Skip to comments.Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network Comments on the Death of Jack Kevorkian
Posted on 06/04/2011 2:05:56 PM PDT by wagglebee
click here to read article
Thread by me.
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 hospitals assurance that their daughters genetic disorder, also known as Patau syndrome, wouldnt preclude her from receiving the same level of care as any other child suffering from a medical condition.
But months after Annies 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 Annies 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 Annies 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?
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.
Health expenditures consume more than 50% of revenues in six of Canadas 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 (www.fraserinstitute.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=3411).
Canadas 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 (http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/abstract/177/10/1201?ijkey=90110ebfb38e9dc79c26cfd0ffc266868702b7d4&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha).
Its 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.
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.
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.
These are really existential questions about judging quality of life. I worry well get to a place where were the sum of our illnesses. I know that if theres 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, theres a split second allocation decision thats going to be made, and likely in the favour of the healthier person.
Some 80% of resource allocation decisions are currently made by physicians at the bedside, effectively putting physicians in the role of double agents,
Theres 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.
At an institutional level, hospitals and health authorities have an obligation to take into account other peoples requirements, rights and needs, and can put efficiency ahead of any one patient in ways a doctor cannot.
No one wants to be seen as the person that started the conversation on who we exclude from universal health care. But were already excluding people like my daughter in other subtle ways, so the time to talk is now.
Threads by Tolerance Sucks Rocks and me.
June 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 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 Konings husband four days before the 63-year-old womans 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 didnt want to go on living after she was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. She says she had witnessed her own fathers slow decline and death due to the illness.
I dont want that, explaine de Koning to her children. I dont 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, its 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.
Dementia sufferers are being killed by doctors in Holland under the countrys euthanasia laws, official figures are to reveal.
A total of 21 patients with early-stage dementia, including Alzheimers, died by lethal injection last year, according to a forthcoming annual report.
This is the first time dementia sufferers have been included in the countrys 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 Alzheimers 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 fathers slow decline and death through the illness, adding: I dont want that. I dont 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 Hollands population support the countrys euthanasia laws, only 33 per cent of Dutch doctors agree with offering lethal injections to dementia sufferers.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Thread by me.
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.
Todays 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.
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.
Two threads by me.
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 Scotlands 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 organisations 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.
Hes right about the last part. Doctors should not decide which patients live and which dont 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, lets 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.
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.
Switzerlands 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."
Thanks for the ping!
Thread by markomalley.
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 telegraph.co.uk ...
Thread by me.
DROMMONDVILLE, Quebec, July 5, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) 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 Gaurons 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 Gaurons 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.
Thread by don-o.
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 nytimes.com ...
Two threads by me.
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 theyre 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 dont want to enable it, they dont.
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.
Scopes 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.
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 peoples 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. churchs 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 dont 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 didnt 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 Alzheimers 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 churchs McCarthyesque attack on Catholic dissenters. Its 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 doesnt 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 dont 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.
Theres 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 didnt 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 patients 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 Joyces experience at the end of her three-year battle with cancer. At Compassions 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."
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.”
Thread by me.
Over the past few months, a Quebec government commission has been studying euthanasia and assisted suicide. At the end of June, its members flew to Europe to examine the issue in countries where the practices are legal (such as the Netherlands and Belgium) and in a country that rejected legalized euthanasia (France).
What is the commission likely to hear? Proponents of euthanasia will undoubtedly stress that the practice is conducted only within tight guidelines. As a recent study by a Canadian doctor shows, however, these guidelines keep shifting and are of little value in protecting the rights of patients. In fact, according to an article published in Current Oncology by Dr. José Pereira, medical chief of palliative care at Bruyère Continuing Care in Ottawa, safeguards are routinely ignored and abused.
Dr. Pereira addresses the safeguards one by one. In the Netherlands, where assisted suicide and euthanasia became legal in 2002, the law states that individuals must give written consent that they want to die. In spite of this, a 2005 study of deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands found that almost 500 people are killed annually without their consent.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalpost.com ...
