Friday, September 18, 2020

Netherlands euthanasia clinic: two year waiting list for euthanasia for mental illness.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On March 1, 2012; the euthanasia lobby in the Netherlands launched a euthanasia clinic with six mobile euthanasia teams. The euthanasia lobby in the Netherlands, announced that they anticipated that the mobile euthanasia teams would carry-out 1000 euthanasia deaths per year.

The mobile euthanasia teams planned to fill "unmet" demand by focusing on euthanasia for people with chronic depression (mental pain), people with disabilities, people with dementia/ Alzheimer, loneliness, and those whose request for euthanasia is declined by their physician.

Janene Pieters reported for the NL Times that there is now a two year wait time for euthanasia for mental illness at the euthanasia clinic. According to Pieters last year the euthanasia clinic received 3122 requests for euthanasia representing a 22% increase over the previous year.

Pieters reports that Paulan Starcke of the Expertise Center said:
While the coronavirus pandemic is an easy thing to blame for the increasing waiting times, the crisis was really only part of the problem... According to her, the pandemic caused a maximum delay of two months. 
"Our waiting list is primarily a signal that regular mental health care still does not often seriously respond to a request for euthanasia. We are referred to too often," 
Patients are referred to the Euthanasia Expertise Center if their regular doctor considers their request too complex to handle themselves. The Expertise Center provided euthanasia to over 60 people with mental health problems last year. Doctors who are not affiliated with the center only did so six times.
The Netherlands euthanasia clinic temporarily shut-down during the Coronavirus crisis. The euthanasia clinic which specializes in euthanasia for mental illness and euthanasia for people with dementia or questionable competency, reported that euthanasia deaths, increased to 898 in 2019 up from 727 in 2018.

The 2018 euthanasia report indicates that there were 6126 reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands in 2018. According to the news:
Of the cases reported to the committee last year, 146 concerned people with dementia and 67 people had severe psychiatric problems. In 205 cases, patients had multiple problems derived from the ageing process.

I am concerned that in 2018 205 people were placed into a new category off euthanasia for people who have multiple problems derived from the aging process. This sounds very similar to "the completed life.

I contend that very few psychiatrists, in the Netherlands, are willing to do euthanasia because it is counter to the role of a psychiatrist who is trained to prevent suicide not provide it.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Book: Made To Live. A personal and professional story. Purchase today.

Dr Paul Saba launched his book Made To Live on Sept 15, 2020.

Dr Saba is a Canadian hero. During the euthanasia debate, first in Québec and then nationally in Canada, Dr Saba not only spoke up and wrote briefs that were submitted to the committees, but Dr Saba also launched a court case challenging the validity of the law.

Made To Live tells some of that story, but most of all Made To Live focuses personal stories and experiences in his family and professional life.

Purchase Made To Live from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for $25 + GST ($26.25)(includes shipping) (Link).

The book starts with the story of his youngest daughter, Jessica, who was identified in-utero with significant heart issues. Many specialists told them that their child would not survive or if she survived her life or health would be significantly compromised.

Dr Saba and his wife believe in life and decided that they would do everything help their child.

The Made To Live trailer video focuses on the story of their daughter: (Link).

Dr Saba also writes about other medical experiences in his professional life. A patient who came to him who had been misdiagnosed and believed he was dying of cancer, a woman who had tried several treatments for cancer and was giving up, but is alive today because Dr Saba helped give her hope and more.

I personally found the book to be profound as Dr Saba shares stories and experiences in a well written human fashion. This book gives personal experiences as to why we must oppose killing.

We are Made to Live.

Nancy Elliott
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA
"Dr. Paul Saba’s personal journey to save life demonstrates his caring heart not only for his family but all those around him in the world whom he considers part of his extended family. He recognizes assisted suicide and euthanasia are neither caring nor compassionate. "
— Dr. Gordon Macdonald
CEO, Care Not Killing, London, UK
"In Made to Live, Dr. Paul Saba has provided a timely reminder of the underlying principles of medicine, which are to heal, promote health, and alleviate suffering, and to resist the temptation of killing the patient. Outlining his personal, family, and professional struggles to resist pressure coming from within the medical profession to take human life rather than preserve and cherish it, he provides valuable insight into the dangers posed to true medicine by the corrupting influence of the spread of euthanasia and assisted suicide. With reference to the history of the euthanasia movement, he shows that it is fundamentally opposed to the principles of medicine."
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
"I consider Dr. Paul Saba to truly be a canary in the coal mine, alerting the world about the fatal flaws associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide.... This book is an incredible addition to the arsenal of data and stories upholding the value of human life and enunciating why killing people is not only bad public policy but simply wrong."
Purchase Made To Live from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for $25 + GST ($26.25)(includes shipping) (Link).

