Monday, July 22, 2019

Assisted suicide doctors to train doctors to kill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A new organization has been formed to promote assisted suicide within the medical community and provide training for physicians, and others, who are willing to kill.

According to the NCCMAID website, California assisted suicide doctor Lonny Shavelson, is the board chair with advisors and board members from across America.

Wesley Smith
In his article, The worst doctors can become death doctors, Wesley Smith stated about Shavelson

When assisted suicide was legalized, he started “practicing medicine” again–as a death doctor, willing to help make people dead for $2000. 
Moreover, he has a deep ideological commitment to assisted suicide. How deep is it? He once watched a Hemlock Society leader murder a stroke victim who had asked to die but changed his mind. Instead, she holds a plastic bag over his head. From page 92 of Shavelson’s book: A Chosen Death:
The number of assisted suicide physicians, on the NCCMAID organization who list palliative care as their specialty, is concerning. The assisted suicide lobby is committed to normalizing assisted suicide as part of palliative care. It appears that NCCMAID is working on that goal.

EPC will continue to work with physicians to oppose assisted suicide. We are proud to have played a role in upholding the American Medical Association opposition to assisted suicide.

Vincent Lambert: Death by discrimination

This article was published by Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet on July 16, 2019.

Taylor Hyatt
By Taylor Hyatt
- Policy Analyst & Outreach Coordinator, Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet

Vincent Lambert died recently.

For the past few weeks, all eyes have been on the French courts as they determined his fate. Mr. Lambert was severely injured in a car accident in 2008. Various news reports described him as “quadriplegic” with a brain injury, in a “vegetative state,” in a minimally conscious state, or used multiple terms to describe his condition. The phrase used most consistently throughout the media coverage, “right to die,” does not capture what the case was really about: disability rights.

Vincent Lambert
After the accident, Mr. Lambert used a feeding tube, but could still breathe without assistance. He could not speak, nor did he appear to respond to questions or commands. He had cycles of sleeping and waking, where he opened his eyes, moved his limbs and sometimes smiled or cried. In 2011 he was evaluated by the Coma Science Group at the Liège University Hospital in Belgium, which determined that he was in a “minimally conscious, plus” state and recommended that attempts be made to find a way to communicate with him. He subsequently received physiotherapy for one year, and 87 sessions with a speech/language therapist, which were deemed “unsuccessful.” Evaluations done in 2014 and 2018 by a team of doctors affiliated with the hospital in Rehms where Mr. Lambert was treated described his condition as “vegetative,” a view that was still contested at the time of his death.

Mr. Lambert had no directive in place expressing what he wished to happen if he ever became incapacitated. A bitter family feud arose as a result. Mr. Lambert’s wife Rachel, and six of his eight siblings, maintained that he would not want to live with a severe cognitive disability. The two remaining siblings joined their Catholic parents, Pierre and Viviane Lambert, in fighting to continue the tube feeding. Since 2013, Mr. Lambert’s parents have appealed to various authorities on multiple occasions using different legal arguments, including the European Court of Human Rights (under Article 2 of its convention, the Right to Life) and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 25 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls on states to “prevent discriminatory denial of…food and fluids on the basis of disability.”

The Court of Cassation – the highest applicable appeals court in France – finally ordered that his feeding tube be removed on July 2 of this year. Anyone familiar with Terri Schiavo’s story will see multiple parallels between the two cases, and the questions raised therein.

The campaign to withdraw food and fluids was prompted by Mr. Lambert’s supposed “resistance” to care he was receiving. As Kevin Yuill pointed out, this points to an inconsistency in the position of those advocating the withdrawal of food and fluids; was Mr. Lambert capable of having and expressing an opinion about his care through his behaviour, and therefore possessing the right to refuse care? Or was he in a vegetative state, in which case his movements should be interpreted as reflexive and meaningless?

Another crucial issue raised by the Lambert case is the idea that disabled people must meet a certain threshold of functioning, or potential for improvement, in order to justify their existence and to receive the necessities of life (food and fluids). The view that death is preferable to severe disability led to a modification of France’s Public Health Code in February of 2016 to allow for the passive euthanasia of people like Mr. Lambert who were receiving “artificial life support” (tube feeding). The law allows treatments that are “unnecessary” or “disproportionate” to be stopped; in Mr. Lambert’s case food and fluids were deemed to be “unnecessary” and “disproportionate” because he was unlikely to achieve a certain level of functioning.

