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Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network Comments on the Death of Jack Kevorkian
Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network ^ | 6/3/11 | The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network

Posted on 06/04/2011 2:05:56 PM PDT by wagglebee

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To: wagglebee


41 posted on 06/13/2011 4:16:55 PM PDT by Dante3
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
Trolls love to join FR to push euthanasia.

This thread was started by a zotted troll.

Terry Pratchett begins formal process to end his life

Three and a half years ago, Terry Pratchett, the beloved author of the Discworld series, announced that he has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Now he's made an even more startling announcement.

Pratchett, who has campaigned in his native United Kingdom for the right of assisted suicide, has begun the formal process of assisted suicide in Switzerland, one of the few countries in the world to legalize euthanasia. Specifically, this would take place at Dignitas, a clinic that provides qualified doctors and nurses to assist with the patients' suicides.

Dignitas has sent Pratchett the paperwork he needs to sign to begin the assisted suicide process—but he has yet to sign it.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

42 posted on 06/26/2011 11:41:33 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
Two great commentaries exposing the evils of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Threads by me.

Father Frank Pavone: Freedom to Die?

"Freedom" is a highly cherished value in our society, not only in all aspects of life, but increasingly in aspects of death as well. The chant, "My life is mine" has also become, "My death is mine." There is a move in our country and in the world to permit the terminally ill to end their lives through euthanasia. Some claim that it is the ultimate civil liberty to decide the time and manner of one's own death. (A moment's thought about that idea, however, reveals its absurdity.)

For a Christian, however, is "my life" really "mine"? Is my death really mine? The answer has to be yes and no. It is mine in the sense that it has been given to me and nobody else; it is not mine alone, however, because I am not the source of my own existence, and I am accountable for it to another, namely, God. "You are not your own," St. Paul declares (1 Cor. 6:19). "If we live, we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die we are responsible to the Lord. Both in life and in death we belong to the Lord." ( See Romans 14:18). Not one of us decided the time or manner in which we came into this world. Our life is a sacred gift from God, and only He can give it. It is therefore His right alone to take us out of this world.

We do not possess a "right to die." A right is a moral claim. We do not have a claim on death; rather, death has a claim on us! Some see the "right to die" as parallel to the "right to life." In fact, however, they are opposite. The "right to life" is based on the fact that life is a gift which we do not possess as a piece of property ( which we can purchase or sell or give away or destroy at will ), but rather is an inviolable right. It cannot be taken away by another or by the person him/herself. The "right to die" is based, rather, on the idea of life as a "thing we possess" and may discard when it no longer meets our satisfaction. "Right to die" thinking says there is such a thing as a "life not worth living." For a Christian, however, life is worthy in and of itself, and not because it meets certain criteria that we or others set.

Must we, then, in the case of terminal illness, do everything and anything possible to stay alive, despite the condition we may be in? The answer to this is a clear NO. There is no law of any state or religion which says that we must stay alive at any cost. Death is an inevitable part of life, and when it is clear that God is calling us from this life, we accept His summons with faith. We firmly believe as Christians that life on this earth is not our final destiny or our highest good. "Our citizenship is in heaven." ( Phil. 3:20) "We have here no lasting city, but are seeking that which is to come" (Heb.13:14 ). All of our activities on earth, in fact, are meant to bring us closer to our true goal, union with God. In some circumstances, prolonging life would not serve that purpose, and may, because of severe burdens, hinder a person from drawing closer to God.

So the question is, "Where do we draw the line?" In serious illness, what means of treatment are we obliged to use, and what are we not required to use?

The means we use have traditionally been classified as either "ordinary" or "extraordinary." "Ordinary" means must always be used. This is any treatment or procedure which provides some benefit to the patient without excessive burden or hardship. "Extraordinary" means are optional. These are measures which do present an excessive burden, or simply do no good for the patient.

The distinction here is NOT between "artificial" and "natural." Many artificial treatments will be "ordinary" means in the moral sense, as long as they provide some benefit without excessive burden. It depends, of course, on the specific case in point, with all its medical details. We cannot figure out ahead of time, in other words, whether or not we ourselves or a relative want some specific treatment to be used on us "when the time comes," because we do not know in advance what our medical situation will be at the time. When the time does come, however, we must consult on the medical and moral aspects of the situation. Remember, procedures providing benefit without unreasonable hardship are obligatory; others are not. You should consult your clergyman when the situations arise.

What is never permitted, however, is any act or omission which causes, or is intended to cause, death, in order to remove a person from suffering. This is "euthanasia," sometimes called "mercy killing." We cannot take the life of another person, or our own, no matter what the good consequences may be. Most people who think euthanasia is a good idea are motivated by the fear of pain and the loss of control they will experience in terminal illness. Yet pain control in modern medicine has made very great progress; there are very few situations in which pain cannot be managed medically. Regarding control over our life, we need to adopt the approach that if we cannot cure, we care. Caring comes through the presence of loving, concerned people with whom the sick can share their thoughts and feelings and from whom they can receive respect and care for their emotional and spiritual needs even in the worst physical conditions. To give "dignity" to the dying is to always respect them as human persons with an eternal destiny, not to push for the option to kill them. A Christian, moreover, knows that suffering is not meaningless. It was by his suffering and cross that Christ redeemed the world. A Christian joins his/her suffering to Christ's, and has a part to play in saving the world as well.

One of the leading advocates of euthanasia, Derek Humphrey, writes, "The 1990's is the decade when the issue of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill will be decided." (Dying With Dignity, p. 19) Christians must become more informed on this issue, and speak and act so that the issue is not only decided, but decided rightly. May God give us the wisdom and strength we will need.


Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal in the states of Oregon and Washington, as well as in a handful of nations worldwide. Both here and abroad, pressure is mounting to legalize both evils beyond those sad places where they have already been accepted.

Behind a facade of objectivity, these evils are subtly promoted by many in the media in order to deform public opinion in their favor. We know their methods very well: through a selective presentation of news stories, movies and on television, they hope to slowly deform people's emotions, moving them to see that killing the unwanted is the compassionate thing to do.

This first method, to establish a misguided sense of compassion, is complemented by a second - to create fear that we will one day find ourselves in the same condition. We also see the verbal engineers at work, confusing hydration and feeding of the most severely disabled with an overuse of aggressive medical interventions. As we know, hydration and feeding do not cure any disease, they simply keep a person alive.

