Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fear of imposed death by hospitals

In the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal, reports circulate regularly about elderly people refusing to go to the hospital for fear that a physician will deem their life unworthy. The “right to die” quite easily becomes the “obligation to die” once physicians start becoming judge and executor.

James A. Avery, MD, The Daily Progress. 


READER'S VIEWS: Physician-assisted suicide is a bad idea

Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2015 12:00 am

READER'S VIEWS: Physician-assisted suicide is a bad idea James A. Avery, MD The Daily Progress

In the dark ages of medicine, physicians routinely ended the life of their patients. However, since the time of Hippocrates ­ 2500 years ago, physicians have promised their patients that they will not intentionally terminate a life.

When, as he wrote in the Decorum, “patients become overmastered by their disease,” physicians agreed to not hasten or prolong death. “Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always” was the basic strategy. Of course, since that earlier time and, up to today, physicians have always been tempted to help desperate and despondent patients kill themselves. Time and time again, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide causes were championed – only to be ultimately rejected by the medical profession and almost all cultures.

G. K. Chesterton once said, “Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” Since the time of Hippocrates, medicine has made huge advances in our ability to control and manage pain. So, I ask, why has there been a recent effort to take down this fence?

Certainly, the recent highly publicized case of Brittany Maynard, a winsome and attractive 29 year-old newlywed, has renewed the old tiresome arguments. Diagnosed with a brain tumor, Brittany moved from California, where she was born and raised, to Oregon where right-to-die laws are legal. On November 1, 2014, physicians prescribed a massive dose of life-ending barbiturates so Brittany could kill herself before many of the symptoms she feared and imagined could develop. It’s a sad and tragic story but the conclusion that suicide was the compassionate solution was even sadder.

As a board-certified hospice physician, I have personally taken care of many young people with brain tumors. I have found that once the hospice team addresses their suffering in all dimensions – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual – and reassures them about the future, anxieties are reduced and a peaceful death is the norm.

There are many reasons why I oppose physician-assisted suicide but let me focus on one of them here: it will change the medical profession in a dramatic and negative way. I don’t believe it is commonly known by most people that physicians in almost all countries are forbidden from participating in capital punishment. And, when physicians are inducted into the military, they do not bear arms. There are fundamental reasons for this and these go to the heart and soul of medicine: physicians heal and comfort – they do not kill.

In the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal, reports circulate regularly about elderly people refusing to go to the hospital for fear that a physician will deem their life unworthy. The “right to die” quite easily becomes the “obligation to die” once physicians start becoming judge and executor.

Patients want their physicians to care for them without pondering and considering whether “they are worth the effort”. Taking care of seriously ill and dying patients is hard work - just ask any physician who does hospice or palliative medicine. “Assisted suicide is the easy way out for doctors,” said Johns Hopkins physician, Paul McHugh, “physician-assisted suicide tears down the time-honored barrier protecting patients from physician mischief.” Patients want a caring physician who tries his best to cure, comfort always, reassure them when they are despondent, honor reasonable wishes, and labor for their good.

So … back to our original question: was poisoning Brittany the best response a physician can offer a sad, desperate, and frightened young girl? I, like almost all physicians for the last 2500 years, emphatically say “no.”

Thirty-seven years ago, I entered medical school with the goal of reducing human suffering; the years have taught me that the physician-assisted suicide is not the answer for compassionate end of life care. The answer, in my view, is skilled compassionate hospice care.

James A. Avery, MD is the CEO of Hospice of the Piedmont.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brain Dead or Heart Dead

In Jahi McMath's case her treatment was withheld because, in effect, someone decided she was not “there” anymore. This is otherwise known as the legal fiction of “brain death.” One must ask the obvious question, as did the astute physician Dr. Paul Byrne: if the brain were truly “dead” as was alleged, what force then caused the heart to still beat?

