Thursday, August 22, 2019

Chinese man awakens after 5 years of coma. His wife provided total and loving care.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Chinese man, Li Zhihua from Xiangyang in Hubei Province, woke up from a 5 year Coma thanks to his wife literally caring for him night and day. 

Tracy You reported on August 22 for the Mailonline:

According to reports, Mr Li was knocked down by a motorbike in August, 2013, while riding a scooter to work.

Describing his condition, Dr Wan Qing'an told reporters: 'When he was taken to the hospital, he was in a vegetative state. He could not respond to anything.'

His wife, 57-year-old Zhang Guihuan, recalled: 'The doctor told me it was possible that he would be in a persistent vegetative state.'

She said she was not willing to accept the diagnosis and wanted to prove the doctors wrong.
According to the article, his loving wife was persistent.
Day in day out, the determined spouse stayed next to Mr Li's bed to chat with him and play his favourite songs, hoping his condition would improve.

'These things were very helpful to stimulate his nervous system,' Dr Wan said.

The strong-willed woman slept only two to three hours a day and looked after Mr Li in every aspect possible. As a result, she lost 10 kilograms (22 pounds) during the course.

Ms Zhang said in order to feed her husband, she had to carefully put food into his month and then gently pressed his tongue to let him know that he could eat.

Mr Li miraculously regained his conscious last year. 
This story shows how love can lead someone to provide care. In this case, her care enabled her husband to recover.

This case also shows how providing stimulation and care may lead to someone recovering from a head injury.

In 2004 I attended a conference on Persistent Vegetative State whereby a doctor who ran an "awakening center" spoke about what they did to have such a high success rate in awakening patients in coma.

New Hampshire man found guilty of assisting his friends suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Parker Hogan (left) Michael Buskey (right)
Jurors in New Hampshire, after a three hour deliberation, found Parker Hogan (20) guilty of assisting the suicide of his friend, Michael Buskey (19).

Buskey shot himself in a wooded area in the middle of the night on May 7/8, 2018.

John Koziol, reporting for The New Hampshire Union Leader wrote that the prosecutor stated that Hogan provided a stick and helped him aim the gun and pull the trigger. Prosecutors told the jury that Hogan stated, in a police interview, that he had even offered to pull the trigger. Koziol reported that the defense argued that Hogan reluctantly carried out the wishes of Buskey after trying repeatedly trying to talk him out of suicide.

Koziol reported today that Hogan was convicted of assisted suicide and falsifying physical evidence. The conviction is likely to carry a term of 3.5 to 7 years.

According to the suicide plan, Hogan assisted Buskey with the suicide, then wiped the gun for evidence and contacted the police claiming he had found the body.

This case is very sad. It is possible that Hogan thought he was helping his friend, but really, what's the difference between a doctor thinking he's helping a patient and this case?

Suicide is always a preventable tradgedy. This case emphasizes the importance of not assisting the suicide of a person who is at the most vulnerable time of his life.

Farcical euthanasia debate in New Zealand Parliament dismisses doctors and hospices.

Euthanasia-Free NZ Media Release - August 22, 2019
Euthanasia-Free NZ is appalled that Parliament spent so little time debating Part 2 of the End of Life Choice Bill and voted to leave it full of holes.

Part 2 is the most extensive and complex section of the Bill, covering coercion, freedom of conscience rights, as well as the process: from making the request to reporting the death.

Despite being three times longer on paper, Part 2 received the same amount of debating time as Part 1 did. No fewer than 18 substantial new clauses were proposed in the amendments to Part 2, of which 5 came from David Seymour. Nevertheless, after only two hours of debate and with several clauses still unmentioned and many MPs asking to speak, some Labour MPs started to call for the debate to be stopped.

Some of the MPs who stated that they voted for the Bill in order have a discussion are the ones who are trying to stifle debate.

Eventually it was Seymour’s call that shut down the debate, after Simeon Brown asked him a question on the minimum time frame enabled by the Bill - one Seymour refused to answer. All parties except National voted in favour of Seymour’s motion.