Living in Europe where the process of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia is regrettably far more advanced than in America, I can't say enough how crucial it is that we strengthen our opposition to these evils. At a recent conference, I was honored to share the podium with several speakers who are working diligently to stop the slide down the slippery slope toward the wholesale destruction of all unwanted persons. The chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schandenberg, who sponsored the Vancouver event last week, is to be congratulated for raising the profile of this very important issue.

The starting point for these evils is the liberal and materialistic view that man is the owner of his life; that he is free to choose the moment and manner of his death. Those who hold this view define suicide as "the last liberty of life."

Liberty of life? Yet these lies are becoming more mainstream all the time.

Sadly, as we have seen in the case of Terri Schiavo and too many others, most euthanasia is already essentially legal. The overt legalization of assisted suicide, however, will constitute a strong step towards the full legalization of euthanasia, and a serious blow to the already precarious legal protection of the sick, the disabled and the dying. If we adopt a law holding that a person has the right to kill himself, soon we will also adopt euthanasia; because if the individual has the right to say when his life is no longer worth living, soon society will claim this right as well.

This is the threat represented by a people whose ethics are utilitarian, and whose politics are socialist, particularly with regard to socialized medicine. The idea will soon take hold, thanks to those whom we have empowered to tell our story in the media, that it is too expensive to allow some persons to live, and since the government provides the care, the government will have to decide when their lives will end.

The next group that will be threatened, as we have seen historically, are those whose mental faculties are greatly diminished, or who are not considered useful to society. When the economic considerations are at the forefront of government run-medical care, we will see people opening up to programs that are not very different from the ones used by the Nazis.

We again see this form of murder defended in the supposedly "civilized", post-Nazi Europe. In the United Kingdom, popular writer Mary Warnock espouses the view that a person that suffers from dementia has, not the right, but the duty to die. She underlines that a person in this condition is wasting away the life of his relatives, as well as the resources of the National Health System.

The legalization of euthanasia is obviously the consequence of the decriminalization of abortion. Once society starts killing the ones that nobody sees, they begin to kill those they do see, the "unuseful" or "unfit." If we are not careful and strong in our actions against this attack, any persons at the end of their lives or who suffer an incurable illness will end up in a situation in which they will feel constrained to express their desire to die as their last duty of good manners towards the living.

What does tomorrow hold? Perhaps the killing of the politically incorrect - those who remind their fellow men that there is a God and everyone and everything depends on Him? Or will we be able to, by the grace of God, turn this around? Not that such an offering is on the table, and nobody wants to be a martyr, but if that is God's will for us, let us die reminding our countrymen of their duties towards God and men.

A total ban on assisted suicide and of any form of euthanasia is not only required morally, but is an act of social justice to protect the weak and vulnerable.

43 posted on 06/26/2011 11:46:02 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: SanFranDan; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
A preview of what Zero's death panels will be like.

Thread by SanFranDan.

The breast cancer patients TOO OLD to save: (U.K. NHS)

FULL TITLE: The breast cancer patients TOO OLD to save: Thousands are being denied surgery by 'ageist'

Mastectomy is the most effective treatment

Elderly women are being denied life-saving breast cancer surgery that is routinely given to younger patients, alarming research reveals.

Some doctors look at a patient’s age in their notes – and decide on a treatment plan before they have even met them, experts warn.

Their study, which provides evidence of ageism in the Health Service, found that 90 per cent of breast cancer patients aged 30-50 are offered surgery to remove tumours, compared with 70 per cent of those in their seventies.

Even women in their 50s are less likely than younger patients to have an operation.

Cancer specialist Dr Mick Peake said: ‘I’ve seen evidence of ageism when doctors are approaching the issue. Some take age as disproportionate evidence, often when they’ve never even met the patient.

‘I’d like patients and relatives to bang their fists on the table and say, “Why aren’t we getting this treatment?”,’ added Dr Peake, of the National Cancer Intelligence Network, which carried out the research.

An operation to remove part or all of the breast is the most effective treatment for breast cancer.

Patients are only offered chemotherapy or radiotherapy if the cancer has spread to such an extent that surgery is impossible.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

44 posted on 06/26/2011 11:48:55 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
A glimpse into the death chambers of Dignitas.

Thread by me.

Dignified? It was like an execution chamber: Daughter who took her mother to die at Dignitas

Karen Royle’s memories of the last precious hours with her cherished mother Rona are far from the serene, comforting images that she had hoped for.

Before arriving in Zurich, Karen, 51, had envisaged a pretty Swiss chalet, with perhaps a view of the Alps — ‘just like the pictures in the book Heidi, which I’d loved as a child’.

But the Dignitas ‘apartment’ at No  84 Gertrudestrasse, where 74-year-old Rona chose to end her life rather than succumb further to the ravages of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), bore no comparison to the picture-postcard tranquility her family had imagined.

The image Karen and her partner David Sweetman cannot erase from their minds is of a ‘blue tin shed’ on a barren industrial estate, with no views, just a scrubby patch of garden littered with cigarette butts.

Inside, the prefabricated structure was equally spartan, with no decorations apart from two roses, an angel-shaped candle and a silver-winged candle holder that the Royles, at Rona’s request, had brought with them.

‘That vision of what was little more than a blue tin shed will stay with me for the rest of my life,’ says David, a decorator.

‘It reminded me of a gas chamber. I felt like I was taking Rona to her execution.

‘When the taxi turned into that industrial estate, we were so horrified I just wanted to turn straight round and drive away. The only thing that stopped us was Rona’s determination to go through with it. I kept asking her: “Rona, are you sure about this?” But she never wavered. To this day, though, I can’t help but feel guilty for taking her there.’

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

45 posted on 06/26/2011 11:52:28 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: presidio9; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
The evils of slavery and the evils of abortion stem from EXACTLY THE SAME MINDSET: that it is acceptable to define persons as non-persons.

Thread by presidio9.

Since when does abortion have anything to do with slavery?

According to the Radiance Foundation, abortion and slavery have a lot more in common than you might have thought. And to make sure you see the link between the two, the Alpharetta-based foundation has started a campaign to prop up nearly 50 billboards across metro Atlanta.

The billboards feature such slogans as "The 13th Amendment Freed us. Abortion Enslaved Us" and "Abortion makes three-fifths human seem overly generous." The billboards popped up across metro Atlanta on Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

The billboards are part of a campaign targeted at persuading black women from resorting to abortions. Black women account for 30 percent of abortions but are only 12 percent of the population.