I suspect for heart transplants you need a beating heart else the heart organ would be dead and not transferable.  So, a donor must be brain dead but still alive. (my conclusion)


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Assisted Suicide legislation a slippery slope

Assisted suicide plans 'naive'
By PRESS ASSOCIATION23 January 2015 6.46pmUpdated: 24 January 2015 12:13pm.
The Courier

Elderly parents could be encouraged to kill themselves by their children to prevent costly care bills eating into their inheritance if assisted suicide is legalised, MSPs have been warned.
Proposals to allow sick people - including teenagers as young as 16 and elderly people - to seek help to end their own lives have been attacked by palliative care experts and religious groups.
The Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill is "dangerously naive" and so vague it could legalise assisted suicide by loaded gun, experts said in submissions to Holyrood's Health Committee.
Dr Stephen Hutchison, consultant physician in palliative medicine at the Highland Hospice in Inverness, said: "In the UK, elder abuse affects over half a million people, with the perpetrators commonly being friends or family.
"In the face of chronic illness and dependence, and the prospect of expensive care eroding the family's inheritance, the availability of assisted suicide could create further risk to the frail and elderly and expose them to unhealthy societal and internal pressures."
International evidence suggests the legalisation of assisted suicide could be the start of a "slippery slope" to a wider acceptance of suicide for non-life limiting conditions, he added.
He said: "The relaxation of criteria and disregard for the law as seen elsewhere is almost certain to be replicated here if assisted suicide was to be legalised. To argue otherwise is dangerously naive."
In Belgium, a transsexual was euthanised following a failed sex change, deaf twins ended their lives because they feared going blind, while a women with depression and another woman with anorexia died by euthanasia, he said.
An elderly Italian lady received assisted suicide in Switzerland "because she was distressed about losing her looks", and another sought death "because she felt unable to adjust to the modern world", he said.
One doctor in Oregon "encouraged a sick man to have assisted suicide, much to the alarm of his wife" but he went on to live a further five years, he said.
Professor Marie Fallon and Dr David Jeffrey said the Bill "represents a paradigm shift in medical ethics which will have a damaging effect on the doctor-patient relationship".
They said: "The Bill is alarmingly vague as to the means of suicide. As it stands, could it include supplying the patient with a loaded gun?"
The Muslim Council of Scotland said: "Evidence shows that wherever assisted suicide is legalised, it inevitably leads to increasingly more people becoming eligible to end their lives prematurely, the recent example of Belgium's extension of euthanasia to children confirming that in this area the slippery slope is real."
The Children's Hospice Association said: "For neuro-developmental reasons, young people up to the age of about 25 years old do not fully associate their own death with permanent erasure from existence.
"This is extremely important because it means a young person might ask for assisted suicide for reasons that have nothing to do with an actual desire to die in the sense that death is understood by older adults."
The experts will give evidence to the Health Committee on Tuesday.PRESS ASSOCIATION23 January 2015 6.46pmUpdated: 24 January 2015 12:13pm.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Children who want to hasten death of relative for money

Two examples are explained by Jim Shockley, probate lawyer.  It is worth the time to watch.

See Jim Shockley, MTSS against Euthanasia, You Tube 4.49 minutes.

re dangers of a living will (advance directive)
re undue influence
re morphine to hasten death

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Grief is not easy.  It can throw our lives into anguish and upheaval, and we are left wondering how to deal with it.

It takes time and a thousand tears to accept the death of someone you love . . . you may receive great comfort from people who have been in the place of sadness where you are now.  In our sorrow, we are all connected.

Susan Florence

Monday, January 19, 2015

Slippery, slippery, slippery

Canadian Proposal Would Allow Doctors to Euthanize Mentally Disabled Patients

by Wesley J. Smith | Ottawa, Canada | | 1/16/15 11:05 AM

In the 1990s by the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that assisted suicide is not a constitutional right. But the Court has again taken up the issue–and hence, I suspect the handwriting is on the wall.
That seems so clear that culture of death advocates are already making serious proposals to determine the look of the beast that seems to be a-aborning. University of Victoria bioethicist Eike-Henner W. Kluge has made news with a “Legislative Proposal” that would:
1. Establish euthanasia death courts–also being proposed in the UK–in a country that doesn’t permit capital punishment;
2. Allow a broad license to be euthanized based on almost wholly subjective criteria;
3. Allow the courts to order the incompetent to be euthanized.
Here are a few specifics. First, the right to be killed would be totally subjective, based on “values” of the person wanting to die:
If a person suffers from an incurable and irremediable disease or medical condition, and if that person experiences the disease or condition as violating the fundamental values of that person.
elderlypatient16bGood grief, that could mean anything beyond the transitory.
There would be Death Courts:
that person may make application to a superior court for permission to request the assistance of a physician in terminating his life as quickly and as painlessly as possible in keeping with the fundamental values of that person;
Can you imagine who would teach the judges about how to decide these issues? It wouldn’t be professors or “experts” who believe in the sanctity/equality of human life or the Hippocratic Oath!
At least the suicidal patient has to be “competent.” But wait! The incompetent could be killed too:
Any person who suffers from an incurable and irremediable disease or medical condition, and who, by reason of incompetence, is unable to make application to a court as allowed under sec. yyy.1, may have such application made for him by a duly empowered proxy decision-maker using appropriate standards of proxy decision-making.
People who were never competent could be killed, by the way. What could go wrong?
Maybe I missed it, but there are no conscience exemptions provided for doctors–or for that matter, judges.
Also note: The killing would be paid for by the government as Canada as a single payer health care system.

