Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Quebec man seeks euthanasia based on changes to home-care.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Lachine QC man who lives with quadriplegia is seeking death by euthanasia (MAiD) because of the failure of his home care service to provide his basic needs.

Angela MacKenzie reported for CTV News on September 29 that Jacques Comeau (66) has applied for euthanasia based on changes to his home-care service. MacKenzie stated that a month ago Comeau was not considering death by euthanasia but now CLSC Dorval-Lachine has changed their system of care. According to the report:

three times a week, orderlies appear to help him relieve his bowels.

For years, the service was performed by the same 10 to 15 people, who have become familiar with Comeau's body and its specific needs. They've also become trusted companions -- it's an intimate service, after all, and the walls come down.
MacKenzie reported that CLSC Dorval-Lachine changed the system and is now sending new orderlies he doesn't know. Comeau says the procedure is being performed incorrectly, causing him discomfort and pain.

Comeau with Nkoth
Comeau thought that the problem would be solved by having one of the 10 - 15 people who were familiar with him train some of the new home-care workers but CLSC refused. Comeau told MacKenzie:
"I'm stressed beyond belief, I'm not sleeping well, I'm not eating regularly," he said. "The amount of pain I'm dealing with, psychologically, is the kind I've never dealt with. I became disabled as a young person and got through that. And this is 10 times worse."

"The biggest problem is, I get up in the morning, I don't know who's coming, how it's going to go. So I'm constantly on edge wondering what's happening."

MacKenzie interviewed accessibility advocate Adèle Liliane Ngo Mben Nkoth who said that Comeau's circumstances are far from unheard of. Nkoth told MacKenzie:

instances like this are preventable, and that death should not be the only option.

"It's a shame that people come to think they have to take medical aid to die because that care is not there.
Dr Paul Saba
Dr Paul Saba, a family physician and President of the Board of Physicians at Lachine hospital agreed. Saba told MacKenzie:
"People are choosing it because they can't get proper housing, can't get affordable housing, can't get food, where they're not getting enough social services, not enough nursing help"

"We're basically getting rid of people that we consider as 'undesirables' and society is going along with it. We must say 'stop.'"
Comeau told MacKenzie that:
"I’ve done everything, I’ve paid my taxes, I’ve contributed to society, but here I am."
Comeau would like to continue living but he says that he cannot live this way. 

Links to more stories of the euthanasia experience in Canada:

  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Alberta man requests euthanasia based on poverty (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

 

Court rules that the euthanasia of a depressed woman in Belgium violated Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tom Mortier
Those who follow the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will remember the story of Tom Mortier whose mother Godelieva de Troyer died by euthanasia based on "untreatable depression" in Belgium in 2012. 

In November 2017 Mortier applied to the European Court of Human Rights and in January 2019, they agreed to hear the case. Mortier was arguing that his mother's euthanasia death contravened Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Mortier was represented by Robert Clarke with Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF).


On October 4, 2022, ADF announced that the European Court of Human Rights "ruled in favour of Tom Mortier, son of Godelieva de Troyer, who died by lethal injection in 2012, aged 64. Her euthanasia was conducted on the basis of a diagnosis of “incurable depression”. In the case of Mortier v. Belgium, the Court found that Belgium violated the European Convention on Human Rights when it failed to properly examine the alarming circumstances leading to her euthanasia."

Godelieva de Troyer
This is great news as it is the first time that a major European court has decided that the Belgium euthanasia protocols contravene Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In their media release ADF stated:

The Court held that there was a violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights that everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. This judgment was with regard to the way in which the facts surrounding de Troyer’s euthanasia were handled by Belgium’s Federal Commission for the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia and the promptness of a criminal trial following de Troyer’s death. It did not, however, rule that there was any violation of Belgium’s legislative framework for the practice of euthanasia.

Per the Court, “taking into account the crucial role played by the Commission in the a posteriori control of euthanasia, the Court considers that the control system established in the present case did not ensure its independence”. It thus found that Belgium failed to fulfil its positive procedural obligation under Article 2 of the Convention both because of the lack of independence of the Commission and due to lack of promptness of the criminal investigation. The holdings that there was no violation of Belgium’s legislative framework and no violation of Article 2 for the conditions of the euthanasia were five votes to two.

The ADF media release explained the case.

The facts of the case highlight the myriad dangers that arise when euthanasia is legalized, and make clear that even legal ‘safeguards’ are not sufficient to protect the right to life when the practice of intentionally ending a life is available under the law. 