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A retrial is ordered in the belgian euthanasia death of Tine Nys, who was diagnosed as autistic.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tine Nys (center) with sisters.
Belgium news is reporting that a retrial has been ordered into the euthanasia death of Tine Nys who died in 2010. HLN news reported:
The Court of Cassation has decided that a new trial will be brought against the doctor who performed the euthanasia on Tine Nys. The Court has ruled that the acquittal of doctor Joris van Hove was not sufficiently motivated. There will be no retrial for the two other doctors who were also acquitted.
Joris van Hove
On January 31, 2020 a 
Belgian court cleared three doctors in the euthanasia death of Tine Nys (38). The Nys family of continue to argue that Tine didn't qualify for euthanasia and that she was falsely diagnosed as autistic to qualify for euthanasia.

A BBC news article from January reported:
Nys's family argue that her reason for seeking to end her life was because of a failed relationship, far short of the "serious and incurable disorder" as required under Belgian law.
Michael Cook reported reported during the first trial that:
Dr Joris van Hove’s seamy background was highlighted in the media coverage. He has been in court before over offenses like drink driving and forgery. In 2017 he was convicted of molesting young male patients. Was his troubled background the reason why he had turned his hand to euthanasia? (On that fateful evening he had to rush off to do another euthanasia after Tine Nys.) Perhaps more testimony will shed light on this. The Dutch medical council has begun disciplinary proceedings against him.

Dr van Hove admitted that he had never done a euthanasia for psychological suffering before and that he had been clumsy. He had not completed his “end of life” training and he failed to administer the lethal injection properly. He did not have a stand for the infusion and the bag plopped onto Tine’s face as she was saying goodbye to her family. He neglected to bring a blank death certificate.
With respect to van Hove, HLN news reported:
Van Hove continues to work as a general practitioner. He was finally convicted in 2017 for indecency assault of patients, but the Order of Doctors only started a disciplinary investigation after a report by the prosecution in connection with the euthanasia process. “I have not heard from the Order of doctors anymore. I am currently at work and have no additional stress for a retrial. I have nothing more to say about the other case (the moral case, ed.). ”

Van Hove's new trial will probably be brought before a civil court early next year, but if it is concluded extensively, the case could drag on for a long time.
Tom Mortier's case concerning the euthanasia death of his depressed mother in Belgium also continues.

The family of Tine Nys have battled the Belgian legal system for 10 years.

Similar to Canada, when a euthanasia is approved by the doctors, even if the assessments are wrong, the death is considered lawful.

Hopefully justice will be done.

Analysis of Canada's 2019 MAiD Annual Report

This article was published by Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet on Sept 8, 2020.

By Amy Hasbrouck, Director Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet.

Does the MAiD Program shown in the first annual report meet the Supreme Court’s requirements?

In July of 2020, Health Canada issued the first annual report on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) using data drawn from the monitoring system that went into effect in November of 2018. The report covers MAiD provided throughout Canada during the 2019 calendar year.

Before we talk about the substance of the report, it’s important to remember that, in the 2015 Carter decision, the Supreme Court of Canada said that protecting vulnerable people required “a carefully-designed system imposing stringent limits that are scrupulously monitored and enforced.” Yet as Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has pointed out, the law has no method for families to appeal a determination of eligibility they believe is wrong.

Further, Health Canada has denied any responsibility to ensure compliance with the MAiD law’s safeguards. In the final regulation, Health Canada says: “[Monitoring] is fundamentally distinct from a process that seeks to assess individual medical or nurse practitioners’ compliance with the Criminal Code exemptions. Investigating instances of non-compliance with the eligibility criteria and procedural safeguards set out in the Criminal Code falls outside of the scope of the federal monitoring regime, and is under the purview of local law enforcement.” If Health Canada offloads compliance onto local law enforcement, how does Health Canada propose to ensure that the law is “scrupulously monitored and enforced”?

