Monday, June 30, 2008

Dr. Balfour Mount

On June 25, I had the opportunity to listen to and meet a great man.

Dr. Balfour Mount spoke in Woodstock, Ontario, to a group of more than 100 people on palliative care and the care of others.

His insight is phenomenal and he is one who has also battled cancer and survived.

His analysis of our death culture was very interesting.

He spoke about the changes in the way we experience life and death over the past 100 years. He told us how the previous generation lived as families and died within a family. Their experience with death was different from ours.

He explained how the two wars changed our cultural views of death and the holocaust affected our culture.

He wanted us to know that we have experienced several holocausts in the last 100 years. The German people are not different from us; we are all capable of horrific acts.

He spoke to us about the experience of death in the modern day. He wanted us to recognize the need to care for each other.

He spoke about the modern cultural phenomenon of "death anxiety." This is particular to the modern culture because we don't die in the community or among our family, but rather alone and institutionalized.

He asked us why we are considering euthanasia now in history and he attributed this phenomenon to the cultural death anxiety.

Balfour Mount is a sign of hope for our times. We need to listen to and learn from his wisdom and experience.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cancer patient commits suicide when denied chemo

Please go to Wesley Smith blog "secondhand smoke" about Albert Baxter in the UK who committed suicide after being told that he could not have chemotherapy that might have been an effective treatment for his type of cancer.

Go to:

Samuel Golubchuk dies on June 24

On Tuesday, June 24, Samuel Golubchuk died a peaceful and natural death.

The death of Samuel Golubchuk needs to be remembered by the courage that his children Miriam and Percy had in defending his wishes and his faith.

Very few parents can say that their children would go this far to protect them.

The link to the Winnipeg Free Press Article:

We still need to pressure the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons to amend their Statement on Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment.

Judge Schulman stated in his decision to grant a temporary injunction from removing life-sustaining treatment from Golubchuk that the issue of "who decides" when removing life-sustaining treatment is not settled in law.

Jocelyn Downie stated on June 9th to a conference in Winnipeg Manitoba that doctors do not have the right to remove life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient.

Downie stated that there is no legal precedent in Canada that gives doctors the authority to remove a feeding tube or issue do not resuscitate orders against a patient’s wishes.

The Manitoba College believe that physicians have the right to decide when to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.

This needs to change.

Link to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba Statement on Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bill C-562 - What is Francine Lalonde thinking?

I like to think that activists who promote the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide are people who have the best of intentions but view life in a different way than I do.

When I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies bi-annual conference in Toronto (Sept 2006), I experienced a very different reality.

Many of the people present were directly involved in skirting the law by causing the death of people.

The concern I have for vulnerable people was simply negated and all effective opposition to their ideology was attacked as religious dogmatism.

I have been told that Francine Lalonde is a nice person but when I read Bill C-562 I feel the same type of unrest in my heart as I felt when I attended the Right to Die conference.

The bill legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who experience physical and mental pain. People who experience mental pain are often among the most socially devalued persons in our culture and yet Lalonde is willing to prescribe death instead of compassionate care for them.

The bill does not define terminal illness. Does it not concern Lalonde that people who receive a terminal diagnosis are often immediately shocked by that information? Many people go through a tempory depression after learning of their medical condition and only after experiencing a supportive environment or a period of acceptance do they once again gain composure.

The bill bases competency on whether or not the person appears to be lucid. Does Lalonde not realize that one is not competent unless they are actually lucid? Many people who experience chronic depression will appear to be lucid when in fact they are not competent to make important decisions.

The bill does not limit euthanasia and assisted suicide to physicians. Lalonde uses the term medical practitioner as defined by provincial law. This term is not limited to physicians only.

I do not like to compare Bill C-562 to the type of advocacy work that is associated with Dr. Philip Nitschke, Australia’s Dr. Death, but Nitschke advocated that Graeme Wylie be allowed to die by euthanasia, even though he had Alzheimer's disease and was incompetent to consent to the act.

Bill C-562 allows for the euthanasia of incompetent people so long as they have made the request in a valid advanced directive. Is Lalonde not concerned that medical practitioners may use this part of her bill to eliminate many of the most expensive patients in our long-term care facilities?

