Thursday, September 19, 2019

Catholic hospital is forced to provide MAiD (euthanasia) in Nova Scotia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A campaign by Jocelyn Downie, the academic euthanasia activist at Dalhousie University, has resulted in St Martha's hospital in Antigonish NS being forced to provide MAiD (euthanasia) within the Catholic hospital.

An article by Ross Lord and Alexander Quon, for Global News reported that the Nova Scotia Health Authority said:

“Assessments and provision of MAiD [medical assistance in dying] will be available in a section of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital complex at the Antigonish Health and Wellness Centre.”
The Global News article stated that the euthanasia lobby sees the St Martha's hospital policy as the first of many euthanasia policies that they intend to impose upon Catholic or religious healthcare institutions. The article reports:
“We hope that this is the start and that Nova Scotia’s regulation, Nova Scotia’s position will be used as a model in other jurisdictions across the country. We’re certainly pushing for that,” said Jim Cowan, chair of Dying with Dignity.
Jocelyn Downie
Jocelyn Downie plans to pressure religiously affiliated healthcare institutions to provide euthanasia. The Global News article states:

“Governments and health authorities have failed to insist that faith-influenced, publicly funded institutions permit MAiD within their walls,” she said.
The reason that the euthanasia lobby focused on St Martha's hospital is that the sisters had signed an agreement in 1996 where the hospital would maintain Catholic beliefs but be administered by a secular board.  SSt Martha's was considered an easier target. 
There are dozens of other Catholic hospitals and nursing homes across Canada that forbid medically assisted dying, forcing some assisted dying applicants to sign request forms off-site.
In December, Downie began her campaign to force St Martha's hospital into doing euthanasia with an article in the Chronicle Herald.

In late December, Canada's national broadcaster, CBC news, featured a program pressuring St Martha's hospital to euthanize their patients.

The most recent news article confirms what I stated, last December, that Downie targeted St. Martha's hospital as a first step in a campaign to force all religiously affiliated health care institutions into participating in MAiD.

The euthanasia lobby will now challenge other religiously based healthcare institutions. They need to stand up and say NO. Sadly, Catholic hospitals in Canada already agreed to provide euthanasia assessments, on site. Euthanasia assessments are part of the requirement of the law for approving euthanasia. Therefore Catholic hospitals have already agreed to be directly complicit with MAiD in Canada.

I urge religious healthcare institutions to maintain their ethics and refuses to provide euthanasia.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Veterinarians have a much higher suicide rate.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Veterinarians have a much higher suicide rate and euthanasia may be a major reason for the suicide deaths.

An article in Time Magazine written by Melissa Chan looks at the question of veterinarian suicide rates. The article explains that there are several reasons for the higher suicide rate among veterinarians but it also shows how euthanasia has led some veterinarians to leave the profession or become suicidal. The article explains;
Dr. Will McCauley had just finished his shift at a small Dallas animal clinic when he went home, fed his pet pot-bellied pig and then held a loaded handgun to his head.

The 33-year-old veterinarian was wracked with student debt and worn down by the daily demands at work, which included euthanizing dogs and cats and being vilified by pet owners for not meeting their expectations. “I was tired in this miserable state of mind,” he says. “It just drained me so much.” For reasons he attributes to either fear or hope, McCauley didn’t kill himself that summer day in 2016, and he quit his job later that week and stopped practicing.

“I knew I had to make a change,” McCauley says. “I was dead on the inside.”
The job challenges that more than 70,000 veterinarians in the U.S. face have led to disproportionately high suicide rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly 400 veterinarians died by suicide between 1979 and 2015, according to a CDC study published in January that analyzed more than 11,000 veterinarian death records in that timeframe. The study also found that female veterinarians are up to 3.5 times more likely to kill themselves than members of the general population. “It really can be classified as an epidemic in my profession,” says McCauley, who is now 36 and working for a trade association in Washington, D.C.
* Female veterinarians have a much higher suicide rate. Is euthanasia a factor?
The story of Dr Nicole McArthur further emphasizes how veterinary euthanasia is leading to suicide:
Dr. Nicole McArthur, a 46-year-old veterinarian in Rocklin, Calif., left the profession twice because of the agony she felt after killing an animal. “There was a period of time when I was essentially Dr. Death,” she says, adding that she’d sometimes have to put down three pets a day. “At the time, I was like, somebody is punishing me for something I’ve done in another life.” The dreams she had to help animals as an aspiring veterinarian quickly clashed with the harsh reality of having to take their lives even when they could have been surgically treated. She quit the field most recently in 2013 and returned in 2015. “We go through veterinary school with the idea that we’re going to save lives,” McArthur says. “To have to turn around and push a plunger is difficult.”
The suicide rate among euthanasia doctors is important now that Canada has legalized euthanasia and several US States have legalized assisted suicide.