On page 17 of the report, Health Canada says that “all cases of MAiD are captured.” But that’s not the same thing as saying that all euthanasia deaths were reported. The report doesn’t include deaths by Continuous Palliative Sedation (CPS), euthanasia that doctors didn’t declare, or other life-ending acts without explicit request. There are no eligibility criteria, approval process or safeguards to be met for continuous palliative sedation. Studies in jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal which traced the cause of all deaths during a certain period of time have found that many euthanasia deaths were not reported, even when the doctors knew they were performing euthanasia. As well, Québec’s monitoring system, which has a two-track verification design, has consistently shown that doctors are not reporting all euthanasia procedures they perform. Nor does Health Canada discuss how many reports contained incomplete or inaccurate information, or how these were corrected. Thus, Health Canada may have reported all the MAiD declarations they received, but they didn’t count all euthanasia deaths.

At the same time, Health Canada admits there remain “data gaps.” They point out that, because an oral request can start the eligibility determination process, “many assessments for MAID are taking place with the written request only being completed once a finding of eligibility has been determined or a date for MAID has been established.” Thus the number of written requests reported in 2019 (7,336) is probably substantially lower than the real number of people who asked for euthanasia, because those who are determined ineligible upon making an oral request are not counted by the monitoring system. As well, not all requests that pass through MAiD case coordination or referral systems are captured because some employees of such services are not required to file MAiD reports. Nor does Health Canada document the role of euthanasia advocacy groups in facilitating MAiD approvals and procedures.

The report uses two different figures for the number of MAiD deaths being reported, which creates some confusion. In footnote 1, Health Canada says: “When all data sources are considered, there were a total of 5,631 MAID deaths in Canada in 2019. This includes 242 MAID deaths that were reported voluntarily by the provinces and territories. The detailed analysis on requests for MAID (7,336 written requests), and cases of MAID (5,389 provisions), are available only for the reports collected through the federal monitoring system (for requests received on or after November 1, 2018).” A clarification is provided on page 16. “[A]ggregate data for MAID deaths in 2019 is based on two data elements: MAID provisions in 2019 resulting from a written request prior to November 1, 2018, and data collected under the Regulations for the period January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.” So if a person asked to die before November 1, 2018, and was euthanized after January 1, 2019, their death was counted in 2019, but was not subject to the new monitoring system’s reporting requirements. This was the case for 242 people.

Of the 7,336 written requests for MAiD in 2019, 1,947 (26.5%) did not result in euthanasia.

  • 1,113 (15.2%) died before approval or euthanasia 
  • 571 (7.8%) were deemed ineligible due to:
    • lack of capacity – 184* (32.2%),  
    • natural death was not reasonably foreseeable – 159 (27.8%),  
    • not in an advanced state of irreversible decline – 134 (23.5%)
  • 263 (3.6%) requests were withdrawn.

There were 5,631 MAiD deaths in 2019 (including 242 requested before November 1, 2018)

  • Accounted for 2% of all deaths in Canada (ranging from .3% of deaths in NL to 3.3% in BC) 
  • All but a handful (< 7) were by euthanasia.  
  • Total since 2016 = 13,946

*These numbers are estimates based on the percentage of 571 people found ineligible. The report did not provide the exact figures.

The annual report reflects corrections and adjustments to the statistics given in the interim reports. The number of MAiD deaths has increased each year.

  • 1,015 in 2016 
  • 2,833 in 2017
  • 4,467 in 2018 = 58% increase over previous year,
  • 5,631 in 2019 = 26% increase over previous year.

On page 19, Health Canada explains the small number of assisted suicides by saying “providers are less comfortable with self-administration due to concerns around the ability of the patient to effectively self-administer the series of medications.” They do not talk about the individual’s choice, nor the apparent conflict between the idea of MAiD as a form of self-determination, and the small number who choose the more autonomous option of assisted suicide. This is important because, according to Statistics Canada, intentional self harm (suicide) was the 9th leading cause of death in Canada in 2018,** accounting for 3,811 deaths, whereas MAiD accounted for 4,467 deaths in 2018. But because MAiD isn’t counted either as suicide or as a separate “cause of death” it doesn’t take its place as the 9th leading cause of death in the country. In 2019, MAiD accounted for 2% of all Canadian deaths.