Please don’t say that Canada would never adopt a killing regime so unconstrained as Kluge’s proposal. Quebec’s new law is almost as radical.
At the very least can we finally acknowledge that this issue is not about terminal illness?
Of course we can’t. We live in culture that shelters from reality through the intentional embrace of pretense. Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism
This is what they were doing to Randy.  He was declared incompetent in February 2014 by Dr. Dunne, a doctor who Randy did not want, and although I was Randy's representative, I was not told.  At the same time they were making a subjective case against me for being incompetent as well. How could they do this without even talking to or notifying me. We do not have to wait for legislation it is already here. They wanted him to agree to a DNR Order thus the next time he got pneumonia his heart rate would exceed what is normal and he would die. I am not even talking about assisted suicide, I am talking DNRs.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Supply creates Demand

We demand, and death is obtained not because we suffer, but because we are afraid at the thought of suffering ... 

The countries that are questioning possible legalization should be aware that supply creates demand. 

When euthanasia was authorized twelve years ago in Belgium, it was presented as an ethical transgression, an exception reserved for extreme situations. Twelve years later, its scope has expanded considerably.

Etienne Montero
author of Appointment with Death 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My mother died fom a mild stroke

By Kate Kelly

I watched an old woman die of hunger and thirst. She had Alzheimer's, this old woman, was child-like, trusting, vulnerable, with a child's delight at treats of chocolate and ice cream, and a child's fear and frustration when tired or ill.
I watched her die for six days and nights.

I watched her suffer, and I listened to the medical practitioners, to a son who legally decided her fate, and to an eldest daughter who advised him and told me that the old woman, my mother, was "comfortable," except when she was "in distress," at which times the nurses medicated her to make her "comfortable" again.

I watched the old woman develop ulcerations inside her mouth as she became more and more dehydrated; the caregivers assured me these were not painful.

I listened to her breathing become more and more laboured, as her lungs became congested from the morphine administered every three to four hours, and later every hour.

That is what morphine does, you see. It relieves pain, but its cumulative effect is that eventually it shuts down the respiratory system.

No one explained why the old woman was given morphine in the first place, since she was conscious and trying to speak. It is normal that a mild stroke causes temporary inability to swallow, slurred speech, and a severe headache, but all of these are often reversed when the stroke victim is treated and the treatment includes nourishment and water.

The explanation for not giving nourishment and water - a feeding tube and IV (intravenous) - is that these were "extraordinary measures" for keeping someone alive.

I watched the old woman day and night for six days. The first night, after the first shot of morphine, her mouth hung open and her tongue started to roll and flutter. At the same time, her jaw trembled continuously.

This went on all night and into the early hours of the morning. Her mouth never closed again, except to clamp tightly on wet cloths placed on her lips. Her eyes were partially closed, but they moved back and forth, back and forth, becoming small slits after seven or eight hours, not closing fully until that long first night was over.

She opened her eyes only once after that, when the nurse was late with the morphine, on the third, or maybe the fourth, day.

The old woman started to moan.

Not moaning, said the nurses and the old woman's eldest daughter. Just air escaping from the lungs. Not moaning at all.

The old woman's eyes started to open, and the air escaping from the lungs sounded exactly like a moan of agony, as the old woman's face twisted in horrible contortions. I screamed, "Her eyes are opening! Oh, God. Oh, God!"
Even as the morphine, quickly injected by a disconcerted nurse, caused the old woman's eyes to close and her face to relax, I doubted its efficacy. I thought back to the night before, when I, in tears at the old woman's slow dying, had been confronted by a delegation of four of the nursing staff, each of them in turn trying to convince me that the old woman was not suffering in any way at all. The morphine, they said, takes away all pain.