The campaign has raised many eyebrows from organizations like the NAACP who told the Huffington Post that likening slavery to abortion is slightly offensive:

"Comparing abortion to slavery certainly raises major concerns," Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP, told HuffPost in an interview. "Women are not forced to have abortions the way they were in servitude. Slavery was about not having the right to make any decisions. Women were actually bred to produce children for the purposes of profit. This is so far removed from that, that if it weren't such a serious issue, it would almost be laughable." The foundation also launched other similar campaigns across the country in the past to target black women from contributing to the so called abortion "epidemic."

46 posted on 06/26/2011 11:58:11 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
The evils portrayed in 1970s sci-fi are now upon us.

Thread by me.

Wesley J. Smith: At the Bottom of the Slippery Slope - Where euthanasia meets organ harvesting

In 1992, my friend Frances committed suicide on her 76th birthday. Frances was not terminally ill. She had been diagnosed with treatable leukemia and needed a hip replacement. Mostly, though, she was depressed by family issues and profoundly disappointed at where her life had taken her.

Something seemed very off to me about Frances’s suicide. So I asked the executor of her estate to send me the “suicide file” kept by the quintessentially organized Frances and was horrified to learn from it that she had been an avid reader of the (now defunct) Hemlock Quarterly, published by the aptly named Hemlock Society (which was since merged into the assisted-suicide advocacy group, Compassion and Choices). The HQ taught readers about the best drugs with which to overdose and gave precise instructions on how to ensure death with a plastic bag​—​the exact method used by Frances to end her life.

I was furious. Frances’s friends had known she was periodically suicidal and had intervened to help her through the darkness. The Hemlock Society had pushed Frances in the other direction, giving her moral permission to kill herself and then teaching her how to do it. This prompted the first of the many articles I have written over the years against assisted-suicide advocacy. It appeared in the June 28, 1993, Newsweek and warned about the cliff towards which assisted suicide advocacy was steering our society:

We don’t get to the Brave New World in one giant leap. Rather, the descent to depravity is reached by small steps. First, suicide is promoted as a virtue. Vulnerable people like Frances become early casualties. Then follows mercy killing of the terminally ill. From there, it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to killing people who don’t have a good “quality” of life, perhaps with the prospect of organ harvesting thrown in as a plum to society.

The other shoe​—​“organ harvesting”​—​has now dropped. Euthanasia was legalized in Belgium in 2002. It took six years for the first known coupling of euthanasia and organ harvesting, the case of a woman in a “locked in” state​—​fully paralyzed but also fully cognizant. After doctors agreed to her request to be lethally injected, she asked that her organs be harvested after she died. Doctors agreed. They described their procedure in a 2008 issue of the journal Transplant International:

This case of two separate requests, first euthanasia and second, organ donation after death, demonstrates that organ harvesting after euthanasia may be considered and accepted from ethical, legal, and practical viewpoints in countries where euthanasia is legally accepted. This possibility may increase the number of transplantable organs and may also provide some comfort to the donor and her family, considering that the termination of the patient’s life may be seen as helping other human beings in need for organ transplantation.

The idea of coupling euthanasia with organ harvesting and medical experimentation was promoted years ago by the late Jack Kevorkian, but it is now becoming mainstream. Last year, the Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu coauthored a paper in Bioethics arguing that some could be euthanized, “at least partly to ensure that their organs could be donated.” Belgian doctors, in particular, are openly discussing the nexus between euthanasia and organ harvesting. A June 10 press release from Pabst Science Publishers cited four lung transplants in Leuven from donors who died by euthanasia.

What’s more, Belgian doctors and bioethicists now travel around Europe promoting the conjoining of the two procedures at medical seminars. Their PowerPoint presentation touts the “high quality” of organs obtained from patients after euthanasia of people with degenerative neuro/muscular disabilities.

Coupling organ donation with euthanasia turns a new and dangerous corner by giving the larger society an explicit stake in the deaths of people with seriously disabling or terminal conditions. Moreover, since such patients are often the most expensive for whom to care, and given the acute medical resource shortages we face, one need not be a prophet to see the potential such advocacy has for creating a perfect utilitarian storm.

Some might ask, if these patients want euthanasia, why not get some good out of their deaths? After all, they are going to die anyway.

But coupling organ harvesting with mercy killing creates a strong emotional inducement to suicide, particularly for people who are culturally devalued and depressed and, indeed, who might worry that they are a burden on loved ones and society. People in such an anguished mental state could easily come to believe (or be persuaded) that asking for euthanasia and organ donation would give a meaning to their deaths that their lives could never have.

And it won’t stop there. Once society accepts euthanasia/organ harvesting, we will soon see agitation to pay seriously disabled or dying people for their organs, a policy that Kevorkian once advocated. Utilitarian boosters of such a course will argue that paying people will save society money on long-term care and allow disabled persons the satisfaction of benefiting society, while leaving a nice bundle for family, friends, or a charitable cause.

People with serious disabilities should be alarmed. The message that is being broadcast with increasing brazenness out of Belgium is that their deaths are worth more than their lives.

47 posted on 06/26/2011 12:01:44 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Thanks for the ping!

48 posted on 06/26/2011 9:29:50 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: GonzoII; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
Finally a judge who gets the obvious.

Thread by GonzoII.

Federal judge: life begins at conception

INDIANAPOLIS, June 28, 2011 ( - Planned Parenthood’s request to block a provision of an Indiana law that requires doctors to tell women who are seeking abortions that “human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm,” was denied by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt last week.

“Plaintiffs contend that in the context of abortion, the meaning of these words, both individually and in combination, represent a plethora of opinions and beliefs about life and its inception. The Court respectfully disagrees,” wrote Pratt.

“When read together, the language crafted by the legislature in this provision supports a finding that the mandated statement refers exclusively to a growing organism that is a member of the Homo sapiens species.”

The judge disagreed with Planned Parenthood’s suggestion that the phrasing was “misleading.”

“Here, the mandated statement states only a biological fact relating to the development of the living organism; therefore, it may be reasonably read to provide accurate, non-misleading information to the patient,” the court wrote. “Under Indiana law, a physician must disclose the facts and risks of a treatment which a reasonably prudent physician would be expected to disclose under like circumstances, and which a reasonable person would want to know.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) had also sought an injunction against another part of the same law, House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1210, which barred federal Medicaid funds from going to the abortion provider. Pratt granted that request, noting that the Obama administration had threatened to gut the state’s entire Medicaid allotment to save PPIN’s portion.

Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, praised the judge for upholding scientific fact, but said that they would continue to ensure that the measure defunding Planned Parenthood goes into effect.

“While this is a significant partial victory for Life, we will press on to ensure that the full law will go into effect to defund Planned Parenthood in Indiana,” Brejcha said. “We stand ready to defend Life in other states as they plan to defund Planned Parenthood and require doctors to tell women that life begins at conception.”