Several MPs proposed amendments to address gaps in Seymour’s Supplementary Order Paper. Although only one MP other than Seymour spoke against these amendments, all of these were voted down.
"It seems that MPs who support euthanasia in principle decided in advance to support David Seymour’s proposals and reject everyone else’s, regardless of their content," says Renée Joubert, executive officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
Hon Michael Woodhouse drafted an amendment in consultation with Hospice New Zealand that would allow organisations to opt out without risking losing pubic funding. When Hon David Clark spoke in favour of this amendment, he was jeered by his Labour colleagues and the amendment was voted down.
"David Seymour, NZ First, The Greens and most Labour MPs seem set on rushing this Bill through with little concern for stakeholders such as doctors and Hospices," says Ms Joubert.

"It’s disappointing that a life-and-death issue is being used as a party-political football."
13 Reasons Why Part 2 Has Holes:
1) The only doctor who would need to check for signs of coercion doesn’t need to talk to the person face to face and doesn’t need to have met the person before.

2) A doctor who works as a contractor would be left without protection from discrimination.

3) A healthcare assistant or caregiver who is pressured to participate in the euthanasia process would not be allowed to object on conscience grounds.

4) Every doctor would be forced to participate in the process by steering people towards euthanasia instead of towards treatment. A doctor who believes a euthanasia request is motivated by mental illness would be forced to participate in the person's death by referring them to the SCENZ Group.

5) A health professional may initiate a discussion about euthanasia with a patient, as long as the conversation covers another topic also and happens after, not during a consultation.

6) No evidence is required to show that a person confirmed their death wish before receiving the lethal dose and that they were mentally competent at the time.

7) A person can be coerced to sign someone else’s euthanasia request and doesn’t need to understand what they are signing.

8) A person’s abuser could sign a euthanasia request on the victim's behalf without needing to provide evidence that they were asked to do so.

9) The reasons why an eligible person request euthanasia may be unrelated to their medical condition.

10) Organisations such as Hospice may be forced to have euthanasia administered on their premises.

11) The doctors giving a person a terminal diagnosis and assessing their eligibility for euthanasia don’t need to have any training or experience in the field of medicine related to the person’s condition.

12) Even provisionally-registered doctors, fresh out of medical school with no specialist training, could meet the Bill’s definition of 'psychiatrist'.

13) No proof is required that unused drugs have been destroyed. 
Some issues with the End of Life Choice Bill
  • There is no clear definition of ‘terminal illness’. It could be interpreted to include any condition that is life-shortening or life-threatening. There is no bright line between terminal conditions and chronic conditions. Some chronic conditions can become life-threatening in a matter of minutes, for example diabetes, asthma, severe allergies and high blood pressure. There is also no bright line between terminal illness and disabilities, because many disabilities are life-limiting and involve complications that can become life-threatening. Even clinical depression could be regarded as a terminal condition by some, because it could lead to death (suicide), or to losing the will to live and fight a disease. 
  • Diagnosis and prognosis can be wrong. It’s impossible for doctors to accurately predict how long a person is expected to live, especially as long as six months out. There have been cases of people who were expected to die within hours or days, but they recovered and lived for months or years. Diagnosis can also be wrong, despite a doctor’s best intentions. Diagnosis and prognosis are not based on certainty, but on probability (the likelihood based on other cases). There is no guarantee that an individual’s disease will progress the same way as others’ have.
  • Subjective terminology. Words such as ‘unbearable’, ‘suffering’ and ‘intolerable’ are entirely subjective (up to the individual to determine). If a patient would use any of these words to describe their condition, the doctor would not be able to argue.  
  • Involves disabled people. ‘An advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability’ is just a wordy way of saying ‘disability’ or ‘ageing’. The Bill doesn’t explain what is meant by ‘capability’. Could a person qualify who has become less able to run, walk or read? Could a person’s ‘decline in capability’ become ‘irreversible’ by them refusing medical treatment?
  • Includes people who are depressed. The End of Life Choice Bill doesn’t mention depression. Even if it did specifically exclude depression, some depressed people could still access death instead of treatment under such legislation. Depression can be hidden, even from doctors. Depression can be misdiagnosed or dismissed as ‘understandable depression’. Even subclinical depression can still have an effect on a person’s decision making capabilities.
The debate on Part 3 of the Bill is scheduled to continue on 11 September.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Kiwis oppose implications of euthanasia process