Thread by me.
July 11, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After years of opposition from disability advocates, more experts are beginning to question the validity of the “persistent vegetative state” (PVS) diagnostic label that paved the way for Terri Schiavo’s starvation death.
A Discover magazine article published online July 6 explained that PVS often fails to account for a broad swath of traumatic brain injury patients who are deemed to be “still in there” - a conclusion one science reporter called “haunting.”
Discover’s Kat McGowan examined the outcome of years of experiments by Dr. Joseph Giancino, director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Nicholas Schiff, a Weill Cornell Medical Center neurologist, as they probed the distinction between reflexes and “real cognition” in patients who appear to have little communion with the outside world.
These are human beings who seem to have lost their humanity, Giacino told the magazine. The question is, is that really the case?
Several studies, one as late as 2009, have found that as many as 41 percent of PVS patients had some level of awareness, and the evidence keeps building.
Schiff called his first experience with an awakening - he discovered his very first PVS patient was speaking three years later - “truly surreal.” Spurred by that experience, he and Giancino examined more PVS patients. In one case, the team marveled as the neural activity of one man deemed minimally conscious “flared up” just like a healthy brain at the sound of his mother’s voice.
Another patient woke up abruptly after 19 years of minimal consciousness and began to speak fluently. Later, a scan found that his brain was sprouting new connections, something “nobody would have believed” possible with a decades-old injury without picture proof, according to one expert.
The scientists say the discoveries have opened an encouraging frontier for brain injury patients: one man left with nothing but “a huge shadow of fluid where neural flesh should be” after a severe car crash is now able to send emails, thanks to a system that interprets his head movements, the last voluntary action left to his body, McGowan reports. With the help of electrode stimulation, another minimally conscious patient improved so much he could tell his mother he loved her.
However, the bright prospects may be dimmed by prejudice against the disabled: Giancino reflected on a grim reaction he received at a “well-regarded major medical center” after he had given a presentation of his findings.
“The head of trauma thanks me and in a very jovial manner says, In my day, the term for these patients was jellyfish. And he laughs and moves on,” he said. “What do you do with that?”
When one neurologist asked Schiff if neurologists, by giving a bleak prognosis for vegetative patients, have been “killing people,” McGowan writes: “Schiff does not directly respond, but the answer is almost certainly yes.”
“The implications of their work are haunting. It suggests that many of the estimated 250,000 to 300,000 or more people in this country languishing in bedrooms and nursing homes with disorders of consciousness are probably still ‘in there’ - still have some capacity to think and to feel and might, in a limited way, be able to rejoin the world,” writes McGowan.
Several cases have been documented of supposedly “vegetative” patients returning to consciousness after as many as twenty years, a fact frequently stressed by disability advocates such as the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network.
Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother and founder of the Network in her honor, said Friday that the “PVS diagnosis needs to be eliminated by the medical community.”
“Not only is it highly flawed and unscientific in its diagnosis (misdiagnosed upwards of 50% of the time), but it is dehumanizing to the individual being labeled as a ‘vegetable,’” wrote Schindler on Facebook.
“More importantly and most disturbing however, is the PVS is being used as a criteria to kill those with cognitive disabilities as it was used to deliberately kill my sister, Terri.”
Terri Schiavo was diagnosed with PVS in 1991, paving the way for a court order forbidding her food and fluids and leading to her infamous death by dehydration, despite video and photos showing that she was alert and responsive.
In the Discover article, McGowan claimed the autopsy of Schiavo “proved that she could never have recovered” because her brain had shrunk dramatically. However, other experts have contested that conclusion based on the known status of Terri’s brain, which besides its size had remained “relatively preserved,” in the words of the doctor who performed the autopsy.
"We will not be silent.
We are your bad conscience.
The White Rose will give you no rest."
Thanks for the post and the ping on this crucial issue.
