Sunday, January 27, 2019

Intentional ending of a patient’s life more than ‘ medical error’?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week, Limaohio.com columnist, Melissa Martin comments on the Ohio Department of Health investigation concerning 27 cases of massive overdoses of pain medication by a Ohio doctor and assisted suicide.

Melissa Martin
Commenting on the Ohio overdoses, Martin writes:

According a 2019 article in the Columbus Dispatch, “The Ohio Department of Health has begun an investigation into a Mount Carmel doctor accused of ordering potentially fatal doses of painkiller for 27 near-death hospital patients, all of whom have died. Mount Carmel officials fired the doctor and placed 20 pharmacists and nurses on leave while they look into the cases.” 
“Eighteen months ago, Mount Carmel began work to stop preventable medical errors — work that puts systems into place to make the care we provide highly reliable and consistent,” is another statement on the Mount Carmel website. 
Why is a policy to prevent medical errors not ongoing? Why 18 months ago? Why not prior to opening the hospital for business? It appears that whistle-blowing employees came forth with the allegations. When did the intentional ending of a patient’s life by a physician become ‘a medical error’?
Martin puts the Ohio investigation into the context of other medical professionals. She writes:
Donald Harvey, a nurse’s aide, dubbed “the Angle of Death,” pleaded guilty in 1987 to killing 55 patients in Cincinnati and Kentucky hospitals. Many of his victims were chronically ill patients. He claimed he was ending their suffering. “Harvey told a newspaper after he pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty that he liked the control of determining who lived and died. Former Hamilton County Prosecutor Arthur Ney Jr. who prosecuted the cases in Cincinnati said Harvey was not a mercy killer,” according to a 2017 article in USA Today. 
Lisa Schattinger, a nurse, founded Ohio End of Life Options in 2015. The members support a Death with Dignity law in Ohio...
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a medical pathologist, was arrested, tried in a court of law, and convicted of physician-assisted suicide. According to a 2011 article in the New York Times, “The American Medical Association in 1995 called him “a reckless instrument of death” who “poses a great threat to the public.”

Martin concludes the article by stating:
The phrase ‘physician-assisted suicide’ has been replaced by ‘death with dignity.’ Loaded language is a persuasive technique used to heighten emotion, gain support, and sway voters. And loaded phrases are changed to make horrific acts more palatable to the public. 
Do you support or oppose a Death with Dignity law in Ohio for the terminally ill? 
Do you support or oppose the alleged acts of a rogue physician to end the suffering of terminally ill patients by injecting lethal doses of fentanyl at Mount Carmel hospital in Columbus? Mercy killings or playing God?
If you think the article by Melissa Martin is extreme, maybe you need to read about Charles Cullen, a nurse who killed at least 40 patients and said "I thought I was helping."

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