Saturday, December 31, 2011

No right to be killed by others

Dr Rene Leiva wrote an excellent letter in response to the article in the National Post yesterday. His letter was published in the National Post today. Please read:

No Right to be Killed by others.

Re: Poll: 67% Support Assisted Suicide, Dec. 30.

I am greatly perplexed when I hear euthanasia proponents talk about a "basic human right to die," when there is no such thing. We are all going to die anyway, so let's please be honest and call it what it is: The right to be killed by somebody else. I am deeply disturbed by people who overlook the failure of the euthanasia experiments in other countries. Why do they coldly dismiss all those hundreds of people who have been euthanized without their consent? Do they consider them collateral damage? Would they call for an absolute right to drive for everybody, even if they knew lots of innocent people would be killed by incompetent drivers? I don't think so.
Canada rightly forbade capital punishment, due to the fact that no system can guarantee that no one will be killed by mistake. We have the freedom to make choices, but those choices should not hinder the safety of others, especially our most vulnerable.

Rene Leiva, palliative care physician, Ottawa.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time to rethink - rethink euthanasia.

In his article [“Time to rethink euthanasia,” Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 29th ] Marcel Lavoie implies that legalizing euthanasia would stop violent deaths in the elderly, such as the death of Doreen Flann by stabbing at the hands of her husband, Ian.  In many of these deaths, the perpetrator-husband also kills himself for a murder-suicide.

Link to a recent Canadian study on the topic.

In Oregon where assisted-suicide has been legal since 1997, murder-suicide has not been eliminated. Indeed, murder-suicide follows “the national pattern.”

Donna Cohen
Moreover, according to Donna Cohen, an expert on murder-suicide, the typical case involves a depressed, controlling husband who shoots his ill wife:
“The wife does not want to die and is often shot in her sleep. If she was awake at the time, there are usually signs that she tried to defend herself.”
If euthanasia were legal, the wife, not wanting to die, would still be a victim.

Our laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia are in place to protect vulnerable people. Assisted suicide and/or euthanasia should not be legalized in Canada.

[Note: You may be interested in these articles: Don Colburn, "Recent murder-suicides follow the national pattern," The Oregonian, November 17, 2009,  and “Murder-suicides in Elderly Rise: Husbands commit most murder-suicides – without wives’ consent,”]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Assisted suicide is not legal in Hawaii

The group Hawaii against assisted suicide circulated a press release on Wednesday December 21 from the Alliance Defense Fund stating that the Attorney General of Hawaii has confirmed that assisted suicide is not legal in Hawaii.

Compassion & Choices (C & C), formerly known as the Hemlock Society, has claimed that a law dating back to 1909 allowed assisted suicide in Hawaii. The law that they were referring to allowed doctors to prescribe treatments that are not yet approved to people who are "hopeless and beyond recovery." C & C claimed that this meant that doctors could prescribe a lethal dose to assist the suicide of their patients.

David Louie, the Attorney General for Hawaii has confirmed that the 1909 law does not allow assisted suicide.

Hawaii attorney Jim Hochberg confirmed that:
"the history of the law clearly indicates its intent to prohibit prosecution of someone whose untested techniques or materials may be able to save a patient when traditional medical practise could not."
Hochberg explained that:
"This law simply does not give doctors discretian to hasten the death of patients and that no one should believe the recent falsehoods that pro-death proponents have spread about Hawaii law."
Margaret Dore
Margaret Dore, the leader of Choice is an Illusion and an attorney from Seattle Washington wrote an excellent legal analysis debunking the argument by (C & C) titled - Hawaii: Assisted Suicide in not already legal.

This is just another example of how (C & C) will spin the truth. Stephen Drake, the research analyst for the disability rights group Not Dead Yet refers to C & C as "Conflation and Con Jobs."

Read the opinion of the Attorney General here.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition expects that Compassion & Choices will encourage a physician to break the law in order to test their theory concerning the state of the Hawaii law or they will challenge the law in the court.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition makes oral arguments in assisted suicide case.

 EPC Media Release

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is an Intervener in the Carter vs. Attorney General of Canada case that seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

On December 14, the EPC legal counsel, Hugh Scher, will be presenting our legal arguments before the BC court.

EPC legal counsel, Hugh Scher notes:
“Concerns about safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors will be central to the arguments advanced by EPC before the court, as will concerns about a harmful shift in our cultural ethic that will occur if assisted suicide is legalized.”
EPC – BC chair, Dr Will Johnston states:
“I see elder abuse in my practice, often perpetrated by family members and caregivers. A desire for money or an inheritance is typical. To make it worse, the victims protect the abusers. In one case, an older woman knew that her son was robbing her blind and lied to protect him.” 

