Tuesday, December 31, 2019

BC Health Minister orders Delta Hospice to provide euthanasia by February 3.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Sandor Gyarmati for the Delta Optimist news reported that the British Columbia Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, ordered the Delta Hospice Society to do euthanasia (MAiD) by February 3 or it may lose its provincial funding.

On December 2, I reported that the Board of the Delta BC Hospice Society that operates the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner BC, renewed its position opposing euthanasia (MAiD) while supporting excellent care. The Board stated that:

MAiD is not compatible with the Delta Hospice Society purposes stated in the society's constitution, and therefore, will not be performed at the Irene Thomas Hospice.
Fraser Health, the government agency that allocates health funding in that region reacted to the Delta Hospice Society by ordering them to provide MAiD (euthanasia).

The position of the Delta Hospice is not new. In February 2018, the Delta Hospice was ordered by Fraser Health to provide euthanasia. The Delta Hospice did not comply with the edict from Fraser Health at that time.

Recently the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians released a joint statement upholding that hospice palliative care is not compatible with MAiD (euthanasia). They stated:
Healthcare articles and the general media continue to conflate and thus misrepresent these two fundamentally different practices. MAiD is not part of hospice palliative care; it is not an “extension” of palliative care nor is it one of the tools “in the palliative care basket”. National and international hospice palliative care organizations are unified in the position that MAiD is not part of the practice of hospice palliative care. 
Hospice palliative care and MAiD substantially differ in multiple areas including in philosophy, intention and approach. Hospice palliative care focuses on improving quality of life and symptom management through holistic person-centered care for those living with life threatening conditions. Hospice palliative care sees dying as a normal part of life and helps people to live and die well. Hospice palliative care does not seek to hasten death or intentionally end life.
In a letter to the BC Health Minister, the President of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP), Dr Leonie Herx stated that  euthanasia is not consistent with the philosophy, intent or approach of hospice palliative care. Dr Herx told Dix not to force Hospice and Palliative Care services to do euthanasia.

If the Delta Hospice is forced to do euthanasia, then all Canadian Hospice groups can be forced to do euthanasia.

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019: 25 important articles on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Fatal Flaws film will change the way you view assisted death. (Link)

Donation to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. (Link)

● Jan 11: Canadian woman seeks euthanasia from pelvic mesh pain. (Link)

● Jan 14: Why euthanasia is unethical. (Link)

● Jan 22: Canada's new Justice Minister is radically pro-euthanasia. (Link)

● March 13: New Mexico assisted suicide bill was stopped. (Link)

● March 21: Canada euthanasia deaths increase by more than 50% in 2018. (Link)

● March 27: Terrible decision by Ontario court in food and fluids case. (Link)

● April 13: UN disability rights envoy urges changes to Canada's euthanasia law. (Link)

● April 29: Health Canada publishes inaccurate & incomplete data on euthanasia in Canada. (Link)

● May 15: Ontario Court of Appeal upholds lower court decision forcing doctors to refer patients to their death. (Link)

● June 10: American Medical Association overwhelmingly upholds its opposition to assisted suicide. (Link)

● June 21: Disabled man felt pressured to "ask" for euthanasia. (Link)

● July 1: Vincent Lambert ordered to die by France's highest appeal court. (Link)

● Aug 7: Euthanasia doctor cleared of wrong-doing after sneaking into Jewish care home to euthanize resident. (Link)

● Aug 15: Father with ALS Euthanized after being denied care in Canada. (Link)

● Sept 21: Quebec court expands Canada's euthanasia law by striking the terminal illness requirement. Euthanasia for psychological reasons is next. (Link)

● Sept 24: St. Martha's Catholic hospital will not provide euthanasia on-site. (Link)

● Sept 25: Physically healthy depressed man (Alan Nichols) died by euthanasia in BC. (Link)

● Oct 14: Physically healthy 23-year-old Belgian woman is being considered for euthanasia. (Link)

● Oct 18: Swiss doctor found guilty in the assisted suicide death of a woman who was not sick. (Link)

● Oct 26: World Medical Association re-affirms its opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide. (Link)

● Nov 5: Man says that psychologist urged him to kill his wife. (Link)

● Nov 20: Canadian Prime Minister's First Priority: More Euthanasia. (Link)

● Nov 23: Ontario Doctor experiences abuse with MAiD (euthanasia) law. (Link)

● Dec 12: BC Health Minister says he will force the Delta Hospice to kill. (Link

● Dec 17: Canada's Justice Minister considers expanding euthanasia to include teenagers and incompetent people. (Link)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

New York State must not legalize physician-assisted suicide

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) USA has an event at the Albany State House on Tuesday January 14, 2020 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. (Link to the event). There will be a press conference at 9 am.