The problem with the “Dying with Dignity” movement is that they claim to be about legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide for terminally ill people who are suffering uncontrolled pain, but that is only their calling card. In reality they are about the “right to die” becoming recognized as a radical new human right that will be available to everyone, at anytime, for any reason.

Bill C-562 would move Canada very close to that radical social position.

An analysis of Bill C-562: An act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity)

On June 12, 2008 Francine Lalonde MP (Bloc Quebecois) from La Pointe-de-l’Île introduced Bill C-562: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity).

In June 2005 Lalonde introduced Bill C-407. Bill C-562 has only minor revisions to Bill C-407.

Bill C-562 amends subsections 222(7) and subsection 241(2) of the criminal code.

Section 222 is the homicide provision in the criminal code. Bill C-562 legalizes euthanasia by amending subsection 222(7) of the criminal code.

Euthanasia is a deliberate act undertaken by one person with the intention of ending the life of another person to relieve that person’s suffering where the act is the cause of death. (Of Life and Death - 1995)

Section 241 is the assisted suicide provision in the criminal code. Bill C-562 legalizes assisted suicide by amending subsection 241(2) of the criminal code.

Assisted suicide is the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of another who provides the knowledge, means or both. (Of Life and Death - 1995)

Bill C-562 amends the criminal code by adding to subsections 222(7) and 241(2) exceptions whereby the law can be circumvented.

• The bill states that the person must be at least eighteen years old.

This “safeguard” may be unconstitutional because it limits what is determined by the bill to be appropriate medical treatment based on the age of the person. Since the constitution recognizes that we are all equal under the law, therefore it may be unconstitutional to limit the rights of individuals, based on age, without good reason.

• The bill states that the person is eligible: after trying or expressly refusing the appropriate treatments available that they continue to experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief.

Therefore, a person is eligible if they experience severe physical pain without any prospect of relief. Physical and mental pain can always be mitigated. Modern palliative care and has substantially improved over the past 20 years. Whereas medical science has not solved all the every problem with pain and symptom management, the concept of physical pain without any prospect of relief is more a sign of a patient who has not been appropriately cared for and not a reason for euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The bill is a direct threat to the lives of people with disabilities and/or chronic conditions who are often viewed as being without any prospect of relief. People with disabilities and chronic conditions will often view their life experience differently from those who are making a judgement of their quality of life.

In this bill, a person is also eligible if they experience severe mental pain without any prospect of relief. Chronic depression and mental pain is always treatable. Further, one must question the concept of providing euthanasia and assisted suicide to a person who experiences a chronic depression or mental pain because you could never be sure that they are competent to consent.

The bill does not require medical practitioners to refer people with mental pain to a registered psychiatrist or a psychologist.

A person is also eligible if they have refused appropriate treatments that are available. How can a physician determine that there is no prospect of relief if the person refuses appropriate treatments?

• The bill states that the person is eligible if: they suffer from a terminal illness. The bill does not define terminal illness.

Many people live with a terminal illness but are not actively dying. My step-father died 2½ years after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

This bill would have qualified my step-father for euthanasia or assisted suicide when he was diagnosed.

• The bill states that the person is eligible if: the person has provided a medical practitioner, while appearing to be lucid, with two written requests more than 10 days apart expressly stating the person’s free and informed consent to opt to die.

The assumption that someone is competent when they are appearing to be lucid is very questionable. To appear to be lucid cannot be considered an appropriate measure for competency.

The safeguard related to making two written requests more than 10 days apart is to prove the lasting intent of the person. The fact that the person who makes the request only needs to appear to be lucid renders the safe-guard ineffective.

• The bill states that if the person has designated in writing with free and informed consent, before two witnesses with no personal interest in the death of the person, another person to act on his or her behalf with any medical practitioner when the person does not appear to be lucid.

This means that a person can die by euthanasia if they have made the request in a valid advanced directive.

It is unclear whether the person who commits euthanasia on behalf of the incompetent person must be a medical practitioner. The bill states that “another person can act on his or her behalf with any medical practitioner when the person does not appear to be lucid.” This may mean that a person can cause the death of an incompetent person if it is done with a medical practitioner and fulfills the request within a valid advanced directive?