Thread by Kaslin.
Authors Note: Every summer at Summit Ministries (see www.Summit.org) I give a speech meant to equip young pro-life students with proper rebuttals to pro-abortion choice arguments. I have been asked to reprint the speech in my column (in condensed form). I am doing so in two parts. The first part can be accessed by clicking on this link. I hope you find this the second of two installments both beneficial and informative.
Whenever I find myself in an extended argument about abortion I find that there are about six arguments I can expect to encounter before the argument has come to term, so to speak. But, fortunately, the six arguments all suffer from one fatal flaw, which makes them somewhat easy to rebut as long as the proponent of life stays focused on the central moral question of the abortion debate, which is Are the unborn human? Ive dealt with four of the six arguments in the first installment of this series. I deal with arguments five and six below.
Argument #5: It is wrong for a woman to be forced to give birth to a baby she cannot afford. This argument is also remarkably calloused so much so that it is difficult to understand how those who make it could describe themselves as liberal. Do we really need to start reassigning Jonathan Swifts Modest Proposal to understand how profoundly sick and distasteful this argument really is? Swift wrote (satirically, of course) a proposal that suggested people eat their babies in order to relieve hunger and poverty. Pro-abortion choice arguments often sound chillingly similar.
For those who have never read Swift, I like to use a more contemporary example. In the 80s, a punk rock band calling themselves The Dead Kennedys wrote a song called Kill the Poor in which they mockingly suggested that we kill poor people as a means of eliminating poverty. That would certainly eliminate poverty. But is that really an acceptable solution? Of course, it isnt. That was their point.
Make sure to confront abortion choice advocates with the question of whether it is permissible to kill to eliminate poverty. When you do, they will say something like this: No, I would never advocate killing the poor. I would advocate abortion to prevent them from becoming poor people in the first place. They are trapped once again in the untenable position of denying the personhood of the unborn. (Please review argument #1 from the first installment in this series).
Of course, there is another aspect to the poverty-as-a-defense-of-abortion argument. It is the crass argument that the mother sometimes cannot afford the baby. This raises another fundamental question: Is it permissible to kill a person in order to alleviate financial stress? If it is then Id like to kill the banker who holds my mortgage. (Im just kidding, folks). Of course, I cannot do that anyway since a) he is a middle-aged man and b) the Supreme Court does not authorize abortions in the 200th trimester at least they havent yet!
Some pro-lifers will say that poor women should not be having babies if they cannot afford them. But this raises another important question: What if the poor womans baby is the product of a rape?
Argument #6: It is wrong to force a woman to give birth to a baby after she has been a victim of rape (or incest, which is usually statutory rape). Whenever I hear an argument for the rape exception I think of my friend Laura. She was adopted and later in life (when she was in her 20s) wanted to locate her birth mother and learn of the circumstances of her adoption. When she did, she learned that she was the product of a rape. I dont have the audacity to tell her she should have been killed by an abortionist. I leave that to the compassionate liberals who over-simplify the rape issue.
Actually, oversimplify is too kind a term. They are exploiting the rape issue in order to avoid the central question of the debate: Is the unborn - yes, even the product of rape - human? I say Of course they are! And Laura agrees with me. If you disagree, then you may take it up with her or with others conceived in rape such as attorney and pro-life advocate Rebecca Kiessling. Their lives are hardly useless. And because their mothers had the courage to bear them, they have made a profound difference in this world including saving countless lives with their pro-life testimony.
Whenever the issue of the rape exception is raised it is well worth mentioning Kennedy v. Louisiana, which was decided by the Supreme Court in 2008. In that already infamous case, the Court spared Kennedy from execution on the grounds that it would be Cruel and Unusual Punishment to kill a man who did not kill anyone. This was a brutal rape case indeed among the worst Ive ever studied. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that Kennedy raped his 8-year old stepdaughter savagely to the point of causing permanent physical damage. In fact, a laceration to the left wall of her vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into her vaginal structure. Put simply, Kennedy raped, sodomized, and tortured a poor little girl he was supposed to protect. Thankfully, he was easily convicted for doing so. And there is no question whatsoever as to the issue of his guilt.