Tuesday, 20 August 2019, 2:23 pm
Press Release: Euthanasia Free NZ

Euthanasia-Free NZ urge MPs to consider concerns relevant to tomorrow’s debate on Part 2 of the End of Life Choice Bill.

Part 2 is about freedom of conscience rights and each step of the proposed process: from making a request to reporting the death.

As lawyers would know, it's important to consider the possible loopholes in a piece of legislation: What would it do and allow, even if not explicitly stated?

Two Curia Market Research Polls conducted earlier this year found that the majority of respondents are opposed to circumstances the Bill’s proposed process would allow. None of these concerns are addressed by David Seymour's proposed amendments. Their concerns are noteworthy especially since the majority of the 1,048 respondents are in favour of the concept of euthanasia.

The Bill would allow an eligible terminally ill person to request euthanasia:

1) without telling loved ones (opposed by 73%);

2) instead of treatment (opposed by 60%);

3) because they feel like a burden (opposed by 64%); and

4) because they feel depressed or that life is meaningless (opposed by 55%).
There's a distinction between eligibility criteria and reasons for requesting euthanasia.

“In its current form the Bill would not require a doctor to explore or consider the underlying reasons why an eligible person wants to die,” says Renée Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.

“The unbearable suffering a person experiences may not be caused by their medical condition. Instead the person may be suffering due to issues such as poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, loneliness, mental illness, depression, grief, bereavement or concern about being a burden.”

Part 2 is by far the most substantial part of the Bill, consisting of 17 clauses and almost 11 pages. In contrast, Part 1, which was debated on 31 July, consists of only 5 sections and almost 4 pages.

"We were shocked that the debate on Part 1 was cut short when some MPs still wished to speak and several proposed amendments had not even been mentioned, let alone debated," says Ms Joubert. "And that, after many MPs stated that they voted for the Bill at second reading in order for the House to have an extensive discussion.

"Since Part 2 is about the crux of the Bill, we hope that its details, as well as each of the proposed amendments, will receive discussion and unprejudiced scrutiny.

"Our members and supporters will be watching tomorrow's debate with interest."


Sunday, August 18, 2019

How a palliative care bill negatively affected conscience rights in Vermont.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In 2012, Vermont passed bill § 1871 Patient's bill of rights for palliative care and pain management bill. This bill seemed straight forward and it was seen as  seen as helping to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in Vermont. This bill stated:
(a) A patient has the right to be informed of all evidence-based options for care and treatment, including palliative care, in order to make a fully informed patient choice. 
(b) A patient with a terminal illness has the right to be informed by a clinician of all available options related to terminal care; to be able to request any, all, or none of these options; and to expect and receive supportive care for the specific option or options available. 
(c) A patient suffering from pain has the right to request or reject the use of any or all treatments in order to relieve his or her pain. 
(d) A patient suffering from a chronic condition has the right to competent and compassionate medical assistance in managing his or her physical and emotional symptoms. 
(e) A pediatric patient suffering from a serious or life-limiting illness or condition has the right to receive palliative care while seeking and undergoing potentially curative treatment. (Added 2009, No. 25, § 3.)
In May 2013 Vermont legalized assisted suicide. The assisted suicide statute (Act 39) states:
The rights of a patient under section 1871 of this title to be informed of all available options related to terminal care and under 12 V.S.A. § 1909(d) to receive answers to any specific question about the foreseeable risks and benefits of medication without the physician’s withholding any requested information exist regardless of the purpose of the inquiry or the nature of the information. A physician who engages in discussions with a patient related to such risks and benefits in the circumstances described in this chapter shall not be construed to be assisting in or contributing to a patient’s independent decision to self-administer a lethal dose of medication, and such discussions shall not be used to establish civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action.
Notice how the Patient bill of rights for palliative care and pain management and the assisted suicide act require physicians to provide all information and answers to any questions. Both statutes obligate physicians to provide information, even when the physician opposes one of the options.

