Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Media Are Indifferent to Euthanasia-Victimized Families

This article was published by Wesley Smith on his blog on November 23, 2014.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

Imagine you are at work, going about your day. The phone rings. You pick up and it is a mortuary informing you they have your mother's body.
"What do you mean you have my mother's body!" you exclaim in utter shock. 
"She was just euthanized today," the voice on the other end mildly answers. "What should we do with the body?"
That is exactly what happened in 2012 to Belgian chemist Tom Mortier, who spoke (via Skype) at the very well attended East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide. 

A self-described secular humanist, he described his agony at the euthanasia killing of his depressed mother, Godelieva De Troyer, by an oncologist. His continuing pain was vivid in every word he spoke.

You might assume that since De Troyer was killed by an oncologist, she had terminal cancer. Wrong. She was a cancer patient but knew she was cancer free at the time of her death.

But she did have chronic depression. She was killed without any notice to her son.

And here's the kicker: What I didn't know -- and it made my jaw drop -- was that Mortier's mother willed her body to science, as a result of which, he was forced to deliver his mother for dissection and experimentation to the very hospital at which she had been killed.

Maggie Karner urges fearless debate on assisted suicide.

By Ellen Kolb

I doubt that Maggie Karner rang in the new year thinking she was going to be asked to speak at a conference against assisted suicide. She probably didn’t foresee the suicide of Brittany Maynard or the very well-publicized media campaign that went along with it. She certainly didn’t expect to be diagnosed with a brain tumor. Yet there she was in front of me at the recent East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide, speaking quietly but without hesitation.

She’s as compelling a speaker in person as she is in her now-famous video message to Maynard, made in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade Maynard from suicide. As conference host Alex Schadenberg from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said after her presentation, “Maggie is a gift for us.” That “us” goes far beyond the people who were in the room at the time.

“I’m no expert. Just me.”

Maggie Karner (East Coast Conference)
Self-effacing but not shy, Karner began by advising her listeners at the conference, “I’m no expert. Just me.” She was diagnosed in April with glioblastoma, the same type of brain tumor that beset Brittany Maynard. She recorded her video message to Maynard with that common experience in mind. She found after her video went viral that her cancer was the one thing some news reporters found relevant in her message.

She described a recent interview she did via Skype with a news outlet in Bogota, Columbia. 
“It turned out to be an informal debate, and they didn’t tell me that. On the air with me was the communications director for Compassion and Choices [the pro-assisted-suicide group], who spoke Spanish, of course. I don’t. And a pro-euthanasia doctor from Miami, who also spoke Spanish. So I’m the only white gringo there who didn’t speak Spanish. One thing the producers and editors all mentioned was that they wanted to interview me because I had the same terminal brain cancer diagnosis [as Maynard], and apparently that made me qualified to speak on this topic of physician-assisted suicide. I guess they were looking for that emotional right hook as the media is wont to do. 
“But that left me wondering, does that mean that anyone without a terminal diagnosis can’t express their opinion on assisted suicide? Even after all the TV interviews and YouTube hits on the video to Brittany, I still got lots and lots of tweets and comments that basically said ‘who are you to judge her?’ Even with my brain tumor qualifications. So I guess that’s what our post-modern society has left us now: if you have an opinion on something, apparently you are judging the people who have a different opinion, and [I should] just shut up.’ What happened to the great free American marketplace of ideas? What happens to vigorous scholarly debate with issues that affect our whole society? I guess you can only have an opinion on something now if you’ve lived through it, felt its wrath, or walked in its shoes. Because it’s all about feelings. If you have evidence on the positives or negatives of something, that apparently doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how you feel about the issue and whether people like how you said it.”
“It’s a public policy issue”

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wesley Smith: Assisted Suicide causes PTSD

This article was written by Wesley Smith and published on his blog on November 24, 2014.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith
A study in European Psychiatry shows that 20% of close friends or family who witness assisted suicide develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From the study:
Of the 85 participants, 13% met the criteria for full PTSD (cut-off≥35), 6.5% met the criteria for subthreshold PTSD (cut-off≥25), and 4.9% met the criteria for complicated grief. The prevalence of depression was 16%; the prevalence of anxiety was 6%. 
CONCLUSION: A higher prevalence of PTSD and depression was found in the present sample than has been reported for the Swiss population in general. However, the prevalence of complicated grief in the sample was comparable to that reported for the general Swiss population. Therefore, although there seemed to be no complications in the grief process, about 20% of respondents experienced full or subthreshold PTSD related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide.
By way of comparison: 11 percent of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan have PTSD, and 20% of Iraq veterans. So, witnessing assisted suicide would appear to be equivalent in upset to serving in war zones. Perhaps that will give the suicidal pause before they order the pills.