49 posted on 07/03/2011 10:54:27 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: markomalley; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
Death panels are expanding.

Thread by markomalley.

An FDA Panel Is Deciding Life or Death For My Wife

December 16, 2010 will forever be the day that changed my life. I had just received a news flash across my monitor that the FDA had confirmed its advisory panel’s decision to ”de-label” the drug Avastin for breast cancer patients. The practical implication of this was that my wife Arlene was now at mortal risk.

My wife has stage IV or metastatic breast cancer. This is an incurable disease that claims the life of a woman every 14 minutes. A reported 17,500 women take Avastin for metastatic breast cancer and my wife is one of them. As Avastin is a unique drug that works by cutting off blood flow to tumors, we believe that the drug is saving my wife’s life and taking Avastin away is tantamount to a death sentence.

I picked up the phone to call my wife and tell her the news. When she answered, I was too choked-up to speak. The next five minutes were some of the worst moments of my life as I told my wife that bureaucrats in Washington were deciding to take away a drug that was keeping her alive.

I read a mountain of reports about the FDA’s Avastin decision and it become clear that it was corrupted with procedural problems (the Wall St. Journal referred to it as “rigged”), rendered almost meaningless by poor science and tainted by the bad faith of the FDA, which had moved the goalposts for approval of Avastin, almost after the game had been played.

The drug’s manufacturer, Genentech, said that it would file an appeal and the FDA granted a hearing for June 28 and 29 in Silver Spring, Maryland.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

50 posted on 07/03/2011 10:57:02 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
The moment rationing is accepted for anything, it can be applied to everything.

Thread by me.

Journal of the Canadian Medical Association publishes article on medical rationing

Days before the decision of the Ontario Appeals court in the Rasouli case, the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association has published an important article that is written by Lauren Vogel concerning health care rationing. The article titled: Can rationing possibly be rational? looks at the issues related to the rationing of medical treatment and considers these decisions within the paradigm of the life experience of people.

The article begins by telling the important story of Annie Farlow. The article states:
Annie Farlow was just short of three months old when she died in an Ontario hospital of what her parents believe might have been a treatable respiratory condition.

Born with the chromosome disorder Trisomy 13, Annie had little chance of surviving to her teens, but her parents, Barbara and Tim Farlow, had taken comfort in the hospital’s assurance that their daughter’s genetic disorder, also known as Patau syndrome, wouldn’t preclude her from receiving the same level of care as any other child suffering from a medical condition.

But months after Annie’s death, the Farlows discovered that physicians at the hospital had not initiated emergency resuscitation measures in their daughter's case with the same alacrity as they would in others. They also found out that a physician had placed a “do not resuscitate” order on Annie’s chart before obtaining their consent, and subsequently their daughter had been administered an undisclosed quantity of narcotics that, in the Farlows' opinion, could have caused her "unexplained, rapid" decline.

The circumstances surrounding Annie’s death have left the Farlows asking age-old questions that plague Canadian patient advocates, health care professionals, ethicists and policy makers in the face of growing health care resource scarcity: When is it appropriate to limit or withdraw potentially beneficial treatment? Who should make those decisions? How should decisions be made?
The article then quotes Annie's mother Barb who stated:
“I never took the position that my daughter had a right to any and all treatments, but the unilateral decisions we believe the doctors made should have been made transparently. We have a right to know and appeal the limits of the system, and be provided with whatever care is possible within its confines. Not only do I believe my daughter was denied a chance to prolong her life, the secrecy in which decisions seem to have been made also meant she was denied timely palliative care, and she suffered greatly at the end.”
The article then considers the context that health care rationing decisions are being made. The article states:
Health expenditures consume more than 50% of revenues in six of Canada’s 10 provinces, not including federal transfers, and are on pace to consume some 75% of revenues in five provinces by the year 2019, according to the Fraser Institute (

Canada’s aging population and the ongoing development of expensive therapies for life-threatening illnesses are further escalating pressures on the health care system, particularly intensive care units. Surveys estimate that Ontario, among other provinces, will need 80%–93% more intensive beds over the next 20 years, while about 87% of intensive care physicians indicated they had provided “futile” care at least once in the previous year (
Krista Flint, a disability rights leader from Calgary acknowledges that health care rationing already exists for people with disabilities. She states:
“It’s evidenced in things like the exclusion criteria built into new provincial pandemic planning protocols. In the case of a flu pandemic, for example, having a developmental disability now excludes you from access to a ventilator.”

Such protocols set a precedent for withholding and withdrawing beneficial treatment from vulnerable groups, she argues.
The article then overstates the current legal position by quoting Dr. Laura Hawryluck who stated:
Under Canadian law, doctors do not have to provide treatment that they deem “futile." However, without clear consensus about what constitutes futility, clinicians have no clear standard for weighing medical versus nonmedical criteria in their decision making.
Hawryluck then defines futility in this manner:
“the use of considerable resources without a reasonable hope that the patient would recover to a state of relative independence or be interactive with their environment.”
Rhonda Wiebe, cochair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities end-of-life ethics committee responds to Hawryluck by stating:
“These are really existential questions about judging quality of life. I worry we’ll get to a place where we’re the sum of our illnesses. I know that if there’s one respirator and two people, one who will need it for 12 hours and the other who will need it for the rest of their life, there’s a split second allocation decision that’s going to be made, and likely in the favour of the healthier person.”
Mark Handelman, a lawyer who specializes in end-of-life disputes commented:
Patients, families or surrogate decision-makers who disagree with a physician are “left with no other alternative than to go to court to get an injunction to prevent discontinuing treatment,” while few cases make it to trial because most patients die before their case can be heard. There are also considerable legal ambiguities surrounding end-of-life decision-making authority (
Margaret Sommerville, founding director of the McGill University Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, in Montreal, commented on the role of physicians in health care rationing. She stated:
Some 80% of resource allocation decisions are currently made by physicians at the bedside, effectively putting physicians in the role of “double agents,”

“There’s a clear ethical rule that a doctor has a primary obligation of personal care for each patient, meaning a doctor cannot put the interests of a group, society or another patient in front of the best interests of the patient he or she is treating.”
Sommerville then states.
“At an institutional level, hospitals and health authorities have an obligation to take into account other people’s requirements, rights and needs, and can put efficiency ahead of any one patient in ways a doctor cannot.”
The article ends by quoting Barb Farlow who states:
“No one wants to be seen as the person that started the conversation on who we exclude from universal health care. But we’re already excluding people like my daughter in other subtle ways, so the time to talk is now.”
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes that health care rationing decisions will be made by some means in the near future. Decisions for rationing health care should not be made based on futile care theory that views people as futile rather than treatments that are futile.