In this case, Tom’s mother was able to approach the country’s leading euthanasia advocate who, despite being a cancer specialist, ultimately agreed to euthanize her. Over a period of just a few months, she made a financial payment to his organization and was referred by him to see other doctors who were also part of the same association despite a requirement for independent opinions in the case of individuals not expected to die soon. The same doctor that euthanized her is also co-chair of the Federal Commission charged with approving euthanasia cases after the fact, including this one, demonstrating a clear conflict of interest. Despite Belgium euthanizing an average of seven people per day, the Commission has only ever referred one case for further investigation.

“The big problem in our society is that apparently, we have lost the meaning of taking care of each other”

The ADF media release continued:

Euthanasia in Belgium has been legal since 2002. The law specifies that the person must be in a “medically futile condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated, resulting from a serious and incurable disorder caused by illness or accident”.

Mr. Mortier’s mother was physically healthy, and her treating psychiatrist of more than 20 years doubted that she satisfied the requirements of the Belgian euthanasia law. Neither the oncologist who administered the injection nor the hospital informed him that she was even considering euthanasia. Mr. Mortier found out the day after she was euthanized when the hospital asked him to make the necessary arrangements.

Tom Mortier stated in the media release:

“My mother suffered from severe mental difficulties, and coped with depression throughout her life. She was treated for years by psychiatrists, and sadly, she and I lost contact for some time. It was during this time that she died by way of lethal injection. Never could I have imagined that we would be parted forever.”

“This marks the close of this terrible chapter, and while nothing can alleviate the pain of losing my mother, my hope is that the ruling from the Court that there was indeed a violation of the right to life puts the world on notice as to the immense harm euthanasia inflicts on not just people in vulnerable situations contemplating ending their lives, but also their families, and ultimately society”.

Robert Clarke, the ADF lawyer who represented Mortier stated why this is a positive precedent setting decision:

“This ruling serves as stark reminder. It is clear that the so-called ‘safeguards’ failed because intentional killing can never be safe. We must be unfailing in our commitment to advocating for the right to life and the truth that people have inherent dignity no matter their age or health condition”

Monday, October 3, 2022

Europe’s top human rights court to rule on landmark euthanasia case.

 
STRASBOURG (2 October 2022) – On TUESDAY 4 OCTOBER 2022, the European Court of Human Rights is set to rule on landmark euthanasia case Tom Mortier v. Belgium. Tom Mortier, son of Godelieva de Troyer, brought the case after his mother was put to death by lethal injection in 2012, aged 64. Mortier claims that Belgium violated the European Convention on Human Rights when it failed to properly protect the right to life of his mother -especially in light of the circumstances surrounding her death.

“My mother suffered from severe mental difficulties, and coped with depression throughout her life. She was treated for years by psychiatrists, and sadly, she and I lost contact for some time. It was during this time that she died by way of lethal injection. Never could I have imagined that we would be parted forever,” said Tom Mortier.

“The big problem in our society is that apparently we have lost the meaning of taking care of each other,” Mortier continued.

The insufficiency of “safeguards”



The case highlights the dangers of legalising euthanasia, and demonstrates that so-called ‘safeguards’ cannot make safe the practice of intentionally ending a life.

“We welcome the decision of the Court to hear this important case on the right to life – particularly as it relates to the most vulnerable in society. International law has never established a so-called ‘right to die.’ On the contrary, it solidly affirms the right to life – particularly for the most vulnerable among us. A look at the sad facts of this case exposes the lie that euthanasia is good for individuals, families, or society,” said Robert Clarke, ADF International Deputy Director, who represents Tom Mortier before the Court.

Tom Mortier’s mother, who suffered from depression, had approached the country’s leading euthanasia advocate who, despite being a cancer specialist, ultimately agreed to euthanize her.

Over a period of just a few months, de Troyer made a financial payment to the euthanasia advocate’s organization. She was referred by him to see other doctors who were also part of the same association, despite a requirement for independent opinions in the case of individuals not expected to die soon. The same doctor that euthanized her is also co-chair of the Federal Commission charged with approving euthanasia cases after the fact.

Prior to her death by euthanasia, neither her son Tom Mortier nor any family member was consulted. According to the oncologist who administered the lethal injection to his mother, her diagnosis was ‘untreatable depression’.

Despite Belgium now euthanizing an average of seven people per day, the Commission has only ever referred one case for further investigation.

Belgium’s “Slippery Slope”


Euthanasia in Belgium has been legal since 2002. The law specifies that the person must be in a “medically futile condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated, resulting from a serious and incurable disorder caused by illness or accident”.

