Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dutch doctor on trial for euthanasia without effective consent. Punishment is not being proposed.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The trial of the doctor who lethally injected (euthanasia) an incompetent woman without effective consent is happening this week in the Hague Netherlands.

The case concerns the euthanasia of a woman with dementia who resisted so the doctor sedated the woman by secretly putting drugs in her coffee. The woman continued resisting so the doctor had the family hold her down as she was being lethally injected.

In January 2017, a Netherlands Regional Euthanasia Review Committee decided that the doctor had contravened the rule of law but that she had done it in "good faith."
*Dutch doctor reprimanded for euthanasia without consent of woman with dementia.
The Associated Press (AP) reported:
The court case centers on a 74-year-old woman who was given fatal doses of drugs three years ago despite some indications she might have changed her mind... 
She is charged with breaching the euthanasia law and, if the judge rules the request of the patient was insufficient, that charge could in theory become murder. 
But the prosecution is not seeking any penal sentence against the doctor and does not question her good faith. Instead, the prosecution centers its case on setting out a better legal framework for the future. 
"We think the doctor has not acted carefully enough and thus passed a threshold. But at the same time, we also say that this threshold is not very clear," said public prosecution spokeswoman Marilyn Fikenscher...
It is common for the Netherlands court to hear a case, not with the intention of punishment but rather to establish a precedent to determine what the court considers acceptable or unacceptable, based on the application of the law.

The doctor, who has now retired, argued that since the woman was mentally incompetent that she could not invalidate her previous request. AP reported:
The doctor testified that because the patient was not mentally competent, nothing the woman said around the time of her death was enough to invalidate the written statement. She said the patient could no longer fathom the meaning of such concepts as euthanasia and dementia.
Normally this statement by the doctor would be considered a reason to oppose euthanasia for incompetent people, but in this case the doctor considers it a defense.

The stated that the woman having dementia did not change the requirement that a doctor must verify the request for euthanasia. The reported:
Nienke Nieuwenhuizen, chairwoman of the association of geriatric specialists, said that when euthanasia was legalised in 2002 no one had thought of dementia. ‘We could do with more clarity but the question is whether this case is going to bring it.
So lets, examine the facts of this euthanasia death:
  • The woman had dementia and was incapable of asking for euthanasia,
  • The declaration in her will was not clear, 
  • She stated several times that she did not want to die, 
  • She was not informed that a sedative was put in her coffee,
  • Her family was required to hold her down so the doctor could lethally inject her.
  • The Regional Review Committee found that the doctor contravened the law but that it was done in "good faith."
  • The court is not hearing the case to punish the doctor but to establish a precedent.
The outcome of this case may influence Canadian euthanasia policies. The Canadian government is debating the extension of euthanasia to incompetent people who previously requested euthanasia while competent.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Canadian euthanasia party propaganda story.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The other day I published an article about a Seattle assisted suicide party propaganda story. One of our supporters sent me the link to a Canadian euthanasia party propaganda story, a story that I did not write about when it was first published.

Similar to the Seattle story, the Canadian story is designed to promote MAiD (euthanasia) and break-down social barriers towards euthanasia.

The story by Susie Adelson was published by Toronto Life features Adelson's grand mother, Sonia Goodman (88). 

Goodman visits Sunnybrook hospital in pain and with sepsis and tells the medical team that she wants them to end her life. Adelson writes:
At first, the doctors suggested palliative care, but she was adamant: no more surgeries, no more drugs, not even antibiotics. She had watched her friends pass away and my mother suffer, and she didn’t want to go through that. Neither did I: seeing my mom languish in a hospital bed for months left me anxious and terrified of death.
Adelson is concerned that her grandmother would languish in a hospital bed for months. Clearly this statement is designed to cause fear but it indicates that she is not terminally ill.

There is more to the story. The woman does not appear to be terminally ill - "natural death is not reasonably forseeable" but demands and receives death by lethal injection.