Of course, the suicide pushers at Compassion and Choices aren’t bothered in the least, sending “counselors” to give advice in many cases. Indeed, C & C acts as death matchmaker or otherwise helps facilitate more than 80% of all assisted suicides in Oregon.

But, you know, normal people react to the awful nature of what is done. That’s healthy, and as I said, in an ironic way, perhaps a cause for hope that the death tide will ebb.

Facts on the ground prove a slippery slope is here.

Published by True Dignity Vermont on November 24, 2014

“You don’t see people marching in the street demanding the right to be killed by a doctor,” Attorney and Award winning Author Wesley J. Smith told a packed conference room at Saturday’s East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide in Hartford, Conn., coordinated by the Family Institute of Connecticut and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

“Suicide pushers are a small group. We look like America, they don’t,” Smith emphasized.

Wesley Smith
he “we” to whom Smith referred, are essentially anyone for whom legally sanctioned, assisted suicide poses a very real risk. The elderly, the frail, the mentally ill, those who face serious illness or disability of any kind– all eventually may be judged as “better off dead” in a culture where the solution to suffering is to kill the sufferer, Smith told the audience.
“We’re not talking about a theoretical slippery slope, we’re talking facts on the ground,” he said.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Assisted suicide opponents meet in Connecticut

By Alex Schadenberg 
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

(right side of the room)
The Associated Press reported on the East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide today.

The Associated Press reported that:

Organizers say about 140 people have turned today for conference on assisted suicide. 
The two-day event, dubbed East Coast Against Assisted Suicide, was wrapping up on Saturday in Windsor Locks. It was sponsored by several groups that oppose legalizing the practice, including the Connecticut-based Family Institute of Connecticut and Second Thoughts Connecticut. 
Other sponsors included the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Second Thoughts Massachusetts. 
Speakers include experts from the region and around the world who oppose assisted suicide legislation in the U.S., particularly the East Coast. 
Last year marked the second straight year that a Connecticut legislative committee held a public hearing on legislation allowing physicians to prescribe medication to help terminally ill patients end their lives. The bill was not brought up for a vote.
The East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide was an incredible success. It was organized to train people from all political and social points of view to understand the issues related to assisted suicide and to effectively oppose it in their state.
Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/living/health-fitness/article4064655.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may need to Veto assisted suicide bill

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

Governor Chris Christie
It seems likely that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may need to veto the State assisted suicide bill. 

The media has reported that Stephen Sweeney (D), the President of the New Jersey State Senate, has agreed to be the primary sponsor for New Jersey Senate Assisted Suicide Bill 382, after Joseph Vitale (D) withdrew his sponsorship of the assisted suicide bill.

Vitale, the Chairman of the State Senate Health Committee, told the New Jersey media:
“I initially supported the idea of the bill and signed on. After a time, I had more questions and concerns than answers. So I thought it was honest to remove my name and continue to think about it.”
On November 13, the New Jersey State Assembly passed the assisted suicide bill A 2270 by a vote of 41 to 31 after pushing for a quick vote on the bill while the Brittany Maynard story was fresh in the minds of the state legislators.

New Jersey citizens are urged to contact their State Senators to defeat the assisted suicide bill.

Everyone can sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

Links to more information:

Swiss Federal Court drops charges by assisted suicide campaigner against police and forensic team

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Criminal trespassing charges filed by Ludwig Minelli, the founder of the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic against Swiss police and a forensic medical team was rejected by the Swiss Federal Court.

According to the Swiss media:

The court decided that there would be no criminal proceedings against seven members of canton Zurich’s prosecution, police and forensic medicine teams. In August 2012, they were called to a house in Pfäffikon for a legal inspection involving a person who had committed assisted suicide. In another room, they noticed a second person who was not dying as expected but gasping for air. 
The civil servants decided to take the 67-year-old woman ... to the hospital, where she received painkillers and died the same day. The government employees stayed at the house owned by Dignitas until the paramedics arrived.
Ludwig Minelli
Minelli filed criminal trespassing charges because the authorities didn't leave the Dignitas suicide clinic after he asked them to leave. The media article stated:

...the Federal Court in Lausanne concluded that it is understandable that the people present had assumed that something had gone wrong in the case of the second accompanied suicide, and that they had tried to uphold the rights of the unconscious woman. The judges said that by virtue of their function it was correct to stay in the Dignitas house and take measures to protect her.
The Dignitas assisted suicide clinic has been associated with several controversial assisted suicide deaths. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Veto the Assisted Suicide Bill.

Dear Governor Christie, 

Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

I urge you to veto the assisted suicide bill A2270. 