Over 27,000 people have died from euthanasia in Belgium since it was legalised 20 years ago on 28th May 2002, according to the latest official data from Belgian authorities.

Mortier’s mother was physically healthy, and her treating psychiatrist of more than 20 years doubted that she satisfied the requirements of the Belgian euthanasia law. Neither the oncologist who administered the injection nor the hospital informed him that she was even considering euthanasia. Mr. Mortier found out the day after she was euthanized when the hospital asked him to make the necessary arrangements.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Victoria Australia euthanasia deaths increase by 31%

This article was published by Mercatornet on September 30, 2022

Michael Cook
By Michael Cook, the editor of Mercatornet

When it passed in the Victorian parliament in 2017, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act must have been one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in Australian history. Lobbying on both sides was intense; the debate in the lower house lasted an extraordinary 24 hours over three days; the upper house passed it after a marathon 28-hour sitting.

The new law came into effect in June 2019. After some interim reports, the first annual report, covering the year to June 30, has just been published. Wall-to-wall coverage of the results, right?

Wrong. It was barely mentioned in the media, and not at all in The Age, one of the state’s leading voices in favour of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia.

A similar uptick in road deaths in Victoria last year prompted headlines and breast-beating. “Shock number of people killed on Victorian roads,” was the headline in the Herald-Sun. But when a shock number of people were killed in Victorian beds, the government and the media ignored them.

Premier Daniel Andrews and his ministers have boasted constantly about the 68 safeguards in their legislation. But the best safeguard of all is the sunlight of media scrutiny. And there has been precious little of that.

Should we be alarmed? Yes. The number of Victorians using voluntary assisted dying increased by 31% in a single year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In the year to June 2022, 269 people died, compared to 204 in the previous year. A total of 594 people has died through assisted suicide or euthanasia since the commencement of the state’s legislation in 2019.

However, the chairman of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board, Julian Gardner, was delighted with the results. “The number of people seeking to access voluntary assisted dying continues to increase,” he wrote in an introduction to the Board’s annual report. “This is a further indicator of the success of the system.”

A steady increase in the number of deaths is a strange metric of success. Does this mean that, hypothetically, 100,000 deaths would constitute success beyond his wildest dreams?

The Premier also described the Act as “the safest scheme in the world, with the most rigorous checks and balances” before it was passed. So it is unsettling to read that Mr Gardner parroted these reassurances before admitting that four deaths were technically non-compliant with the legislation, although he was confident that they were “clinically appropriate”. Three contact people did not return substances left over from the procedure to authorities quickly enough and one person had signed for the medication as both the applicant and witness.

Is this the “rigorous checks and balances” trumpeted by the Premier Andrews? In his state, not so long ago, police were arresting and handcuffing people for not wearing Covid masks. But errors in the procedures for killing people don’t even merit a rebuke.

And the figures in the report are still incomplete, as there is no information on six people who died after obtaining their permit – and it is not clear whether they died a natural death or whether it was self-administered or practitioner-administered.

Mr Gardner’s optimism about the latest figures contrasted with an observation by a trenchant critic of the Victorian legislation, the Australian Care Alliance: “Deaths by euthanasia and assistance to suicide in the twelve months July 2021 to June 2022 represent 0.58 percent of all deaths in Victoria for that period. It took Oregon 22 years to reach that rate!”

The Premier has also boasted that the Victorian legislation was drafted with the help of “world experts”. What qualifies a person to be a “world expert” in euthanasia is a mystery, but two local experts at the University of Melbourne argued in 2020 that Victoria’s vaunted safeguards create barriers to equal access.

“While safety is undoubtedly ethically important, our analysis indicates that a legislative focus on maximizing safety comes at the expense of equal access,” they declared. In other words, you can have rigorous safeguards or you can have equal access, but you can’t have both.

And right on cue, Mr Gardner complains in the annual report that safeguards are preventing equal access. At the moment, under a Federal law forbidding giving advice about suicide, Victorian doctors are banned from tele-consulting for assisted dying. “The law as it exists creates barriers to access to care and, in some cases, imposes unreasonable travel demands on people suffering from life-ending medical conditions,” Mr Gardner wrote. “A change to the law will enhance access for all Victorians, regardless of their location or mobility.”

The issue of location will be a lever for reducing the number of safeguards. It would take a rare MP to oppose more equal access in today’s political climate.