Does requiring a physician to provide information also require the physician to prove a referral?

On May 23, 2017, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reported a victory, stating that Vermont physicians who object to assisted suicide are not required to provide information or refer for assisted suicide. 

The ADF signed an agreement with Vermont's Attorney General ensuring that physicians were not required to provide information or refer for assisted suicide.

According to Patient Choices Vermont, on December 18, 2017 US District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford decided that:
“The agreement does not represent the views of the court on the merits of the parties' dispute … The consent agreement is a purely private agreement-not a judicial ruling-and not subject to review on appeal. But it is far from inconsequential and maintaining it on the court's docket has value in informing the public of the terms of the settlement struck by the parties.”
Patient Choices Vermont argues that the language of the Patients bill of rights for palliative care and pain management statute, the assisted suicide statute and the decision by Judge Crawford requires Vermont physicians to provide assisted suicide information.

It is not completely clear whether the agreement between ADF and Vermont's Attorney General stands and it is not clear whether the language of both statutes require Vermont physicians to refer for assisted suicide.

Nonetheless, the concern about being forced to provide information about assisted suicide began with the language in the Patients bill of rights for palliative care and pain management act. 

In this case, a good intention resulted in a problematic outcome.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Australia's Dr Death is watching his clients die by suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Nadia Kajouji
In September 2014, a former Minnesota nurse, William Melchert-Dinkel, was convicted of assisted suicide in the death of Mark Drybrough from England and attempting to assist the suicide of Canadian teenager Nadia Kajouji. Melchert-Dinkel was a suicide voyeur who preyed upon suicidal members of a chat-room and counselled them to die by suicide on front of a web-cam.

William Melchert-Dinkel
Now, an Australian euthanasia leader, Philip Nitschke, known as Dr Death, has created a private live streaming service to enable him to watch his suicidal clients die by lethal drugs.

According to Tom Place, writing for the Australian Associated Press and Daily Mail Australia, Nitschke used the private live streaming to watch two clients die in May by his new suicide method. He claims that other clients have also agreed to let him watch their suicide deaths.

Nitscke says that his motivation is to ensure that his new suicide method will provide a "good and timely" death.

Protest of Philip Nitschke.
Nitschke, who has been involved with many controversial suicide deaths, lost his medical license in 2015 for his involvement in several controversial suicide deaths. At that time he was being investigated for his role in 20 deaths.


Recently Nitschke was challenged by a woman whose father died after receiving suicide advice from him.

In 2010, I wrote an article asking the question: Is Philip Nitschke different than Melchert-Dinkel? It seems more clear than ever that Nitschke has a suicide fetish that he is feeding with his new live stream death service.

Father with ALS Euthanized after being denied sufficient care in Canada

This article was published by National Review online on August 14, 2019.

Wesley J Smith
By Wesley J. Smith

A Canadian man disabled by ALS didn’t want to die now. He wanted to be cared for at home so he could be with his son.

Nope. The government’s socialized health-care system refused to pay for all the care he needed. But it sure paid to kill him by euthanasia. From the story:

Sean Tagert with his son.
Relocation was not an option as that would have taken him away from his son, of whom he had partial custody. . . .

“Ensuring consistent care was a constant struggle and source of stress for Sean as a patient,” read the Facebook post in his honour.

“The few institutional options on hand, Sean pointed out, would have offered vastly inferior care while separating him from his family, and likely would have hastened his death,” the post read.

Tagert pieced together a suitable care facility in his own home, which included an expensive saliva-suction machine that was needed to prevent him from choking, according to the post.
“We would ask, on Sean’s behalf, that the government recognize the serious problems in its treatment of ALS patients and their families, and find real solutions for those already suffering unimaginably,” read the post.
Because euthanasia is about “choice.”
Those with eyes to see, let them see.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Court order temporarily stops assisted suicide in New Jersey.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have amazing news.