In the future, will we be reading stories about the increasing physician suicide rates, especially physicians who are involved with (MAiD) euthanasia? 

Since physicians have a high suicide rate, the data may not be noticed until future research is done on suicide rates among physicians who do euthanasia. It is too early to do suicide research on euthanasia doctors in Canada, but research on doctors in the Netherlands and Belgium can be done now.

Dementia Advocacy Canada promotes euthanasia for people with dementia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia is abandonment.
Canada is debating expanding euthanasia to people who are not terminally ill, such as people with dementia. Recently a Québec court struck down the part of the criminal code that required that a person's "death be reasonably forseeable." The terminal illness restriction, in the law, prevented doctors and nurse practitioners from lethally injecting people who are not dying but experiencing psychological conditions, including dementia.

Dementia Advocacy Canada is also having an online Federal Forum on Dementia on Thursday September 19, 2019 (Link).

Dementia Advocacy Canada is promoting MAiD (euthanasia) for people with dementia. It is very disturbing that an organization claiming to be concerned with dementia advocacy is also promoting euthanasia. It is concerning that they link their position to a euthanasia lobby group. They stated:
Dementia Advocacy Canada affirms the rights of people living with dementia to benefit from all of Canada’s civic and legal rights including the right to choose medical assistance in dying (MAID).
Bill C-14, the current federal legislation permitting MAID, excludes most people living with dementia for three primary reasons:
1. The applicant must have, in the opinion of two accepting physicians, the cognitive capacity to understand and sign a request for MAID;
2. The applicant must be experiencing unendurable pain from a diagnosed disease or medical condition with death in the foreseeable future;
3. The applicant must be able to knowingly and willingly consent to an assisted death at the time of actual administration, which is a mandatory, minimum ten days after the initial application.
Dementia Advocacy Canada recognizes the efforts of those who endeavour to:
• Provide support to those who have chosen MAID and to their care partners.
• Educate & support those living with dementia who want to choose MAID before their window of giving informed and cogent consent is compromised.
• Legalize advance requests for those living with dementia who have clearly indicated their choice for MAID.
• Protect those with dementia from being pressured into a medically assisted death against their wishes.
• Protect those with dementia whose decision to choose MAID is not supported by family or support partners.
• Educate & support institutions responsible for training medical personnel, counselors and other community support workers about the complexities of MAID.
Source: Ron Posno, Dana Livingstone, Jule Briese
For more information please go to:
Ron Posno, Dana Livingstone and Julie Briese are known euthanasia activists. Its hard to consider Dementia Advocacy Canada more than a front group for promoting euthanasia. It looks like DWD helped establish Dementia Advocacy Canada as a way to expand euthanasia in Canada.

The Council of Canadian Academies released a report in Demember 2018 concerning the expansion of euthanasia to psychological conditions alone. (Link to my article on the report).

I responded to the report by stating:

Considering the fact that Canada's euthanasia law is completely subjective as to whether a person's suffering is considered "intolerable" the extension of euthanasia to people with psychological conditions alone would be a disaster. It would be impossible to determine whether a person is suffering intolerably or experiencing suicidal ideation and seeking an "assisted death."
Once euthanasia is legalized, the only question remaining is who can be killed, and for what reason.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Canada's elections literally life-and-death issue.

This article was published by OneNewsNow on September 12, 2019.

By Charlie Butts

Canadians have another reason to pay attention to the upcoming federal election: making it easier to kill yourself with the government’s blessing.

Euthanasia has expanded rapidly in Canada, where the country's Supreme Court imposed it on its citizens and Parliament defined it with a liberal law that went into effect in 2016. It allows doctor-assisted suicide for terminal, incurable illnesses when one's death is "reasonably foreseeable."

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells OneNewsNow the country’s laws changed greatly after a Quebec court struck down the portion of the euthanasia law over “reasonably foreseeable," which greatly loosened the legal requirements.
“Which was already a joke because it wasn't defined,” Schadenberg says of the law. “But what it did do was it tried to limit euthanasia to people who had a terminal illness.”
Now it is legally permissible for a Canadian citizen with chronic depression, for example, to qualify.

Schadenberg says what has occurred is judicial activism which should be appealed by the government. But that won’t happen, he predicts, because the liberal elected leaders who support the loosened euthanasia laws are up for re-election on Oct. 21.

“So if people will, during this upcoming election, put the liberals back into power,” he predicts, “I would expect that nothing positive will come of that when it comes to the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

Friday, September 13, 2019

Steering is the elephant in the euthanasia room

This article was published by Mercatornet on September 12, 2019.
By Nick Goiran

Politicians tell people what they want to hear. In contrast, Parliamentarians consider what is in the best interests of the people they represent.