The report says that 37 percent of applicants for assisted dying lived in regional Victoria, even though only 22 percent of Victorians live there. It seems unfair that they cannot access assisted dying as easily as city folks. And in fact, just as the local experts predicted, a regional MP, Stuart Grimley, grumbled last year that “there are too many safeguards in place, too many steps that a person must take to access the voluntary assisted dying scheme, too many hurdles for them to overcome.”

Coinciding with the release of the report on assisted dying was a report on the state of palliative care in Victoria by KPMG, an independent consultant. According to Palliative Care Victoria, “Demand for palliative care services has increased by 11.9% over the last 5 years, due to the growing and ageing of Victoria’s population. Meanwhile, funding increased by only 10.2% in the same period. The shortfall in funding for service delivery is expected to reach A$91.2 million by 2025.”

What are the odds that safeguards will be relaxed even further to offer regional Victorians assisted dying because no palliative care is available for people in great distress?

Victory: 23-year-old scheduled for euthanasia on September 28 remains alive.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 23-year-old (Kiano) who was scheduled to die by euthanasia on September 28 is alive.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition was instrumental in this first victory to prevent the killing of Kiano.

After speaking with Margaret Marsilla, the mother of Kiano (who was originally scheduled to die by euthanasia on September 22 and then rescheduled for September 28) I published an article titled: Mother wants to stop her 23-year-old son from being killed by euthanasia. (Link).

Margaret had started a Change.org petition. I asked her if we could republish her petition on CitizenGo, a petition platform that we have successfully launched other petition campaigns. Almost 10,000 people signed the CitizenGo petition.



Margaret told the media that the petition campaign was instrumental in activating people to stop the doctor and MAiD House from killing Kiano.

We originally did not publish Kiano's name because he asked his mother to keep his name private, but since then Kiano has used his name when being interviewed by the media.

But the battle is not over.
Margaret wants to prevent her son from being killed by euthanasia but she also wants to set a precedent that wrong approvals for euthanasia can be challenged. 

Since the government is treating euthanasia as medical treatment, then, in Ontario, challenges to euthanasia applications should be able to be reviewed before the Consent and Capacity Board, like other medical treatment disputes.

Linda Slobodian wrote on September 28 in an article for the Western Standard news Margaret as saying:
“We’re going to be fighting the Ontario health system to not allow any other doctors to perform euthanasia on my son.”

“We have to bring this to the Capacity Board, so he’ll be forced to do some testing with regards to his psychological capacity.”

Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board, a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal, operates independently from the health ministry under the Health Care Consent Act’s authority. Marsilla’s also considering legal action against MAiD House and the doctor.

“This is going to be a big battle. I’m not going to give up my fight.”
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told Margaret that we would help her in this process.


Kiano is alive, at least for now. This is great news. Our work with his Margaret has been successful and has made a difference. 

But the battle continues.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Brain death? New transplant protocol blurs the line between life and death.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Randy Dotinga, that was published on September 28 by Medpage Today examines a new "brain death"
method — normothermic regional perfusion with controlled donation after circulatory death (NRP-cDCD) that blurs the line between life and death. Dotinga explains:
With little attention or debate, transplant surgeons across the country are experimenting with a kind of partial resurrection: They're allowing terminal patients to die, then restarting their hearts while clamping off blood flow to their brains. The procedure allows the surgeons to inspect and remove organs from warm bodies with heartbeats.

Transplant surgeons and several bioethicists argue that the procedure is appropriate and crucial to boosting the number of organs that are available for transplant. But critics -- including other bioethicists and the nation's second-largest physician organization -- warn that surgeons are trampling the line between life and death.
Dotinga interviewed Wes Ely MD, MPH, a critical care physician and transplant pulmonologist at Vanderbilt University, who told MedPage Today:
"We're so hungry for organs right now that we are pushing all the limits,"

"I just want us to be super-cautious. We need to press the pause button on this and have some more conversations so that we can set up boundaries and stay in the right lane. The dignity of the human who donates organs should never be sacrificed."
Dotinga states that The American College of Physicians (ACP), which represents primary care doctors, warned in a 2021 statement that the procedure raises:
"profound ethical questions regarding determination of death, respect for patients, and the ethical obligation to do what is best."
Dotinga explains that hospitals in Nebraska, Arizona and New York are currently doing clinical trials on this procedure. Amy Fiedler, MD, a cardiac and transplant surgeon at the University of California San Francisco, who has performed this procedure several times, told MedPage Today:
"It's expanding rapidly,"

"Every time I talk to colleagues, they want to talk about how to build an NRP program and get it started."