As well, the record is unclear as to what kind of ongoing rehabilitative care Mr. Lambert received, aside from the physiotherapy and speech/language sessions recommended by the Coma Science group three years after his injury. The team who evaluated Mr. Lambert in 2014 and 2018 noted that his condition had deteriorated; can that be linked to the kind of care he was (or was not) receiving?

Finally, the question of whether a feeding tube constitutes “artificial” life support was not sufficiently addressed. Not Dead Yet raised this question in the California Supreme Court in the Wendland case in 2000; if a person receives nutrition through a tube taken by mouth, that is not medical treatment; why should that same tube be considered “medical treatment” because it goes into the person’s stomach?

If nothing else, courts should have given more weight to the fact that death is permanent. Mr. Lambert’s life changed drastically after the accident. Requiring the support of family and professionals does not make a person’s life “pointless” or “a waste of resources.” When Mr. Lambert’s wife no longer wished to care for him, calling for his death was not a humane response – especially when his parents were willing to take over. We only get one chance at life.

Another disabled person starved and dehydrated to death while the world watched. I take some solace in the fact that he was sedated when his feeding tube came out, though this does not make his fate right or less unnerving. May Vincent Lambert rest in peace.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tafida Raqeeb is the latest case of a UK child being denied treatment abroad.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tafida Raqeeb has been diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, a rare condition which causes the blood vessels to have abnormal connections between the arteries and veins.

Tafida Raqeeb
Tafida had a brain bleed on February 9 that has left her in coma in the Royal London Hospital where the doctors claim that there is no hope.

Doctors in Genoa, Italy state that they have an expertise in this condition, they are willing to treat Tafida, and “they suggest there is a good chance she will emerge from the coma she is in,” according to Ron Liddle of The Sun (a UK newspaper). But the Royal London Hospital is refusing to let the parents take Tafida to Genoa.

“The view of the doctors there is that they can do nothing more for her and that it would be better for her to be ­left to die,” Liddle writes.

Sign the citizengo petition to let Tafida go and get the care that she needs. (Link).

Some people have compared this case to Charlie Gard whose parents founght unsuccessfully to move him to an American hospital for experimental treatment.

Liddle argues that the decision by the Royal London Hospital is grotesque, arrogant and pig-headed. He states:

I can understand doctors telling Mohammed and Shelina [the parents] there is nothing more that they can do for their little girl. What is beyond belief — beyond ­imagination — is that they would insist on keeping the child there to die when there is genuine hope she might be cured.

It is all terribly similar to the case of Ashya King, an eight-year-old lad who had a brain tumour and was being treated at a hospital in Southampton.

The treatment he was receiving, his parents feared, threatened to cause grave brain damage and they instead wanted him to be treated via proton therapy in Prague.

The hospital said: “No, he stays here.” And so the parents, Brett and Naghemeh King, were forced to abduct the lad, sparking a Europe-wide manhunt. They were arrested in Spain . . . where Ashya also received treatment.

Five years later, he is cured. Free from cancer. No brain damage. The parents were right. The doctors were horribly wrong. Our medical professionals are, by and large, brilliant. But there is sometimes a grotesque arrogance and pigheadedness about them.
I am not a medical expert, but I do know that if there is hope for Tafida, that the longer they wait to treat her, the less likely there will be a good outcome.

Sign the citizengo petition to let Tafida go and get the care that she needs. (Link).

Woman pressured to approve death by sedation / dehydration for her Aunt.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
Today I spoke with a woman who is the Power of Attorney for her 89 year-old aunt, who is currently in a Toronto hospital. 
The niece called EPC because she is upset about the lack of care that her Aunt is receiving.

Her Aunt went to the hospital a few weeks ago with pneumonia. Her doctor decided to do nothing for her. The doctor said:
"she's not going to get better"
The doctor pressured the niece to have her Aunt sedated and dehydrated to death. 

Her niece demanded another doctor and insisted on treatment. Her Aunt is now clear from the pneumonia.

