Skip to comments.Doctors' 'Right-To-Die' Efforts For Terminally Ill Patients Worry Advocates For Disabled
Posted on 05/16/2010 11:25:09 AM PDT by wagglebee
Cathy Ludlum of Manchester has a neuromuscular condition called spinal muscular atrophy and has been in a wheelchair since she was a child. She and other advocates for people with disablities are fighting against an effort to allow doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives. (JOHN WOIKE / HARTFORD COURANT / May 13, 2010)
Cathy Ludlum says she has a great life, but since childhood she's been aware not everyone thinks so.
She remembers being 5, sitting in her wheelchair as people in the supermarket looked at her and shook their heads. She wondered how she could tell them she was not to be pitied.
Years later, in the hospital, Ludlum overheard the staff talking about her, assuming she led a tragic life in an institution, even though the medical chart said otherwise she lived on her own and ran a consulting business despite a neuromuscular disease that took away her ability to move.
"People like me are at enormous risk when we're in the hospital or otherwise disempowered," Ludlum said.
Ludlum, 47, of Manchester, believes misconceptions about people with severe disabilities can lead medical workers to give them less aggressive lifesaving options. Doctors might think they would not want to live if they were in the patient's condition and assume the patient feels the same, she said. Or medical workers might see a disability as a fatal condition, even if it is not.
That makes her wary of an effort in Connecticut to let terminally ill patients end their lives through medication prescribed by doctors.
Two Fairfield County doctors, backed by a national group, have asked a Superior Court judge to declare that state law does not prohibit doctors from prescribing lethal doses of medication to mentally competent, terminally ill patients who request it. They say doing so is not assisted suicide because the patient is already dying, making the question not if he or she will die, but when.
Ludlum and other advocates for people with disabilities are seeking to intervene in the case.
The concept giving people in pain control over their dying processes may sound sympathetic, Ludlum said. But she and other advocates fear the reality will be more complex, and could leave people who have severe disabilities vulnerable. They worry about the law being misapplied for example, if a person with a disability asks for help dying but is not terminally ill and about the ideas such a policy would foster about the worthiness of a life lived with diminished capacity.
Supporters of the doctors' position say that the case is not about disability, that there is a clear distinction between terminal illness and disability.
Jamie Mills, a Hartford attorney who represents the doctors, said she understands the fears disability advocates have and the problems they face in getting equal medical treatment.
"It's its own really serious issue, but different than this issue," she said.
That is what the culture of death is trying to push.
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The sound you hear is goose stepping.
First the infirm, and the mentally ill.
I’ll fight these NAZI bastards until God calls me home!
I can imagine that this would be terrifying.
I want the option of medication.
There are other methods, of course, but I’d prefer that the
wife not have to deal with the mess.
Thank you Jim. Many of us are counting on you. God bless you.
We can thank the ancient Greeks for democracy and euthanasia.
I don’t want my access to medication corrupted by your interference. You want to kill yourself, that’s your business. You want to corrupt the medical establishment, you’re going to have a hell of a fight on your hands.
Blick and Levine, eh? Ugh. It would be Connecticut. Selfish, know-it-all, domineering, rich liberals.
I hope that my husband never makes that choice. I want him with me for as long as God allows it.
Amen, and thank you.
I'm with you there, Jim Robinson! Enough talk about just laying down and accepting this socialist/communist/marxist attempt to eliminate those of us whom they feel are “non-productive.”
Get ANGRY, STEP UP AND SPEAK OUT...JOIN FORCES WITH GROUPS WHO SHARE YOUR CONCERNS AND/OR CONDITIONS. GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE THE DEATH PANELS TO ALL AGE GROUPS VERBALLY AND IN WRITTEN FORM...PEOPLE MUST KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING....AND NOW!
Read some books about our Fore Fathers. They were not afraid to PROTEST, TO INFORM OTHERS, TO GATHER AND WORK TOWARD THEIR CAUSE OF FREEDOM, LIBERTY. WE ARE DEALING NOW WITH THE HORROR THAT IS NAZISM, DEATH CAMPS, WHO SHALL LIVE AND WHO SHALL DIE. ARE YOU GOING TO STAND FOR THIS??? I'LL BE DAMNED IF I AM! WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE MUST GET DAMNED MAD AND UNITE AND FIGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY AND FOR OUR FREEDOMS. OUR FOREFATHERS AND SOLDIERS FROM PAST WARS FOUGHT AND DIED SO THAT WE CAN REMAIN FREE...WE MUST NOT FAIL TO DO THE VERY SAME NOW. Align your spine, dig deep within yourself for your own personal courage, pray for guidance and strength to do so and get together and out there and DO IT! God bless us all.
Liberals are going to switch it to “duty to die”. Sowell did a great piece on this today - you might want to check it out.
Sowell’s piece was actually published last Tuesday.
I quit getting papers a year ago and haven’t missed them one bit! (Plus, it’s one less trash bag to take out each week.)
I work with Developmentally Disabled Adults.
They have a high quality of life delivered by the Company that provides residential and day care programs, funded by state and federal aid, and supplimented by charity.
One client has had successful treatment for a brain tumor, another will soon begin dialyses for failing kidneys.
They enjoy life.
I worry about Obamacare and the rationing that it will lead to.
The concerns expressed in this article can only be magnified by the unknowns in the HealthCare bill pushed and passed by the Democrats.
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