New York State is debating the legalization of assisted suicide. Dr Stanley Bukowski, from Amherst NY., wrote the following letter that was published by The Buffalo News on December 27, 2019.
Legalization of physician-prescribed lethal medication for terminal patients, even on request, is bad medicine. 
This is eliminating the sufferer, not the suffering. It is both unnecessary and dangerous. 
Twenty years’ experience in Oregon shows that “Inadequate pain control or concern about it” is a distant sixth most-cited reason for patients to choose lethal medication, and even that statistic mixes current pain with anticipation of future pain. 
Palliative medicine has excellent pain control techniques. We need to use them aggressively. At institutions such as Calvary Hospital in New York City, dedicated to care of the dying, there is no pain that is intractable, as testified to me personally by Dr. Michael Brescia, their Executive Medical Director. By day two there, no one is asking for death because, as Brescia notes, the patients get both pain relief and love. Those techniques can and should be available throughout New York State. 
What of the other, more frequent, reasons cited in Oregon for physician-assisted death? They are all based in mental anguish as the patient faces decline and approaching death, and the effect of these on his or her family. 
The doctor’s professional duty and great privilege is to care for, comfort, and accompany both the patient and the family to the patient’s natural death, as part of a team of caregivers. This is authentic compassion. This is what our shared humanity calls for. 
If a dying loved one is suffering, it is time not for suicide, but for a new doctor: a palliative care specialist. Or two. Suicide for any reason does something bad to patients. And to families. And to us all. 
Stanley Bukowski, MD 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Loneliness is an epidemic among seniors that requires a caring response.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Loneliness is an important topic because all of us are affected by loneliness while seniors and people with disabilities have greater issues with loneliness because they often have issues with their health mobility.

I am concerned about cultural loneliness because lonely and depressed people are more likely to die by suicide, assisted suicide or euthanasia.
The Grand Island Independent published an editorial: Loneliness an epidemic among seniors that provides some practical advice. The editorial states:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.5 million older adults live in one-person households, representing 28 percent of people age 65 or older. The National Poll on Healthy Aging reported earlier this year that 1 in 3 senior citizens suffer from loneliness. 
“Research shows that chronic loneliness can impact older adults’ memory, physical well-being, mental health and life expectancy,” write the authors of the report sponsored by AARP. “In fact, some research suggests that chronic loneliness may shorten life expectancy even more than being overweight or sedentary, and just as much as smoking.” 
More than a third of seniors in the poll said they felt a lack of companionship at least some of the time. Almost 30 percent said they socialized with friends, family or neighbors once a week or less.
The editorial offers some practical advice:
Those of us who live near elderly people also can help out with tasks such as clearing snow from sidewalks and carrying groceries in from the car. Then, at the same time, we can just stop in to say hi and spend some time talking. 
It’s important that we all look for ways to make connections with the people who have been so important to our communities in the past, but now may be struggling with the effects of aging and becoming more isolated. There is great value in their life experiences and we all can continue to contribute well into our 80s and 90s...
A very practical response is to visit people who are socially isolated due to their health or age related conditions.

The Compassionate Community Care (CCC) program has a Training Program for visiting people who are lonely and isolated.

CCC also exists to provide advice and direction concerning health issues related to end-of-life and euthanasia prevention as well as train volunteers to visit lonely and isolated people. Contact CCC at: 1-855-675-8749.

More articles on loneliness and depression

Vermont: 28 people reportedly died by assisted suicide in the past two years.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The media reported that 28 people died by assisted suicide in the past two years (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2019). Calvin Cutler reported for WCAX3
The report released on Monday shows from July of 2017 to June of 2019, 28 people used the state's physician-assisted death program to end their lives. 
...Over the past two years, doctors have filled 34 prescriptions under the law. Of those cases, 24 patients had cancer, four had ALS and six had diseases like Parkinson's or similar conditions.
The state says of the 34 people who passed away, 28 died from a lethal prescription, five died from their underlying diseases and one person's cause of death is unknown.

Similar to other states, when the cause of death is unknown, the death may have been assisted suicide.
Click here for the full report.

Cutler also stated that the previous report, in 2017, indicated that 29 people had died by assisted suicide. Therefore 57 people have reportedly died by assisted suicide since it was legalized in 2013. The previous report also provided scant information.

The American Medical Association statement opposing assisted suicide says that legalizing assisted suicide causes more harm than good.