Smith and Associates, a New Jersey law firm, obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the New Jersey assisted suicide act from going into effect. 

The New Jersey assisted suicide law passed on March 25 and was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on April 12.

The assisted suicide law went into effect on August 1, but due to the 15 day waiting period, no one could legally die by assisted suicide until Friday August 16. Smith and Associates stated:

The Act (which should be more properly called the “New Jersey Physician-Assisted Suicide Act”), provides for, among other things, the self-infliction of death by way of fatal “medication”, i.e. pharmaceutical poisons; compelling even non-participating physicians to transfer patients’ medical records for the purpose of furthering the Statute’s aims against many of such physicians’ beliefs and duties; allowing for the disparate treatment of patients; allowing for the transfer of unused fatal pharmaceuticals to persons not otherwise authorized; and amending the statutory duty to otherwise warn of harm to others. Moreover, the Act provides that in advance of the effective date of August 1, 2019, no fewer than six (6) regulatory bodies were to have issued required rules and regulations. However, no such required regulations or rules have been issued, rendering the entire death process wholly unregulated. If the Act is not immediately enjoined, New Jersey citizens can actually begin dying pursuant to its provisions as early as August 16, 2019.
The Superior Court of New Jersey, Justice Paul Innes, signed the temporary restraining order this morning. The New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Singh Grewel will have until September 13th to respond to the order.

U.S. Government Report Shows Hospice Abuse. Sacrificing Patient Care for Profit.

By Mark Hodges.

Groups opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide have been advocates of good hospice care. Stories about hospice abuse have created great concerns as we recognize that good care will reduce the demand for assisted dying while hospice abusive feeds the demand to legalize assisted suicide. Promoters of assisted suicide will often compare hospice care to assisted suicide and refer to hospice abuse to advocate for "more options" at the end of life.

The Trump Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General has released two scathing reports concerning the Hospice end-of-life-care industry, with the hope of cleaning up hospice abuse. These reports include stories of maggots in stomach feeding tubes; failing to clean wounds which ultimately became gangrened requiring leg amputations; ignoring pelvic injuries from sexual assault and giving wrong treatment that put patients in the hospital.

The reports specify “significant vulnerabilities” and “deficiencies” which put patients at risk and “jeopardize safety.” Patients were seriously harmed when hospices showed gross negligence or failed to report patient abuse.

Eighty-seven percent of hospices had at least one deficiency. One-third of hospices had complaints filed against them. Over 300 hospices (18%) had at least one “serious” deficiency or at least one “substantiated severe complaint” in 2016 alone. Most of those had a history of deficiencies or substantiated complaints.

Medicare, which pays for almost all hospice treatment, looks to state agencies and accrediting organizations to make sure hospices maintain quality of care for patients. Inspectors review clinical records, visit patients, investigate complaints, and report any deficiencies discovered.

The new government report includes both state and accrediting agencies’ findings. Nearly all hospices were surveyed.

Deficiencies included mismanagement, lack of quality control, improper vetting of staff, inadequate assessments, and poor care planning. As a result, patients suffered.

Horror stories abound. One woman was repeatedly abused by her caregiver/daughter, who literally chained her to her bed, and would “leave her mother in a wheelchair in the bathroom with the lights off and would spray her with water when she called out for help,” according to the government report. Hospice was told of the abuse, but did nothing --not even visit the patient for several weeks.

Another patient had an abusive neighbor, who frequently burst into his apartment “naked, high, and drunk” stealing the patient’s prescriptions. Hospice knew this was going on, yet did nothing to protect the patient, the government reported.

“These hospices did not face serious consequences,” the report says, because Medicare “cannot impose penalties, other than termination, to hold hospices accountable for harming beneficiaries.” Medicare’s only enforcement power is to take the offending hospice out of the Medicare program. It cannot levy fines, or issue sanctions, or close a facility.