**The 2019 statistics are not available.

The monitoring system did not collect crucial demographic information that would show the impact of discrimination, economic and social pressures on requests to die. Health Canada is not tracking information about the person’s race, ethnic background, income, indigenous status, sexual orientation, disability status, first language, or other grounds of discrimination. Indigenous and racialized Canadians have been calling for accurate data collection to document racism in the health care system for decades, and we raised the issue in our comments on the draft monitoring regulations. As well, though the monitoring system collects data on where euthanasia was performed, it doesn’t ask about the person’s living situation when the request is made.

There are three “catch-all” categories in the section on underlying medical conditions (4.1) that total 19.8% (or 1,067) of all cases; “Multiple Comorbidities,” “Other Condition” and “Other Organ Failure.” An explanatory note says that: “other conditions” includes “a range of conditions, with frailty commonly cited.” When “miscellaneous” medical conditions make up 20% of cases, and include non-terminal conditions such as frailty, something smells fishy.

As we observed in our comments on the draft regulations, the monitoring system does not collect data on whether suicide prevention services were provided in response to requests for MAiD. The data in Section 4.3 regarding palliative care and disability support services gives no indication what services were provided, or whether the services met the person’s needs. Health Canada reports that 82% of people received palliative care, and 89% of those who needed them received disability support services. The authors conclude these findings: “seem to suggest that requests for MAiD are not necessarily being driven by a lack of access to palliative care services,” (p. 24) though they admit that “the data … [do] not speak to the adequacy of the services offered.”

Without suicide prevention intervention, or effective palliative care and disability support services, a person’s consent to euthanasia cannot be voluntary, capable, and free of external pressure.

A few items worth noting about who provided MAiD, and where it occurred:

  • The monitoring system doesn’t record the medical specialty of the practitioner who provides the written second opinion. 
  • While 20.6% of euthanasia were performed in “palliative care facilities” (p. 27) only 9% of MAiD practitioners were palliative care specialists. 
  • As Richard Egan pointed out in his analysis of the Canada report, “Despite two thirds of cases with cancer as the underlying condition, only 1.7% of clinicians administering euthanasia gave their specialty as oncology.” 
  • Mr. Egan also notes that even though euthanasia is not allowed for psychiatric conditions, 1.2% of euthanasia were administered by psychiatrists.

In its introduction to data on the kind of suffering reported by people asking to die (Section 6.1), Health Canada claims: “It is not the practitioner’s interpretation of the intolerability of an individual’s suffering; only the individual requesting MAID can determine whether their suffering is unbearable.” Yet there is ample evidence that medical professionals’ negative views of disability do affect how people value their disabled lives. This is why peer support is so essential to adapting to aging, chronic and degenerative illness and disability.

“Nature of suffering”

  • Loss of ability to engage in meaningful life activities – 82% 
  • Loss of ability to perform activities of daily living – 78% 
  • Inadequate control of symptoms other than pain (or concern about it) – 56%  
  • Inadequate control of pain (or concern about it) – 54%  
  • Loss of dignity – 53%  
  • Perceived burden on family, friends or caregivers – 34%  
  • Loss of control of bodily functions – 32%  
  • Isolation or loneliness – 14%  
  • Emotional distress/anxiety/fear/existential suffering – 5% 
  • Loss of control/autonomy/independence – 4% 
  • No/poor/loss of quality of life – 3%

The medical practitioner is responsible for ensuring compliance with the law’s safeguards; the only “proof” that safeguards were met is the clinician’s opinion and assurance to that effect. Of course, nearly all clinicians said they asked the person what they wanted, but did that conversation take place privately, away from the influence of family or others who might sway the decision? One telling statistic is that only 14% of practitioners based their determination of the voluntariness of the person’s request on prior knowledge of the person. This suggests that few providers had the deeper knowledge that comes of long-standing relationships with the people they were assessing for eligibility to die.

The questions and concerns raised by this first annual report lead us to believe that Canada has not met the Supreme Court’s mandate to create “a carefully-designed system imposing stringent limits that are scrupulously monitored and enforced.” 

Amy Hasbrouck is the President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Monday, September 14, 2020

Book launch - Made To Live with Dr Paul Saba on September 15.

Dr Paul Saba is launching his book - Made To Live on September 15, 2020.