But, I answered them, she can feel: she's squeezing my hand, and if I try to take my hand out of hers, she squeezes tighter, and when I hold a little piece of gauze to her lips, she tries to suck the water out of it. She's thirsty! This is a horror; this is cruelty!

No, they said. She's not thirsty. It's just reflex. But, I tell them, I watched her clamp her lips on the gauze so tightly that I had to pull to get it out of her mouth.
She reacts when you touch her feet, her legs, and her hair. If she can feel that she can feel thirst, I plead with them.

It's not the same, they tell me. She's not in pain.
I look at her. But what if you're wrong? I say. What if you're wrong?
They stand there, saying nothing. Then one looks at the old woman and says, we'd better turn her now. She and another care worker go about the business of repositioning the old woman, to keep her “comfortable" and the other two leave.
The days and nights went in and out of focus. I sat in a chair at the side of the old woman's bed, one hand grasped tightly by her hand. I slept an hour or two, here and there, waking always with a start.
"I'm here," I murmured, so the old woman would know I was keeping the promise I made to her on the first night, after her son and eldest daughter left to get some food, drink, and rest. I promised her then, "I will not leave here until you do."
The old woman was fading by the fourth day. Her eldest daughter had been visiting for an hour or so each day, usually mid-morning. This daughter, a former hospital worker, lightly stroked her mother's face and hair and timed the length of her mother's "breath apnea," the length of time her mother
stopped breathing.
She announced the number of seconds, and then counted the number of breaths between each stopped breath. Seven breaths, she said, 11 breaths.

Sometimes she described the progress of her mother's death, She's probably down to about 60 pounds now, she pronounced.

Sometimes - I'm not sure when I noticed it first - the nurses asked us to leave while they attended to the old woman. Other times they didn't. Once, perhaps on the fourth day, I told them I didn't have to leave: I had watched them turn her, I had seen her tiny naked body as they gently washed her. I didn't even flinch anymore when they injected the syringe of morphine.

We have to give her a suppository, they said.

A suppository? Why?

For anxiety, they said.

Anxiety. So that she would appear to die with dignity. The morphine was no longer enough. This courageous old woman, who could face, who had faced, unimaginable hardships with nothing but her faith and her dignity, she could teach you about dignity, I thought to myself.

On the fifth day the eldest daughter visited twice. On her second visit, several staff members entered the room with her. They were all talking loudly, about nothing in particular, except for one care worker, fond of the old woman, who walked over to the bed and called the old woman's name loudly enough to interrupt the others' light conversation. She examined the old woman's hands, lifted the sheet covering her and looked at her legs and feet. She called the old woman's name again, and the care worker's face showed alarm.

How long has it been? she asked. She's not even mottling! (Mottling is the term given to describe the blackening of the feet and hands as the body, dehydrating, tries to preserve the vital organs by stopping the flow of blood to the limbs).

You know, continued the care worker, I don't think it's her time. It's been, what, five days? If she had been ready to go, she'd have gone in 24 hours.

The room went quiet. The care worker and I looked at each other. You're right, I said. The eldest daughter and one of the nurses began to tell her she was wrong, and a nurse hustled her out of the room.

By the sixth night I was not sure I could go on. I slept for an hour or so every four or five hours. I still sat in the chair by her bed, but now I slept with my head on bed, near her stomach.

The old woman's breathing was laboured, her will to live defying the system and the foolish young doctor who, on that first night, gave her 24 hours to live, as though he were God Himself.

My heart was breaking for her. I could do nothing to save her, could do nothing but suffer with her. I cried much of the time, but softly, so she would not know. I didn't want to add to her agony.

I had been there six days. She could no longer hold my hand, so I slipped my hand gently under hers. I felt an anguish so profound that I began to wonder if I could survive it.

The old woman's breathing was suddenly no longer laboured. Her breath eased from her, and her face - oh, her face had become the colour of pearls.

In a split second, the frown that had creased the line between her brows was smoothed away. Her head rested gently to one side. Two care workers entered the room. I saw them in my peripheral vision, but I kept my gaze on the old woman.

We're just going to turn her, one of the workers said.

No, I said, my mother is dying.

One of them left to get a nurse, and then the old woman - my dear mother, my little, child-like, beautiful mother - died.

I put my arms round her, kissed her poor, closed eyes and her now relaxed mouth, and held her limp, tiny body, no more struggling for breath.