One of the report’s recommendations is for Congress to give Medicare “enforcement tools” and “statutory effectively protect beneficiaries from harm.”

Medicare began dispersing tax dollars for hospice in 1982. As medicine advanced, hospice promised tax savings, with terminal patients cared for at home rather than in hospitals under ever-more-expensive and almost-always-futile medical procedures.

“At the first meetings of our national hospice organization, we were nearly all women, mostly volunteers working on making our communities better,’’ Dr. Joanne Lynn told the Washington Post.

As soon as government money for hospice was unleashed, for-profit companies began invading the industry. For-profit hospices have exploded twice as fast as non-profits.

The industry has quadrupled since 2000. That year, 70 percent of hospices were run by nonprofit organizations or government agencies; by 2012, the percentages were nearly reversed.

Today, hospice cares for more than 1.5 million patients.

“Once Medicare started paying for hospice, it was more men in suits, and the focus shifted to administration and sustainable financing,” Dr. Lynn lamented.

In other words, Big Business horned in, and with it came bottom-line-only concern and its inevitable corruption.

A Washington Post analysis found per-patient profit rose from $353 in 2002 to $1,975 in 2012. A Huffington Post investigation found for-profit hospices charged Medicare nearly 30 percent more per patient than nonprofits.

Medicare doled out $18 billion to hospices in 2017. A company’s profit is capped, on average, at $25,000 a patient.

With that kind of money at stake, sales became a top priority. Hospice salesmen, dubbed “Outreach Specialists,” aggressively sought customers from doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and Meals on Wheels groups. “Community Education Representatives” went to “health fairs” at senior centers with blood pressure testers and pitched families caring for an elderly loved one.

Whistleblowers from leading hospices testified that recruiters were told to stress the urgency of committing to hospice. Bonuses were given to reps who met new patient goals.

It gets worse. Ben Hallman’s 2014 exposé, “How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry,” found for-profit hospices pressured staff to illegally enroll unqualified patients, and falsified health records to get more tax dollars. Hospices also illegally-obtained hospital records, submitted insufficient documentation and did not adequately train caregivers.

Hospices even admitted patients who were not dying. The whole idea of hospice is to comfort the terminally ill --rules are two doctors have to certify the patient has only six months to live.

But healthier patients require fewer visits and stay longer, making for-profit companies more money.

“A longer length of stay is going to be more lucrative,” one hospice marketer explained. “If they come in very sick and die right away, it’s difficult to run a business that way.”

Medicare pays by the day, not the visit. Hospice companies can charge the government nearly $200 a day per patient ($6000 a month) for the first 60 days, then about $150 a day --regardless of how much care the patient needs, or how often hospice visits.

“They’re paying for a day of hospice with no accountability for what was done on that day,’’ Icahn School of Medicine Professor Melissa D. Aldridge said, “with a payment mechanism that is completely opaque as to what is being done.’’

Not surprisingly, average length of stay at for-profits is far longer than at non-profits (105 days/69 days).

The number of patients who didn’t die in California hospices jumped 50 percent from 2002 to 2012. At one Mobile AL hospice, 78 percent of “terminal” patients left alive.

A 2014 study found one woman who refused to take her cancer medicine, yet she kept getting better. After a year of hospice, she was finally tested. It turns out she never had cancer.

Multiple allegations from former employees charge hospices with enrolling patients who weren’t terminal --wasting well over $1 billion in tax dollars. Lawsuits also allege that patients received expensive care they didn’t need. The Trump Justice Department has joined several of those lawsuits.

According to the rules as they are now, hospices help determine whether a patient is terminal. At the start, two doctors certify a patient’s diagnosis. But re-approvals are routinely done by hospice physicians.

And corruption is made easy by Medicare’s acceptance of overly vague diagnoses, such as “debility” and “failure to thrive.” Next year, Medicare will prohibit such generalization in primary diagnoses.

“It is important that an initial step toward payment reform be taken as soon as possible,” industry watchdog MedPAC understated to Congress.