As the euphemistically named Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 makes its way through the WA Parliament, a number of politicians have pointed to polling suggesting levels of voter support at about 88 per cent. Meanwhile an increasing number of parliamentarians are expressing concern about the dangers within the legislation.

It is difficult to identify another area of public policy that has more significant ramifications than a law that seeks to exempt some citizens from the prohibition against homicide. In this context it is trite for politicians to justify supporting the Bill on the basis of majority public support. Those politicians have gravely misapprehended their role and duty as lawmakers.

The fact that a majority of voters support the concept of euthanasia is merely the first threshold question. It ought never be the determiner. Whilst majority electoral support elevates this policy from a mere idea to a debateable matter, a number of questions must then be considered by responsible lawmakers.

The first question that ought to be asked is whether it is possible to construct a safe regime for euthanasia and assisted suicide. As we have the benefit of the lived experience in a small number of jurisdictions it is incumbent on anyone answering the first question in the affirmative to identify the international or domestic model that forms the basis for their answer.

My answer to the first question is documented in my 248-page minority report “The safe approach to End of Life Choices: License to Care not Licence to Kill”.

In that August 2018 report I set out why the Parliament should rule out introducing such a regime based on the experience in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Oregon. Indeed Australians need look no further than the fatal experiment in the Northern Territory to see how ineffective “safeguards” are in practice.

Once parliamentarians study the lived experience of those jurisdictions it is no wonder that they repeatedly reject such proposals. Only last year we saw our Federal Senate vote against allowing our Territories from legislating in this area. This was hot on the heels of Finland, Guernsey and Portugal also rejecting these schemes. Indeed the previous year saw some 26 of the states in America do likewise.

So, why are parliamentarians so frequently unaligned with public opinion polls on this issue?

The reason is that it is far easier to answer an overly simplistic polling question with a one word answer for yourself than it is to safely legislate to allow doctors to kill their patients.

Euthanasia can, and does, go horribly wrong. People have taken the poison prescribed by their doctors and have woken days later, only to pass away weeks after that from their underlying condition. People have undergone euthanasia only for it to be discovered in post-mortem examination that they were not suffering from the medical condition for which they were euthanised. Even in Australia, while euthanasia was legal under the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (NT), people were euthanised whose mental and physical suffering was inadequately addressed by their physician prior to their death.

As the only parliamentarian to have attended every meeting and every hearing in the 12 month inquiry by the WA Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices, I can attest that the evidence confirmed that it is inherently complex to determine the influences which drive an individual diagnosed with a terminal illness to seek to end their life, including the influence of mental health comorbidities.

In fact, diagnosing demoralisation is as important as diagnosing depression and other conditions when seeking to alleviate and manage psychological suffering. The stakes can hardly get any higher than if we are to give an individual responsibility to distinguish between euthanasia requests that are a mis-expression of an underlying unresolved need, and those that reflect a personal philosophy of choice, despite optimal care.

It does not take a parliamentarian long to comprehend that medical error in diagnosis and prognosis are grave risks to patients presented by any assisted suicide regime. However the fatal flaw that is not as readily identified is that of an individual being “steered” to requesting assisted suicide. “Steering” is the elephant in the room.

Countertransference and undue influence from a medical practitioner are dangerous risks in any euthanasia regime. Undue influence is, of course, not limited to practitioners and is actually more prevalent amongst family members. Indeed, elder abuse is a real and burgeoning problem in Western Australia.

Sadly the capacity of medical practitioners to identify elder abuse in their patients is incredibly variable in Western Australia. The presence of undue influence can be difficult to identify and is easily missed.

Politicians consistently ignore that steering is the elephant in the euthanasia room. In contrast parliamentarians acknowledge the grave reality that an assisted suicide regime that involves a medical practitioner being licenced to end the life of their patient is only as safe as the practitioner is competent.

Hence parliamentarians generally around the world routinely reject that radical policy option which guarantees casualties in favour of the authentically safe approach of facilitating access to expertly practised specialist palliative care.

Nick Goiran MLC is Western Australia’s Shadow Minister for Child Protection

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Quebec Court Decision Supports Trend Towards Unrestricted Euthanasia.

For Immediate Release 
September 12, 2019

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition calls on the Federal Government to take immediate action to appeal the decision of the Quebec Superior Court and to pass even stronger protections and safeguards that would limit the application of euthanasia and assisted suicide on demand. Unrestricted euthanasia threatens the health and safety of all Canadians including children, parents, people with disabilities and seniors across Canada.

The Quebec Superior Court in Truchon v. Canada yesterday rendered a decision that continues the trend toward unrestricted euthanasia.

The Court found that the requirement that natural death be reasonably foreseeable or that a person be terminally ill in order to access euthanasia represents a violation of the Charter of Rights and is unconstitutional.