The article raises a concern with the social approval of elder suicide. When the doctors decided that she was qualified to die, the decision seems based on her age (88). The fact that she demands to die seems very similar to suicide. When did approving suicide based on age become acceptable?

Adelson then builds the propaganda by emphasizing how they all shared a celebration drink and spoke about their memories of Goodman. Adelson writes:

Relishing the spotlight, she encouraged us to go around the room and share our memories of her. She was delighted when person after person remarked on her glamour. When it was my turn, I thanked her for giving me my mother—and for her advice to never leave the house without a coat of lipstick. She laughed, and I held her hand. When it was time, we raised our Dixie cups: “To Yaya!”
We all want the focus to be on us in our final days, but it doesn't require a lethal injection to make it happen.

The euthanasia lobby is promoting death. As I stated in my response to the Seattle article - assisted suicide was once an avant garde concept, now normalizing assisted suicide is really another propaganda tool.

Its time for real journalism with real life, juxtaposing stories, complicated reality, and not propaganda.

Pallium Canada Welcomes Health Canada's Action Plan on Palliative Care

OTTAWA, Aug. 28, 2019 /CNW/ - (Link to the french media release) Pallium Canada welcomes the release of Health Canada's Action Plan on Palliative Care: Building on the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada. The Action Plan lays out Health Canada's five-year plan to tackle issues uncovered through the development of the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada. It includes specific activities to enhance access, quality of care, and health care system performance, within the federal government's mandate and levers for action.

"The Action Plan outlines best practices that Pallium has championed for many years such as a focus on supporting both the health care system and the communities in which we live in order to provide better palliative care to Canadians" said Pallium's Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Moat. "Pallium is a critical partner to bringing the Action Plan to life in a number of ways, including building the capacity of health care professionals to be able to provide a palliative care approach, especially for underserved populations and accelerating the uptake of the Compassionate Communities model across Canada," Moat added.

Throughout the development of the Framework, Pallium took an active leadership role from appearing before the House of Commons and Senate Health Committees when Bill C277 An Act to Establish a Palliative Care Framework was before Parliament, to on-going consultations with Health Canada identifying the essential features needed in a successful framework.

Health Canada will oversee and coordinate the implementation of the Action Plan, connecting governments and stakeholders and serving as a knowledge centre to share best practices. "The Action Plan is certainly a step in the right direction, but like any blueprint, the implementation—with measurable outcomes for Canadians—is the bottom line," said Moat. He added that "Funding the Action Plan is key going forward, and we want to help ensure that the government succeeds in playing a strong leadership role promoting palliative care innovation across the country through its stakeholder groups."

Pallium applauds Health Canada for the public awareness components of the Action Plan as "Public education will help deepen a national understanding of what a palliative care approach has to offer Canadians," said Moat. "We look forward to the government's next steps which recognize the value of implementing a Compassionate Community approach. Pallium takes pride in being among the first to adopt and promote the Compassionate Community theory of practice here in Canada. It is a powerful model and one we hope to continue to formalize with community partners across the country moving forward," Moat stated.

About Pallium Canada

Pallium is a national, evidence-based organization focused on building professional and community capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care in Canada.

SOURCE Pallium Canada

For further information: Robyn Levy, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Pallium Canada, or 613-562-6262 ext. 1747

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Seattle assisted suicide party propaganda.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The following story may seem like a plot from a bad horror film, but it is simply another assisted suicide propaganda story.

The Associated Press (AP) published an article by Gene Johnson about an assisted suicide party in Seattle. The story is designed to make you open to assisted suicide, but this story leads to questions about assisted suicide and why AP decided to publish assisted suicide propaganda.

*Washington State: Nearly 25% more assisted deaths in 2018.
The AP story, concerns Robert Fuller (75) who planned his suicide party and this story gives Fuller his 15 minutes of fame.