“Under current law, abusers take their victims to the bank and to the lawyer for a new will. With legal assisted suicide, the next stop would be the doctor’s office for a lethal prescription. How are we going to detect victimization when we can’t do it now?”
EPC executive director, Alex Schadenberg states:
“The issue was debated last year in parliament and consistent with earlier Senate Committee reports, parliament overwhelmingly defeated Bill C-384, a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, by a vote of 228 to 59.
Link to an EPC article on the case.

Link to the EPC Talking Points. 

For further information contact:
Will Johnston, MD,, (604) 220-2042
Alex Schadenberg,, (519) 851-1434
Hugh Scher,, (416) 816-6115

Link to the online petition campaign to the Attorney General of Canada.
Make a donation or become a member of EPC. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Disability Rights Group Announces Opposition to Massachusetts Assisted Suicide Initiative

Not Dead Yet circulated information concerning yesterdays press conference by the Massachusetts group - Second Thoughts. Second Thoughts is composed primarily of people with disabilities who have organized to oppose the assisted suicide initiative in Massachusetts. Please read:

Boston, MA (PRWEB) December 09, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Suicide predator, William Melchert-Dinkel, is appealing his sentence

Lee Greenberg wrote an extensive article that was published in the Ottawa Citizen on December 5 on the appeal by William Melchert-Dinkel, the Minnesota nurse who was convicted of counselling suicide, in the deaths of Brampton Ontario teen Nadia Kajouji and Mark Drybrough from the UK.

Kajouji was a first-year student at Carlton University in Ottawa. She became deeply depressed and established a suicide pact with Melchert-Dinkel after he contacted her on a suicide chat site under an assumed name.

What is particularly devastating is how Melchert-Dinkel used his relationship to gain some type of personal gratification in the suicide death of Kajouji and Drybrough. You may wish to read the earlier articles about this case that can be found by linking to Nadia Kajouji or Internet Suicide. Please read the following article:

Assisted-suicide panel failed to present balanced arguments

Margaret Somerville wrote an article about the Royal Society of Canada one-sided euthanasia lobby report that was published in the Montreal Gazette today. The Royal Society published a report that not only advocated that euthanasia and assisted suicide should be legalized in Canada, they suggested that if the federal government does not change the law, that the provincial prosecutors should simply turn a blind-eye the law and allow a state of lawlessness to occur. Somerville makes some excellent points. Please read:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Improving palliative care in Canada

Improving Palliative Care in Canada
Palliative Care

Two recently released reports emphasize the need for a continued spotlight on palliative care
By Derek Miedema, Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Two recently released reports pay attention to the need for palliative care in Canada. The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada released Achieving Quality Palliative Care in Canada this week. The paper tells the story of palliative care in Canada, through the voices of palliative care heavyweights, Senator Sharon Carstairs (retired) and Dr. Balfour Mount, a Montreal-area oncologist. In a ten-page, easy-to-read format, the report highlights the five Ws of palliative care, stressing that this specialty is in dire need of attention because we have an ageing population. If current levels of palliative care remain the same, we are going to experience decreased access, simply because more people need it.

Similarly, on November 17, 2011, the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate care released a 200-page report. Not to be Forgotten: Care of Vulnerable Canadians examines three aspects of care: Palliative care, suicide prevention, and the prevention of elder abuse. With respect to palliative care, the report thoroughly examines the current situation in our country and makes recommendations for future developments in expertise and delivery. Most importantly, the report states that “palliative care is not only the best model for caring for vulnerable and dying Canadians; it also embodies truths that could be transformative for our whole health care culture.” [1] In other words, current palliative care practice should be adapted to animate disciplines across the entire medical system for the benefit of vulnerable Canadians across the country.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Massachusetts Medical Association overwhelmingly opposes assisted suicide.

Great News.
The Massachusetts Medical Association overwhelmingly voted to re-affirm its position against assisted suicide at there recent meeting. This is a significant decision considering the fact that the suicide lobby has collected signatures to have the issue of assisted suicide placed on the November 2012 ballot.

The Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide association of physicians with more than 23,000 members, today voted to reaffirm its opposition to physician-assisted suicide, with its House of Delegates voting by a wide margin to maintain a policy the Society has had in effect since 1996.
Opposition to physician-assisted suicide was part of a larger policy statement that includes recognition of patient dignity at the end of life and the physician’s role in caring for terminally-ill patients. The policy was approved by more than 75 percent of the Society’s delegates.
Lynda Young, M.D., president of the Society, said that “Physicians of our Society have clearly declared that physician-assisted suicide is inconsistent with the physician’s role as healer and health care provider. At the same time we recognize the importance of patient dignity and the critical role that physicians have in end-of-life care.”

Dr. Young said the policy goes beyond a single statement of opposition to physician-assisted suicide to include “support for patient dignity and the alleviation of pain and suffering at the end of life.” Additionally, it includes the Society’s commitment to “provide physicians treating terminally-ill patients with the ethical, medical, social, and legal education, training, and resources to enable them to contribute to the comfort and dignity of the patient and the patient’s family.”

The policy was one of several reaffirmed and adopted at the Society’s 2011 Interim Meeting, which brings hundreds of physicians from across the state to examine and consider specific resolutions on public health policy, health care delivery, and organizational administration by the Society’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body. Resolutions adopted by the delegates become policies of the organization.
The Massachusetts Medical Association, which is the medical society in the United States, has made a very wise decision. Doctors should be healers and when healing is not possible, doctors should alleviate pain and suffering, but doctors should not be given the right to cause the death of their patients.

I would like to congratulate John Kelly from the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, who worked hard to  produce a good hand-out and to arrange transportation so that could speak with the doctors as they attended the meeting.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 1, 2011

As the United Nations celebrates the International Day of People with Disabilities, on December 3, Canadians with disabilities find themselves at the brink of an attack on their fundamental human rights and collective equality, says Toronto lawyer and disability rights advocate Hugh Scher.

In British Columbia, and Quebec, Courts are being asked to remove the prohibitions against assisted suicide and euthanasia, a move that would threaten the lives of people with disabilities in Canada.

As former Chair of the Council of Canadians Human Rights Committee, Scher states:
“These court cases represent a fundamental threat to the lives, security and equality of people with disabilities across Canada, who may be unwilling victims of new death practices in Canada if the Courts defy the express will of Parliament, that overwhelmingly defeated a bill to legalize assisted suicide across party lines last year.”
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Executive Director Alex Schadenberg states:
“The language of the Carter case allows family members to be involved with the death. The Canadian government recognizes elder abuse as a crime that is done by family, friends and care-givers or other person in a situation of power or trust.”
Canadian war veteran and disability rights advocate John Coppard states:
"If the law had allowed it several years ago, I may have requested assistance to suicide.  That would have been the greatest mistake of my life and one that could not have been corrected."
As people with disabilities celebrate accomplishments of greater inclusion, accessibility and integration, there remains much work to do in improving access to society’s most basic institutions and enhancing health care practices, including accessibility to palliative care.  Disability rights advocate Rhonda Wiebe, who co-chairs the Ending of Life Ethics Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities said:
“A discriminatory attitude that suggests that our lives are less than equal represents an affront to our most basic human rights”
For more information please contact:
Alex Schadenberg - 519-439-3348  
Hugh Scher - 416-816-6115
John Coppard - 250-508-3446
Rhonda Wiebe - 204-779-4493

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rasouli case may be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada

Rasouli Family
 The Globe and Mail has been featuring articles on end-of-life care and decisions in Canada. An article, written by Lisa Priest on November 29, focused on the Rasouli case, a case which concerned who has the right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment. The doctors, in this case, are argueing that they have the unilateral right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment and the family was arguing and the courts agreed, that the doctors require consent before they can withdraw life-sustaining treatment.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition intervened in the Rasouli case at the Ontario Court of Appeal. We argued that doctors are required to obtain consent before withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, and when a disagreement occurs between the family and the doctors, both parties have the right to have their case brought before the Consent and Capacity board. Link to an article on the case.

The Cost of Taking a Life

I was going through my emails and found this excellent letter to the editor by Winnipeg citizen Anna Desilets. This letter was printed in the Winnipeg Free on November 19, 2011 as a Letter of the day.

The letter stated:
The cost of taking a life

Re: Ottawa begged to decriminalize euthanasia, (Nov. 16). Those seeking the "right" to die are in fact seeking a so-called right to be killed at a time of their own choosing.

The argument used is a familiar one: "It's my body and I can do with it what I want." Yet by the time a person wishes to die, they are unable to take their own lives and must oblige others to kill them. Their dying thus becomes not a mere personal question, but one for the society, which must supply both the killer and the means.

