Thread by topher.
BOSTON, March 31, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A study published in the March edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine suggests that a few physicians may have killed children who were very sick by giving them fatal morphine doses, after the parents had requested euthanasia.
Dr. Joanne Wolfe, a palliative pain specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital in Boston, interviewed 141 parents of children who died of cancer in order to explore the parents' motivation in considering and enquiring about hastening their child's death.
The study found that 19 of the 141 parents, or 13 percent, said they had considered asking about ending their child's life, and 13 parents reported having discussed intentionally ending their child's life. Parents of five children said they had explicitly asked a clinician for medications to end the child's life, and parents of three said it had been carried out with an overdose of morphine.
Dr. Wolfe wrote that the objective of the study was "to estimate the frequency of hastening death discussions, describe current parental endorsement of hastening death and intensive symptom management, and explore whether children's pain influences these views in a sample of parents whose child died of cancer."
"With two US states now allowing legalized physician-assisted suicide," continued Dr. Wolfe, "these discussions may become more frequent. Attitudes toward hastening death in noninfant children with life-threatening conditions have seldom been described."
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that he is seriously concerned by the finding of the study that medical professionals may have been willing to break the law and cause the death of a child in response to the request of parents.
"The fact is that if euthanasia of children were legal, such as it is in the Netherlands, there would be little to no protection for these children," Schadenberg said.
"Thankfully the actual number of children who were allegedly euthanized is small. The fact is that these children required excellent care, not death."
Dr. Wolfe observed that the child's experience of pain affects hastening death (HD) considerations by the parents, but many are not given adequate information about the legal options for pain relief, which can include sedating children into unconsciousness.
"Several studies indicate that both caregivers and physicians tend to confuse the unintended adverse effects of intensive symptom management with the intentional hastening of death. In our sample, the 3 families who reported intentionally hastening their child's death described doing so using morphine, which raises the question of whether they had misinterpreted the physicians' intentions. In fact, evidence indicates that opioids can be used safely at the end of life and that their effect on survival, if any, is negligible."
"Our results suggest that more than 1 of every 8 parents report considering HD during their child's illness, and they tended to do so if their child was in pain. In the context of an HD discussion, identifying sources of suffering and clearly explaining effective and legal options, including proportionately intensive symptom management, may ease parents' considerations of hastening their child's death," the report concluded.
The full text of the study, titled "Considerations About Hastening Death Among Parents of Children Who Die of Cancer" is available here.
Thread by me.
Some say there is no greater pain than a parent losing a child. So imagine watching for weeks as your disabled child is deliberately and slowly killed. Her excruciating death is by neglect failing to feed or give her water. Any parent who stood by and allowed that to happen would be criminally charged and excoriated by the media and every decent person.
But what if you were forbidden to help her? And what if a judge even ordered police to arrest anyone who put even a drop of water on her lips?
March 31st marks the anniversary of Terri Schindler Schiavos excruciating death by dehydration. Despite the vote of every U.S. senator, passionate pleas by congressmen, and President Bush flying halfway across the country to sign a law to help Terri, judges ordered that this innocent woman be killed.
Throughout it all, as the world watched, Terris family who deserved to be angry at this cruelty and injustice exhibited profound faith. Less than an hour after Terris heart stopped beating, in an extraordinary display of Christ-like humility, her brother Bobby faced the TV cameras and spoke to all who had clamored for her death.
Did he lash out at them, calling them to account for the suffering they had caused? No.
Did he, out of mercy, state that he had forgiven them? No.
In one of the most breath-taking and nearly inconceivable displays of Christian submission, he asked for forgiveness. He asked forgiveness if he or his family had caused offense to anyone.
Jesus taught us to pray forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12).
Few of us have faced the pain and injustice that Terris family faced. Even so, we can be dearly tempted to nurse grudges as we confront unrighteousness.
The Schindlers, however, lived out the key trait for a pure heart. Forgiveness freed them from the stranglehold of bitterness and despair. It gave them strength to continue on to help others, which they have done through the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation.
Sadly, the cruelty continues. Just days before the fifth anniversary of Terris death, the FOX TV show The Family Guy aired a vulgar episode mocking Terri and others with cognitive disabilities. This reaching-down-to-the-depths-of-depravity was met with an outpouring of support for the Schindler family.
Terri and her family have touched many lives. We wont forget her. And her story is not complete without remembering the Schindlers powerful example of Christs love.