Dotinga explains that since organ donation began more than 1 million organ donations have been done in America and in 2021 more than 40,000 organ donations in America. He explains how organ donation is done and why the new procedure changes everything:

In the organ-retrieval procedures that are most well-known, patients are declared brain dead but they remain on life support: Their hearts beat, their lungs breathe. Surgeons remove organs for transplantation, and then the life support system is turned off.

But there's another category of organ donor: A patient who cannot survive without life support, but is not brain dead -- someone with severe brain injury, for instance, who has no chance of recovery.

In the past, transplant surgeons wouldn't remove organs until the hearts of these patients stopped for good. Now, transplant surgeons have changed the game. 

Matthew DeCamp, MD, PhD, a bioethicist at the University of Colorado and a consultant to ACP, who was lead author of a 2022 commentary in the journal Chest opposing the procedure. Dotinga reports:

"You're reversing the conditions under which death is declared and taking active steps to ensure the progression to brain death," he told MedPage Today. "The person is declared dead, and the subsequent actions invalidate that declaration."

DeCamp said this process bumps into the dead donor rule, an ethical standard within transplant medicine that says the process of retrieving an organ cannot kill a donor. However, the withdrawal of life support with consent, essentially facilitating a death, is allowed.

"The dead donor rule is ethically foundational to organ transplantation. It's the idea that medicine looks out for the best interests of the patients -- do no harm -- and acts cannot be taken that would cause death," DeCamp said. "Resuscitating the patient and reversing those conditions engages with the ethics of the dead donor rule."

He added: "Imagine you're an outside observer watching this procedure take place. You'd be unable to distinguish whether it was proceeding to organ transplantation or the resuscitation of the patient."
The new organ donation method ignores the "dead donor rule." What this means is that people who are possibly dying or nearly dead could be essentially killed for their organs. Several factors that are driving this change are that living donors provide healthier organs for transplant, the medical community is rejecting the concept of "do no harm," and the demand for healthier organs for donation are fulfilled by this procedure.

People who oppose killing may be forced to oppose organ donation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Can I trust the medical community to protect my life?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On September 14 Jennifer Henderson wrote an investigative report for Medpage Today focusing on Canadian born New Hampshire Cardiac surgeon Yvon Baribeau, who after his forced retirement, at 63, the Boston Globe learned that:
Ultimately, there has been no U.S. physician with more settlements involving surgical deaths over the last two decades, the Globe reported, citing an analysis of a national physicians' database. And there has been no physician in New Hampshire with more settlements of any kind, the Globe added. 
The investigative report doesn't only determine that Baribeau caused a significant number of surgical deaths, but the report also determines that the hospital was made aware of the issue and didn't stop him from doing surgery. According to the investigative report:
Though the public remained largely in the dark when it came to Baribeau's troubles, his institution long knew of them, the Globe reported.

"Hospital executives were well aware for years how dangerous he had become," the Globe wrote. "They knew because they had been repeatedly warned by surgeons and other medical professionals at Catholic Medical Center that Baribeau's errors were harming, even killing, patients."

"And yet for years hospital management resisted reining in one of their leading rainmakers," the Globe added.
As much as this tragic story makes me wonder how Baribeau was allowed to continue doing surgery for 20 or more years with such a high medical error and death rate. What makes this story even more concerning is the fact that Baribeau was considered a "star" surgeon who was often featured by the hospital.

Charles Cullen
The Medpage Today article only came to my attention because I was reading an interview by Kristina Fiore with Dr Steven Marcus published by Medpage Today on September 22, 2022. Marcus was the physician who uncovered the medical serial killer nurse Charles Cullen.

Marcus explained to Fiore that they only became suspicious because they "received two unusual calls about digoxin toxicity in two different patients at Somerset Medical Center within 2 weeks of each other in June 2003." Marcus was the director of the New Jersey poison control center.

Two weeks later Bruce Ruck, the head pharmacist at the poison control center, was speaking to another "whistle blower" who was concerned about strange deaths at the Somerset Medical Center. This person was calling about two other deaths.

Marcus contacted the hospital about the possibility that one of their medical workers was killing patients. Marcus told Fiore:
We wanted to be sure that these four events were real and were documented. Then we would work together to try to come up with an approach to see if, in fact, there is somebody there that's attempting to kill people -- or is there a breakdown in their system someplace that allows for really severe medical errors to recur?

We did get into a telephone call, but there was a complete denial by the hospital. [They said] there was no way that this could be happening, and that there are obvious other reasons that it could occur. They were not willing to get involved, as far as we could tell, with any investigation.
The hospital refused to acknowledge that there was a possible problem and they refused to participate in an investigation.