Australian euthanasia lobby want more doctors to kill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

David Sparkes, reporting for ABC News Australia, said that the euthanasia lobby is looking for more doctors who are willing to kill. According to his report:

Victoria has had assisted dying laws since the middle of the year, but euthanasia advocates say access is still proving difficult.
They argue people trying to use the laws are being held back by a lack of accredited specialists to approve the process.

But the State Government says the number of accredited doctors IS keeping pace with the growing demand.
The Age reported that there has been 140 assisted death applications since legalization. The number who have died is unknown. The Age also reported that, during the debate to legalize assisted death, the government predicted that there would be 12 assisted deaths in the first year and 150 assisted deaths per year in the future.

The Australian Medical Association remains opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. This news item is designed to convince more doctors to kill.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Fighting assisted suicide and euthanasia in New York State. Conference - January 14.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - USA and New York Against Assisted Suicide have a conference/training session at the Albany Statehouse (Albany NY)

Tuesday January 14, 2020 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.

There will be a press conference at 9 am.

Nancy Elliott
More details coming soon. 
The speakers include:

Alex Schadenberg, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) Founder and Executive Director

Nancy Elliott, EPC-USA Chair and former three term New Hampshire State Representative.

Dr Paul Saba
Dr Paul Saba, co-founder and co-preseident of the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice

Dawn Eskew, Founder, New York Against Assisted Suicide.

Register by emailing info@epcc.ca

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he supports assisted suicide.

This event is will inform and activate New York citizens to defeat assisted suicide.

More information about assisted suicide.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Italian Assisted suicide activist acquitted in death of disabled man.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Reuters news reported that a Milan court acquitted Italian assisted suicide activist, Marco Cappato, today in the assisted suicide death of Fabiano Antoniani (known as DJ Fabo), in February 2017.

This decision is sad but not surprising considering Italy's constitutional court decision in September 2019, that opened the door to assisted suicide.

The outcome of the constitutional court decision is not clear. According to the Guardian, the court decided that:
Anyone who “facilitates the suicidal intention … of a patient kept alive by life-support treatments and suffering from an irreversible pathology” should not be punished under certain conditions, the top court ruled.
This statement appears to limit the extent of the decision to people being kept alive on life-support. Further reading suggests that the decision is much wider. The Guardian article stated:
The court said that a patient’s condition must be “causing physical and psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable”.

Following approval of the decision by a local ethical committee, public health authorities should verify all conditions are met.
Since the court used the language “causing physical and psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable” it may have opened assisted suicide to a much wider group of people.

The statement is completely subjective, hard to define and nearly impossible to regulate.

Based on Antoniani's injuries and the language of the court decision, the Italian constitutional court seems to have opened the door to assisted suicide based on killing people with disabilities.

I fear that the language of the decision may lead to wide open assisted suicide.

Reuters reported that Cappato faces another trial in February over a similar case to that of Antoniani, in which he assisted a 53-year-old living with motor neurone disease to die in a Swiss clinic.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Lethal drug cocktails experimented on humans.

This article was published by OneNewsNow on December 20, 2019.

An anti-euthanasia group says it isn't ethical for medical personnel to perform lethal experiments on human beings, especially to expand the practice of assisted suicide.

*Prolonged painful assisted suicide deaths and human experiments with new lethal drug cocktails (Link).
Alex Schadenberg
Washington and Oregon are conducting experiments in an effort to find a lethal cocktail of drugs that is inexpensive yet effective enough to kill a patient who qualifies for assisted suicide.

"What's important about this issue is twofold," begins Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. "One, of course, is it's a lie to say that this is a safe, easy death. In fact, it's not. Assisted suicide is often horrific, quite often painful, and usually it takes a long time."
Secondly, medical personnel have been doing the experiments on human beings.
"So these are what you call human experiments. I think this is possibly unethical, and if the federal government, the Controlled Substances Act people realized what was going on, they would probably have to shut it down, because you can't be doing human experiments on someone and having failures like this."
The first two sets of drug combinations failed, with victims experiencing burning throats and painful deaths, or it takes a lengthy periods of time for the cocktail to do its job. Still, a third lethal cocktail has been developed, and medical personnel are beginning to experiment with it on human beings.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Waiting lists are growing for psychiatric euthanasia in the Netherlands.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Trouw news article by Marten van de Wier is reporting that the waiting list for psychiatric euthanasia at the euthanasia clinic in the Netherlands has grown to more than 100 people with an expected waiting time of one year.

The Trouw report indicates that fewer psychiatrists are willing to participate in psychiatric euthanasia and there are seven psychiatrists at the euthanasia clinic who received approximately 800 requests for euthaansia this year. The Trouw reported (google translated):

The waiting time for a euthanasia trajectory for psychiatric patients has increased to more than a year at the Euthanasia Expertise Center. There are now a hundred people on the waiting list. These are people who are likely to be eligible for euthanasia based on an initial assessment.