• The bill requires that written confirmation of the diagnosis been received from at least two medical practitioners. The bill does not limit the practice of doctor shopping. In the state of Oregon, people who are denied an assisted suicide prescription from one doctor will simply go to another doctor.

• The bill requires the medical practitioner to assure that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the written requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide was made under duress or while a person was not lucid.

This safeguard is designed to guarantee competency. Since the person who makes the request only needs to appear to be lucid renders the safeguard ineffective.

• The bill requires the medical practitioner has informed the person of the consequences of the request for euthanasia or assisted suicide and of the alternatives that are available to the person.

This safeguard is designed to guarantee that the person is aware of the available options. Since the person is not required to try effective treatments renders the safeguard ineffective.

• The bill requires the medical practitioner to act in the manner indicated by the person and that the person may revoke their request at any time.

• The bill requires the medial practitioner to provide the coroner with a copy of the written confirmations of the diagnosis that were received from at least two medical practitioners.

This is a common “after-the-fact” reporting system that exists in other jurisdictions where they have legalized euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. After-the-fact reporting does not provide any protection for the person who has died already, it only provides protection for the medical practitioner.

• The bill defines medical practitioner as a duly qualified person by provincial law to practice medicine. The definition of medical practitioner is not limited to a physician.

Summary of Bill C-562:

• The bill legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.
• The bill does not restrict euthanasia and assisted suicide to citizens of Canada. Canada could become a haven for American Suicide Tourists.
• The person must be at least 18 years old.
• A person may refuse appropriate treatments and still obtain euthanasia or assisted suicide. How can a physician determine that there is no prospect of relief if the person refuses appropriate treatments?
• The person may be experiencing either physical or mental pain. The bill will allos death as a treatment for depression or other chronic mental conditions.
• The bill does not define terminal illness and it is not limited to people who are terminally ill.
• The bill measures competency based on appearing to be lucid. What does that mean?
• The bill requires the person to submit two written requests at least 10 days apart.
• The bill allows incompetent people to die by euthanasia if they have made the request within a valid advanced directive. It is not clear whether medical practitioners are the only ones who can carry out euthanasia on incompetent people.
• The bill requires at least two medical practitioners to confirm the persons diagnosis in writing.
• The bill requires that all requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide be made free of duress.
• The bill requires the medical practitioner to inform the person of all alternatives.
• The bill assures that the person may revoke their request at any time.
• The bill requires the medical practitioner to provide confirmation of the diagnosis to the coroner. After-the-fact reporting systems only protect the medical practitioner and not the person.
• The definition of medical practitioner is not limited to a physician.

Final comments:

Legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide is always wrong because:
• It directly and intentionally threatens the lives of the most vulnerable members of society. The lives of people with disabilities and chronic conditions, people who live with depression and mental illness, and others are directly threatened by euthanasia and assisted suicide.
• It establishes euthanasia and assisted suicide as treatment options for problems that are properly solved by effective and compassionate medical care.
• It changes the trust relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient.
• Society cannot legislate autonomy and choice in relation to acts that intentionally and directly cause death. No level of safeguard will ever protect vulnerable people from the subtle pressure to “choose” death.

Canadians must reject bill C-562.

Canadians must promote the right of every Canadian to excellent end-of-life care and to guarantee that every Canadian is treated with respect and dignity until their natural death.

Bill C-562 can be read at:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Japan gripped by suicide epidemic

Many people refuse to recognize the connection between suicide and assisted suicide.

The primary indicator for requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide is depression or a feeling of hopelessness. This happens to be the same primary indicator for suicide attempts.

The recent phenomenon of suicide promoting websites that offer instructions and in some cases counseling to encourage someone to commit suicide further connects suicide to assisted suicide.

Some of these suicide promoting/counseling websites are operated by groups that exist to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. One of those website operators is Dr. Philip Nitschke from Australia.

This is a significant problem in Japan. If you read the article from the link you will notice that Japan has a suicide epidemic that has been worsened by the suicide websites.

On May 1, I reported about a call for internet providers in Japan to block access to suicide websites in relation to the surge in suicides in Japan.

This has also become a problem in the UK. If you link to one of my previous blog posts you will notice that the problem of suicide websites has become so prevalent in one region of the UK that the government is discussing strenghtening the law to shut-down these websites.