I watched an old woman die of hunger and thirst. I watched her die for six days and nights. I watched her suffer, and struggle, and hold onto life.

She had not often found life easy, but she had always found it worthwhile. She was 94 years old. She had been born and had lived all her life in Canada. She had worked hard all her life, married, raised three children, voted, paid taxes, saved enough money to buy her own home, obeyed the laws, donated to charity, done volunteer work, paid her bills, and given much love and brought much joy to many, many people in her 94 years.

In return, in the spring of 2009, her son and her eldest daughter, with the permission and assistance of the law, because this old woman had had a mild stroke, refused her food and water. She could not swallow, so she would have needed the food and water administered artificially.

And the youngest daughter could do nothing except watch her mother die slowly, and write this, in the hope that my mother's death, like her life, will have made a difference. 


Anonymous said...
My mother in law died very similarly. She had Alzheimers and that's what's listed as the cause of death but you and I know better. As a result of that, I promised my mother that I would fight for her to receive IV fluids and nutrition should she become unable to eat and drink. She would not die of forced starvation.
Ann said...
I am so sorry. I hope that many lessons are learned from this. When life loses it value we will be in a very sorry state.
Anonymous said...
I once had to be at work as a patient died this way after his father convinced his mother that their son would not want to live as he was living. I was not "allowed" to be put in his "pod" when they started his "dying" process as I had objected to the whole thing. Though he could not respond to us verbally & we could discern no meaningful eye movement responses, he had a fairly normal sleep/wake cycle & he would look at us as we cared for him. He was a teenager at the time & had suffered a brain infection. He had recovered to the point that he could survive with food & water via g-tube, and breath on his own with a tracheostomy tube, but could not walk, talk or respond. When they decided to let him go by starvation. I had objected along with one other nurse. We were summarily removed from his care list. We were assured that he would at least be afforded fluids. That was on a Friday. I was off for the weekend. When I returned on Monday I found out that his fluids were stopped that Friday night. So he went for 3 days without fluids. His lips were parched and dry when I saw him next. It was horrible. He lived for 4 days. We had a meeting after his death with the "social worker" & the "doctor". We were assured that he had not been aware for months & "did not suffer". I asked him if he had ever been in that condition himself? He said "no". I replied with "well how do you know?" He didn't answer me.
octopusmom said...
Your story greatly distressed me. I am so sorry for you and for your mother. That you held her hand and let her know that you loved her was a blessing, not only for her but for the nursing staff who witnessed it. I know it must have taken a great toll on you, but I honor you for what you did. You are laying your treasures up in heaven.
Rob Jonquière said...
This story proves again that whenever, where ever and whatever sort of end-of-life decisions are made, too many are still resulting in ill-treatment through incompetence of the caregivers! It proves again that lack of transaparancy on any decision and lack of openess is at the basis of these incompetences: when something is a "taboo" caregivers don't talk but do.
I am real sorry to read about this dying of Kate Kelly's mother; I am NOT saying this is a clear case pro euthanasia. I am saying Kelly's mother has been given very bad, insufficient palliative care, where the caregivers used morphine in the wrong way (calculating on the double effect??), causing side effects which resulted in this unwanted outcome: a terrible death!
I am not a fervent supporter of VSED, certainly not in all cases. The person must to begin with have the serious wish him/herself knowing the consequences; (s)he must be nearly moribound, barely be eating and drinking already, before starting the process of VSED at all. And... most important: good professional and competent guidance with optimal palliative care should have been arranged and available day and night.
It is a pity that Alex is using this story as a proof for the dangerous developments in the end-of-life decisions (a n=1 study) and not as a signal that Palliative Care failed in this case and thus that also providers of Palliative Care need education and transparancy.
I know cases (more then one for that) of VSED with late Alzheimer's where the patient received professional Palliative Care with VSED and died quietly and humanely; in a country where through (or at least since) legalisation of euthanasia, Palliative Care has been developed to a very high ranking (both in availablity and in quality) in the world, and where thus all end-of-life decisions (from "let nature take its role" via "palliative care/sedation" to "euthanasia or physician assisted suicide") are mostly seen as an issue to be talked about when appropriate.
Alex Schadenberg said...
Rob Jonquire is the current leader of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies and the former leader of the Dutch Euthanasia Society.

Rob reduces the pain of Kate's mothers death to poor palliative care. He is only partly right.

The fact is that to kill someone, who is not otherwise dying by dehydration is euthanasia, does cause an horrific death and should be referred to as elder abuse.