How much must a person, be it a doctor or other, have to harden him or herself to take another's life? What does this killing do to the killer? At a time of increasing older and ill populations and decreasing health-care dollars, how long will it take for the ill to feel the subtle message that their living is a burden to be disposed of?

I am a volunteer at a long-term health-care facility and am in awe at the courage of people living with long-term illnesses. They deserve our help to live well in spite of illness. They deserve our compassionate care, our love, our palliative care. Killing negates all positive thinking and acting. We would, as a society, be well-advised to mark the cautionary words of John Updike: "Death, once invited in, leaves its muddy boot prints everywhere."

International Day of Persons with Disabilities marked by conflicting messages

News Release

Beaumont, Alberta, November 30th 2011

Mark Pickup
The United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be observed globally on December 3rd 2011. Canadian advocate for disability inclusion, Mark Davis Pickup applauds UN initiatives to give people with disabilities a voice in their communities and countries as well as inclusion and afforded full equality rights. Pickup observed that although Canada has made strides in areas of accessibility, citizens with disabilities are getting mixed messages. He stated:  
“This past October the House of Commons gave its unanimous support to a National Suicide Prevention Strategy and now in November the British Columbia Supreme Court is considering a challenge (Carter case) to whether Canada’s law against assisted suicide should be overturned for the terminally and chronically ill and disabled.”
Pickup is chronically ill with aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and is electric wheelchair dependent. He continued:
“Let’s understand the message people like me will hear if the BC court rules in favour of the assisted suicide lobby. The healthy population should receive suicide prevention when suicidal. The old, sick and disabled get help committing suicide.”
Mark Pickup supports the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s intervener standing in the Carter case to protect people with disabilities, the chronically ill and elders. Their efforts to preserve Canada’s laws that protect people from euthanasia and assisted suicide must be supported. Pickup believes that laws and public policy must promote life with dignity for people with disabilities through supports for Canadians with disabilities to reach their full potential as individuals and citizens. Ensuring access to education, transportation, appropriate housing, recreational opportunities and other forms of reasonable accommodation can help full inclusion in society.

Mark Davis Pickup
4417-51 Street,
Beaumont, AB
Tel: (780) 929-9230    

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Canadian Assisted Suicide case sparks dueling letters on Disability

Diane Coleman, the founder of the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, has written an excellent blog article concerning attitudes and articles about people with disabilities in relation to the Carter case. The article that was published today on the Not Dead Yet blog is titled: Canadian Assisted Suicide Case Sparks Dueling Letters on Disability. The article starts by explaining what the Carter case intends to do. Diane quotes an article that was partly written by myself she writes:

Diane Coleman
The public debate is well underway.  On November 13, the Calgary Herald published an op ed by three opponents of legalization entitled “Why we should be afraid of assisted suicide.”  The authors describe the case as follows:
Carter vs. Attorney General of Canada brings a constitutional challenge to Canada's laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia. The case also seeks to legalize these practices as a medical treatment. Last year, a bill in Parliament seeking a similar result was overwhelmingly defeated…. The vote was 228 to 59.

Carter seeks to allow a medical practitioner or a person "acting under the general supervision of a medical practitioner" to assist a patient's suicide. … In the context of traditional medical treatment, "a person acting under the general supervision of a medical practitioner" would include a family member.

The Eyeless "I" of Assisted Suicide

Disability Rights Activist, Mark Pickup, wrote this response to a woman who asked for his thoughts on the legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Mark Pickup
A Canadian court is considering a challenge to the nation’s law prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia. Consequently the topic is in the news. I received an email from a woman who doesn’t know what to think as the assisted suicide camp is pulling out all their compassionate sounding euphemisms to promote death. She wanted my thoughts. Below is the text of my comments to her: 
Assisted suicide is not about pain control. Palliative care in the 21st Century has come so far as to be able to eliminate virtually all physical pain. Assisted suicide is about the illusion of personal control even over death.
Death is not a right, it is an eventuality that will visit us all regardless of what any law may state. It is life that must be protected. All the great human rights documents such as the American Declaration of Independence, the UN’s Declaration of Universal Human Rights and even Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms place the Right to Life as the first legal right. Why? Without the Right to Life assured all other rights become arbitrary and uncertain.

A truly progressive and compassionate society is concerned about life with dignity – especially for those who do not have it. Death with dignity is not an event, it is the natural conclusion of having lived with dignity. Dignity is not achieved by withholding water and food or injecting poison into a person’s bloodstream when they are at their lowest point. That is not dignity: it is profound abandonment! We have a right to expect the best palliative care and pain management.