Alex Schadenberg is hosting the Zoom event featuring Dr Saba, who will speak about his new book.

Date: September 15, 2020

Time: 7:30 PM (Eastern Time).

Now that the event has happened. Here is a link to the video of the event (Link).

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
"Dr. Paul Saba’s personal journey to save life demonstrates his caring heart not only for his family but all those around him in the world whom he considers part of his extended family. He recognizes assisted suicide and euthanasia are neither caring nor compassionate. "
—Nancy Elliott
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA
"I consider Dr. Paul Saba to truly be a canary in the coal mine, alerting the world about the fatal flaws associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide.... This book is an incredible addition to the arsenal of data and stories upholding the value of human life and enunciating why killing people is not only bad public policy but simply wrong."
—Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
"In Made to Live, Dr. Paul Saba has provided a timely reminder of the underlying principles of medicine, which are to heal, promote health, and alleviate suffering, and to resist the temptation of killing the patient. Outlining his personal, family, and professional struggles to resist pressure coming from within the medical profession to take human life rather than preserve and cherish it, he provides valuable insight into the dangers posed to true medicine by the corrupting influence of the spread of euthanasia and assisted suicide. With reference to the history of the euthanasia movement, he shows that it is fundamentally opposed to the principles of medicine."
— Dr. Gordon Macdonald
CEO, Care Not Killing, London, UK

A euthanasia (MAiD) story. Who decides?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Why has assisted death become common so quickly in Canada?

I was visiting a friend, this weekend, who told me the story of how his neighbour died by (MAiD) euthanasia earlier this year.

He told me that he and his wife were helping their neighbour, who had cancer, by bringing him to the hospital for treatments and the doctors for appointments.

The man was considering a new round of treatment, but his family doctor urged him to "ask" for MAiD (euthanasia). The cancer had spread quickly and he was losing hope so he agreed to die by lethal injection. In case your wondering, finding a second doctor or nurse practitioner to agree is not difficult.

My friend then spoke about how the doctor, and his neighbour, kept the euthanasia decision a secret. His wife asked, how does my husband know that he is dying on that day? She became aware of the decision in the last minute. 

If there is nothing wrong with killing by euthanasia, then why keep it a secret?

She sat at his side holding his hand while he was injected and died. My friend looked at me and said, his wife was upset.

My friend did not question that his neighbour qualified for MAiD, he questioned the process that led to his neighbours death.

According to my friend, this man was not suffering, even though he probably feared possible future suffering.

This man was speaking to his doctor about another course of treatment, not euthanasia. I understand that the doctor thought that further treatment was futile, but why did killing become the answer? Was it compassionate?

Why didn't the doctor assure the man that he could be kept comfortable? Why was euthanasia brought up rather than caring options?

This appears to be a case of a doctor who has normalized killing within his medical practice. He has done it before and doing it again only rationalizes, for him that his other acts of euthanasia were good.

Killing justifies killing and normalizes the act.

Caring normalizes caring.

Killing is not caring. Killing is not dignified.

Legalising assisted dying can actually increase suicides

The Conservative Woman published an article on September 13 by Theo Boer analysing the suicide statistics in the Netherlands. Boer was a member of a Regional Euthanasia Review Committee in the Netherlands for 10 years and has done significant analysis of the experience with euthanasia in the Netherlands.

Here is what Professor Boer wrote:

Last week I addressed a group of Parliamentarians about assisted suicide and euthanasia. My talk, which coincided with World Suicide Prevention day, sought to address the unintended consequences of legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia in the Netherlands.

One of the arguments we hear is that assisted dying will bring down the numbers of violent suicides. It will provide a more peaceful death to patients in unbearable suffering who would otherwise have violently killed themselves. For other patients, the mere option of assisted dying (even if it will never be effectuated) is said to be a reassuring thought that will keep them from killing themselves.

I admit that these arguments may hold in individual cases. However, on the whole, the argument is mistaken. In the Netherlands, assisted dying gradually became available for patients commonly considered to be at risk of committing suicide: psychiatric patients, people with chronic illnesses, dementia patients, and elderly people without a terminal disease. But instead, the suicide numbers went up: from 1,353 in 2007, they went up to 1,811 in 2019, a rise of 33.8 per cent. In surrounding countries, most of which have no assisted dying practice, the suicide numbers went down. Germany, with a population much like the Dutch in terms of age, economy, and religion, saw its suicide numbers decrease by 10 per cent in the same period.