To say that - if we only used the proper amount of morphine everything would be fine - negates the fact that this is not a good death because it requires large amounts of morphine to mask the pain.

This is totally different in a situation where someone is dying and is nearing death, whether it be through cancer or other causes that has led to organ failure.

In those circumstances the body is naturally shutting down and the body has stopped requiring or being able to circulate or absorb the hydration. In this circumstance the natural process of death requires, at some point, that fluids be withdrawn in order to prevent suffering.

Kate Kelly's mother had a mild stroke, she was not otherwise dying, she was not experiencing organ failure, but rather a decision was made, by others, that her life was not worth living.

This also occurs in the Netherlands.
N.S. said...
Dear Katy,
It is with tears and heartache that I read your story. I am so sad and sorry that your mother and you were treated so horribly in the hospital. You see your story is so similar in so many ways to that of our dear dad and our family. I tell our story to anyone who will listen and most times others relate their own eerily similar and tragic story of a loved one. We knew what had happened to our dad and our family was not a unique story, but I had no idea just how often this is happening. So many tragic accounts that I have even considered documenting them.

There is something so corrupt happening and the corruption is resulting in unnecessary death.

My father was labelled with Alzheimers. Although, upon more detailed research, after the fact, we believe he was inaccurately labelled. He had some cognitive impairment. With much time and effort from our family (tireless efforts from my brother) he was actually able to re learn many things. And just months before he had the misfortune of ending up in the hospital he sat in the living room with us and stated “I am just happy to be sitting here with my family”. He was a happy and positive man and loved to connect with people. Quality of life for sure. Quality of life that was stolen from him and our family. He trusted us to take care of him the best we could and we did. But we were not prepared for the onslaught at the hospital and seemed powerless to help him there.

My dad’s story in the hospital is quite lengthy and involved so will not go into detail here.
We firmly believe that they withheld the proper medical care because of his Alzheimer label. That was confirmed to us even more so, once we obtained a copy of his medical file from the hospital. The medical file consisting of pages of notes from doctors and nurses -, purposeful and prejudicial entries with no foundation in truth and also purposeful omissions. Much time spent making notes. Much time… He was denied medical care because of his disability - and as such it would appear he was denied his basic human rights – at least his human rights as they are described in Canada. It is most unlikely that the majority of Alzheimer patients who end up in the hospital for another health issue actually die of Alzheimer’s. And yet it is most likely listed as the cause of death on the death certificate.

There appears to be a serious human rights violation occurring as it relates to disabled Canadians – whether Alzheimer or any other disability. I am not aware of any legislation that allows the removal of those human rights when one enters the hospital.

Kate -Please continue to tell your story about your mom and we will continue to tell ours about our dad. And if we can help even one family from torturous treatment in the hospital and help their loved one to return to their home and be cared for by those who know them best and love them, then we have succeeded – in memory and to the honour of all of those who didn’t make it home.
dehydration said...
i m so sorry hear about this.. "dehydration"
Michael Dancoff said...
I am so sorry for your loss. My mother had the beginning stages of Alzheimers I guess. Certainly dementia. She was well cared for until she passed away. My sister Janet Rivera took care of her in her last years and I was taking care of my terminally ill Brother. What you experienced stressed my out greatly because it made me relive what was happening to Janet back in 2008. What is wrong with her other children! Your mother cared for them as babies and would never let any harm come to them. It sickens me to hear about family members indifference. Thank GOD you were there when she needed you. Please take comfort in knowing that your wonderful sweet mother lived 94 beautiful years. She is still watching over you, until you meet again. Highest Regards, Michael Dancoff

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More slippery slopes

Scotland's Faculty of Advocates said more clarity was needed when it came to defining “life-shortening” illnesses, pointing out common conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and hepatitis could fall into this definition.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Margaret Somerville

"To legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia is not an incremental change.  It's a seismic and radical change in one of the most important values on which our society and civilization is founded, respect for human life and its protection."

