Thursday, November 3, 2011

Disability Rights Activists from Not Dead Yet and National Council on Disability Featured in Dr. Oz Segment on Assisted Suicide

Link to the media release.

Diane Coleman, NDY - Rochester, NY (PRWEB) - November 3, 2011

Members of Not Dead Yet and National Council on Disability were featured in a Dr. Oz segment on assisted suicide. Members expressed opposition to assisted suicide, but overall the segment was biased in favor of the practice.

On November 1st the syndicated Dr. Oz Show broadcast a segment addressing the topic of assisted suicide. Several members of Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group, and Ari Ne’eman, a presidentially appointed member of the National Council on Disability, attended the taping of the program by invitation. Ne’eman is also head of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Both Not Dead Yet and the National Council on Disability, as well as several other national disability organizations, oppose legalization of assisted suicide. The groups are concerned that assisted suicide poses a danger to people with significant disabilities, whether or not their conditions are classified as terminal.

The broadcast opened with Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), describing his experiences of pain with MS, his previous suicidal feelings, and his current support for laws allowing assisted suicide.

During the program’s two-hour taping, Danny Robert, a man with multiple sclerosis who uses a ventilator, was identified as a member of Not Dead Yet and given the opportunity to speak from the audience. Robert spoke about his initial marriage break up and wish to die, and his concern that he would have died and missed his current life and new relationship if assisted suicide were legal.

After attending the taping, but prior to the broadcast, Robert wrote a guest Not Dead Yet blog about the experience. In part, he described his observations about a disabled woman featured in the segment:

[Excerpt] Dr. Oz introduced Dana, an African American woman in her late 40s or early 50s with ALS. . . . She sat in a manual chair, somewhat reclined, wearing a ventilator mask. A video played on the big screens, showing Dana before tragedy hit, healthy, strong, athletic... (very exploitative). Then the ventilator mask came off (the ventilator alarmed briefly) and Dana began to speak. She said she had been living with the progression of ALS for 8 years and she was tired. She hated having to depend on others for her care and she couldn't take it anymore. She said she was depressed, lonely, had no friends left and she wanted to die. Nadina [my life partner] and I looked at each other and said “that's why she wants to die.”

[Excerpt] Dr. Oz asked Dana's son how it felt to live with his mom. He said it was sad and that, though he didn't really want her to die, he also didn't want her to suffer anymore. Dana's daughter said: "It's heart-breaking, unbearable to watch her suffer. She's had enough." Dana's sister, who has her health care proxy, reiterated: "She can't take it anymore. She's suffered enough." It was obvious to us (but I guess to no one else) that the family had “had enough.”

Perhaps unintentionally, the episode demonstrated one of the significant reasons that Not Dead Yet opposes assisted suicide. “I really felt that Dana’s loneliness and feelings of being a burden on her family were at the heart of her apparent support for assisted suicide,” said Robert. “When Dr. Byock, another guest on the show, pointed out that she could just refuse antibiotics the next time she got pneumonia, Dr. Oz asked her directly if she would do that. Dana replied, ‘That’s a good question.’ When I looked at her expressions as her family spoke, I saw and heard a cry for help. But most of the Dr. Oz audience didn’t seem to hear her ambivalence and her plea. They just applauded her wish to die.”

Dr. Oz stated that he supports assisted suicide at the beginning of the taping and at the end of the broadcast. The producers included extensive footage and interview time with the disabled individual and family supporting assisted suicide, which was not comparably sought or obtained from a disabled individual and family opposing assisted suicide.

Ne’eman was also given the opportunity to speak during the two-hour taping. His comments were not included in the final one hour broadcast, but were included in two online video segments (part 1, part 2). Ne'eman was also invited to submit a written article on the topic which is featured on the program’s website.

Contact Information
Diane ColemanNot Dead Yet


Ironsides said...

My Note on DR OZ Facebook wall:

"As a member of a threatened minority, I consider your DUTY-to-DIE show absolutely despicable. From the way your anchors and yourself treated the Not Dead Yet activists, you definetly have an agenda-driven program with the DOCTORS OF DEATH. All your fan-fare for fitness and health, is shit up a dog's nostrils."

Chudah said...

There's a growing trend in the daily talk shows where they discuss controversial topics with both supporters and detractors. In almost every instance, those against the morally wrong activity (prostitution, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and every other vice imaginable) are made to look ignorant and prejudiced, while those who are promoting these disgusting practices are shown to be reasoned and knowledgeable (the audience clapping and cheering for them as they flaunt their sin in front of the world). This is another assault on society as these sins are being promoted and normalized through these talk shows. I have been out of work for over a year now, and I've seen the trend as it's happening on almost every talk show out there. Turn off the TV people.

Ironsides said...

@Chudah I'm sorry it took so long to get back to the comments, but my answer to those overblown egos behind the mics in their studios will receive a heavy bitch-slap soon.

I just want to make sure I'm feeling good enough, to not make a fool out of myself when I do a YouTube. The problem with YouTube, is it takes me over 10 minutes to get wound-up, the limit set by YT for uploads. Longer bytes have to be u/l in chunks, and put together on the server.

I did open an account on Veoh last year, but it's limited by what companies will accept the videos.--Plus, after my first video my computer was attacked.

A class-instructor was here for the past three weeks, with new student PA's (nurse-assistants). She loved the EPC Newsletters I gave her copies of to distribute, to interested people and potential donors.

She wanted to arrange a television interview with somebody she knows, after I explained my reactions to the DR OZ show.

I explained that I'm not always able to clean-up, shave and comb my hair to go on camera. She thought I ought to let them film me here regardless of my appearance, but I had to do a television interview four years ago here, concerning the religious cult I worked with for twenty years.

At the time, I was trying to recover from a near-fatal drug, and was fighting to breathe the whole time. Beginning two years ago, I have been recovering from the crisis, and have had periods where I can do without oxygen most of the day, if I'm not lying down.

However, I really have to work harder to breathe now, and will try another video soon.

When I turned up last year at the Senate-Committee on Euthanasia one day, the un-scheduled speech was recorded.--And I was as civil and politically-correct as merited the circumstances. But a few nights later, when I did my own video, I dumped my load about a few things for almost an hour.

After what has happened since last year's senate-committee, my next video will not be a nice speech by the time I'm finished with macho Montel Williams, DR OZ and the B.C. CORPORATOCRACY OF DEATH!