Her Aunt is recovering but the hospital continues to pressure her  niece to have her Aunt sedated and dehydrated to death. The only reason her niece could think of why they are doing this is that her Aunt is 89. Her niece said:
"she doesn't have cancer, she doesn't have any life-threatening condition."
I urged the niece to keep defending her Aunt's right to receive treatment and care.

I consider this to be elder abuse and discrimination. What makes it worse is that the abuse and discrimination seems to be institutionalized.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) sells the Life Protecting Power of Attorney to protect you.

The Life Protecting Power of Attorney states your wishes and enables your power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. It protects you from euthanasia and assisted suicide and it defines the treatment/care decisions that you want in the event that you are unable to make medical decisions yourself.

The Life Protecting Power of Attorney gives you the piece of mind that EPC will help you if your expressed wishes are ignored or if a hospital or doctor pressures or attempts to impose medical treatment or care decisions upon you.

Purchase the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care (Link) by contacting EPC at: 1-877-439-3348 or

If you have concerns contact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: 1-877-439-3348 or Compassionate Community Care at: 1-855-675-8749.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Do or Refer" Doctors Are Not Allowed to Use Their Best Judgment for Individual Patients (No More Jeanette Halls)

This article was published by Choice is an Illusion on July 16, 2019

Margaret Dore
Margaret Dore Esq., MBA*

Yesterday, a doctor asked me about "do or refer" provisions in some of the newer bills seeking to legalize assisted suicide in the United States. For this reason, I now address the subject in the context of a 2018 Wisconsin bill, which did not pass.

The bill, AB 216, required the patient's attending physician to "fulfill the request for medication or refer," i.e. to write a lethal prescription for the purpose of killing the patient, or to make an effective referral to another physician, who would do it.

The bill also said that the attending physician's failure to comply would be "unprofessional conduct" such that the physician would be subject to discipline. The bill states:

[F]ailure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication [the lethal dose] constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester's care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication. (Emphasis added).[1]
The significance of do or refer is that it's anti-patient, by not allowing doctors to use their best judgment in individual cases.

Jeanette Hall with her son.
Consider Oregonian Jeanette Hall. In 2000, she made a settled decision to use Oregon's assisted suicide law in lieu of being treated for cancer. Her doctor, Kenneth Stevens, who opposed assisted suicide, thought that her chances with treatment were good. Over several weeks, he stalled her request for assisted suicide and finally convinced her to be treated for cancer.

Yes, Dr Stevens was against assisted suicide generally, but he also thought that Jeanette was a good candidate for treatment and indeed she was. She has been cancer free for 19 years. In a recent article, Jeanette states:

I wanted to do our law and I wanted Dr. Stevens to help me. Instead, he encouraged me to not give up and ultimately I decided to fight the cancer. I had both chemotherapy and radiation. I am so happy to be alive!
If "do or refer," as proposed in the Wisconsin bill, had been in effect in Oregon, Dr. Stevens would have been risking a finding of unprofessional conduct, and therefore his license, to help Jeanette understand what her true options were.

Is this what we want for our doctors, to have them be afraid of giving us their best judgment, for fear of sanction or having their licenses restricted or even revoked?

With proposed mandatory "do or refer," assisted suicide proponents show us their true nature. They don't want to enhance our choices, they want to limit our access to information to railroad us to death.

[1] AB 216 states:

156.21 Duties and immunities. (1) No health care facility or health care provider may be charged with a crime, held civilly liable, or charged with unprofessional conduct for any of the following: 
(a) Failing to fulfill a request for medication, except that failure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester's care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication. (Emphasis added).
* Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. She is also president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia worldwide.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

774 Ontario euthanasia deaths in the first 6 months of 2019.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner released the updated data for MAiD (euthanasia and assisted suicide) deaths in Ontario indicating that since legalization (June 17, 2016) there have been (3303) 3302 euthanasia deaths and 1 assisted suicide death, as of June 30, 2019.

According to the Ontario data, there were 774 reported assisted deaths in the first six months of 2019, 1499 reported assisted deaths in 2018, 841 reported assisted deaths in 2017 and 189 reported assisted deaths in 2016.
The number euthanasia deaths are increasing. There were 406 reported assisted deaths between April 1 and June 30 and 368 reported assisted deaths in the first three months of the year.

