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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.”
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..


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 year.

On September 20, 2013, Eddie played his guitar, walked our dog, washed the car and went shopping. He bought doughnuts and made coffee and soup. I told him, “Honey, why don’t you take it easy. You are doing too much.” But he wouldn’t listen to me. Just before midnight, while sitting at the computer eating, he screamed. His bowl of soup tumbled under the table. I ran to help him and called 911.

The EMTs came again as fast as possible, but he did not get oxygen soon enough. He was diagnosed with encephalopathy caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.

About five days after Eddie was admitted to Arlington Memorial, I was confronted with do not resuscitate (DNR) regulations. I refused to put a DNR order in Eddie’s medical records. After only 21 days in the hospital, he was transferred to a nursing home in Fort Worth.

His skin was perfect when he entered the nursing home, but while there he developed a large bedsore on his back. I believe this was due to neglect as they did not turn him frequently enough. He also started to vomit, had infections and contracted the flu. He was rushed to Arlington Memorial three times and then to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth three times.

The last time at Harris, I was told they could do nothing more for Eddie. Two weeks after his 60th birthday, on January 16, 2014, I was informed that the hospital ethics committee had made a “medical futility” decision, which was really a death sentence. In 10 days, they were going to stop all treatment, including dialysis, oxygen and tube-feeding. So, I called in help.

The chair of the hospital ethics committee had given me a lot of information. One of the papers included a short list of people willing to help find a place to move a patient when a hospital decides to stop treating a patient against his or his family’s wishes. I asked the chair of the ethics committee what this paper was and she replied that it was nothing important; the people listed wouldn’t be able to help. Desperate, I decided to call anyway.

Julie Grimstad, chair of the Pro-life Healthcare Alliance, was on that list. I called her and she, in turn, contacted John Seago at Texas Right to Life, a man who has helped patients and families in many Texas “medical futility” cases. Julie visited Eddie and me at the hospital. When I introduced Eddie to her, he turned his head to look. Julie asked him several questions to which he seemed to respond appropriately. For instance, when she asked, “Eddie, do you hurt anywhere?” he shook his head “no.”

A couple of days later, John, Julie and I met with the chair of the hospital ethics committee and the head social worker. Even though the chair of the committee admitted that Eddie had improved physiologically since the “medical futility” decision, the decision would not be reversed. About a dozen health care facilities throughout the state already had been contacted, but all had refused to accept Eddie. The last resort was to send him back to the nursing home in Fort Worth. It was the only place willing to take him, so I reluctantly transferred him there. It was better than certain death.

The story doesn’t end there. When Eddie needed blood, I refused to let him go back to Harris because the “medical futility” death sentence was still in force there. So, he was sent to Arlington Memorial. From there, I was able to get him into a nursing center in Arlington that provides transitional care.

On March 11th, Eddie asked for vanilla pudding and ice cream! It was wonderful to hear him talking to me again. I could not feed him, even though I knew he wanted something to eat, because the medical staff kept saying he would die or get aspiration pneumonia if he was fed naturally.

On March 19, 2014, my beloved husband Eddie Guffey went home to be with the Lord. I have the comfort of knowing he did not die from denial of life-sustaining treatment and care, but naturally in God’s good time.
[Brenda Guffey, Human Life Alliance,]