I am convinced that these websites have a similar effect on society as legalizing assisted suicide. Suicide promotion/counseling websites prey on the vulnerable who are either depressed or feeling a sense of hopelessness.

Often these people have been marginalized in society or made to feel like they are a burden on society or feel like they have no one who cares for them or no reason to live.

More often these are people who are experiencing clinical depression or treatable mental conditions. These are the people society needs to protect.

Vulnerable people are also the ones who become victimized by euthanasia or assisted suicide. Undiagnosed depression is a common problem. Just because someone has a terminal or chronic condition, does not mean that their request for euthanasia or assisted suicide is not a cry for help in a difficult personal time.

These websites need to be shut-down on a world-wide basis. The purveyors of these websites need to be prosecuted in a similar manner as people who are circulating child pornography.

These websites directly effect the most vulnerable in society and they must be stopped.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Foreshadow of things to come.

I just read Mark Pickup's profound new blog entry "Foreshadow of things to come."

Pickup recognizes the problem with intentionally dehydrating people who are not otherwise dying to death.

To intentionally dehydrate someone to death, who is not otherwise dying, is euthanasia by omission because the cause of death is dehydration and not the medical condition.

We can play with language and philosophy all we want, but the underlying reality is that to intentionally cause death, by action or omission, is a threat to the lives of people with disabilities.

Doctor offers to treat dying Winnipeg man

Finally there is some reasonable progress in the Golubchuk case.

Grace Hospital has a doctor who has agreed to provide medical care for Samuel Golubchuk. The other doctors who were attempting to put pressure on the system by refusing to provide medical care for Golubchuk will not have to be involved in the case and will not be in a position to refuse to provide medical treatment to the other patients.

There are several problems with the Golubchuk case.

The first concern is the lack of effective communication between the hospital and the family. An antagonistic relationship forced the Golubchuks to seek a legal recourse to a situation that was best solved by proper negotiation and mediation.

The second concern is the lack of respect for the particular moral beliefs of the orthodox Jewish community. By pressuring everyone to fit within one decision-making model they are creating a culture that will require other families who have particular moral beliefs to seek legal remedy when the physician or the hospital is unwilling to respect their beliefs.

Not everyone will make the same decisions that the Golubchuk family have made. Nonetheless, we need to respect the diversity of our nation and uphold the right of a family to defend the wishes of their family members when it comes to maintaining life-support.

Finally, there is a lot of propaganda connected to the Golubchuk case.

Arthur Shafer has been quick to deride the decisions made in the Golubchuk case and he has been willing to exaggerate the claims of Dr. Anand Kumar, who painted a worse case scenario in order to defend his decisions that the family has litigated against him.

We need to lower the tension and introduce a mediator to allow the family and the hospital to find common ground without the current hostility that has surrounded this case.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Extra-ordinary Treatment vs Ordinary Care

This morning I was interviewed on CBC radio in Winnipeg Manitoba concerning the Golubchuk case.

I was asked what level of treatment constitutes ordinary care, and should be always provided, and what constitutes extraordinary treatment that is optional.

First: The Golubchuk case is unique because Samuel Golubchuk is an orthodox Jewish man who holds a distinct set of principles. I respect the Golubchuk family and I uphold their right to defend the principles that they and their father hold.

When people call me and ask specific medical questions I always differentiate between medical decisions that will be of benefit and carry a minimal amount of burden and those that provide very little benefit and may have a significant level of burden.

When a treatment is of benefit and the burden of the treatment is minimal then the treatment should be provided. When the treatment provides a minimal benefit or causes a significant level of burden then the treatment should be considered optional, based on the wishes of the person or their substitute decision-maker.

Basic care provisions, often referred to as ordinary care, should be considered obligatory. Basic care provisions include warmth, care, comfort, pain relief, fluids and food (unless it is physiologically impossible to provide, or the person is nearing death, or if its provision is a significant burden to the person) and other basic necessities of life. The respirator should not be considered obligatory but may be necessary for the continuation of life.

We must never cause death, but only allow death to occur.

Therefore we must reject any action or omission that directly and intentionally causes the death of a person. This is an issue of fundamental justice and equality.

You cannot allow one person to directly and intentionally cause the death of another person. This would give one person the power over life and death of another person. You can never control this and it will always result in a direct threat, by action or omission, of the lives of the most vulnerable.