This decision represents a fundamental attack on Canadian values, on democracy and on the sovereignty of Parliament to pass laws that regulate the ability of doctors to intentionally kill people. It is a threat to the lives of all Canadians.

In 95% of countries around the world and in most US states, euthanasia and assisted suicide remain criminally prohibited in order to support life, promote suicide prevention and generally to balance the dignity, autonomy and security and safety of all people including those who may be vulnerable to abuse.

The requirement that a person be terminally ill or that death be reasonably foreseeable in order to access assisted suicide is common place in those states in the United States like Oregon that regulate assisted suicide.

The Court ruling moves Canada toward a system of unrestricted euthanasia on demand where any person who wishes to receive euthanasia will have access to euthanasia regardless of circumstance. The decision compels doctors to preform euthanasia at taxpayer expense in virtually every case and overrides the legislative processes undertaken by Quebec and Canada to regulate euthanasia.

The Decision of the Quebec Superior Court today was as predictable as it is dangerous as Canadian culture shifts away from a culture that protects life, safety and security and is prepared to sacrifice those vital interests in favour of unbridled individual autonomy cloaked by medicine and unilaterally carried out by doctors unchecked, states Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

EPC President and disability rights expert Amy Hasbrouck notes that the lives of all Canadians with disabilities, seniors and others who are made vulnerable because of society’s view of them have been put significantly at risk by this Court decision that fundamentally undermines the dignity, equality, safety and security of all people.

Hasbrouck notes that in places like the Netherlands and Belgium there is a trend to permit and condone the intentional killing of children, people with disabilities and others who are not near death because of the view that their lives are not equally valued and should not be accorded the same respect under human rights and constitutional law. That trend is mirrored here by the shift in Canadian culture toward a culture of death and away from a culture of respect for the value of the lives and experiences of all Canadian citizens.

It is extremely concerning that Canada that champions itself as a model and protector of human rights around the world, has created the most dangerous regime of euthanasia. This regime has now been opened up so broadly that there are virtually no limits or safeguards to stop doctors from unilaterally ending the lives of people unchecked and regardless of their circumstances notes human rights lawyer Hugh Scher.

Those who experience disabilities, are frail from age and those who experience a lack of social, community and medical supports which are routinely denied to vulnerable people at risk are now left with virtually no protection from the abuses of euthanasia, states EPC president Amy Hasbrouck.

This stunning lack of support for people with disabilities and seniors within the community itself creates a situation of heightened risk and danger to those who become vulnerable because of these circumstances and who feel that there is no other way out but death by euthanasia, notes Alex Schadenberg, EPC executive director.

For more information contact:

  • Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, London: 519-851-1434;
  • Amy Hasbrouck, President, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Montreal: 450-921-3057 
  • Hugh Scher, Counsel to Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Toronto: 416-816-6115

Québec Superior Court Euthanasia Decision Ignores Disability Discrimination, Follows Medical Model

Media Release 
September 12, 2019

The recent decision of the Quebec Superior Court in the Truchon/Gladu case blatantly disregards the effect of disability discrimination in shaping the quality of life of the plaintiffs, said Amy Hasbrouck, director of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

“The judge’s description of the plaintiff’s situation invoked pity, but ignored the role of discriminatory public policy in depriving M. Truchon and Mme. Gladu of choice in where and how they live.”

“The court erroneously blames M. Truchon’s lack of independence on his disability. But the fact is that he could live independently but for policies that favour institutional care over consumer-directed community-based services.”
Hasbrouck also pointed to the court’s confidence in the ability of physicians to assess not just medical eligibility, but also decision-making capacity and the presence of social or economic pressure that might influence the MAiD request. She says this reliance on the “medical model” of disability, which sites the “problem” of disability with the individual while ignoring society’s responsibility to accommodate the full range of humanity, is a setback for the disability rights movement.

Dr. Heidi Janz, Chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Ending-of-Life Ethics Committee, concurred with Hasbrouck’s assessment. 

“This decision at once mirrors and amplifies the persistent and growing ableism that we see in Canadian society in general, and in the medical profession in particular.”
Janz explains that studies consistently show that physicians routinely equate the presence of disability with a low quality of life. 
“Thus, as we’ve seen in this case, it is the disability itself, rather than the lack of supports which would enable people with disabilities to live independently and flourish, that is considered a fate worse than death.”
The decision of the court was rendered in the case of two people with life-long disabilities who challenged eligibility criteria in the Québec and federal MAiD laws requiring the person to be at the “end of life” (Québec) or that their natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” (federal). Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu had been deemed ineligible for euthanasia In Québec because they were not at the “end of life” nor were their deaths “reasonably foreseeable.” The Superior Court decision was released on September 11, and found the challenged eligibility criteria unconstitutional. The court suspended its judgment for six months to give Parliament and Québec’s National Assembly time to modify the statutes, but allowed an exception to permit M. Truchon and Mme. Gladu to be euthanized.