But the High Court high on their own arrogance - stated that Kennedys execution would not comport with evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society. This decision rested largely on the fact that most states reject the idea of execution for rape even the rape of a child accompanied by other aggravating factors. And so this is the position in which we find ourselves today: When a woman is raped she has a constitutional right to an abortion. And the rapist has a constitutional right to life. But the unborn baby has no rights whatsoever. And they call this the mark of an evolving and maturing society?
The Kennedy case helps us to better understand another frequently employed argument for the rape exception; namely, that a woman has a right to abort in order to rid her of the memory of a horrible event. But that argument is both logically and factually flawed. Logically speaking, the woman, if granted the right to kill one person, should be entitled to kill the rapist. She should not be entitled to kill the baby! Any assertion to the contrary can be justified only by denying the personhood of the unborn. (Once again, review argument #1 from the first installment in this series).
Factually speaking, there is simply no merit to the argument that abortions either sooth the conscience or assuage the memory of rape victims. In the first place, too many women feel guilty and blame themselves in the aftermath of rape. The abortion adds another layer of guilt and trauma. Only the birth of the child can provide healing even if the child is immediately given up for adoption. Philosophers Peter Kreeft and Frank Beckwith often point out that it is better to suffer evil than to inflict it. Planned Parenthood counselors are never inclined to raise this point. They profit from the infliction of evil upon the innocent. And they use rape victims to justify their dirty occupation.
After I have finished making all the points I wish to make, I always extend the following offer to the abortion choice advocate: If I agree to write the exception for rape, will you be willing to lobby for the law banning abortion? In all of my years discussing abortion, no one has taken me up on the offer. Their reaction always shows that they were never in favor of keeping abortion legal in order to protect victims of rape. They are simply using these women for political purposes.
A movement that both denies the personhood of the defenseless unborn and uses rape victims for political purposes is not one worth joining. These people do not even believe the arguments they are making. They are truly modern day Pharisees more deserving of our ridicule than our respect.
Thread by jazusamo.
While Obamas Justice Department dismissed a critical voter intimidation case against a radical black revolutionary group, its going after a pro life advocate the agency calls one of the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors.
Ironically, the administration claims that the pro life advocate, a Maryland man named Richard Retta, intimidated and interfered with women seeking abortions in Washington D.C.-area clinics much like members of the New Black Panther Party did to white voters during the 2008 presidential election. The difference is that the Black Panthers, clad in military attire, used weapons, racial insults and profanity to deter voters.
Judicial Watch obtained records that show political appointees at the DOJ ordered the Black Panther case dismissed after the administration colluded with leftwing groups. JWs investigation also revealed that the official Obama appointed to head the DOJs civil rights division, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, lied under oath to cover up the Black Panther voter intimidation scandal.
Now Perez is pursuing a pro lifer for violating a Clinton-era law (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act) that prohibits any sort of interference with a woman seeking an abortion. Retta physically obstructed a patient and volunteer escorts attempting to enter the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, according to a DOJ complaint filed a few days ago. He also frequently walks very closely beside patients as they walk to the clinic and he follows them into the street and oncoming traffic. Sometimes he yells at them, the feds claim.
In announcing the lawsuit, Perez vowed to pursue similar cases, saying that individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions. If one unarmed guy is considered such a threat, then a barrier of big, muscular, armed men intimidating voters during a presidential election certainly merits attention from the agency charged with enforcing the law and defending the interests of the United States. Yet that case got dismissed.
Thread by me.
ATLANTA, July 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The National Black Prolife Coalition has announced a social media video campaign to expose the number one killer of African-Americans: Planned Parenthood and urban abortion clinics.