One hypothesis I increasingly accept as an academic and as someone who worked for almost ten years in monitoring and reviewing assisted dying cases for the Dutch authorities is the normalising effect that legalising assisted dying has had on the general population. We already know from the literature that when one person takes their own life, it can be a catalyst for others. Indeed, there are over 50 peer-reviewed studies reaching the same conclusion in what has been dubbed suicide contagion, copycat suicides or the Werther Effect. Not without reason, and based on advice from the World Health Organisation, the media go to great lengths to censor details that could trigger further suicides. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about their carefulness when reporting assisted suicide stories, the great majority of which express an ill-informed and naïve sympathy for assisted dying.

The Netherlands should act as a cautionary tale to those in power in the UK. Like many of the current supporters of assisted dying, I used to believe that it was possible to regulate and restrict killing to terminally ill mentally competent adults with less than six months to live. I also thought that regulating suicide and death in this way would curtail those tragic cases where someone ends their own life. I was wrong. If there is one thing I learned in my country, it is that legalising assisted dying will not constrain the numbers. Deep down, many campaigners consider the legalisation of assisted dying for terminal patients merely as a stepping stone towards further liberalisation. Take Canada as an example. Soon after euthanasia was legalised in 2016, right-to-die lobbyists contested the limitation to the terminally ill. Not without success: in 2019, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled that such a limitation is ‘unconstitutional’ and that euthanasia should become available to any patient, whatever their life expectancy. As for the Netherlands, a Private Member’s Bill is making its way through The Hague that would extend killing to any person of 75 years and older.

Again, it may be reassuring to some that they will have access to an assisted death. But legalisation also conveys a cynical political signal: some people may be right if they no longer want to exist. In the Netherlands, I have witnessed a growing portrayal of death as the most effective and dignified remedy to unbearable suffering. Not only has this led to more assisted deaths, but it may well be one of the causes of the increased suicide numbers. This matters to the UK, because your number of suicides is roughly 3.5 times the Dutch level. According to your ONS, in 2018 there were just over 6,500 suicides. Even a modest percentage increase could add dozens if not hundreds to these figures, and this seems a risk too far.

Many of those campaigning for a change in the law have a genuine compassion for suffering people. However, be careful what you wish for. The legalisation of assisted dying will not only lead to tens of thousands of cases of assisted dying – the Netherlands, with 17 million inhabitants, has between 6,000 and 7,000 cases of assisted dying yearly – but may well contribute to more people, not fewer, taking their own lives.
More articles on this topic:


Friday, September 11, 2020

Utah man claims his wife's death was not murder but assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dennis & Jean Chamberlain
Dennis Chamberlain was convicted for attempted murder in the death of his wife, Jean, in 2014. Dennis is asking for parole by claiming it was an assisted suicide and not murder.

Marcos Ortiz, for ABC news - The Justice Files, reported:
In 2014, he was arrested for the murder of his wife, Jean. He eventually accepted a plea bargain and the charge was reduced to attempted murder. He was sentenced to a minimum of three years and up to life in prison.
Chamberlain claimed, during the parole hearing, that it was an assisted suicide, not murder.
Before the hearing officer, Chamberlain continued to maintain it was an assisted suicide, not murder. But an assisted suicide is still against the law in Utah.
“We decided the two of us together to help her pass on to the next life,” he said. “And so what I did is I put a plastic bag on her head … and she didn’t survive very long after that. ”
The act of asphyxiating a person with a plastic bag is murder not assisted suicide. Chamberlain claims that he received advice from the Hemlock Society:

During the 2015 defense of his actions, Chamberlain claimed the two of them were followers of the Hemlock Society. The organization believes it is one’s right to choose when they died. He said he met with members of the group who told him that helping his wife die was an option.

“It wasn’t just my decision,” he said. ” It was mine and my wife Jean’s decision and we went along with the people that were part of that organization.”
Chamberlain's daughter, Sonya Balling, and Jean's sister, Janis Farran don't believe him and don't want him released. Ortiz reported Farran as stating:
“He was not a grieving widower but a calculated killer who planned the execution of our beloved sister and then covered it up,”

“In the face of the evidence of his actions Dennis still denies that he killed her. He has shown no remorse whatsoever.”