We are also concerned that society will be sold the concept of euthanasia based on the need to save money. Under this kind of a regime, death would become the silent tool that is used by a government that is oriented to health care cost containment.

51 posted on 07/03/2011 11:02:39 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; ...
Wait until belief in God is classified as "dementia."

Threads by Tolerance Sucks Rocks and me.

Euthanasia on the rise in Holland: now being applied to patients with dementia

June 27, 2011 ( - Euthanasia is on the rise in the Netherlands, and it is taking an even uglier turn than many would have expected.

Cases of euthanasia have risen from 2,500 in 2009 to 2,700 in 2010; but even more shocking, last year 21 persons suffering from the early stages of dementia, but who were otherwise in good health, were euthanized. All of these 21 “mercy killings” were subsequently approved by the official euthanasia follow-up commission.

This 2010 annual report on euthanasia has yet to be published, but key figures were released by the official news channel, NOS, last Saturday.

The program on NOS told the story of 63-year-old Guusje de Koning, one of the “beneficiaries” of euthanasia last year. In a video shot by de Koning’s husband four days before the 63-year-old woman’s death, and aired on the television station, she explains her choice to be killed to her two children.

De Koning, a sympathetic, healthy and humorous woman with a loving husband and grown-up children, explains that she didn’t want to go on living after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She says she had witnessed her own father’s slow decline and death due to the illness.

“I don’t want that,” explaine de Koning to her children. “I don’t want to suffer.”

De Koning was “euthanized” in July last year. Her image is now being used to support the notion that killing of people in the first phase of dementia is a good way to avoid both suffering and the excessive cost of healthcare for elderly Netherlanders.

Euthanasia in the Netherlands is only legal when the patient is sound of mind and capable of consistently expressing the death wish. Once dementia has set in, it’s too late: even a living will made prior to the decline cannot be taken into account. The “solution” that is being proposed, therefore, is to step out of life before the disease runs its course.

For months now public meetings have been held in provincial community centers and hotels to encourage the elderly to learn about their “right” to die, even if they are in good health, but afraid of what diagnosed dementia may do to them in the near future.

However, although 95 % of the Dutch favor legal euthanasia, according to opinion polls, currently only 33 % of physicians are at this point in time prepared to euthanize a patient with incipient dementia.


Legally killed: 21 dementia victims given lethal injections by Dutch doctors in 2010

Dementia sufferers are being killed by doctors in Holland under the country’s euthanasia laws, official figures are to reveal.

A total of 21 patients with early-stage dementia, including Alzheimer’s, died by lethal injection last year, according to a forthcoming annual report.

This is the first time dementia sufferers have been included in the country’s euthanasia statistics.

None of the cases is thought to have involved any illegal act on the part of health professionals, and each time the patient was considered capable of giving their consent.

But the figures have caused alarm among critics who say the pool of patients who qualify for euthanasia in the Netherlands is expanding.

The figures, which are due to be formally released later in the summer, were leaked on NOS, the state television news channel

The NOS report included video footage of Alzheimer’s sufferer Guusje de Koning, 63, explaining to her children why she wanted to die at the hands of her doctor.

She said she had witnessed her own father’s slow decline and death through the illness, adding: ‘I don’t want that. I don’t want to suffer.’

Euthanasia advocates are using her story to promote the idea that euthanasia for dementia sufferers is a suitable way to avoid suffering and the expensive healthcare.

A series of public meetings have been held over the last year to encourage the elderly to learn about their ‘right’ to die, even if they are in good health but afraid of what might happen if they are diagnosed with dementia in the future.

But the practice of assisted suicide for dementia patients remains controversial. While some 95 per cent of Holland’s population support the country’s euthanasia laws, only 33 per cent of Dutch doctors agree with offering lethal injections to dementia sufferers.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

52 posted on 07/03/2011 11:07:43 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
A glimmer of hope.

Thread by me.

Canada: Doctors Must Get Consent Before Cutting Lifesaving Care

The Rasouli family and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) have won a precedent setting decision in the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

EPC applauds the unanimous decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal to uphold a lower court decision which requires that doctors obtain consent from substitute decision-makers before unilaterally withdrawing life-support where such a decision is anticipated to result in the death of the patient.

The unanimous Court of Appeal ruled that it is necessary for doctors to raise any objections or concerns they may have about consent before the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board who has the jurisdiction to determine the issue of consent and to address any challenges to that consent made by a doctor.

A contrary decision would have effectively provided doctors with unilateral authority to withdraw life-support and end the life of a patient without any oversight, due process or procedural safeguards to patients, says Toronto lawyer Hugh Scher, who represented the EPC at the Court of Appeal.

Today’s ruling is perhaps the most significant end of life decision ever made by a Canadian court. It suggests that other provinces ought to be looking at implementing a similar regime of a board or tribunal to address such matters where they arise, according to Mark Handelman, who is a former Vice-Chair of the Consent and Capacity Board and who also served as counsel to EPC on their intervention.

The three judge panel decided that:

“we are of the view that the application judge reached the correct result in this case. In short, we are satisfied that the plan of care proposed by the appellants does amount to “treatment” as defined in the Act.”

The Rasouli case concerns Hassan Rasouli who underwent surgery on October 7, 2010 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for a benign brain tumour. He experienced a bacterial meningitis infection that caused him significant cognitive damage.

On October 16, Mr Rasouli was placed on a ventilator and a tube was inserted to provide him hydration and nutrition. His condition remains similar, even though the Rasouli family insist that he can now respond.

His doctors determined that Mr. Rasouli was in PVS and decided to withdraw the ventilator, but his wife, Parichehr Salasel, who is also a physician, refused to give consent to the withdrawal of the ventilator.

The Rasouli family applied to the Superior Court of Justice to obtain an injunction to prevent the doctors at Sunnybrook hospital from unilaterally withdrawing the ventilator.

The case was heard over three days in February and March (2011) and the decision by Justice Himel was released on March 9, 2011. Link to the Himel decision.

Justice Himel decided that the Rasouli family did not need an injunction because the doctors are required to obtain consent before withdrawing medical treatment, which in this case was the ventilator.

The doctors appealed the decision of Justice Himel and thus the case went to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Link to the previous blog posting about the Appeals court trial.

Link to the previous blog posting about concerning the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition being granted intervener status in the Rasouli case.