Since the hospital was unwilling to investigate Marcus tried to find another organization that was willing to investigate. He contacted the Hospital licensing group which was part of the department of health. He told them that if they don't find a logical explanation for these deaths that they would probably need to reach out to the Attorney General's Office.

That was July. Marcus did not receive a call until October from the Somerset County Prosecutors office. The rest is history, nonetheless, similar to the first story of Dr Baribeau, there were nurses who reported Cullen, but the hospital did nothing. To make things worse, when Cullen moved to another hospital, the previous hospital did not warn the next hospital that there were complaints about Cullen.

The article ends with Marcus stating:
In our case, just think about the serendipity involved. Had we not had two calls -- one from a nurse, one from a pharmacist -- to the poison center within a couple of weeks; had I not been consulted on the first case; had I not walked by Bruce on the second case, Cullen might never have been stopped.

There are probably murderers out there killing people as we speak.
Am I suggesting that there are medical murderers lurking in hospitals throughout the world. I really don't know.

But I do know that the euthanasia laws in Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands and the assisted suicide laws in the United States give doctors, and in some cases nurse practitioners, complete legal coverage when they kill someone. I also know that there is little to no oversight of these laws.

For instance, Canada's law states that the medical practitioner only needs to be "of the opinion" that a person fits the criteria of the law. This type of loose language encourage people who already have a propensity to kill.

Sadly, there have always been killers. The only difference with euthanasia is that the act of killing is legal and even in some cases promoted.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Swiss assisted suicide clinic says Scotland's assisted suicide bill doesn't go far enough.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dignitas Coffin
The Swiss assisted suicide clinic that specializes in foreign suicides told Scotlands parliament that their proposed assisted suicide bill doesn't go far enough. Dignitas, that has long been involved with promoting the legalization of assisted suicide world-wide.

An article by David Bol published on September 25 in the Herald told Scotland's parliament that after assisting 3200 suicide deaths that they advocate for no waiting periods, that terminal illness is not required and only one doctor needs to approve the death.

Scotland has debated assisted suicide several times. The last assisted suicide bill was defeated in May 2015 by a vote of 82 to 36. The Care Not Killing Alliance is urging Scotland's MSP's to reject the bill and focus on improving end-of-life care.

Liam McArthur, who is sponsoring the assisted suicide bill was reported as stating that:

“I am immensely grateful to everyone who took time to share their views as part of the public consultation on my proposals, particularly those who shared their personal experiences. This will help inform and shape any future bill.

“It is important that in looking to change the law to allow for the choice of an assisted death for adults with a terminal illness and mental capacity that we strike a balance between safety and compassion.

"Having effective and proportionate safeguards in place helps achieve that vital balance.” 

Scotland needs to examine Canada's experience with assisted death and then reject it. In 6 years, Canada has gone from prohibiting assisted death to competing with the Netherlands for the highest percentage of assisted deaths. In the past few months many personal stories have emerged of people with disabilities, the elderly, people who are unable to access treatment and people living in poverty being approved for and dying by an assisted death.

Links to more stories of the euthanasia experience in Canada:

  • Mother wants to stop 23-year-old son from being Killed by euthanasia (Link).
  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Ontario man approved for euthanasia can't get needed medical treatment (Link).
  • Alberta man requests euthanasia based on poverty (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

Friday, September 23, 2022

To countries considering legal euthanasia, Canada is a model of what not to do

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tristin Hopper, writing for the National Post, wrote an excellent column on September 23 challenging Canada's euthanasia law. Hopper subtitles his article by stating:
Canada has the "least safeguards" for medically assisted death, and a mounting list of controversial cases

Hopper writes:

As Canada’s rate of medically assisted deaths continues its precipitous rise, the country has unwittingly become a poster child for how not to pursue assisted suicide.

In 2021, 10,064 Canadians received a medically assisted death. This represents a nearly ten-fold increase since the practice was first legalized five years prior.

It’s also more than a 30 per cent increase from the year before.

While the vast majority of the 10,064 were patients with terminal illnesses (usually cancer), the 2021 stats also included 219 Canadians “whose natural deaths were not reasonably foreseeable.”
Hopper explains that Canada's euthanasia law has garnered international attention.
This week, a New York Times feature questioned whether choosing death had become “too easy” in Canada. “Canada has the least safeguards of all of countries that allow it,” University of Toronto researcher Trudo Lemmens told the publication. “It’s a state-funded, state-organized, medical system providing end of life.”