Margaret Somerville,
Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill
Globe and Mail October 15 2014

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Third Force News Scotland

10th January 2015 by CG Ross
I absolutely oppose this Bill. Suicide is wrong, because it is a refusal to accept our own humanity, which itself is defined by our kinship with God. All of us and our lives have value precisely because we are children of God. This is where our dignity comes from, not from some perception of independence and control, which are only apparent and not real anyway. My own mother was almost euthanized by default, all that was required was to rehydrate her properly, which thankfully did happen. This gave her four more years of life, and although frail and bedridden, these were good years for her and for us. Pain and death, when it comes is to be accepted, are to be accepted with courage-this also lends to our dignity, but does not define it. What we must also look to, as well as throwing out this Bill, (yet again in Scotland) is support for people who otherwise might be tempted into suicide, either through ill health, frailty or depression and loneliness. This very support would be undermined by such a Bill. Not only is this morally wrong, it is extremely dangerous


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014 with Owen, Perry's and Randy's doggie.

picture posted by a friend of Randy's ...

Finally, a legal challenge.

Mortier Challenges the law

By Alex Schadenberg. International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
Tom Mortier, a chemistry professor, who lost his depressed mother, Godelieva De Troyer, to euthanasia in April 2012, has challenged the Belgian euthanasia law and the doctor who lethally injected his mother by launching a legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights.
An article written by Kelsey Harkness and published in the Daily Signal concerns Mortier's case.

Harkness defines the Belgian euthanasia experience by explaining how it has expanded over time. She writes:
Although euthanasia laws originally were designed with terminally ill patients in mind, they have evolved to include persons with mental illness or physical disabilities, those who didn’t or couldn’t consent, and even children. 
In Belgium, where it is now legal for terminally ill children who are in great pain and have parental consent to end their lives, euthanasia results in about one in every 50 deaths.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Slippery Slope...soon to happen here

Depressed woman dies by euthanasia in Belgium.

Professor Tom Mortier
This article was written by Tom Mortier and published on February 4, 2013 by under the title: How my mother died.
A mentally-ill Belgian woman sought euthanasia to escape her problems. The doctors told her, sure, why not?
How my mother died

Since 2002 a law was passed in Belgium that allowed people to be euthanised when they were suffering intractable and unbearable pain. Today euthanasia is more often granted to people suffering from mental illnesses like chronic depression, schizophrenia, chronic anorexia nervosa and borderline personality disorder, etc.

The law requires that a patient’s free decision has to be established before medical doctors can give the lethal injections.
My mother suffered from chronic depression. Two years ago she broke off all contact with me. In April 2012 she was euthanased at the hospital of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (the Free University of Brussels).

I was not involved in the decision-making process and the doctor who gave her the injection never contacted me.

Since then, my life has changed considerably. Up until now, I am still trying to understand how it is possible for euthanasia to be performed on physically healthy people without even contacting their children. The spokesman of the university hospital told me that everything happened according to my mother’s “free choice”. After my mother’s death, I talked to the doctor who gave her the injection and he told me that he was “absolutely certain” my mother didn’t want to live anymore.

The death of my mother has triggered a lot of questions. How is it possible that people can be euthanised in Belgium without close family or friends being contacted? Why does my country give medical doctors the exclusive power to decide over life and death? How do we judge what “unbearable suffering” is? What are the criteria to decide what “unbearable suffering” is? Can we rely on such a judgment for a mentally ill person?

After all, can a mentally ill person make a “free choice”? Why didn’t the doctors try to arrange a meeting between our mother and her children? How can a medical doctor be “absolutely certain” that his/her patient doesn’t want to live anymore? Why can’t we bear to see people suffering?

Some doctors at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel believe that euthanasia should be offered to anyone who wishes to end his/her life because of unbearable and meaningless suffering. All objections and restraints from the community are regarded as immoral and unjustifiable. These doctors are nowadays even discussing euthanasia for people suffering from autism and youngsters who are suicidal.

What scares me is that these doctors also seem to be controlling the Belgium media. Is this the society we want to evolve to? Are we going to control suicides in the nearby future by putting people out of their misery before they can do it themselves -- instead of investing in mental health and palliative care?

I believe that the appeal to “free choice” is becoming a dogma of convenience. We are rapidly changing into a society of absolute loneliness where we don’t want to take care of each other any more. And when we suffer, we ask our doctors to kill us, breaking fundamental biological and human laws. However, by doing this, we create new and insoluble problems.

Therefore, we really should rethink what we believe in. 

Is it life or is it death?

Tom Mortier PhD lectures in chemistry at Leuven University College. This article was written with the assistance of Dr Steven Bieseman and Professor Emeritus Herman De Dijn. It was originally published in the Belgian medical journal Artsenkrant.

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