“He’d tape her to a chair and leave her,”

“And (he’d) be upset and punish her if she soiled herself.”
Balling also commented on her father's crime:
“In my father’s mind he hasn’t done anything wrong so until he makes an effort to acknowledge his actions for what they truly were or try to change his mindset or make amends, I do not believe he should be released”
If assisted suicide were legal in Utah, Chamberlain could have argued that all he did was complete an act that is legal for doctors to do.

The fact is that putting a plastic bag over someone's head and asphyxiating them to death is murder. He did the act, therefore he should serve his time.

  • Nitschke possibly connected to a murder in America (Link).

Nova Scotia court case about the husband who was approved for euthanasia, but is not terminal and may be delusional, continues.

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Nova Scotia court case concerning a woman who is trying to prevent her husband of 48-years from dying by euthanasia will continue on September 24. 

Katherine's husband was approved for (MAiD) euthanasia even after receiving conflicting assessments for MAiD (euthanasia). Katherine says he is not dying and is delusional about his medical condition. Justice Elizabeth Van den Eynden recently lifted a temporary injunction to allow the man to die by euthanasia, even though the judge set the court date for September 24.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition found the decision by Justice Van den Eynden to be untenable.

To schedule a hearing on the merits of the injunction for September 24 and then lift the temporary injunction on September 4, allowing him to die by lethal injection, makes a mockery of justice. 
If the case continues, and if it is decided that the husband lacked effective capacity to decide or did not qualify under the law, but at the same time he had already died by euthanasia is farcical.
Katherine lawyers were denied a formal review of the decision even though her husband can die by euthanasia before September 24. The case questions whether her husband qualifies for MAiD and how to respond to conflicting or false MAiD assessments.

In response to media inquiries Katherine stated:
I have learned so much about the potential for abuse of vulnerable people in Canada through MAID. The MAID programs don’t even follow their own procedures. Doctor shopping is rampant and there is no oversight by court or Tribunal. This must change for the safety of all vulnerable Canadians.
Her Lawyer Hugh Scher noted:
There must be a significant overhaul to MAID in Canada. The limited safeguards put in place by parliament have proven ineffective to prevent against doctor shopping and arbitrary application of the law. If MAID is health care as many argue then it must be subject to the same oversight requirements as other end of life treatments in terms of resolving disputes about capacity, consent and reasonable foreseeability of death.

Absent that we have unleashed a dangerous program of euthanasia on demand that puts the lives of vulnerable people at risk.
Hugh Scher
In an interview by CTV News Avis Favario, Scher suggested that this case may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"What I think this court case speaks to fundamentally is the need to have a dispute resolution process through the courts in those rare cases where there is a fundamental disagreement or conflict between multiple experts that needs to be resolved, because they're coming to completely alternate positions about the question of whether the person meets the criteria or not,"
The decision as to whether Katherine will seek to appeal this case to the Supreme Court of Canada cannot be determined at this time.

The question that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition seeks to clarify that when there are conflicting or a false MAiD assessment, is there an avenue to challenge the assessment, especially since this is a life and death decision.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition needs your help.

EPC agreed to pay for the legal bills, but in turn, we need your financial support.

Donate to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (Link) by:
Paypal (Link),
Donate by credit card by calling the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348, or
Send cheques to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Box 25033, London ON., N6C 6A8.
More information on this case.

Grandma took her life yesterday. Her doctors helped her

This article was published by Mercatornet on September 10, 2020.

She was not in pain, but she was lonely and dejected

By Madeleine Dugdale

My husband’s grandmother took her life yesterday in a Victorian nursing home. After 87 years of a life well-lived, she swallowed state-sanctioned poison to end her life.

The “health” professionals here called it medication, but the aim of taking medicine is to improve one’s health, not destroy it. Use all the Orwellian double-speak you like to sugar coat it — suicide is suicide.

Her death certificate will most likely read, “cause of death”: cancer. Not suicide. How transparent and honest!

Grandma herself said she was not in any physical pain. In fact, only hours before her death, she said she just feared being in pain. Apparently nowadays, fear of what might occur is a form of intolerable suffering, which ticks the criteria in Section 9 (d) (iv) of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act. That states: 

“the person must be diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition that (iv) is causing suffering to the person that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable.”
How conveniently subjective and open-ended. So much for tight restrictions.