Ask yourself how assisted suicide acceptance serves the Common Good? It doesn’t. It will put vulnerable people at risk.

The push for assisted suicide is the natural conclusion of personal autonomy gone amuck.

Gloria Taylor wants assisted suicide for herself which is different from suicide because it obviously requires assistance — a coarsening of some other person’s conscience. The eyeless “I” of assisted suicide1 does not consider the consequences to others.

Autonomy is diametrically opposed to community. The natural conclusion to unfettered autonomy is the right to even self-destruction. That is what is being considered in the BC Supreme courtroom as I write these words. Acceptance of the autonomy of suicide (assisted or otherwise) is to reject the interconnectedness of community. It proclaims with a final shout and sneer, “I am my own island!”

Canada is not 33 million little islands entire unto ourselves. As the 17th Century poet and divine, John Donne wrote “No man is an island entire unto itself. Every man is a part of the continent, a part of the main. … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Only independence and autonomy — the eyeless “I” — sees self and self alone. Interdependence and the interconnectedness of community call for consideration for others — especially the weakest.

You see, I do not have a right to ask or demand something that may hurt others. The independence of the individual must only exist within the interdependence of the community. If the desire of the individual threatens the security of whole then individual desires must give way to the greater interest of the community. Otherwise we are only left with 30-million little islands without the whole of a continent, a nation, a community that protects the interests of the weakest against the interests of the powerful.

And so the choice before us is stark: Independent and autonomy versus interdependence and community. Laws must protect the weakest and that’s what Canada’s law against assisted suicide does.

Monday, November 28, 2011

United States Overview

By Margaret Dore - Choice is an Illusion. Link to the original article.
There are two states where physician-assisted suicide is legal: Oregon and Washington. In these states, statutes give criminal and civil immunity to doctors and others who participate in a qualified patient's suicide.  Oregon's act was enacted via a ballot initiative in 1997. Washington's act was enacted via a ballot initiative in 2008 and went into effect in 2009.  Washington's act is modeled on Oregon's act. 

In Oregon and Washington, assisted-suicide laws apply to "terminal" patients, defined in terms of having less than six months to live. Such persons are not necessarily dying. Consider, for example, Jeanette Hall, alive 11 years after her terminal diagnosis. More recent proposals to legalize assisted suicide have included people who are clearly not dying. See here, here and here.   

In MontanaBaxter v. State gives doctors who assist a patient's suicide a potential defense to prosecution for homicide. Baxter does not legalize assisted suicide by giving doctors or anyone else immunity from criminal and civil liability although proponents argue that this is the case. This year, a bill to reverse Baxter's potential defense was defeated. In Montana, the leading group against assisted suicide is Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity.

This year, Idaho enacted a statute strengthening its law against assisted suicide. This was after proponents falsely claimed that assisted suicide was already legal. For more information, click here.

This year, bills to legalize physician-assisted suicide were defeated in Montana, Hawaii and New Hampshire. In Vermont, identical legalization bills were introduced in the House and Senate, but not put on for vote before the legislative session ended.

In Hawaii, where a bill to legalize assisted suicide was defeated this year as well as in prior years, proponents claim that assisted suicide is legal. For more information, click here. See also Hawaii Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity.

In Connecticut, a lawsuit to legalize physician-assisted suicide was dismissed in 2010.

In Massachusetts, there is a pending ballot initiative to enact an Oregon/Washington style act that applies to "terminal" patients defined as having less than six months to live. For more information, see The Massachusetts Assisted Suicide Initiative:  "Choice" is an Illusion.

In the US, no assisted suicide/euthanasia law has ever made it through the scrutiny of a legislature despite more than 100 attempts.

It's too dangerous to allow others to kill us

An interesting article by Brian Purdy, a freelance writer and former Crown Prosecuter, was published today in the Calgary Herald titled: It's too dangerous to allow others to kill us. Brian wrote about the death of his mother and examines the questions of who would make the decision to end her life and why?

Purdy begins his article by stating:
The debate about the legalization of assisting suicide is in the news again, with another court case approaching the Supreme Court of Canada. 
There are two points of view. The first is that every person has a right to end one's own life, so why should it not be legal to assist someone to do so? A person at the end of life can get help to end suffering and an unbearable dwindling away to an inevitable end. Why should a doctor or anyone else be made a criminal for an act of mercy? 
The second view is that legalizing assisting a suicide is a dangerous slippery slope. Lord Acton, who famously said "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," also said something else about power. He said, "do not grant powers on the assumption they will not be abused."