Lemmens was also quoted in an article published this month in British medical journal The Lancet regarding “worries” surrounding the Canadian assisted suicide regime. “What we see in Canada are rates of assisted suicide and euthanasia that are quickly bypassing Belgium and the Netherlands,” said the researcher.

Last month, a widely circulated profile by the Associated Press even compared the Canadian assisted dying regime to a suite of infamous Nazi German policies that prescribed mass euthanasia for the mentally ill. Tim Stainton, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, described the Canadian assisted dying regime as “probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s.”
Hopper then explains the history of how Canada legalized euthanasia. He writes:
One of the more widely circulated cases was that of Alan Nichols, a B.C. man who was approved for a medically assisted death only days after his family brought him to the hospital suffering from a psychiatric episode. Or, more recently, a string of cases in which Canadians with chronic conditions were offered death in lieu of medical care — including a Canadian Armed Forces veteran with PTSD.
Hopper points out that criticism of Canada's euthanasia law has grown. He writes:
The libertarian-minded Reason magazine is normally a vocal advocate of “right to die” laws. But they took pause at how the system was being implemented in Canada. “When the government runs the system, the right of citizens to end their own suffering can be twisted to serve the state,” wrote the publication earlier this month.

Last year, on the eve of Canada expanding MAID to patients who couldn’t prove a terminal illness, the policy was drawing sharp criticism from United Nations special rapporteurs who warned it could put Canada in violation of any number of international agreements affirming the rights of the disabled and the elderly.

“From a disability rights perspective, there is a grave concern that, if assisted dying is made available for all persons with a health condition or impairment, regardless of whether they are close to death, a social assumption might follow … that it is better to be dead than to live with a disability,” they wrote.

Links to more stories of the euthanasia experience in Canada:

  • Mother wants to stop 23-year-old son from being Killed by euthanasia (Link).
  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Ontario man approved for euthanasia can't get needed medical treatment (Link).
  • Alberta man requests euthanasia based on poverty (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

To all media: Preventing Doctor Death and MAiD House from Killing My Son

TO: ALL MEDIA

Re: Preventing Doctor Death and MAiD House from Killing My Son and other youth.

*Sign and share the petition to the Ontario Minister of Health (Petition Link)

I am writing to bring your attention to my protest against a euthanasia procedure (killing) that is scheduled to take place between my 23-year old son, and a doctor who has been unwilling to do his due diligence before approving the application for MAiD.

Dr. Joshua Tepper and Dr. Laurie Morrison (“Dr. Death”) have approved the application for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) for my son, set to take place on September 28, 2022, at MAiD House. Both the doctors and MAiD House, run by Tekla Hendrickson, continue to turn their nose up to the requirements of legislation, which was to have built-in safe guards to protect vulnerable individuals.

To make matters worse, the doctors associated with his approval are part of a Catholic institution that does not agree with the procedure of medical assistance in dying. I am surprised that there would be physicians associated with this sort of procedure that work with St. Michael’s Hospital. I understand the need to seek this sort of assistance in dire situations where a patient has undergone significant evaluation to determine eligibility, and where their natural death is reasonably foreseeable, given frailties, advanced age, and a state of decline in their health. However, my family and I are struggling to understand how and why this would apply to a youthful person that is otherwise generally healthy, and where his death is not reasonably foreseeable.

As such, I feel the need to bring this to the nation’s attention as we do not want to see this procedure happen to our son, nor do we want it to set a precedent for others in the future. We protest the abhorrent medical practice of MAiD for youth dealing with a mental health crisis or other non-terminal illnesses or disabilities.

I am hoping to invoke your interest to broadcast this story, but also to bring awareness to our society, and legislators of what’s currently happening within our healthcare system. Society should be made aware of the shocking revelation that young adults are given an option to end their lives rather than receive help that they need to deal with their mental or physical health. To worsen matters, as of March, 2023, Bill C-7 allows people suffering solely from mental illnesses the right to seek medical assistance in dying. I cannot imagine that the legislators, contemplated the extent of this overreaching piece of legislation that legalized suicide and killing!

I am asking if you could please assist us in bringing attention to our dear son’s situation.

Thank you,
Margaret Marsilla
EMAIL: margmarsilla@gmail.com

Previous article: 

Mother wants to stop her 23-year-old son from being killed by euthanasia (Link).

Ontario man approved for euthanasia (MAiD) can't get needed medical treatment.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alan Philips (63), has lived with chronic pain for 18 years and has now been approved for MAiD (euthanasia). Philips has been trying to get spinal fusion surgery to relieve his pain and allow him to live but his doctor has not approved the surgery and only prescribes opioids for pain.