The expertise center raised the alarm two years ago about the large influx of psychiatric patients. Then the waiting time was six to nine months. This year a total of around 800 psychiatric patients reported, compared to 692 last year. Only a small group actually get euthanasia: last year 56. Doctors outside the Expertise Center provided euthanasia to psychiatric patients eleven times.
The number of psychiatric euthanasia deaths may be lower but the euthanasia clinic continues to lethally inject at least one psychiatric patient per week.

The change in attitude towards psychiatric euthanasia is likely connected to the case of a doctor who completed the death of a woman with dementia, who had requested euthanasia, but at the time of death resisted.

The doctor put a sedative in her coffee, but the woman continued to resist, so the doctor had the family hold her down while she was lethally injected.

A Netherlands court acquitted the doctor but the Dutch prosecutor asked for the case to be reviewed by the Supreme court.

Many physicians in the Netherlands have indicated that they are not sure of the requirements for psychiatric euthanasia and they now refer these patients to the euthanasia clinic.

Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians: Euthanasia is not consistent with the philosophy, intent or approach of hospice palliative care.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
*Sign the petition: Hospice Organizations Must NOT be Forced to do Euthanasia (Link).
On December 2, I reported that the Delta Hospice Society that operates the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner BC, renewed its opposition to euthanasia (MAiD) while supporting excellent care. The Board stated:
MAiD is not compatible with the Delta Hospice Society purposes stated in the society's constitution, and therefore, will not be performed at the Irene Thomas Hospice.

Irene Thomas Hospice
The BC Health Minister, Adrian Dix, responded by declaring that the provincial government will take action if the Delta hospice refuses to kill its patients. Dix suggested that they will stop funding the 10 bed hospice if they refuse to do MAiD.

In its recent Call to Action, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP) stated that MAiD (euthanasia) is not part of hospice palliative care.

On Tuesday, the President of the CSPCP, Dr Leonie Herx, sent a letter to Minister Dix supporting the refusal by the Delta Hospice Society to do euthanasia (MAiD) and stating that MAiD is not consistent with the philosophy, intent, or approach of hospice palliative care which supports dying as a natural process and does not hasten death: Herx stated:
The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians is concerned that palliative care centres in Fraser Health, such as some hospices, might be mandated to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) on site. While we appreciate the requirement for MAiD to be available, requiring it to be provided in hospices and palliative care units poses risk for potential harm. The risks are outlined in in our submission to the Special Joint Committee: (Link).
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP) recently released a Joint Statement on Hospice Palliative Care and MAiD which further outlines that MAiD is not consistent with the philosophy, intent, or approach of hospice palliative care which supports dying as a natural process and does not hasten death: (Link).
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) also recognizes the distinct nature of these practices in the unanimously passed General Council Resolution DM 5-63 which states: The Canadian Medical Association recognizes that the practice of assisted death as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada is distinct from the practice of palliative care.
One of the biggest potential harms is to those who do not choose MAiD (more than 98% of those who die as only about 1.5% choose MAiD). Both the public and many health care providers have had a longstanding fear of Hospice Palliative Care because they were afraid it hastened peoples’ deaths. This has led to late referrals and people choosing to not be referred to palliative care services that could have benefited them. For over 40 years we have been trying to educate the public and health care professionals that Hospice Palliative Care neither hastens nor prolongs the natural process of dying.
The core philosophy of hospice care is to provide a culture of caring that enables persons to live fully until they die a natural death and to minimize the symptoms and fears of the dying process, but never to intentionally hasten death.
Insisting that MAiD be provided in all palliative care centres and hospices has the potential to undermine the last 40 years of education about and advocacy for Hospice Palliative Care and goes against the core, foundational principles of hospice care. It also removes choice for those who want to choose a natural death supported by high quality hospice palliative care without fear their lives will be shortened.
Hospices and PC units should be able to make their own local arrangements for patients who request MAiD that allows patients access to this procedure and also maintains the integrity and availability of Hospice Palliative Care.
We kindly ask for you to consider the risk of harm and to help provide good access to high quality hospice palliative care.
Sign the petition: Hospice Organizations Must NOT be Forced to do Euthanasia (Link).

Terminally ill Ontario man is denied the care that he needs to live.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have published previous articles (1) (2) (3) (4) about how denying the care that terminally ill people need and the effort to make euthanasia or assisted suicide (MAiD) more available.

For instance, Ontario doctors who oppose euthanasia have been ordered to do an effective referral for euthanasia. Effective referral is defined as referral for the purpose of the act. This means that a physician who opposes killing must send his patient to a physician who will kill.