The court failed to question why pain management techniques were ineffective for the plaintiffs, nor the fact that palliative care is often unavailable or inadequate.

The Court applies the “presumption of competence” to the plaintiffs’ request for euthanasia, whereas in general, the wish to die expressed by a non-disabled person is proof of suicidality, if not incompetence. TVNDY believes this is a discriminatory double standard that limits access to suicide prevention services for people with disabilities.

The court distinguishes the plaintiffs by their physical limitations, poorly-managed pain, and their dependance. Though all of these factors are directly related to disability, they are caused by inadequate medical care, discriminatory social policies, and negative views of disability.

Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet is a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities that focuses on ending-of-life issues.


Contact: Amy Hasbrouck 450-921-3057

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Quebec court expands Canada's euthanasia law by striking the terminal illness requirement. Euthanasia for psychological reasons is next.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

When it rains it pours.

Today, a Dutch court expanded the euthanasia law by acquitting a doctor who euthanized a patient with dementia who resisted.

Today, the Quebec Superior Court struck down the requirement that a person be terminally ill before they qualify for euthanasia in Canada. The Canadian Press (CP) reported:

Quebec Superior Court has invalidated parts of the federal and Quebec laws on medically assisted dying laws, declaring them too restrictive and therefore unconstitutional. 
A judge today found the "reasonably foreseeable natural death" requirement of the Criminal Code, which prevents some people from accessing medical assistance in dying, invalid.
The Quebec court expanded Canada's euthanasia law by eliminating the veneer of a requirement that a doctor can only lethally inject people who are terminally ill.

The federal government has 30 days to appeal the decision.

This court decision may also extend euthanasia to people for psychological reasons. Canada's euthanasia law states that a person qualifies for euthanasia if the:
illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable
A person didn't qualify for euthanasia based on psychological reasons alone since the law required that the person's "natural death be reasonably forseeable". Now the court has struck down this important safeguard.

A CBC report by Steve Rukavina stated that disability rights groups opposed the court decision. Rukavina reported:
Groups representing people with disabilities condemned the decision and encouraged the provincial and federal governments to appeal.

"Basically this decision is saying that as far as society's concerned, it's better to be dead than disabled," Amy Hasbrouck, with the group Not Dead Yet, told CBC Wednesday.

Hasbrouck said rather than making medically assisted dying easier to access, governments should be working to improve services for people with severe disabilities, so they can have a good quality of life and continue to live in their own homes.
The Associated Press continued:
The case was brought by two Quebecers -- Nicole Gladu and Jean Truchon -- who did not meet the criteria and had their requests for assisted death turned down by doctors. 
They launched a legal action against the federal and provincial governments, claiming their right to life, liberty and security, guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was infringed.

Nicole Gladu, Jean Truchon and Julia Lamb all live with chronic degenerative conditions. These women were not dying, when the cases were launched.

Euthanasia, in Canada, is quickly going out of control.

Dutch ‘Forced Euthanasia’ Doctor Cleared of Charges

This article was published by National Review online on September 11, 2019.
By Wesley Smith:

I could have told you this would happen. A Dutch doctor who lethally injected a dementia patient, has been cleared of criminal charges.

Euthanizing dementia patients isn’t against the law in Netherlands if the patient expressed a desire to die before losing competency. What made this particular case notable was that the patient who was killed wanted to decide the time, and never gave consent. Moreover, she was not only drugged to allow her to be killed easily, but when she woke up she fought against the doctor and struggled to stay alive. Rather than stop, the doctor had her family hold her down as so she could be dispatched by lethal injection.

As I wrote here when this case first came to public awareness, the euthanasia authorities cleared the doctor of wrongdoing because she meant well, don’t you know. But there was a bit of an international uproar over the case, and so the doctor was prosecuted.

Now, a court has also cleared the doctor. From the BBC story:

The 74-year-old patient, who died in 2016, had expressed a wish to be euthanised but also indicated that she wanted to determine the right time. Judges said the doctor acted lawfully as not carrying out the process would have undermined the patient’s wish.
In other words, the patient was deemed no longer competent to want to stay alive.

Don’t get me wrong. There was never any chance the doctor would lose her license or do any jail time for the homicide, and indeed, the Dutch prosecutor said as much publicly. You see, the point in cases such as this in the Netherlands is not to punish wrongdoing, but rather, to set precedents for death doctors to follow going forward. Indeed, this is why supposedly restrictive guidelines don’t restrict much of anything. It’s all a big fat fraud.