Hallman’s six month investigation also revealed over a thousand hospices hadn’t been inspected for more than seven years. The legal minimum was six years, until Congress under the Trump administration increased inspections to every three years.

Additional problems include “rogue” and false front hospices stealing tax dollars. Over billing, patient referral kickbacks, unneeded treatment, charging for therapies never administered, underqualified (lower paid) staff, and other methods of theft plague the industry.

From 2006 to 2014, the U.S. government charged that nearly every major for-profit hospice company committed billing fraud.

And there are even more serious charges.

Deaths from lethal doses of morphine and sedatives while under hospice care were brought to light by Peter Whoriskey in the Washington Post. Patients who were not dying when they started hospice, died from excessive doses of painkillers.

In 2009, the New York Times ran a story about “terminal sedation.” The article explained that a strong sedative, typically lorazepam, and a strong pain killer, typically morphine, are administered by an IV drip until heart rate and breathing are slowed until the patient can no longer eat or drink.

Patient overdosing “can intentionally hasten death,” the NYT article stated. A national survey found 83 percent of doctors said this is ethically permissible.

It is not known how often slow murder under the guise of palliative care is perpetrated. No data is collected about such lethal abuses.

Sandra writes, about the death of her father:
“I am absolutely certain that my father died because of the medication he was administered by hospice ...particularly the various forms of morphine he was given... These opioids caused the respiratory failure he went into as soon as hospice administered them to him. He was eligible for hospice with the diagnosis, ‘Failure To Thrive’ and ‘Debility’ after breaking his hip... He was just as alert (after the hip injury) as he had always been until hospice ‘snowed’ him... I didn’t hire hospice to push along my father’s demise.”
The new government report concluded with recommendations to begin righting the hospice industry. The Trump Inspector General urges 
  • tighter, more extensive oversight of hospices, 
  • changing laws to allow Medicare to enforce violations, and 
  • public posting of reports finding deficiencies and violations on Medicare’s website, “Hospice Compare.”  
President Trump’s 2020 budget includes a proposal to allow disclosure of survey reports from accrediting organizations.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition believes good hospice care eliminates the falsely-perceived “need” for “mercy killing” (an oxymoron). “The principles and practice of good palliative hospice care already developed and utilized, makes it abundantly clear that there is no need to die in pain, loneliness and anxiety.”

We believe in caring, not killing

But we are deeply concerned about the abuses and fraud that the U.S. government’s new report reveals. “Hospice abuse leads to a greater demand for the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide,” EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg explained.

We applaud the Trump administration’s Inspector General for a thorough investigation, support its recommendations as a start, and urge the strictest compliance to ethical standards throughout the hospice industry.

The only way to effectively "save hospice" from abuse is to return it to its roots, as expressed by Cicily Saunders. Good caring people who care for the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of a person as they approach a natural death.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Disturbing trends revealed in latest Washington State assisted suicide stats.

This article was published by HOPE Australia on August 9, 2019.

The most recent statistics for Washington State’s assisted suicide laws demonstrate what we have seen in jurisdiction after jurisdiction that have passed these laws: a dramatic increase in assisted suicide deaths, the emergence of “specialist” assisted suicide doctors, the lack of psychological care… it’s an all-too-familiar story.

An increase in assisted suicide deaths

In the ten years since the law has passed, the number of assisted suicides has increased by 300 per cent. It is a similar trend to what we have seen in other jurisdictions where assisted suicide has been legalised. What begins as promised “limited use” expands to become a much more common cause of death.
Inadequate pain control or concern about it does not motivate requests

As we see consistently in the statistics from Oregon, inadequate pain control or concern about it is not in the top 5 reasons patients requested assisted suicide. In Washington in 2018, the top five reasons that a patient requested assisted suicide were:

  • A loss of autonomy;
  • Being less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable;
  • A loss of dignity;
  • Being a burden on family, friends and caregivers; and
  • Losing control of bodily functions.
Assisted suicide advocates often claim that these laws are needed to avoid pain that cannot be relieved, but consistently, pain is not a motivating concern for patients.