We wax lyrical about removing the stigma around mental health. Yet, in this situation, was it ever put to Grandma that, with the help of the best palliative care and family support, we could all help to alleviate this dear old woman’s fear of pain? Was this discussed on the same playing field as euthanasia?

And being mere grandchildren in an environment where contentious issues are too uncomfortable and so are quickly shut down, there was little my husband and I could do to help.

Our failure is indicative of another double standard. We rightly offer help and throw funding at young people in the same situation. But for an old sick woman who had given her life for others, we didn’t even try. We are a discriminatory, ageist society. Our medical professionals, who are meant to “do no harm”, whisper into the ears of the vulnerable to imply that excruciating pain is imminent; that painless suicide is dignified; that a painful death is undignified.

Why do our medical professionals fail to discuss palliative care on the same playing field as euthanasia?

I can hear the clamour of indignation and phoney outrage now: it’s what she wanted, it was her choice. But I ask again, were all options put on the table? I don’t think so.

Thrown into a nursing home before a terminal diagnosis and then recently widowed, she said just last week that she was “over” being locked up.

That’s it basically: she was just “over it.”

If family members had initially welcomed her into their homes with open arms and cared for her for as long as possible, at least one factor which most likely led to her death would’ve been eliminated. And once she became terminal and in need of more significant medical care, what she needed was more visitors, access to her family, before and after our draconian, disproportionate Covid laws came into play.

Keeping us apart does not keep us together.

But this asks a lot of us all and character, virtue and selflessness are not things we gain overnight. It’s a whole way of life, practised over a lifetime.

Grandma’s “choice” has a far-reaching effect as her choice actually impinges on the freedom of others. So many were forced to play a part in her death, whether they wanted to or not, from pharmacists, to nurses, to the delivery man who dropped off the vial, and even her own son, who was “uncomfortable” with her request for him to stay and watch her take her life.

And it took over an hour for her to breathe her last breath.

Many would insist that the choice for medically assisted suicide, made in advance as part of a well-thought out “end of life plan”, is an empowering and triumphant act of autonomy. They defend the act on the assumption that all personal choices are good, so long as one chooses them, and believes them to be right.

It is this ethical framework that creates the very worst slippery slope and takes us down the most ghastly of rabbit holes, where loving grandmothers consume poison to avoid pain that could’ve been managed and loneliness that could’ve been avoided by the good palliative care available to her, and real compassion from family members and close friends.

Committing suicide is not courageous. It’s an horrendous act of desperation and defeat, brought on by the depression that so many face unnecessarily at the end of their lives.

As a society we are complicit in the legalisation and practice of euthanasia and it puts families in a terrible predicament. These decisions do not unite families; they are divisive. In Grandma’s death, obfuscation and secrecy stymied any intervention. Any questions or conversations on the matter by close family members were silenced. Heaven forbid we really discuss all options.

If it had been a natural death, how different yesterday would have been.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Euthanasia advocate in France has resumed eating and drinking.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alain Cocq, who was blocked by facebook earlier this week from live streaming his death, has changed his mind and has started eating and drinking. On Wednesday he said 
that he did not have the "capacity for the fight any more".

Mr. Cocq has been lobbying French legislators to legalize euthanasia. BBC news reported:
In July, he wrote to French President Emmanuel Macron, describing his "extremely violent suffering" and asking for permission to die "with dignity". 
Mr Macron said he was "moved" by the letter, but could not grant the request for euthanasia as he was "not situated above the law". 
"Your wish is to request active assistance in dying which is not currently permitted in our country," he said.
Last Saturday Mr Cocq announced that he ate his last meal and would livestream his death on facebook. The BBC news report stated:
"I know the days ahead are going to be difficult but I have made my decision and I am calm," he said. 
But Facebook on the same day blocked his plan to livestream himself slowly dying, stating that it did not allow portrayals of suicide.
On Monday, Mr Cocq was admitted to hospital because he was suffering from starvation and dehydration. On Wednesday he started eating again. BBC reported:
After eating again, Mr Cocq told AFP on Wednesday he would be allowed to return home in the next 10 days, where a medical team would be installed.
Mr Cocq health condition is difficult. We hope that he finds caring people to help him find the will to live.