This is a huge victory for individual rights and it assures that the rights of individuals will be respected.

This decision has profound implications for patients throughout Ontario and Canada in terms of feeling safe and secure in accessing medical services near the end of life,

The decision maintains the role of the Consent and Capacity Board. Doctors continue to have the right to seek consent from the Consent and Capacity Board when consent is refused by the person or the attorney for personal care.

Link to the decision.

53 posted on 07/03/2011 11:11:21 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
The UK embraces the "duty to die" and Switzerland continues to make the slippery slope even steeper.

Two threads by me.

Wesley J. Smith: Duty to Die Gains Traction in UK

The so-called “duty to die” has been quietly discussed in bioethics for more than a decade. Now, a major British Medical Association leader proposed an implicit duty to die by stating that terminally ill people may have to be denied life-extending treatments due to the costs of their care. From the Scotsman story:

THE leader of Scotland’s doctors has questioned whether society can afford to pay thousands of pounds to keep terminally-ill people alive for weeks or months when health service budgets are under unprecedented strain. Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the British Medical Association Scotland, said in some cases tens of thousands of pounds were spent on drugs to extend cancer patients’ lives for relatively short periods.

Speaking ahead of his organisation’s annual meeting, the GP said the country had to debate the merits of these kinds of aggressive treatments and the effects they had on the NHS budget. But he stressed any decision had to be made at a society level, rather than being left to doctors.

He’s right about the last part. Doctors should not decide which patients live and which don’t live. But you have to ask yourselves what kind of a society would we become if we decided that when one needs care the most, it will be denied because of the cost (and, let’s face it, their lack of current productivity).

If we (this matter involves far more than the UK) are going to have a “conversation” about which treatments not to fund, I suggest we start with non elective procedures and treatments, i.e. those that are required to preserve life or treat serious illnesses and injuries. We should also reduce over utilization by requiring patients to pay deductibles and co-pays (via means testing). Better that people pay for part or more (depending on where you live) of your own care than throw the most sick and disabled among us out of the life boat. At the very least, those who need care most should not be the first ones denied it.


Swiss back off restrictions on assisted suicide

Despite controversy at home and abroad over its law on assisted suicide, the Swiss government has decided not to modify it. Instead, it plans to promote palliative care and suicide prevention.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga says that abuses of the system can be tackled under the existing legislation. “Revising the current legislation could give an official stamp of approval to organisations offering their services for assisted suicide,” she said.

Over the past ten years the Swiss justice ministry has studied several options for dealing with assisted suicide clinics which help Swiss citizens and foreigners to die. In its latest, it proposed tougher regulation of assisted suicide groups.

Switzerland’s main assisted suicide organisations, Exit and Dignitas, welcomed the decision. Ludwig Minelli, of Dignitas, told SwissInfo that abuses of assisted suicide in Switzerland are extremely rare.

The number of cases of “suicide tourism” from other countries dropped from 195 in 2006, to 97 in 2010, according to the Federal Health Office. However, the number of presumed assisted suicide cases involving Swiss residents increased to 257 from 150.

"We will not be silent.
We are your bad conscience.
The White Rose will give you no rest."

54 posted on 07/03/2011 11:16:29 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Thanks for the ping!

55 posted on 07/03/2011 11:43:10 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: markomalley; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; ...
Babies are being murdered for an easily-corrected cosmetic condition.

Thread by markomalley.

Seven babies aborted because of cleft palate (last year in the UK)

The data was among newly released statistics showing the number of late abortions which was made public after a High Court ruling.

No late abortions were carried out for cleft palate but the figures showed seven pregnancies were terminated before 24 weeks for that reason.

There were 147 terminations carried out after the 24 weeks gestation period.

Abortion is legal in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy for disability reasons but also if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother's mental health.

After 24 weeks, an abortion is allowed only if there is substantial risk of 'serious' physical or mental abnormality, or the mother's life is in danger.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

56 posted on 07/10/2011 11:12:07 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
"Brain death" is again being used to commit murder.

Thread by me.

‘Brain dead’ Quebec woman wakes up after family refuses organ donation

DROMMONDVILLE, Quebec, July 5, 2011 ( – Last week, Madeleine Gauron, a Quebec woman identified as viable for organ donation after doctors diagnosed her as “brain dead,” surprised her family and physicians when she recovered from a coma, opened her eyes, and began eating.

The 76-year-old woman was hospitalized at the Hospital Sainte Croix de Drummondville for an inflammation of the gums, which required a brief operation.  During her recovery, hospital staff gave the elderly woman solid food, which she had been unable to consume in her family home for some time, and left her unattended.  Choking on the food, she fell into a coma, after unsuccessful resuscitation.

Medical staff contacted her family, explaining to them that their mother was “brain dead,” with no hope of recovery.  Citing Gauron’s eyes as particularly viable, the doctors asked if the family would agree to organ donation.

While supporting the possibility of donation, her shocked family first demanded further medical tests to prove Gauron was really dead. 

The next day, the family was astonished to learn that Gauron had awakened.  Shortly afterwards, she sat up in bed and ate yogurt.

“If we had decided to donate her organs, they would have killed her,” said her son.

“It makes no sense to treat people like that. Although she is 76 years old and is ill, she did not have to suffer all this,” insisted her daughter.

Madeleine Gauron is now able to eat, walk and talk, and immediately recognized her family. Her children have decided to take legal action against the hospital.

As anecdotes similar to Gauron’s continue to pile up, “brain death” as a legitimate diagnosis of actual death is increasingly being questioned by concerned family members and medical professionals, some of whom have charged that the “brain death” criteria was created simply to ensure that harvested organs are fresh.

Currently, more than half of Swedish intensive care nurses who care for purportedly brain dead patients have doubts about methods for establishing brain death, according to a recent survey released by Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

While regulations require Swedish physicians to ascertain brain death through particular clinical tests, further analysis in conjunction with brain x-rays are only done for select patients.

The author of the thesis, Anne Flodén, a registered nurse and researcher at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences, said the outcome of the study was problematic, indicating the need for clear guidelines surrounding the process of diagnosis and organ donation.

“This problem was raised by many of the ICU nurses in several of the studies,” said Flodén. “They were disappointed in the lack of structure and guidelines and are therefore calling for more support from management on these issues.”

57 posted on 07/10/2011 11:18:26 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: don-o; Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
The NYT cannot stand the thought of an abortuary being shut down.

Thread by don-o.

Taking Fight Back to Wichita, Doctor Seeks Abortion Clinic

Not long ago, Dr. Mila Means, the physician trying to open an abortion clinic in this city, received a letter advising her to check under her car each morning — “because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it,” the note said.