Once a society accepts the culturally cancerous premise that suffering justifies killing, the issue of actual consent becomes increasingly less important. Indeed, once one is consigned to the killable caste, there are almost no protections at all — as the court’s approval of the homicide by doctor of an incompetent woman struggling against being put down clearly demonstrates.

Those with eyes to see, let them see.

Dutch court expands euthanasia law by acquitting doctor who euthanized a patient with dementia, against consent.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

A court in the Hague Netherlands has expanded the euthanasia law by acquitting a doctor who euthanized a woman with dementia who resisted the injection and said No.

The case concerned the euthanasia of a woman with dementia who resisted so the doctor sedated the woman by putting drugs in her coffee. The woman continued resisting so the doctor had the family hold her down as she was lethally injected.

In January 2017, a Netherlands Regional Euthanasia Review Committee decided that the doctor had contravened the rule of law but that she had done it in "good faith."

The reported that doctor acted with due care:

Judges in The Hague have found a nursing home doctor not guilty of murder after she performed euthanasia on a woman with severe dementia.

The court ruled that the euthanasia had been carried out with proper care in what is the first case of its kind to come before the Dutch courts. The doctor, who has since retired, did not have to verify her wish to die with the patient because she was incapable of responding, the judges said.

In addition, the court said it supported the doctor's decision to put a sedative in the woman's coffee to calm her before euthanasia drugs could be administered because it had made her as comfortable as possible. The sedation too place in full knowledge of her family.
This decision means that a physician who lethally injects a person with dementia is not required to confirm the wishes of the person, meaning that the euthanasia decision is only based on past statements.

The decision focused on the sedative in the coffee, but the real issue was that the woman resisted and said no. To argue that it was acceptable for the doctor to give this woman a lethal injection is the same as saying that someone with dementia loses their right to change their mind.

The Prosecutors argued that the doctor did not act with due care. They argued that she should have first confirmed the patient’s wish to die before going ahead with the euthanasia. Prosecutors asked for a guilty verdict, but made it clear that they had brought the case to court to resolve ambiguities of the euthanasia law, rather than to punish the doctor.

The Netherlands already have a problem with assisted deaths without consent. A study published in the NEJM (August 3, 2017) found that in 2015 there were 431 assisted deaths without request and 23% of the assisted deaths, that year, were not reported.

This decision opens the door to more euthanasia of people with dementia and more euthanasia without explicit consent.

Judges in The Hague have found a nursing home doctor not guilty of murder after she performed euthanasia on a woman with severe dementia. The court ruled that the euthanasia had been carried out with proper care in what is the first case of its kind to come before the Dutch courts. The doctor, who has since retired, did not have to verify her wish to die with the patient because she was incapable of responding, the judges said. In addition, the court said it supported the doctor’s decision to put a sedative in the woman’s coffee to calm her before euthanasia drugs could be administered because it had made her as comfortable as possible. The sedation took place in the full knowledge of her family.

Read more at DutchNews.
Judges in The Hague have found a nursing home doctor not guilty of murder after she performed euthanasia on a woman with severe dementia. The court ruled that the euthanasia had been carried out with proper care in what is the first case of its kind to come before the Dutch courts. The doctor, who has since retired, did not have to verify her wish to die with the patient because she was incapable of responding, the judges said. In addition, the court said it supported the doctor’s decision to put a sedative in the woman’s coffee to calm her before euthanasia drugs could be administered because it had made her as comfortable as possible. The sedation took place in the full knowledge of her family.

Judges in The Hague have found a nursing home doctor not guilty of murder after she performed euthanasia on a woman with severe dementia. The court ruled that the euthanasia had been carried out with proper care in what is the first case of its kind to come before the Dutch courts. The doctor, who has since retired, did not have to verify her wish to die with the patient because she was incapable of responding, the judges said. In addition, the court said it supported the doctor’s decision to put a sedative in the woman’s coffee to calm her before euthanasia drugs could be administered because it had made her as comfortable as possible. The sedation took place in the full knowledge of her family.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Euthanasia court case (Lamb case) may soon be dropped based on new interpretations of Canada's euthanasia law.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
Soon after the federal government legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada under the phrase Medical Aid in Dying, the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) launched a case on behalf of Julia Lamb, who lives with spinal muscular atrophy, to strike down the provision in the euthanasia law requiring that a person's "natural death must be reasonably forseeable."

The BCCLA argued that because Lamb's death was not reasonably forseeable, therefore she did not qualify for MAiD, under the law, and thus the law discriminated against her.

EPC had argued during the euthanasia debate that the "terminal illness" definition in the bill (natural death must be reasonably foreseeable) lacked definition and meaning.

A June 2017 Ontario Court decision defined "natural death must be reasonably forseeable" as not requiring the person's death to be imminent or within a specific time frame or be the result of a terminal condition.