More on Samuel Golubchuk

I was interviewed today by CBC radio in Manitoba concerning the Golubchuk case in Winnipeg.

It appears that the doctors are intentionally pressuring the system into a crisis in order to get their way and stop providing treatment for Samuel Golubchuk.

We need to remember that Samuel Golubchuk is an orthodox Jewish man. His family is defending their faith position by asking that nothing be done that would result in his death. I may not make the same treatment decisions as the Golubchuks but I respect the family's right to defend their father's wishes and his faith position.

Further to the issue of the physicians intentionally pressuring the system to reject treatment for Samuel Golubchuk, the legal system clearly gives the institution the advantage. Grace Hospital has hired, at taxpayers' expense, the best legal team in Manitoba to represent their position while the Golubchuk family are left to their own limited resources to protect the values of their father. Clearly, the system leans heavily towards supporting the hospital's agenda.

I am concerned that it is not possible to have a fair legal trial when the hospital has such legal advantages.

I am also very dissappointed with the fact that Grace Hospital has not provided a mediator for this dispute. Communication between Grace Hospital and the family has broken down. It is likely that other decisions may be possible if the family and the hospital could communicate in a non-confrontational manner.

It is also too bad that the physicians and Grace Hospital continue to refuse to respect the orthodox Jewish faith perspective of the Golubchuk family. The circumstances of this case are not common and require a special sensitivity to solve.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Competent Enough to Live

I recently received an email from Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo, that included a shocking article about the Karen Weber case.

Karen's case is similar to Terri Schiavo's case, whereby the media is referring to her as a "vegetable" and the husband wants her to be dehydrated to death by withholding her fluids and food.

Please read the article:

You may also want to go to the website for the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation at:

Golubchuk injustice

The Samuel Golubchuk trial is being moved to mid-September from its original date in mid-November.

Many people would rightly say that this case needs to be heard sooner rather than later.

The facts are that the original trial date was based on the reality that the legal counsel for the Golubchuk family was already scheduled for trial in September and unable to represent the Golubchuk family in trial at that time.

Several important witnesses for the Golubchuk family also indicated that they would be unavailable in September.

Therefore the original timing for the trial was based on the ideology that the family should have proper legal representation.

The injustice is clear.

The family who are fighting to protect the wishes and values of their father are being trounced on by Goliath, the health care system and all of its resources. The lawyer for the Golubchuk family was simply told to reschedule his other commitments or they would have to find another lawyer.

It is interesting that Grace Hospital was represented by a large team of lawyers from big law firms, while the Golubchuk family is represented by a lawyer who does not work for a major law firm.

Well, nonetheless, David did beat Goliath.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Manitoba doctors do not have the right to remove life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient

Dr. Jocelyn Downie, the Canada Research Chair of Health Law and Policy said at a End-of-Life Ethics & Decision-Making conference at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg today that doctors do not have the legal right to withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment against a patient’s wishes.

Downie stated that there is no legal precedent in Canada that gives doctors the authority to remove a feeding tube or issue do not resuscitate orders against a patient’s wishes.

Downie directly contradicted the statement of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba who assert in their February 1, 2008 policy statement that a physician could unilaterally decide to remove life-sustaining treatment, including fluids and food, in certain circumstances.

The Statement said that even when a patient is likely to regain a level of self-awareness, that the physician could still withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment if the doctor has agreement from at least one other physician. If the family disagrees the doctor must seek agreement with the family, but if agreement cannot be achieved the doctor must give 96 hour notice before removing life-sustaining treatment, including fluids and food.

Downie said that the guidelines need to be revised because they go too far. Doctors can't medically determine whether a life is worth living.

The comments made by Downie may also affect the case of Samuel Golubchuk, an orthodox Jewish man who’s family is seeking to have his life-sustaining treatment continued while Grace Hospital in Winnipeg is seeking to withdraw it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Suicide websites and internet chatrooms could be closed down

Madeleine Moon, MP (Bridgend in South Wales), is asking her government to amend the 1961 law that forbids suicide counseling by making it illegal to counsel or promote suicide via the internet, email or other communications devices.

There have been 20 recent suicides in South Wales that are believed to have involved suicide sites or suicide chatrooms.