In March I published an article explaining that the assisted deaths, in Canada, increased by more than 50% in 2018 from 2704 reported assisted deaths in 2017 to 4235 reported assisted deaths in 2018.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges its supporters to show the Fatal Flaws Film in their communities.

Last week I received a call from an Ontario nurse who was feeling pressured to participate in euthanasia. Today I received another call from an Ontario nurse, in another community, who was concerned about pressure being placed on nurses to participate in euthanasia.

In May, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision that Ontario doctors did not have do euthanasia but they had to do an "effective referral" meaning referral for the purpose of the act.

Conscience rights for medical professionals in Ontario need to be protected.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition works with Compassionate Community Care (CCC) to offer advice and support for family members and friends who are concerned about an assisted death or end-of-life medical treatment decision. Contact CCC at: 1-855-675-8749.

Contact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition if you have concerns with the circumstances related to a euthanasia death at: 1-877-439-3348.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Suicide promotion websites linked to euthanasia activist.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia activist, Philip Nitschke, has been selling suicide information, devices and drugs, online, for years.

A recent article published by The Sun newspaper concerns school kids buying, online, lethal death row drugs to die by suicide. This is not only a phenomenon in the UK but it is a world-wide tragedy and it is not new. I have written about this problem on several occasions. Exit International may also have set-up a suicide promotion website in Canada.

Isobel Narayan
The Sun reported:

An inquest in 2013 heard how Isobel Narayan, 16, killed herself with the Death Row execution drug she had researched online on suicide forums and acquired by post. 
She was said to have suffered a "crisis of confidence" a month before her death and even typed up a list of reasons why she should kill herself. She later drank a lethal concoction of the drug - mixed with a mouthwash before going to bed. 
The A-level student, from Didsbury, Manchester, was found dead the next day by her devastated parents. 
Manchester Coroner Nigel Meadows said it was a "matter of public concern" she was able to obtain the drug.
It concerns me that the Sun article also promotes Nitschke. Nitschke is referring to websites that take money from people without sending the lethal drugs, the article misconstrues his comment as condemning websites, like his, who will sell suicide to anyone.

This is a difficult topic knowing that this article may lead to depressed people obtaining suicide drugs online. 

Nitschke makes money by selling suicide. He calls it freedom, when in fact he is ending the freedom to live for depressed people, including teens.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Belgian man asks for euthanasia because he cannot afford medication

This article was published by Bioedge on July 13, 2019.

By Michael Cook

A Belgian man with a serious degenerative blood disease has told the media that he has applied for euthanasia because he cannot afford the expensive medication he needs to live a normal life.

Christophe (no surname was given) has four children, aged 4 to 10, but he separated from his partner two years ago. He is living alone and can no longer work. When his children visit on the weekends, his parents need to accompany them in case he falls or faints.

He suffers from a rare disorder, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, which destroys red blood cells. Patients have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years from the time of diagnosis. Christophe is constantly fatigued, falls, and suffers from breathlessness and swollen glands.

PNH is rare, with an annual rate of 1 to 2 cases per million and there are only two known treatments: a bone marrow transplant and a drug called Eculizumab (or Soliris) which costs US$500,000 annually. None of Christophe’s relatives are a good match for a transplant and he cannot afford Eculizumab, even with help of Belgium’s healthcare system.

He began thinking about euthanasia three years ago. A year ago, he started doing the paperwork. "I sleep all the time, that's why I'm waiting for euthanasia, I'm waiting for the answer ... because if I can only live like this ... like a vegetable," he told the Belgian outlet RTL.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

Friday, July 12, 2019

Of Vincent Lambert and Ethical Rubicons

This article was published by National Review online on July 12, 2019.

Wesley Smith
By Wesley J Smith

Vincent Lambert is dead.

The forty-two-year-old Frenchman, who breathed his last yesterday in Reims, didn’t die by accident. It wasn’t “his time.” He died slowly, over nine days, by forced dehydration—a demise that causes radical drying of tissues, cracking membranes, potential seizures, and slow organ failure.

This was not a case of euthanasia, per se—even though taking away a person's sustenance can only have one outcome. Rather, Lambert’s forced dehydration was deemed simply a matter of bioethics carried out in law, an emotionally difficult but routine matter of removing the “medical treatment” of “artificial nutrition and hydration”—because his wife wanted it and the courts judged it to be in his best interests.