Friday, November 25, 2011

TV Ontario show debated the one-sided report from the Royal Society of Canada.

I was on the TV Ontario - The Agenda show - with Steve Paikin last night (November 24, 2011).

It was interesting that Udo Schuklenk, who was the chair of the Royal Society of Canada End-of-Life Decision Making panel, was uncomfortable with the one-sided membership of the panel. 

After the show he stated to the rest of us that:
"he would have assembled the panel differently."
Read the comment by John Coppard on the TV Ontario website concerning this show. (Link).

To find the video of the show go to (link) and scroll down to the November 24, 2011 program on euthanasia and assisted suicide. If not try this (link).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands increased by 19% in 2010.

Recent news articles concerning the push by the euthanasia lobby in the Netherlands to create mobile euthanasia teams to make euthanasia more accessible to people with disabilities and the frail elderly, also reported that the 2010 Dutch euthanasia statistics indicate that there were 3136 reported euthanasia cases which represents an increase of 19% since 2009.

It is important to note that the reported cases of euthanasia rose 13% in 2009.

The Dutch are very careful reporting their euthanasia statistics. here were 3136 reported euthanasia deaths, approximately 100 of those deaths wre assisted suicide deaths. The latest reports indicate approximately 500 deaths without consent. Approximately 10% of all deaths involve involve terminal sedation, that is done by intentionally dehydrating the person to death. We also know from the most recent Dutch euthanasia reports that approximately 20% of all euthanasia deaths are not reported.

It is important to note that the Dutch Medical Association has also recently approved euthanasia for people with dementia and alzheimer's and even for lonliness. So much for euthanasia requiring consent and capacity.

Recently the Royal Society of Canada released a report on - End of Life Decision Making. This report suggested that there was nothing to be concerned about in the jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal.

Too bad the Royal Society of Canada report was a one-sided sham that was written by leaders of the euthanasia lobby, whereby 5 of 6 of its "experts" were well known euthanasia advocates.

Euthanasia in the Netherlands is out-of-control.

Let's protect our citizens by keeping euthanasia illegal.

Help with depression, not assisted suicide.

Dr Charles Bentz
Dr. Charles J. Bentz, who is a physician in the department of General Medicine and Geriatrics at the Oregon Health & Sciences In Portland Oregon responded to the series of articles and letters that have been published in the Victoria Times Colonist. His letter was printed today.

Bentz refers to a depressed patient of his who died by assisted suicide in Oregon. This is what he said:

I am a physician practicing medicine in Oregon where physician-assisted suicide is legal. I disagree with a writer's assessment that Oregon's law has worked well. 
As one example, a few years ago, my patient, a 76 year-old man presented with a sore on his arm which turned out to be cancer. I referred him to an cancer specialist for evaluation and therapy. He was an avid hiker and as he went through his therapy, he became less able to do this activity and became depressed, which was documented in his chart. 
He expressed a wish for assisted-suicide to the cancer specialist, but rather than taking the time and effort to address his depression, or to contact me as his primary physician and as someone who knew him, she asked me to be the "second opinion" for his suicide. I told her that I did not concur and that addressing his depression would be better than simply giving him a lethal prescription. 
Unfortunately, two weeks later my patient was dead from an overdose prescribed by this doctor.
In most jurisdictions, suicidal ideation is interpreted as a cry for help. In Oregon, the only help my patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him. 
Don't make Oregon's mistake.
Charles J. Bentz, MD
It appears that depressed people are dying by assisted suicide in Oregon.

Royal Society of Canada - Euthanasia report was fixed from the beginning.

Wesley Smith

This is a reprint of the blog comment by Wesley J Smith that he published on Wednesday, November 16 under the title: I Told You The Fix Was In On Canadian Euthanasia Panel.

It is interesting that, even though Smith and Schadenberg both identified the Royal Society of Canada commission as fixed from the beginning, that the media continue to refer to them as an "expert panel."

I Told You The Fix Was In on Canadian Euthanasia Panel.

The in-the-tank media is huffing and puffing, trying to make something important out of an entirely predictable recommendation by the Royal Society of Canada commission to legalize euthanasia.  But commissions can be created to obtain a specific result, as this one was and did.