Currently the law is interpreted to only forbid face to face suicide aiding, abeting or counseling suicide.

Moon stated that "these websites are horrendous. They push people to kill themselves and tell them how to do it."

Vernon Coaker, the Home Office Minister told the justice committee that the Government was determined to act.

He stated that: "Aiding and abeting suicide, online or offline, is illegal. Something should be done about it and they (websites) should be taken down."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "There are difficulties as many of them are based overseas, but we're considering whether the law can be strengthened.

At the same time Japan is being hit by more horrific suicide deaths in connection to suicide websites.

There have been at least 182 cases since late March in which people have killed themselves following instructions on the internet that explain how to mix household chemicals to generate hydrogen sulphide gas.,22049,23809619-5006003,00.html

Every nation needs to outlaw suicide promoting websites in a similar manner as Australia did a few years ago. If the UK strengthens their laws concerning suicide websites, momentum will be started for Canada and the other common law nations to follow suit.

Long term priorities for the Dutch right to die lobby

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The NVVE (Dutch euthanasia lobby) are currently debating the long-term direction of the euthanasia movement in the Netherlands. Full legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands is simply not enough for the euthanasia lobby. I have always stated that their final goal is to make the right to die - a human right.

The recent debate about the long-term future directions of the NVVE were published in the Relevant, which is the magazine of the NVVE.

Dr. Rob Jonquiére, the CEO of the NVVE explained that the NVVE has sought input from public meetings, experts and other organizations. From the consultations they identified several areas of concern.

The framework of their memorandum has been written in individual parts. They have identified the dilemma of euthanasia for people with dementia, assisted suicide in cases of chronic psychiatric suffering, and finally the possibility of legalizing the last-will-pill for those people who think that their life is complete.

The renewed objective of the NVVE is that everyone has the right to make their own decision about death. The questions of when, where and how are decisions that the individual should have the right to make. The spectrum of end-of-life decisions include stopping life-prolonging treatment to palliative sedation, from assisted suicide to euthanasia and everything in between.

The long-term goals of the NVVE will be implemented as projects that will be carried out by project managers who will build teams that will be composed of volunteers, committee members and experts.

They are hoping to establish priorities for approval by their 2009 meeting with full implementation by 2015.

The Right to Die lobby is busy establishing its priorities for the future. Are we ready to dispel their lies to the world?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

34 evacuated from suicide death in Japan

Japanese police evacuated 34 people from an apartment building today in response to another noxious suicide death.

The epidemic of suicide deaths has been exasperated by the new trend of downloading instructions from the internet to make a suicide gas concoction.

Japan has always had a high suicide rate but government figures show that 84 people committed suicide last month in Japan with the help of suicide instructions from the internet that give specific instructions as to how to mix chemicals for suicide.

The police are cracking down on websites that provide suicide information and they recently asked web providers to shut-down sites that promote suicide.

Once again, it is imperative that something be done to shut down websites that promote suicide. Society is effectively shutting down child porn websites, the same needs to be done for suicide promotion websites.

Related news:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has given an $85,000 two year grant to researcher Mark S. Kaplan to make recommendations concerning the suicide rate in Oregon.

It is very interesting that the only state in the US that has legalized assisted suicide is also within the top 5 for seniors suicide rates in the US.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Barbara Wagner offered assisted suicide instead of medical treatment

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Barbara Wagner was prescribed a drug to treat her lung cancer by her oncologist. But the State Health Plan informed her that they would not pay for the treatment.

In the letter informing Wagner that they would not pay for the necessary cancer treatment, they indicated that they would cover palliative, or comfort care, which included assisted suicide.

Link to the story

Barbara Wagner

The State of Oregon manages its health care dollars by determining which treatments that they are will pay for with State healthcare dollars.
“I think it’s messed up,” Wagner said
She was particularly upset because the letter of denial said that assisted suicide would be covered.
“To say to someone, we’ll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it’s cruel,” she said. “I get angry. Who do they think they are?”
The language in the letter referring to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act comes out of the Health Service Commission’s statement of intent under examples of comfort and palliative care, said Dr. John Sattenspiel, senior medical director for LIPA.
“I understand the way it was interpreted,” he said. “I’m not sure how we can lift that. The reality is, at some level (doctor-assisted suicide) could be considered as a palliative or comfort care measure."
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is also concerned that the Oregon State Health Plan views assisted suicide and palliative care as similar health care services. Good palliative care allows a person to live until they die, whereas assisted suicide only causes death.