Recently the Delta BC Hospice Society that are refusing to do euthanasia have been ordered by the Minister of Health to do MAiD or lose their funding.
Sign the petition: Hospice Organizations Must NOT be Forced to do Euthanasia (Link).
Mark Doner
An article by Bill Hodgins for MyKawartha.com reports that Mark Doner, who is living with terminal cancer, was informed that the personal support worker hours that he receives are being cut. Hodgins explains:
Doner is dying of cancer. The 58-year-old Peterborough man says since he was diagnosed in 2017, it has spread from his colon and small intestine to his liver. He’s outlived the time his doctors gave him and he’s not going to get any better.

Doner lives alone in a highrise apartment in Peterborough, and currently gets assistance from personal support workers (PSW) six days out of the week. Every second day, he gets two hours of help. It’s one hour on alternate days. Nurses visit about every three days.

Earlier this month, he says a co-ordinator from the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) dropped by, asked him some questions, then informed him his personal support worker care hours would be cut to just one hour on the days where he was getting two hours of care.

“I just don’t get it,” says the former resort chef. “I’ve had operations. I’m in pain. I have some good days but even my girls (the PSWs) say I should be asking for more care.”
Do support worker cut-backs lead to elder abuse? Hodgins quotes Jennifer Brown, a long-term care advocate in Ontario.
“How is cutting the weekly hours of personal support workers in Ontario LTC (long-term care) homes combating elder abuse?

“How does sowing anxiety and fear about their own job security among the uncut personal support workers, that results in increased sick days and heavier workloads for those who do come to work, combat elder abuse?”
The article does not suggest that Doner is being pressured to euthanasia. Whether the Ministry of Health wants people, like Doner, to ask for euthanasia or euthanasia is an "accidental" outcome of their policy, the fact is that he is being denied the care that he needs and euthanasia is being pushed.

The Health Minister should know that people, like Doner, who live in their private residence cost the government less money than those living in assisted living or a hospital. If the government does not provide enough home care support he may eventually be forced to move into assisted living which will cost the government a lot more money.

At the same time, the number of seniors waiting for long-term care placements is at a record high.

This is not a conservative vs liberal ideological debate - home care is less expensive and more dignified.

Denying people the home care that they need is dangerous and promotes euthanasia

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Canada's Justice Minister is considering expanding euthanasia to include teenagers and incompetent people.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Canada's Justice Minister, David Lametti was reported in a Radio Canada interview that he is considering extending euthanasia to teenagers and people who are incompetent but made a previous request.

Lametti, who voted against Bill C-14 in 2016 because it didn't go far enough, has been ordered by Prime Minister Trudeau to expand Canada's euthanasia law.

All of this is based on the fact that the Liberal government did not appeal a Québec court decision that struck down the section of Canada's euthanasia law requiring that a person's "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable."

The Liberal government double speak is particularly concerning. Last Spring the government announced that no changes will be made to the law until after the government completed a five year review, that would begin in June 2020. What is the purpose of a five year review if the government eliminates the restrictions in the law previous to the consultation.

Christian Noël reporting for Radio Canada explains what Lametti said in the interview (google translated):

..the Minister of Justice said he was juggling the idea of ​​allowing people who suffer from a neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson's disease, to seek medical aid in dying early, before being unable to '' express their consent.

The possibility that seriously ill young people between the ages of 14 and 17 may seek medical assistance in dying, with psychological tags in place, is also being considered.

We will have to see if we have a strong consensus. The Canadian and Quebec societies of 2019 are not the same as in 2015. There is an evolution, a greater acceptance of assisted dying in Canada.
Lametti did recognize that he could simply amend the law based on the Quebec court decision. Radio Canada reported:
The other option on the table is to settle the question of reasonably foreseeable death in time for March 11, while keeping an in-depth review of the law for this summer. The government had promised to review the law every five years, a deadline that arrives in June.
The Globe and Mail suggested a more cautious approach in its December 16 editorial. It suggested that legislation require that before MAiD is done that all other options be tried first and that the government assure better services for people with chronic conditions that cause suffering. The Globe and Mail editorial concluded:
But Ottawa should not just throw up its hands and enforce no precautions. That could tilt the balance too far in the other direction. Making access to assisted death too difficult is undesirable, but so is making it too easy.
The federal government announced that there would be a five year review of the euthanasia law beginning in June 2020 and yet it is now considering amending the legislation before the review is done.

Canada's euthanasia law does not provide oversight and control. EPC would like the government to step back and agree to an honest analysis of what is the actual happening with euthanasia in Canada.