How was this in his best interests? Lambert was profoundly disabled with a catastrophic brain injury that left him diagnosed as permanently unconscious (although his parents insisted that he was minimally aware). But he did not require mechanical breathing assistance or kidney dialysis. All the poor man needed to survive was what every human requires: food and water.

Lambert’s case made huge news in Europe because it was the subject of a bitter court fight between his wife and his parents (both his mother and father wanted Lambert to live). The story was less discussed in the United States, partly because of distance, but also because we crossed the dehydration Rubicon in 2005 with the death of Terri Schiavo, when courts ordered her tube-feeding halted.

Lambert's case closely paralleled Schiavo's. Both were profoundly disabled with a severe brain injury. Neither had left formal written instructions about their desires if they became seriously incapacitated. Both deaths were preceded by bitter intra-family legal disputes. Schiavo’s two siblings opposed her dehydration; Lambert’s full-siblings supported it, but his half-siblings sided with his parents. Both Schiavo and Lambert were Catholic patients, and in both cases pro-dehydrators accused family members opposed to dehydration of being motivated merely by religion, and not by true concern for the patients.

Some argue that these cases demonstrate a bias against the equal worth of cognitively disabled patients. That argument went nowhere in the Schiavo case. But in the Lambert case, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations intervened, requesting that his dehydration be delayed while it investigated whether removing his food and water would be a discriminatory act. That request gave Lambert a temporary reprieve when a French Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s approval of the dehydration. But the victory was short-lived, as the French Supreme Court later reversed the decision.

I hope the U.N. Committee continues its investigation. Lambert (and Schiavo) were not terminally ill. They only died because those with the power to decide deemed their lives not worth living. Is it not discrimination based on disability to decide that death is in a patient’s best interests because a patient is cognitively incapacitated? Is it discrimination based on disability to remove food and water from people because they are cognitively incapacitated, when we would not (yet) starve incompetent patients who willingly eat?

In the U.S., popular support for Schiavo’s dehydration was a Rubicon. Before the national imbroglio about her dehydration, many Americans were unaware that the cognitively disabled could die in this way. Post-Schiavo, polls showed that most Americans supported the approach, and that settled the “food and fluid” issue. Today, unconscious and minimally conscious patients are dehydrated in all fifty states as a matter of medical routine, usually with the family's acquiescence. If there is a family dispute, the law will usually give the benefit of doubt to death instead of life, unless the patient made it abundantly clear before injury or illness that they wanted care to continue. I suspect that Lambert will be such a Rubicon throughout much of Europe.

But that will not be the end of it. Bioethics is never static. The mainstream movement’s utilitarian reasoning is based on a “quality of life” ethic, instead of a “sanctity/equality of life” approach. That philosophy, embraced by the medical establishment, will lead the country to view induced death as the proper response to serious illness and injury. Prepare for the following trends:

  • Advocacy to withhold spoon feeding from people with advanced dementia: The euthanasia movement wants the law to allow advance medical directives to instruct caregivers to starve the signer—even if they willingly eat and drink—once their dementia reaches a predetermined level of decline. If adopted, it would force nursing homes and family members to starve and dehydrate these patients to death—perhaps even if they ask for food. 
  • Increase in “futile care” laws: Texas, Virginia, and other states permit doctors and/or hospital bioethics committees to refuse wanted life-sustaining treatment based on their views about the quality of the patient’s life and/or costs of care. In the future, such laws could permit doctors to order tube-feeding withheld over the objections of family.  
  • Healthcare rationing: With the increased crisis in medical costs, we could one day see laws placing time limits on coverage for the cost of care of profoundly disabled patients like Lambert and Schiavo.  
  • Lethal injection instead of dehydration: If euthanasia/assisted suicide spreads, at some point people will conclude that lethally injecting these patients is more humane than dehydration—which it undoubtedly would be. One of the advocacy points behind these dehydration cases has been to acclimate us to eliminating suffering by eliminating the sufferer. Once that premise is accepted, lethal injection becomes the logical choice.  
  • Harvesting the organs of profoundly disabled patients: Dehydrating patients to death renders their organs unusable for transplantation. But if we ever allow their euthanasia killings, that paradigm would change. Belgium, Netherlands, and Canada already conjoin euthanasia with organ harvesting and some bioethicists have opined in professional journals that the cognitively disabled (and others) should be organ harvested as the means of euthanasia.
As Fr. Richard John Neuhaus once wrote, bioethicists “professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on its way to becoming the justifiable until it is established as unexceptional.” With the Schiavo and Lambert dehydrations, removing sustenance from the cognitively disabled has been “established as unexceptional.” Futile care is at the “justifiable” stage. Organ harvesting conjoined with euthanasia, as the means of killing patients, has become “debatable.”