Financial considerations play into the decision

Almost one in ten patients cite the financial implications of treatment as a reason for requesting assisted suicide. If governments were committed to providing genuine end-of-life choices, then we would not be seeing a significant number of patients asking for lethal drugs because they cannot afford treatment.

Almost no psychological treatment is provided

According to the data, only 4 per cent of patients were referred for psychological or psychiatric evaluation before being given lethal drugs. Despite the significant psychological impact of being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the evidence which shows the positive impact that treatment for depression can have on a patient’s acceptance of treatment options, it is alarming that only a tiny percentage of patients are referred for psychological or psychiatric assessment.

The rise of “specialist” assisted suicide doctors

In 2018, in 50 per cent of deaths, the doctor who prescribed the lethal drugs had known the patient for less than six months. The majority of cases, it seems, do not involve a long-term relationship between the doctor and patient.

Even more alarming, in some cases (the number of which was not reported), the length of the doctor-patient relationship was less than one week. Less than one week. This is evidence that there are doctors available who are willing to sign off on lethal drugs without having any meaningful relationship of care with the patient involved.

The latest data from Washington State is a reminder that assisted suicide laws follow a similar theme… expansion of use, lack of psychological and even medical care, and a true lack of end-of-life “choices.”

Australian euthanasia promoter, Philip Nitschke, challenged by woman whose father died after receiving suicide advice.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

As reported by Gary Adshead with, a woman, whose father died by suicide after being assisted Dr Philip Nitschke, challenged Nitschke at a pro-euthanasia Exit meeting.

Adshead reported that a woman named Candice confronted Nitschke, during the pro-euthanasia meeting stating:

"There are young people who have died, people with depression," she argued back. "It's wrong, it's totally irresponsible, he's a doctor, it's wrong."
Candice continued:
"Apologise for what happened to my father,"

"The information you put out kills people who are not in a rational state of mind to make that decision."
Candice then spoke to the media afterwards and stated:
her father was in his 60s when he took his life two years ago, after seeking advice from Mr Nitschke's Exit International group that advocates legalising voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. 
She said her father was suffering from depression, but he had no terminal illness.
Nitschke has been involved with many controversial suicide deaths. Nitschke lost his medical license in 2015 for his involvement in several controversial suicide deaths.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Suicide is never elegant or stylish. It is always a tragic loss.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Nick Goiran, a Liberal MLC from Western Australia, responded to an article published by The Sunday Times on August 4, that accused Goiran of being cruelly indifferent to Western Australians taking their life.

Goiran was published in The Sunday Times on August 11, clarifying what he actually said, concerning suicide, and his position opposing euthanasia.

Goiran, who was a member of the Western Australian End of Life Choices committee, stated that he does not encourage or endorse suicide but suicide is a choice that is available to Western Australians.

Goiran wrote:
the report went on to say: "While the final choice, of suicide, is a choice that is available to Western Australians, it is certainly not a choice which the State encourages or promotes. In fact suicide prevention policies and programs have had long standing bipartisan support, as every life in this State matters.
Those who follow Goiran's political career will know that Goiran not only part of the End of Life Choices committee, he wrote a 248 masterful minority report, undermining the support for legalizing euthanasia in the "official" report.

Goiran commented on the antics of euthanasia campaign Philip Nitscke, who promotes suicide with his new suicide machine. Goiran writes:
We have a significant suicide problem in WA and this is no time for dangerous mixed messages. The world's first 3D-printable suicide machine has been on show in Australia. Exit International's director and suicide machine inventor, Philip Nitschke, said he hoped the machine will appeal to those seeking an "elegant and stylish" death under Victoria's new euthanasia laws.
He then quotes Dr Michael Gannon, the past president of the Australian Medical Association who said:
"I have serious concerns about a community where we make arbitrary decisions about whose life is valuable enough to continue and whose should be ended under the law."
Goiran then concludes:
Suicide is never elegant and stylish. It is always a tragic loss.
Thank you Nick.

This is a link to the minority report written by Nick Goiran titled: License to care not to kill.