In fact, I told you this very thing would happen two years ago, to be precise, on October 28, 2009.  Here’s theSecondhand Smoke post, “Stacking the Deck for Euthanasia in Canadian ‘End of Life’ Commission” in its entirety:”

“Expert commissions” to advise on contentious issues of public policy are usually political tools designed to come to a predetermined conclusion in order to pave the way for a desired  policy changes.  Remember that as we take a look at a new commission being appointed by the Royal Society of Canada to look into end of life issues.  From the story:
Queen’s Philosophy professor Udo Schuklenk has been selected to head a prestigious new international panel on “End-of-Life Decision Making” in Canada. Appointed by the Royal Society of Canada, the expert panel will investigate key aspects of this critical issue – including voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide – and prepare a public report.
Stories such as this never seem to look deeper than the job titles of the panelists, as if they come to their work with no preexisting positions. So, I decide to check, starting with Udo Schuklenk.  What a surprise: He’s a pro euthanasia philosopher. How do I know?  He’s said so.  For example, in an essay explaining why he is an atheist, he wrote:
No matter how unbearably patients suffer due to illness or injury toward the end of their lives, the world’s monotheistic religions stand as one in their rejection of many dying patients’ requests to end their lives in dignity. That we may well be of sound mind, and that there is no prospect of our condition improving, makes no difference to their stance. Our own considered judgment that life is not worth living any longer counts for nothing to organized monotheistic religions. According to them, we are not ethically entitled to ask for physician assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia. This is surprising, given that at the end of our natural lives churches have promised us that we would be going to heaven – or hell, as the case might be. If at the end of a decently lived life we would go to heaven and enjoy eternal life, why are they fighting our earthly death so vigorously? None of this makes any sense at all if we take religious beliefs about our afterlife seriously. Once again substantial, avoidable human suffering is a direct consequence of religious interference with our end-of-life decision-making.
I don’t care about his religious views, but to chair a panel with such a clear view in favor of assisted suicide, indicates the direction in which the commission’s recommendations are expected (designed) to go.

But perhaps I am being too cynical.  Let’s see who else is on the commission:  Ah, Scot philosophy professor Sheila McClean who wrote The Case for Assisted Suicide, a book described as arguing fervently in favor of legalization.  Hmm, I wonder how she will vote?

Another commissioner is a Dutch euthanasia researcher.  Cute.

Then there’s Jocelyn Downie, author of Dying Justice, a book urging the decriminalization of both euthanasia and assisted suicide.  The bias isn’t even subtle.

I spent some time researching the views of the two remaining members, but neither seemed to be particularly involved in the issue.  So let’s count them, at least for now, as neutrals. No matter: Even assuming both are as adamantly opposed to assisted suicide as their co panelists appear to be for it, the deck is stacked, the fix is in, 4-2 for permitting assisted suicide in at least some cases.

The next step in this Kibuki Theater will be for the media to trip over themselves to report breathlessly that “the experts” have deeply pondered, and determined–after much hand wringing, there is always hand wringing–that assisted suicide should be allowed.  It is all so scripted and predictable.

Gee, I was right.  But then, on these matters, I usually am.

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - Ugly issue back again.

Jean Echlin is a nurse consultant and adjunct associate professor at the University of Windsor Faculty of Nursing and the founding VP of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

Jean wrote an article on the current euthanasia and assisted suicide debate in Canada that was published in the Windsor Star today under the title: Ugly issue back again.

The following is an edited version of the article by Jean Echlin.
Ugly issue back again.

With the advent of Carter versus the Attorney General of Canada, Canada's laws prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide are being challenged again. This despite the fact that our federal Parliament vetoed Bill C-384 that sought to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia by an overwhelming vote of 228 to 59 in 2010.

Included in the British Columbia appeal is an effort to legalize these practices as "medical treatment," meaning that a medical doctor or "a person operating under the general supervision of a medical practitioner" will be allowed to assist a patient's suicide. This could be a family member and could be done at home.

If the pro-killing side gets its way, five people on the Supreme Court can overrule Parliament and demand change in the Criminal Code that forbids euthanasia and assisted suicide. What would this scenario do to our democratic process and the rights of a majority of Canadians?

Who would be at risk? You are. So is everyone in this country.

To paraphrase many knowledgeable authorities within the Euthanasia Prevention Coalitions worldwide, the request for a change in our Criminal Code is an invitation to elder abuse.

Many of our elderly population feel abandoned and burdensome to our society and healthcare system. If assisted suicide is legalized, it will empower the health-care system and family members to pressure older people to shorten their lives.

