Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Medical error, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A power point presentation developed by Christine Koczmara RN BSc and Cathy Isman RN(CPN) (C) for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices states that it was estimated in 1999 that 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical mistakes. This is almost equal to the number of yearly deaths from Car Accidents, Breast Cancer, and Aids (Link).

A Canadian study in 2004 found that 7.5% of patients in Canadian hospitals were harmed from their care, 37% of the adverse events were preventable and more than 9250 Canadians died that year from medical errors (Link). The same study estimated that only 3% – 6% of all medical errors are reported (Link).

Pietro D'Amico
In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico (62) from Calabria Italy died at the Dignitas suicide clinic in Switzerland after receiving a wrong diagnosis. Medical errors will often lead to negative health conditions, some medical errors will lead to death, whereas, assisted suicide always causes death (Link).

July 2013, a Swiss regional court found Dr Philippe Freiburghaus guilty of assisting a suicide without a proper diagnosis of the patient. On April 23, 2014, the Swiss court of appeal overturned the conviction of Freiburghaus on technical grounds (Link).

In September 2013, Nancy Verhelst asked to die by euthanasia in Belgium after experiencing a “botched” sex change operation (Link).

Statistics from Belgium indicate that up to 32% of all assisted deaths are done without explicit request (Link) and up to 47% of all assisted deaths go unreported (Link). In the Netherlands the rate of assisted death without explicit request is lower than in Belgium and the rate of unreported assisted deaths is 23% (Link).

Since acts of assisted death cause the direct and intentional death of the person, and since the “safeguards” that are designed to protect patients, in the law, are not followed, can legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide ever be safe?

Considering the problem of medical error, the reality that human beings fail, the reality that many physicians have been taught to believe that certain human lives are not worth living (Quality of Life) and considering the regularity of medical error and the reality, can legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide ever be safe?

These facts and many more speak for themselves.


Bobby Brown said...

Bobby Brown's story of his wife's death at St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Bellingham, Washington, TalkPlatelets, and the truth about "Death with Dignity" statutes.

Anonymous said...

Medical Error during the Euthanasia process. Right off the bat, I want to inform you that I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I have had thirty-five radiation treatments. An examination of the results will be done 4 months after the final treatment.

My family, pastor, doctor, and lawyer have been made aware of my wishes regarding my passing. My Christian beliefs and the dignity of my being will lead me to be with my Lord, Jesus Christ in His time and no sooner. I have a right to make my own decisions about prolonging my life. If I become unable to make my own decision or there is no chance of recovery, I request (insist) that a final decision agreed upon, collectively by my daughter, my pastor, and the primary physician, that I request that no ethically extraordinary treatment be used to prolong my life but that my pain be alleviated if it becomes necessary, even if this results in the shortening of my life. Let me repeat this - extraordinary treatment to alleviate the pain. - a treatment that does not offer a reasonable hope of benefit to me or that cannot be accomplished without excessive costs, pain or burden, NO TREATMENT SHOULD BE USED WITH THE INTENTION OF SHORTENING MY LIFE.

Every man/woman is human and subject to errors done accidently or the passing of wrong judgments trying to be rectified with no thought for the patient primarily, and for the family. No one and I mean "NO ONE" has the right to "PLAY GOD". There is not another one of me or even like me in any way. No human has the right to erase my existence. Again, the Lord is the only one who can do that, through Jesus Christ.

The theme of this letter is the Chance of a Medical Error happening when euthanasia or assisted suicide is allowed. Not one person in this world has the right to take the life of another person. I believe the law calls that "MURDER" no matter what other name you want to call it. Just a final example. Recently, a young man was given the death penalty by lethal injection. I don't know the exact number of injections this man was given but the administrator of the injection totally messed up to the point the inmate died a terrible agonizing death. Comments from the "public" - Who cares? He deserved it. Is that going to be the attitude when someone is euthanized because he/she can't provide anything more to society? "Life is for the YOUNG" proclaimed by the young.


Alex Schadenberg said...

I almost never publish Anonymous comments but Anonymous needs to know that there is no problem with saying no to medical treatment and receiving good pain and symptom management.

Anonymous needs to know that saying no to medical treatment is not euthanasia or assisted suicide. It is not murder and it is not ethically a problem.

Euthanasia is a lethal injection.


Your deceiving the people Alex, euthanasia is a DNR and Comfort Care that should be focused upon, these are the preferred methods to kill a patient, a nurse can adjust the flow or drip of a deadly drug and kill like clockwork. You are referring to voluntary euthanasia which is rare but even then who knows if it was truly the patients choice, their dead. My wife was not given a choice, the catholic hospital, who you are protecting, forced her to sign a withholding medical directive that authorized an illegal DNR that eventually killed her when responders refused to help her. This is still euthanasia, it was intentionaly planned and agreed upon by everyone involved, except the patient, anyone who feels otherwise is guilty of perpetuating false ideas of what should be focused upon. Talk Platelets

Alex Schadenberg said...

I am not deceiving people. I do not justify or support what happened to your wife and in fact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has been involved with several cases based on similar circumstances as what occurred to your wife.

The fact is that good palliative care is not the same as euthanasia or assisted suicide. What happened to your wife was an abuse of palliative care.

I am sorry for you and your family, but I do not support or condone these terrible actions.