But Dr. Means is certainly not the ideological warrior many expected to fill his void. She said her decision to start performing abortions was as much about making money for her struggling practice as about restoring access to a constitutional right.


She looked at the finances of her solo family practice and figured she might be the poorest doctor in the state. Though she lives modestly, she has had continuing problems managing money: her credit card companies have taken her to court, and her checks occasionally bounce. Determined to work alone, she did not have enough patients to cover the bills.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

58 posted on 07/10/2011 11:22:24 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; Goodgirlinred; Miss Behave; cyn; AlwaysFree; amdgmary; angelwings49; ...
The culture of death thinks that we would be okay with them killing the sick and disabled if we just "understood" why they were doing it.

Two threads by me.

Let disabled people choose death, says MSP (Scottish Parliament)

People born with disabilities who ‘lose the will to live’ would be eligible to end their lives under controversial new legislation proposed for the Scottish Parliament.

This is the second attempt by Margo MacDonald MSP to legalise assisted suicide. Her first bill was roundly rejected by the Scottish Parliament.

But the Independent MSP now intends to table a new bill which critics have branded “utterly irresponsible”.


Mrs MacDonald has also suggested that people suffering from chronic conditions, but who do not have a terminal illness, should be able to get medical help to end their lives.

And she suggested that people who become disabled should also be able to opt for an assisted suicide.

However, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland warned: “This dramatic widening of the terms of the euthanasia debate highlights its terrible dangers. Yet it is the inevitable slope down which we would slide if we allow doctors to kill their patients.


“The scale of innocents who could be killed in Scotland would be massive if the disabled, people with chronic but not life-threatening conditions and those simply tired of life become part of the pool of candidates for death.”

But Mrs MacDonald said: “If their regime is acceptable to them and they’re enjoying their life, even with the limitations that they may have to put up with, nothing changes. The legislation is only enabling and if they don’t want to enable it, they don’t.

“But for people who are born with a disability, if they get to 16 or 18, or whatever we settle at, why should they be treated with any less respect for the decisions they make”.


Last month a new survey by a leading disability charity said that changing the law to legalise assisted suicide would result in disabled people being pressured to kill themselves.

Scope’s survey revealed that 70 per cent of those with a disability felt that such a change would create pressure for disabled people to “end their lives prematurely”.

And more than a third expressed concern that they would personally experience such pressure.


U.S. Catholic bishops misunderstand our death-with-dignity laws (Barf Alert!)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ policy on physician-assisted suicide, approved at their national meeting in Bellevue last month , is the latest move by Roman Catholic leaders to intervene in Americans’ personal health care decisions.

The eight-page policy, which the bishops passed 191-1 at their annual spring meeting, is full of inaccurate and misleading statements about the Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Oregon and the policy positions of the laws’ supporters. It ignores 14 years of experience in Oregon and two years in Washington. The head of Compassion & Choices, the main group supporting those laws, criticized the bishops' policy statement as “full of reckless, unsubstantiated accusations.”

The bishops’ statement warns that the voter-approved Death with Dignity laws — which allow terminally ill, mentally competent adult patients to receive medications from their doctor to end their lives — essentially legalize murder. And it makes the stunning claim that U.S. leaders of the Death with Dignity movement in effect advocate ending the lives of people who have not sought help in dying.

“A society that devalues some people’s lives, by hastening and facilitating their deaths, will ultimately lose respect for their other rights and freedoms,” the bishops said. “Taking life in the name of compassion also invites a slippery slope toward ending the lives of people with non-terminal conditions.”

The new policy, “To Live Each Day with Dignity,” is the U.S. church’s first official policy on aid-in-dying, which also is legal in Montana under a 2009 Montana Supreme Court ruling. The policy follows increasingly aggressive efforts by the bishops to require Catholic health care facilities and providers to insert and maintain feeding and hydration tubes in terminally ill patients — even those who have written advance directives stating they don’t want them. 

The bishops also have cracked down on Catholic hospitals that performed tube-tying operations for women who are not going to have more babies. Last year, a bishop expelled St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Ore., a century-old hospital founded by nuns, from his diocese for refusing to stop performing tubal ligations.

These policies matter because the bishops oversee more than 600 Catholic hospitals and hundreds of Catholic nursing homes, assisted living centers, and hospices.

Some Catholic ethicists and administrators in Catholic health facilities have expressed concerns about the bishops’ aggressive new mandates. One worried Catholic hospital administrator who didn’t want to be named criticized the bishops’ 2009 ethical and religious directive requiring Catholic health facilities to provide feeding and hydration tubes to patients with chronic and irreversible conditions — including persistent vegetative state, massive stroke, and advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The administrator told me the directive is a “slippery slope” that could lead to widening disregard for patients’ end-of-life wishes.

But there is growing pressure on everyone within the Catholic establishment to hew to the party line. A new article in Crisis Magazine by Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly called out prominent theologians at four major Jesuit universities who have supported the physician-assisted suicide movement. These professors “have done more than betray the Catholic Church,” Reilly wrote. “When professors deny the truths of faith and disregard the common good — especially of those whose lives are snuffed out prematurely — they violate the mission of a Catholic university.”

Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, a national group that supports and monitors patients using the Death with Dignity laws, blasted the bishops’ statement on physician-assisted suicide and what she called the church’s McCarthyesque attack on Catholic dissenters. “It’s one thing to state your position based on your religious beliefs, and quite another to falsify, bully, sanction, lobby, and impose that religious belief on others,” she said in a written statement. “The bishops misstate our work, our beliefs, our mission and 14 years of Oregon experience with aid in dying. That experience shows better end-of-life care, more choice, and more peaceful deaths.”

The bishops’ statement on physician-assisted suicide claims leaders of the aid-in-dying movement support “ending the lives of people who never asked for death, whose lives they see as meaningless or as a costly burden on the community.” But the Washington and Oregon laws spearheaded by Compassion & Choices set out a detailed procedure allowing only terminally ill patients to ask a physician to prescribe the lethal medication; that doctor and a second doctor independently determine whether the patient likely has less than six months to live, is mentally competent, and made the request voluntarily.

At a June 15 news conference in Seattle, Coombs Lee stressed that Compassion & Choices opposes providing aid-in-dying to anyone who doesn’t meet the legal criteria. “A bright line separates assisting suicide, which is a felony, from the medical practice of aid in dying,” she said. “To blur that line does a grave disservice to terminally ill patients.”