Through this bill vulnerable elders will be put at risk. Every year in New Jersey, it is estimated that out of 1 ½ million people over age 60, there are 175,000 reported and unreported cases of abuse.

Depressed people will be harmed by this bill. Oregonian Michael Freeland, where assisted suicide is legal, easily obtained a lethal prescription for his terminal diagnosis, despite a 43-year history of severe depression, suicide attempts, and paranoia. The prescribing doctor said he didn't think a psychological consult was "necessary." Oregon’s statistics for the last four years show that an absurdly low 2% of patients who died by assisted assisted were referred for a psychological evaluation.

Governor Chris Christie
Please think about New Jersey residents, elders and disabled people who may be vulnerable and without the sort of support and control assisted suicide proponents take for granted, innocent people who will be impacted by this piece of bad social policy.

A2270 is not safe. Assisted suicide is not safe.

Links to more information:

Few Swiss doctors will participate in assist suicide

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A study published today by the Swiss Academy of Sciences found that the majority of Swiss doctors are unwilling to participate in assisted suicide while the majority approved of assisted suicide.

The Swiss Academy of Sciences sent questionnaires to 4800 Swiss physicians and received only 1318 responses (27%). Due to the low response rate the results of the survey may not be accurate.

The Swiss media reported that:

For the majority of the 1,318 respondents, support for assisted suicide depended on the specific situation: the more clearly a purely physical and terminal disease is present, the greater the acceptance of physician-assisted suicide. Three-quarters were opposed to assisted suicide in the case of people who are old but otherwise healthy, while over half rejected assisted suicide for patients with mental illness.

The study, also examined physicians’ personal experiences in this area: 
less than half of the respondents had, on at least one occasion, received a serious request for assisted suicide.

About a quarter had, at least once, evaluated whether the eligibility criteria for assisted suicide were met. Most of the physicians concerned have done so very rarely, while individual respondents have undertaken such an evaluation at least 50 times.
In jurisdictions where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, very few doctors are willing participate in causing the death of their patients. Out of the 1318 physicians who responded to the study, only 111 had participated in an assisted suicide.

In Switzerland, assisted suicide is carried out by assisted suicide groups. The physician assesses the person who requests assisted suicide and prescribes a lethal dose, but the assisted suicide groups facilitate the death.

Barbara Kay: Euthanasia is killing

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The National Post published an excellent article by Barbara Kay, one of Canada's most respected columnists, titled: Beware of euthanasia's friendly face.

Barbara Kay
Kay's article accomplishes two tasks: it properly defines the language and purpose of Bill 52, the Québec euthanasia bill that passed last June, and she reports on her experience at a dinner organized by the Physicians for Social Justice opposing Québec's euthanasia law, that was held in Montréal.

Kay points out that the Québec euthanasia law, that is scheduled to come into effect in December 2015, legalizes euthanasia and not assisted suicide. Kay wrote:
In general, even intelligent and educated people have rather fuzzy notions about euthanasia (which is not assisted suicide, though many people conflate the two). The only reason the Quebec government is calling euthanasia “medical aid in dying” is that they believe it creates an end run around the Criminal Code, which proscribes the killing of patients by doctors. But euthanasia is killing by doctors. Surveys show 60% of Quebecers do not realize the bill provides for death by lethal injection, just like the death penalty in the U.S. — and euphemisms do not change that. 
There is only one form of medical treatment that can accurately be described as “medical aid in dying,” and that is palliative care. Which is why palliative care doctors, as well as many family physicians, are almost as appalled by the wording of the bill as they are by euthanasia itself.
Kay then writes about the response from prominent Québec physicians to the euthanasia law:
I spoke with Manny Borod, a palliative care physician at the Montreal General Hospital, who articulated the grievances his peers feel. Foremost is the illicit intrusion of the government into medicine’s jurisdiction. Governments should not be in the business of deciding what is or what is not a medical treatment. If the government can decide euthanasia is a medical treatment, Dr. Borod asks, “what’s to stop them from legislating other medical treatments?” Like many of his colleagues, he would like to see less aggressive, technology-heavy treatment applied to dying patients and more attention paid to enriching and enlarging the palliative resources that would give those patients a better death.
Dr Balfour Mount
Kay then wrote about the speech given by Balfour Mount, at the event. Dr Mount is the father of palliative care in North America and a leading opponent of euthanasia: Kay wrote:
Most galvanizing were the words of Balfour Mount. ... Dr. Mount’s passionate disdain for the medicalization of euthanasia remains undimmed. Calling euthanasia “medical aid in dying” is a “cowardly distortion of language,” he said. The dying do not want to be killed; they want an “easy death,” and “that is what palliative care gives them.”