EPC examined the legal challenge, in Lamb, and decided that it was necessary to intervene in the case. Recently EPC was given intervener standing in the case.

The BCCLA has now asked the Supreme Court of BC to adjourn the case. They claim that Julia Lamb now qualifies for euthanasia and she is no longer prejudicially affected by the impugned provisions of the law.

Lamb qualifies for MAiD based on a wider interpretation of Canada's euthanasia law. The BCCLA state:
Intolerable suffering is an entirely subjective determination in Bill C-14, and given her numerous sources of suffering, including psychological suffering in the form of need for alone time and anxiety over further loss of function, when she says she is suffering enough to proceed with MAID, that satisfies the criterion.

While there was more caution in using shorter prognoses for interpreting reasonably foreseeable natural death in the first year, following the CAMAP Reasonably Foreseeable Clinical Practice Guideline and the A.B. v. Canada determination some clinicians gained comfort with extending prognostic timeframes out to many years. At the time Ms. Lamb filed her civil claim, the reasonably foreseeable natural death criterion may have been a barrier to her access.

Therefore, if Ms. Lamb were requesting MAID now I believe she would be found eligible under the current eligibility criteria. She would not need to reach her feared state of invasive mechanical ventilation or to engage in voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED).

Canadian physicians and nurse practitioners have been on a steep learning curve over the past three years in interpreting the Bill C-14 eligibility criteria. The law as it stands contains enough flexibility in the interpretation of the end of life criteria that it is not a barrier for practitioners who are comfortable with expanding access to MAID, while it serves to protect practitioners whose values do not align with removing end of life criteria for MAID. Some have commented that the flexibility in interpreting what constitutes a reasonably foreseeable natural death render the criterion meaningless as a safeguard for vulnerable patients. Rather than removing this criterion, this safeguard could be strengthened by the addition of specific prognostic requirements.
Why did the BCCLA ask for the case to be adjourned now?
  1. The interpretation of the provision "natural death must be reasonably forseeable" has changed since euthanasia was legalized in Canada.
  2. The BCCLA didn't want to take the chance of losing the case and enabling the court to define the provision "natural death must be reasonably forseeable" in a clear and more restrictive manner.
It is significant that in October 2017, the Supreme Court of BC ruled that new evidence could be introduced in the Lamb trial. Bringing new evidence has led to the case becoming complicated and expensive but it also opened the door to the court deciding to define to the provision "natural death must be reasonably forseeable."

I am concerned about Julia Lamb. On August 10, the apartment where Julia Lamb, and her husband Gregory lived was destroyed by a fire. An article published by City News 1130 states:
Julia and Gregory Lamb don’t know how they’ll survive the next year, after fire destroyed their Chilliwack home Saturday, leaving them, and many others with nothing but the clothes they escaped in.
“We don’t really have anything at this point,” Julia says, adding most of her expensive equipment was damaged in the fire, including her electric wheelchair charger and breathing machine.
It is possible that the fire that destroyed her medical equipment and belongings changed her feelings about euthanasia.

The phrase "natural death must be reasonably forseeable" remains undefined and lacks meaning in the law.

Euthanasia advocates fund-raising for Saskatoon euthanasia clinic

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia advocates are raising money to establish a euthanasia clinic in Saskatoon, a place that Jae Blakley, an assisted death advocate, has named Cider House.

Amanda Short, writing for the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, on September 7, 2019 reported:
Similar to hospice care, The Cider House would provide a homelike space for patients to access the procedure, staffed by either a doctor or nurse practitioner and a team of end-of-life doulas. 
Organizer Jae Blakley first started advocating for MAiD access when he was a care aide in the palliative unit of St. Paul’s Hospital.
One of the reasons Blakley wants to establish a euthanasia clinic is because the 15 bed hospice that is being built in Saskatoon is affiliated with St Paul's Hospital. Short reported:
However, according to a statement from the hospital, “Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is not a service that is provided at St. Paul’s Hospital. 
“If someone is considering MAID, staff at St. Paul’s will compassionately care for and support them as they make their decision and facilitate their transfer to a facility where that service can be provided,” it added.
There are euthanasia clinics in British Columbia and the euthanasia lobby has announced its intention to establish a euthanasia clinic in Toronto. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Loneliness is an epidemic that can be detrimental to your health

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Loneliness and depression causes some people to request euthanasia, when they are experiencing physical and/or psychological distress.