The bishops also claim that people with chronic illnesses or disabilities which are life-threatening only if they don’t receive treatment could qualify for lethal prescriptions under the Death with Dignity laws. “Thus the bias of many able-bodied people against the value of life for someone with an illness or disability is embodied in official policy,” they said.

There’s no evidence for that assertion. The Oregon and Washington laws define a qualifying terminal disease as “incurable and irreversible.” Dr. Tom Preston, medical director of Compassion & Choices of Washington, said Compassion & Choices would never consider working with patients whose condition could be reversed or effectively treated except to advise them they didn’t qualify under the law.

Another unfounded argument by the bishops is that offering terminally ill patients the option of assisted suicide undermines effective pain management and palliative and hospice care. In fact, studies show that the overall use of hospice care increased in Oregon to one of the highest rates in the country after the Death with Dignity law took effect in 1998. In Washington and Oregon, more than 80 percent of patients who received lethal prescriptions and died in 2010 were enrolled in hospice — far higher than hospice participation rates nationally. “We insist on good comfort care,” Preston said.

The bishops further contend that terminally ill people seeking aid in dying commonly suffer from mental illness such as depression, and that Death with Dignity laws and proposals ignore this issue. “Even a finding of mental illness or depression does not necessarily prevent prescribing the [lethal] drugs,” they said.

Supporters of aid in dying do worry about clinically depressed patients receiving lethal prescriptions. But Dr. Linda Ganzini, a psychiatrist at Oregon Health & Science University who has consulted on dozens of Death with Dignity cases and has studied the issue, told me her experience is that most people who want assisted suicide do not have depression or another mental health condition that would affect their decision. And if either of the two physicians who independently evaluates each patient’s eligibility thinks there is a possible mental health issue, that doctor must order a psychological evaluation. Under the Oregon and Washington laws, patients cannot receive a lethal prescription if their judgment is found to be impaired.

Finally, the bishops argue that dying patients’ pain can be alleviated through competent medical care, freeing them to focus on “the unfinished business of their lives, to arrive at a sense of peace with God, with loved ones, and with themselves.” In contrast, they said, assisted suicide “results in suffering for those left behind — grieving families and friends, and other vulnerable people who may be influenced by this event to see death as an escape.”

But Tony Rizzo of Puyallup, a self-identified Roman Catholic, said he “respectfully disagrees” with the bishops based on his and his wife Joyce’s experience at the end of her three-year battle with cancer. At Compassion’s June 15 news conference, Rizzo described how his wife of 43 years was suffering “excruciating” pain, despite her pain medication. She asked for and received a lethal prescription under the Death with Dignity law, and used it to end her life last September. 

“Joyce was facing a painful and difficult death, and there was absolutely no hope,” he said through tears. “She obtained the peaceful, dignified death she desired. The whole family supported her decision. I shudder to think of the pain she would have experienced without the medication and without that choice, which the bishops would deny her.”

It would appear that the bishops need to take off their black robes, visit a hospice or hospital ICU, and silently watch and listen to expert staff work with terminally ill patients.

"We will not be silent.
We are your bad conscience.
The White Rose will give you no rest."

59 posted on 07/10/2011 11:27:52 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Is there a thread about this yet? I’m not able to post one, but I hope somebody will.

Doctors Keeping Very Sick Babies Off Life Support

A study of babies in intensive care suggests that doctors are getting better at recognizing situations where infants are sure to die or have severe brain damage — and are often holding back on life support when that’s the case.

The findings “reflect increasing awareness by the medical community of the need to limit interventions of minimal or very questionable benefit, and particularly if those interventions potentially include significant pain or suffering to the patient,” said Dr. Renee Boss, a neonatologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, who wasn’t part of the new research.

Over the past 30 years, Boss said, doctors have gotten better at keeping very premature babies and babies with severe birth defects alive.

But more recently, those survival rates have flattened out — possibly because “the treatments that we have now simply have reached their maximum potential for increasing survival,” Boss told Reuters Health, forcing doctors and families to address cases where survival, or survival with a positive outlook, doesn’t seem likely.

About six of every 1,000 infants die in the U.S. before their first birthday — with more than half of those deaths coming in the first 28 days.

For the new study, Julie Weiner and her colleagues from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, looked back on the medical records of all infant deaths in their neonatal intensive care unit over a 10-year period.

Those included just over 400 deaths, of more than 7,000 intensive care admissions. The majority of deaths occurred in babies with major birth defects, including heart problems, and those born very premature — at 32 weeks or earlier. In general, any baby born before the 37th week of pregnancy is considered premature.

But the researchers were more interested in how those babies died — whether it was while doctors were trying to save or prolong their lives, or whether babies had been taken off ventilators, feeding tubes, and other life support when doctors realized there was nothing more they could do.

Over the study period, which ran from 1999 through 2008, less than one in five of the deaths happened while doctors were trying to perform CPR to keep infants alive.

About 60 percent of infants died when doctors took them off ventilators or otherwise stopped giving life support, and the remaining 20 percent occurred when medical staff withheld life-prolonging treatment altogether.

Deaths that happened when doctors decided not to start giving treatment became more common over the course of the study, rising by about one percent each year. That was especially true in the very premature group, according to findings published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

That result “makes us think that maybe we’re better recognizing futility of care and providing a better and better situation for these babies that are dying anyway,” Weiner told Reuters Health.

Dr. William Meadow, a neonatologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, pointed out that these patterns might look different at another intensive care unit.

For example, at his hospital, most very sick babies who are in “stable” condition — meaning they aren’t obviously dying while on life support, but might have extensive brain damage — don’t have that care taken away.

He said that’s because poor, religious parents at his hospital seem to be more okay with the idea that their child might survive, though remain very impaired.

In those types of cases, “it’s a reflection mostly of parent preferences,” Meadow told Reuters Health.

“Decisions to withdraw or limit care are easier for doctors and families alike when the baby is actively, critically ill despite interventions,” Boss agreed.

In sick but stable babies, “it can be a little harder to find the point at which you say, ‘Nothing more can or should be done,’” she said.

The study also suggested that parents have become more involved in discussing end-of-life options.

“We’ve seen an increasing recognition that parents (and) family members should have a very central role in these decisions,” Boss said. In these cases, she added, “most parents do want to participate to some degree in decision-making.”

“For parents it’s overwhelming anyway to be in the (neonatal intensive care unit), and to have an infant that is dying — nobody expects to have a baby that’s going to die,” Weiner said. “Our hope when we do provide end-of-life care is trying to provide compassionate loving, care to ... our families and our dying neonates.”

60 posted on 07/10/2011 11:32:47 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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