Unless society collectively rejects the logic and moral premises of the “quality of life” ethic, I see few impediments—other than the weak reed of emotional revulsion—to keep us from following a dark bioethical path.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. His latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

We mourn the death of Vincent Lambert, while thankful that an agreement will protect the life of Hannah Cement.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Vincent Lambert with his mother.
We mourn the death of Vincent Lambert, a cognitively disabled man who died by dehydration after France's highest court ordered that he be denied food and fluid, that they defined as medical treatment.

Our online petition pleading that President Macron save his life received more than 139,000 signatures.

While the death of Vincent Lambert is a tragic case of disability discrimination, Hannah Cement, a woman in Ottawa, will live until her natural death.

In early May, 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities intervened in the Lambert case stating that causing Lambert's death by dehydration contravened his rights as a person with disabilities. 

Section 25f of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires nations to:
25(f) Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability.
The decision of the highest court of appeal in France, to withhold food and fluid from Lambert, was a death sentence and a denial his human rights.

Lambert was a cognitively disabled man who was not otherwise dying or nearing death. To directly and intentionally cause his death by withholding fluids is euthanasia by dehydration. Lambert's fluids were withheld for the purpose of causing his death, rather than allowing a natural from his medical condition.

Today EPC was informed that Hugh Scher, the lawyer for the Cement family, achieved a negotiated agreement whereby Hannah will continue to be fed and hydrated and receive basic medical care until she dies a natural death.

Hannah Cement is a 62 year-old woman with Down Syndrome and dementia, who is a life-long member of an Orthodox Jewish family and community. The substitute decision makers for Hannah, her family, refused to consent to a course of treatment that constituted the withdrawal of all treatment and care, including food and fluids and providing only comfort care.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) was granted limited intervention standing, in the court, based on our concerns related to the definition of food and fluid as medical treatment.

In late March, 2019, the Consent and Capacity Board (medical decision making tribunal) made a terrible decision in the Cement case, essentially ordering the withdrawal of all medical treatment from Hannah. This would have led to Hannah dying a similar death as Vincent Lambert.

The family appealed the decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, once again, sought intervention standing in the case.

The news that the doctor, the hospital and the Cement family reached an agreement to assure that Hannah will continue to receive basic medical care until she dies a natural death is an incredible victory.

While we mourn the death of Vincent Lambert, we are very thankful for the legal agreement to enable Hannah Cement to continue living until she dies a natural death.

EPC International Euthanasia Symposium - Sept 20 in Rome

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Instituto Maria Bambina
top of the hill beside columns
On Friday September 20, 2019 there is a one-day Euthanasia Symposium in Rome sponsored by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. The Symposium features recognized leaders and amazing speakers in an incredible location. The Symposium will be followed by a leaders meeting on September 21.

The euthanasia Symposium is organized with the Matercare 15th International Conference. The conference is at the Instituto Maria SS Bambina across from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. 

For more information contact:

The speakers include:

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director and International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will speak about the world-wide situation. Alex is an author, leader, and world expert.
Dr Paul Saba, Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice in Québec will speak about child euthanasia and the expansion of euthanasia, in Canada, once legalized. Dr Saba is an author with experience as a physician in Québec. 
Dr Anne Hanson
Dr Annette Hanson is a forensic psychiatrist and assisted professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine will speak about euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. Dr Hanson has published research articles including the 12 myths about assisted suicide and medical aid in dying.
Catherine Glenn Foster, (lawyer) Americans United for Life, will speak about the culture shift after assisted suicide is legalized. She was the founding Executive Director of EPC-USA.  
Dr William Toffler
Dr William Toffler, Physicians for Compassionate Care Oregon, will talk about the effect of 20 years of assisted suicide in Oregon. Dr Toffler is a leading voice against assisted suicide in America. 
Amy Hasbrouck, (lawyer) Not Dead Yet leader and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition President will speak on eugenics and the concerns of people with disabilities. Amy has extensive experience as an American who now lives in Canada. 
Gordon Macdonald
Dr Gordon Macdonald, Care Not Killing Alliance UK, will speak about the politics of assisted suicide in the medical community. Dr Macdonald has extensive experience in the BMA debate on assisted suicide.
Fabian Stahle, a researcher from Sweden will speak about Moral Disengagement and the legalization of assisted death. 
Register for the full conference or for one day at (Registration link). You can stay at the Maria Bambina. 