A recent British study found that 22% of seniors, over the age of 65 will talk to only three or fewer people per week. According to a September 7, 2019 article in
According to the survey of 1,896 seniors over 65 in the United Kingdom, more than one in five (22%) will have a conversation with no more than just three people over the span of an entire week! That translates to nearly 2.6 million elderly folks who don’t enjoy regular human contact on a daily basis. Perhaps most alarming though is researchers say an alarming 225,000 individuals will go a week without talking to anyone face-to-face.
The study indicates that a kind greeting or sharing time with others makes a difference in their lives:
About 40% of seniors say they’d feel more confident to head out each day if they knew their neighbors. Just the thought of someone stopping to chat with them brightens their outlook: 54% of respondents agree that even a short conversation with a neighbor or acquaintance would greatly improve their day overall. And a quarter of older adults say it makes them feel good when someone smiles or acknowledges them while waiting in line at places like the bank or grocery store. One in five would be thrilled if someone stopped to ask them how their day had gone. published a commentary on August 6, 2017 on two meta-analysis studies by Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University that examined health issues related to loneliness and social isolation. stated about the first study:
In an analysis of 148 studies that included more than 300,000 people total, her research team found that “a greater social connection” cuts a person’s risk of early death by 50 percent. 
“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die,... “Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”
The comment by about the second meta-analysis study states:
In her second analysis, she looked at the role that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone played in a person’s lifespan. Using 70 studies that included more than 3.4 million participants (mostly from North America, but some studies did look at people in Europe, Asia, and Australia), the research team concluded that all three were as much of — and in some cases more — a threat to a person’s health as obesity and other risk factors. 
All three conditions were found to be equally hazardous and significantly raised the risk of premature death. 
“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,”

Now that euthanasia is legal in Canada, people who care about others need to recognize the importance of being with people who are lonely and socially isolated.

The Compassionate Community Care (CCC) program exists to provide advice and direction concerning health issues related to end-of-life and euthanasia prevention and to train volunteers to visit those who are isolated and lonely. 

Contact CCC at: 1-855-675-8749.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Western Australian Parliament has marathon debate on euthanasia bill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The rally against the euthanasia bill
ABC News Australia reported that after a 20-hour marathon debate, the Western Australia euthanasia bill only achieved debate on 50 of the 184 clauses in the euthanasia bill.

Jacob Kagi, writing for ABC News reported:

The all-night sitting wrapped up after 5:00 am on Friday, having started at 9:00 am on Thursday, but the McGowan Government is still an enormous distance from getting its bill through State Parliament's Lower House. 
The Government had hoped the marathon session would get them through debate of at least 100 out of the 184 clauses in the contentious bill... 
But the Government conceded defeat at 5:21 am, having got through just 50 clauses and angry at what it labelled filibustering from opponents of the bill. 
That means more all-night sittings loom as all but inevitable when Parliament returns after a one-week break.
If euthanasia was a good idea, then why are "safeguards" necessary? Possibly because doctors gaining the right in law to kill their patients will always be problematic and often abused.

Several weeks ago the Western Australia government announced its intention to fast-track the euthanasia bill.

Opposition to euthanasia, usually grows, as the issue is debated. More information leads to less support for euthanasia. Hopefully these marathon sessions will lead to the defeat of the bill.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Doctor Fired after Suing Catholic Hospital over Assisted Suicide.

This article was published by the National Review online on September 5, 2019.

Wesley J Smith
By Wesley J Smith

Colorado doctor Barbara Morris wants to assist her patient’s suicide. She works at Centura Health, a Catholic / Seventh Day Adventist-owned hospital that prohibits its employees from participating in assisted suicide, which is legal in Colorado.

Morris sued to be allowed to participate in her patient’s suicide by doctor — which would not happen in the hospital. The hospital responded by firing Morris for violating the terms of her contract by seeking to engage in acts in the context of her employment that violate the hospital’s religiously based moral beliefs.

Morris contends she can’t be prohibited from assisting her patient’s suicide because the Colorado law only allows health care facilities to opt-out if the suicide will occur on-site. The hospital is seeking shelter in the Trump administration’s medical conscience protection policies.

Expect more of these kinds of disputes as many U.S. hospitals are Catholic or otherwise religiously affiliated with churches that reject abortion and assisted suicide doctrinally. From the Kaiser Health News story:

More doctors and patients in the country are providing and receiving health care subject to religious restrictions. About 1 in 6 acute care beds nationally is in a hospital that is Catholic-owned or -affiliated, said Lois Uttley, a program director for the consumer advocacy group Community Catalyst. In Colorado, one-third of the state’s hospitals operate under Catholic guidelines.
The ACLU has already sued several Catholic hospitals over the last few years seeking to force them to violate Church doctrine on issues ranging from sterilization, to abortion, to sex-change surgeries.

Medical conscience disputes are going to become far more common as health care becomes immersed in our accelerating cultural conflicts and vexing questions of federalism. Bottom line: The ultimate goal of those who seek to force medical professionals and institutions to violate their religious beliefs, I believe, is to drive pro-lifers and Hippocratic Oath-adherents out of medicine.