Once assisted suicide is viewed as a medical treatment, then it is always an option, even when good treatment or care is available.

Wagner is receiving treatment, but not due to the recognition by the State of Oregon that her life was worth living but rather because the pharmaceutical company has offered her the Gift of Treatment by providing the drug for Wagner at no cost.

This case should be an example of what happens when assisted suicide become legal.

I stood to gain from assisted suicide

The court case concerning the euthanasia death of 71 year-old Graeme Wiley, who was mentally incompetent from Alzheimer’s disease, by his partner 59 year-old Shirley Justins is uncovering some important and very sad facts about the case.

The Crown is seeking a conviction for murder against Justins, while Justins has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aiding and abetting Wiley’s suicide.

Under cross-examination, Justins admitted that:
•she had a financial conflict of interest and Wiley’s death relieved her from her obligation to care for him.
• she admitted that she deliberately misled Wiley’s lawyer when she failed to tell him that Wiley had Alzheimer’s disease and was incompetent to make personal decisions. Wiley changed his will to give most of his estate to Justins less than a month before his death.
• she admitted that Wiley didn’t remember that he had daughters during his assessment in December 2005 which was four months before he changed his will to replace his daughters as the primary beneficiaries of his two million dollar estate.
• she also admitted that she paid 75-year-old Caren Jenning, more than $2,000 to get the drug (Nembutal) from Mexico for Mr Wiley.

Jenning has pleaded guilty to importing the euthanasia drug from Mexico but has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory to murder or aiding and abetting in a suicide.

Many people think that euthanasia and/or assisted suicide should be legal to give people a choice as to when and how their life should end.

The reality is that by legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide society is then changing the law by allowing a person to be directly involved in taking another person's life. Justins was able to fool Wiley’s lawyer into changing his will, even when he had mid- to late- stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Is it never possible to protect vulnerable people when the prohibition for killing others has been removed.

Some would say that we should legalize assisted suicide and then regulate it in order to protect vulnerable people from similar circumstances.

The reality is that vulnerable people are highly dependent on others for their basic care. It is for this reason that their would never be a regime whereby the vulnerable will be protected from legal assisted suicide.

Even Dr. Philip Nitschke, Australia’s leading euthanasia agitator, admitted to turning a blind eye to the fact that Wylie was incompetent to decide to die by euthanasia. So much for the idea that euthanasia and assisted suicide should made available to competent persons only.
Go to:

Finally, many people say, There have been no abuses in the State of Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, so why would there be abuses in other places?

The reality is that in 2007, 49 people died by assisted suicide in Oregon and none was sent for psychiatric or psychological assessment.

Since the Oregon reports are based on the information that is gleaned from the assisted suicide reports that are sent in from the physician who prescribes assisted suicide, and since those reports are destroyed after the report is published, therefore we will never be able to prove that Wiley type cases are not happening in Oregon.
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Those who favor the right to die need to re-think their position. The Wiley case is the prime example of why euthanasia and assisted suicide should never become legal because it is a direct threat to the lives of the most vulnerable members of society.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Washington State Initiative I-1000

The initiative to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State appears to be gaining ground.

The Death With Dignity I-1000 campaign to legalize assisted suicide has raised one million dollars;, they have organizations, such as the lobby group Compassion & Choices, working to raise more money on a national basis, and they have the former governor of Washington State, Booth Gardner, as a lead campaigner.

Every American who opposes assisted suicide, whether they be disability rights activists, palliative care professionals, pro-life supporters or anybody, needs to join the campaign to oppose I-1000.

Initiative I-1000 supporters are currently collecting signatures throughout the State of Washington. Due to fact that they have the money to spend money on paid signature collectors, I expect that they will collect 226,000 valid signatures.

We cannot wait until the signature campaign is verified before we start to raise the necessary money to oppose the legalization of Oregon-style assisted suicide in Washington State.

The Campaign against assisted suicide in Washington State must become the priority for all Americans who oppose assisted suicide.

Please go to and donate money or offer support today.