died from the painful two week starvation and dehydration death, a reporter asked Felos how Terri’s death could be described as a “death with dignity” when she was “starved to death.”  “I’m sure you know that’s an inaccurate question,” Felos retorted. “Patients don’t starve to death by removal of artificial nutrition and hydration.” [LifeNews.com 26Dec05; http://www.lifenews.com/bio1247.html, Dunedin, FL http://www.terrisfight.org]

GA FEEDING TUBE BILL FILED FOR 2006. A Republican state senator has filed a bill for the 2006 legislative session that would create a legal presumption that people who are incapable of making their own decisions should be kept alive with food/water – a matter on which state law is currently silent.

A family member or guardian would need a written directive from a loved one or be able to present “clear and convincing evidence” that the family member would prefer to die rather than be kept alive with a feeding tube.

“At the end of the day, the government ought to take a position that a person would want to receive food or water if that was all that was needed to keep them alive,” Rogers said. An advocate for Georgia’s disabled community argues that Rogers’ bill would protect people who cannot speak for themselves.

“Anytime you talk about starving or dehydrating someone who is disabled, like Terri was, it’s a disability-rights issue,” said Rebecca Ramage-Tuttle [CEO, disABILITY LINK, a nonprofit group that works with disabled people]. “We know lots of people in Terri’s situation who live at home and carry on lives.”

Mark Johnson, advocacy director with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, said he thinks the bill will reinforce the value of life for all members of society, including the weak, vulnerable and disabled. “If someone has clearly indicated their wishes, then that’s their wish,” Johnson said. “But if they haven’t, we should err on the side of life.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 23Dec05 http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/1205/23metlegtube.html]

PAROLE BOARD DENIES AILING KEVORKIAN.  The state parole board rejected a request to pardon assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian or commute his sentence, despite warnings that he is in grave condition.

The 77-year-old former doctor is serving a 10- to 25-year prison sentence for murder for giving a fatal injection of drugs in 1998
to a man with Lou
Gehrig’s disease.

Kevorkian is not eligible for parole until 2007. The parole board, in a 7-2 vote, recommended the governor deny the application. Gov. Jennifer Granholm will follow the recommendation, as she has done with similar recommendations on Kevorkian in 2003 and 2004, spokeswoman Liz Boyd said. [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20051222/ap_on_re_us/kevorkian_pardon, Amy Bailey, AP,  22Dec05 Lansing, MI]