EPC has also organized a leaders meeting for September 21 at the same location.

Free Online Conference celebrating 20 years of protecting people from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Join EPC on Saturday July 20 to celebrate the 20th anniversary for 
Alex Schadenberg as the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

EPC is celebrating the occasion with a free live online conference from (1 pm to 3:00 pm eastern time) featuring key presenters.

You need to go to the EPC youtube page and press subscribe (Link).

The conference will include: 
  • Amy Hasbrouck, (EPC - President), 
  • Taylor Hyatt (Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet researcher),
  • Maxime Huot Couture - Vivre dans la Dignite Quebec)
  • Kristina Hodgetts - Compassionate Community Care.
  • Catherine Glenn Foster (AUL - President), 
  • and Alex Schadenberg.
EPC is focusing on the International campaign to prevent euthanasia and assisted suicide and Canada's five year review of its euthanasia legislation that is scheduled for June 2020. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Palliative care experts are opposed to euthanasia.

This article was published by HOPE Australia on July 9, 2019

One of Western Australia's (WA) most senior palliative care nurses and a New Zealand based palliative medicine specialist have both come out in opposition to the looming euthanasia laws in their respective jurisdictions.

After more than 30 years working in the public and private palliative care sector, nurse Lou Angus has sent a letter to the Western Australian government signed by 39 of her colleagues.

Accusing the government of catering for a small minority, Angus asks, “What are our politicians doing for the 96 to 99 percent of dying people who want better care whilst they are dying?”.

A sage of the system, Angus points out that if palliative care for terminal patients were to begin 12 months out from death, it would prevent people “yo-yoing” in and out of hospital, saving the health system millions of dollars. She writes:
Assisted suicide is not dignified. Dignity begins with a belief that the dying person deserves the best care we can offer. It requires a belief that dying people are not a burden, no matter how complex they are.
Angus attacks the WA government’s push for death on demand, stating emphatically, “Better health care is the answer,” and emphasising the need for more end-of-life health care.

All the way across the ditch, palliative medicine specialist Dr Amanda Landers echoes Angus’ sentiments, writing:
The answer to bad deaths is not euthanasia. The answer is a better understanding of basic medical ethics, of palliative medicine, of what happens to the body when it is dying, and how to care for someone at the end of life.
A specialist of over a decade, Landers is exasperated by the many misconceptions in the community regarding the matter:
I get the feeling the general public think death is a black-and-white issue. I cannot think of a subject that has more grey… 
Palliative care is multi-disciplinary to match the many dimensions of a person and their family/whanau. I have been dismayed at the attacks on our area of medicine in the media and on the health professionals who dedicate their lives to looking after these vulnerable New Zealanders. 
…I have realised there are many misconceptions that have taken root in our community which need weeding out.
Dr Landers directly addresses the most common arguments for death on demand, explaining how each of them can be effectively addressed by proper palliative care.

Palliative care professionals are passionate about the difference that their profession can make in the lives of terminally ill patients. They are also overwhelmingly opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide. When Victoria and New South Wales were each considering legalising these practices, 101 Australian palliative care specialists signed an open letter, asking for the rejection of the legislation and petitioning for adequate resources to help them to care for those at the end-of life:
“It would be unethical for any state jurisdiction in Australia to move to legalise for assisted suicide or euthanasia whilst many ill, aged and disabled Australians cannot yet access the support they need. Such a move would not enhance choice, but instead reduce choice around the care and support for those in real need.”
In the words of Professor Roderick MacLeod, “It is telling that those in the medical profession who are most opposed to assisted dying are those who deal with people who are dying on a daily basis, the palliative medicine physicians.”