Philips was featured in a recent article by Zahraa Hmood that was published in the Niagara This Week on September 16. Hmood writes:
Phillips said he’s had several medical procedures over the years to try and fix the issues in his spine, or permanently block the nerve pain, which haven’t been successful.

The procedure he wants the most is a spinal fusion, which he said could secure the loose vertebrae disc in his spine causing the pain — however, no doctor he's asked will approve the surgery for him.

Regardless, he said, his doctor continues to prescribe him daily opioids — four two-milligram tablets of hydromorphone and three 30-milligram tablets of morphine sulfate: “It just fries my brains so that I can endure the agony — but I (still) go through all the pain.”
Hmood asked David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance about this case who reportedly said:
the MAiD program is “running amok.” According to him, there hasn't been public vetting of applications, no independent reviews of the decisions made, and very little oversight of the doctors who agree to provide assisted death to a patient.

“The federal government seems to make it easier to die for (a) disability than to live”
Alan contacted me and responded with the following email message:

Are they guilty of manslaughter? Or lying to all the citizens of Canada and the world by saying we have "universal healthcare" when they KNOW it is not true. The woman who told me to contact you got adequate healthcare, a fusion. Why not me? For 18 years? The doctors are clearly guilty, take your pick? I just know that I cannot get adequate healthcare. I am fed opioids and left to kill myself. So I asked MAID to kill me and they said "sure !".

Alan Philips is one of many people who are getting approved for euthanasia, not because they want to die, but because our medical system has abandoned them.

Moira Wyton wrote an article in July that was published in the Tyee concerning Gwen, who was seeking death by euthanasia because she could not access treatment for her medical condition. Whyton reported that "Gwen wants to live and care for her daughter. But the system makes it easier to seek MAID than treatment."

 To make it worse, the federal government will be expanding euthanasia to people with mental illness alone in March 2023. 

More euthanasia, more abandonment. 

Links to more stories of the euthanasia experience in Canada:

  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Alberta man requests euthanasia based on poverty (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Mother wants to stop her 23 year old son from being killed by euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Sign and share the petition to the Ontario Minister of Health (Petition Link)

Margaret Marsilla has launced a campaign to stop the euthanasia death of her 23-year-old son. Margaret's son has had Type 1 Diabetes since he was 4yrs old….he is now 23. Her son is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection (MAiD) on September 28 at the MAiD House, which is a euthanasia clinic. Margaret wrote in her petition:
My son has had Type 1 Diabetes since he was 4yrs old….he is now 23. He recently lost eyesight in his left eye, and has partial eyesight in the right eye.

From having diabetes at a young age to losing his eyesight, he decided to apply for MAID (medically assisted in dying) and to our surprise, he got approved for it. Can you believe it!!! The doctor literally has given him the gun to kill himself.
When speaking with Margaret she expressed that she loves her son and is committed to getting him the treatment that he needs. But he needs to be alive to receive treatment. Margaret wrote in her petition:
Now just think of it…. A young boy who has lived with diabetes, a teenager who has been influenced with constant marijuana smoking (which has obviously altered his young brain) and now just lost his eye sight has been given the go ahead to give up just like that!!! This doctor and small team of opinions are basing it on Diabetes and blindness and that he is suffering from pain.

However, his pain is managed through injections in his eye, and his diabetes is managed through insulin. There are plenty of treatments out there for all of this but my son is giving up on life not because of pain and suffering but because it affected him mentally and emotionally.

Giving up is in the now, but killing yourself is for eternal, and not a good reason for MAiD.
Sign and share the petition to the Ontario Minister of Health (Petition Link

Margaret is committed to saving the life of her son but she is also concerned about your kids. Margaret wrote in her petition:

This action has long reaching consequences for all young adults and teens. It will affect them and their parents going through the journey of diabetes, knowing that when the going gets tough, that they can make a decision to have help in dying. This system that allows troubled young adults to make a life altering decision is wrong.

THIS IS REAL AND I NEED TO TRY TO STOP THIS FROM BECOMING REALITY AND NOT ALLOWING IT BECOME A PRECEDENT CASE FOR FUTURE KIDS LIVING WITH A DIABETES OR ANY OTHER MANAGED DISEASE, OR MENTAL ILLNESS.

I need your help to make our voices heard. Please sign the attached Petition to stop these awful doctors from giving our children the ammunition they need to kill themselves.

Sign and share the petition to the Ontario Minister of Health (Petition Link)