Persons with disabilities are equally at risk. The elderly and those with disabilities are groups that society often discriminates against and fails to respect or protect. Rather, these groups are looked upon as costly burdens.

Another significant health issue is suicide prevention. A change in the criminal code would foster the idea of suicide for those with depression and anxiety. It's called: "suicide contagion." In other words, one suicide encourages others. Persons with mental health is-sues are at increased risk and can be easily manipulated.

My own list of those at high risk includes partners in scenarios of domestic violence, especially when there is a power imbalance. It would be exceptionally easy for the powerful partner to quietly kill the "offensive partner" and just claim he or she "was so depressed and pleaded for assistance in dying."

Children must be included in the risk groups since the Netherlands has developed a protocol for killing children with even minor disabilities up to the age of 12.

The "Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care" will be releasing its research and recommendations regarding pain management, palliative care, elder abuse and suicide prevention. 
It is imperative that Parliament and all Canadians follow and adhere to the profoundly important message from this non-partisan committee.

Glad to be alive - Alison Davis responds to Calgary Herald article.

Alison Davis
Alison Davis, the founder of the disability rights group, No Less Human, responded to the editorial that was in the Calgary Herald on November 20, 2011 entitled: "No right to be killed; Doctor assisted suicide should not be allowed." Her response was printed in the Calgary Herald today under the title of "Glad to be Alive." This is what Alison Davis stated:
Re: "No right to be killed; Doctor assisted suicide should not be allowed," Editorial, Nov. 20. 
I was glad to see your excellent editorial stating the case against euthanasia. If it had been available to me some years ago, I wouldn't now be writing to you. I have several severe disabling conditions. I use a wheelchair full time and a vent at night. I have severe pain, which even morphine can't control. 
I wanted to die for more than 10 years, at a time when doctors thought my life expectancy was very short. I attempted suicide seriously several times, and was saved, only because friends found me in time and took me to the emergency room, where I was treated. 
At first, I was angry with them for thwarting my wishes. Now, I'm eternally grateful. I want to live now, even though my pain is worse than it was when I wanted to die. What changed my mind is friends who refused to accept my view that my life had no value, and a group of very poor children, who loved me wonderfully and overwhelmingly. I found a reason to live in reaching out to help others, rather than turning the negativity on myself. If assisted suicide had been available then, no one would ever have known the doctors' prognosis was wrong, or that I'd be missing the best years of my life.
Alison Davis, Blandford Forum, U.K.

Suicide Prevention - Not Dead Yet opposes assisted suicide

Diane Coleman
Diane Coleman, the founder of the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet, wrote a response to the letter by James Swanson. Swanson advocated that euthanasia or assisted suicide be legalized for people who he described as "Trapped Alive". Coleman's letter was published in the Calgary Herald today. She responded this way:
Re: "Trapped alive," Letter, Nov. 21. 
James G. Swanson's letter demonstrates the profound devaluation that too many feel toward those of us with severe physical disabilities. Swanson describes his father and a friend, disabled by an accident and ALS, respectively, as "trapped" and "condemned to a life in hell." Social messages that one is "better off dead than disabled" permeate society, including our families. 
Swanson's solution to the so-called problem of disability is assisted suicide. Like most, he hasn't noticed the difference between suicide and assisted suicide. Apparently, he doesn't think it matters if someone's family views their life as devoid of quality. There's no sign of concern that we might feel that our existence is a burden to those closest to us. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities rightly opposes assisted suicide. A society that not only agrees with a disabled person's suicide, but guarantees that our suicide attempt results in death, is not treating us as equals. We deserve the same suicide prevention as everybody else, not a streamlined path to death.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Elder Abuse a Hidden Crime

Bruce Campion-Smith, wrote an article that was published in the Toronto Star on November 17 concerning the release of the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care report in Ottawa Canada last week. The article titled: Elder Abuse: A 'Hidden Crime': MP says - looked at the recommendations in the Parliamentary committee report and the comments made by Frank Valeriote (Lib) MP Guelph.

The article states:

A criminal crackdown and greater public awareness are needed to combat the growing problem of elder abuse in Canada, which leaves thousands of seniors “wounded and frightened” every year, a new study says.
Just as society turned a blind eye to child and spousal abuse decades ago, abused seniors are suffering from the same neglect today, warns an all-party committee of MPs.
Their report issued Thursday calls for a “cultural transformation” to ensure that elder abuse is seen as “absolutely unacceptable.”

The report estimates that 400,000 seniors have been abused in Canada, often by someone they know — a family member, caregiver, neighbour or landlord.