The second installment of a 3-part video series, “Number one killer,” was released today. It reveals how abortions in the black community outnumber all other causes of death combined.
New York City, the home of Planned Parenthood, aborts nearly 60% of all black pregnancies, a rate alarmingly high in proportion to whites and Hispanics. However, pro-abortion activists frequently denounce efforts to address the black community’s abortion epidemic as “racist.”
“Pro-abortion groups cry racism and misogyny because they know they can’t speak to the facts,” said Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation, the organization that created the video series. “They’ve tried to remove our TooManyAborted.com billboards and crush free speech instead of halting over 363,000 innocent lives needlessly crushed in the black community.”
Recently, pro-abortion activists falsely trumpeted the removal of campaign billboards in Chicago as a victory for their activism; however, the ads were actually removed simply at the conclusion of the 60-day contract.
Several African-American pro-life leaders are now speaking out in favor of the awareness campaign.
“When will our black leaders take an honest look at these numbers, become outraged and do something to stop the abortion deaths of our beautiful black babies?” asked Rev. Arnold M. Culbreath of Protecting Black Life. “The numbers don’t lie. Abortion takes a tremendous toll on our women, our men, our families and our future.”
“The betrayal of many of these self-styled leaders runs deep,” said Catherine Davis of the Black Prolife Coalition. “Many are recipients of the largesse of the abortion industry as they promote the destruction of their own community through abortion.”
Pastor Stephen Broden of Dallas, Texas said: “The effect of abortion in the black community is clear as one examines the numbers. So-called leaders are complicit in the decimation of our children and the very survival of our people.”
With a $1 billion annual budget and $1 billion in assets, Planned Parenthood has historically targeted African-Americans with birth control through population control efforts. In the latest year reported, the nation’s largest abortion chain killed 332,278 (disproportionately black) unborn babies, providing only 7,021 women prenatal care and 977 adoption referrals.
“This campaign should be liberating for the leaders and everyone concerned. After all, the truth sets us all free. If our leaders haven’t sold us out, this is their opportunity to stand up for life,” said Dr. Alveda King, of www.africanamericanoutreach.org.
Thread by me.
I told you so. I have said for almost as many years as I have engaged in anti assisted suicide advocacy that eventually killing (ending life) would come to be seen as a splendid way to save money in health care. I used to have HMOs in mind in making that argument. But now, it seems that single payer systems may be the greater danger.
Vermont has passed a single payer health plan–but hasn’t figured out how to pay for it, as I mentioned here previously. An editorial has come up with two “pragmatic” ways to cut costs. Yup, one is assisted suicide. The other is explicit health care rationing–which I have also written flows naturally from single payer systems in difficult economic times. From the Addison County (VT) Independent editorial:
Money must also be saved in services delivered to people with chronic diseases and those who frequently use emergency rooms, he said; two areas in which the community at large must help play an important role. Passing a law that allows physicians to help end a patients life under very controlled circumstances, known as death with dignity, is one such measure that could help (an effort was tried this pass session but postponed until next year). Another is approving some type of rationing measures, as Oregon has done, that help control health care costs.
Exactly. And you’ll end up with expensive care being denied in Oregon–but patients offered assisted suicide–as happened to cancer patients Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup under Oregon’s oh, so “compassionate” law. And the editorial ludicrously talks about restricting heart transplants for 92-year olds–as if all those near-centurions are getting all the organs. What a joke.
Some are willing to dismantle Hippocratic medicine by tossing the sickest out of the lifeboat and legalizing doctor-prescribed death as a way of saving money and promoting “pragmatism.” I am not. VT opponents of assisted suicide, raise this editorial as a battle flag and defeat the threatened culture of death.
"We will not be silent.
We are your bad conscience.
The White Rose will give you no rest."
Vocal pro-lifers, Ken and Jo Scott in Denver have been targeted as well.
Their relentless efforts in crying out to save the babies, causes a loss
of revenue for evil PP at the mega death camp!
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