The story goes something like this, Fuller, who is a nominal Catholic, marries his male partner, Reese Baxter, in the morning. He then moves down to the common room, in his seniors building, to greet friends, well wishers and later that afternoon he injects a fatal drug cocktail into his feeding tube and dies.

* Order the Fatal Flaws film from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and see the other side of the story (Link).
It appears that Fuller may have had a life-long problem with suicidal ideation.

When Fuller was 8 his Aunt died by a suicide drowning in the Merrimack river. Johnson states that seeing her body began Fuller's long relationship with death. According to Johnson, Fuller stated:
"If life gets painful, you go to the Merrimack River."
Johnson describes how Fuller survived a suicide attempt in 1975. His marriage ended after telling his wife that he was gay and he was drinking too much.

Johnson writes that as a nurse in the 1980's, Fuller cared for people with HIV. Fuller admits to intentionally killing a patient, with a drug overdose, to "end his battle" with AIDS.

Johnson also writes that Fuller intentionally lived a risky sexual life-style in the 80's, a lifestyle that verged on suicidal. Johnson quotes Fuller as saying:

"I think I wanted to get AIDS,"

"All my friends were dying."
When Fuller was sought assisted suicide, were his suicidal tendencies examined? It is difficult to differentiate between a "rational" wish to die and suicidal ideation.

To offer the other side of the issue, Johnson publishes a few quotes from bioethicist Wesley Smith, who opposes assisted suicide. Smith states:
to allow people to hasten their deaths represents an abandonment, a signal to the terminally ill that their lives are not worth living, he said.

"We should be very concerned that we are normalizing suicide in our society, especially at the very time during which, practically out of the other side of our mouth, we are saying suicide is an epidemic," Smith said.
I think that Smith, hit the nail on the head, but the article contradicts Smith's comments, and continues with its suicide contagion narrative to explain that Fuller rejected treatment and "chose death" but not until he lived out a few "bucket list" experiences.

The article undermines the Catholic Church. Fuller attended a Catholic parish where the priest and many parishioners appear accepting of death by assisted suicide. The parish priest even had a group of children bless Fuller at his final mass before his death. (Link to the Archdiocese of Seattle statement)

Finally the article describes the "death midwife" participation and how his death was without complications. Data shows that many people who die by assisted suicide do not experience a death without pain, suffering and complications.

Why am I writing about the AP propaganda article?

I guess I am giving this propaganda article attention. Yes, this is a pro-assisted suicide article designed to undermine opposition to doctor prescribed suicide.

Johnson seems to have little concern about how glorifying suicide leads to a suicide contagion effect. 

Popularizing assisted suicide is not about creating awareness but providing new customers for the assisted suicide death business.

The article admits that suicide was a integral part of Fuller's life experience. What effect do these articles have on other wounded individuals who are scarred by their suicide experiences or suicide attempts. Society must not trivialize suicide as it deeply effects a person's inner most being.

Finally, did AP have to gain by promoting assisted suicide. Assisted suicide was once an avant garde concept, now normalizing assisted suicide is another political propaganda tool.

Its time for the media to provide real journalism with real life, juxtaposing stories, complicated reality, and not propaganda.

Order the Fatal Flaws film from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and see the other side of the story (Link).

New Jersey appellate court lifts restraining order that stopped assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Justice Paul Innes, signed a temporary restraining order on August 14, giving the New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Singh Grewel until September 13th to respond to the order.

The New Jersey assisted suicide law passed on March 25 and was signed into law by the Governor on April 12.

The assisted suicide law went into effect on August 1 but was restrained from taking effect on August 14.

Today, a New Jersey appellate court lifted the temporary restraining order that prevented the assisted suicide law from going into effect.

Judges Carman Messano and Arnold L Natali JR decided today that Justice Paul Innes erred by granting a temporary restraining order of the law and stated that the plaintiff, Dr Joseph Glassman did not satisfy the standard required to grant a restraining order.

The restraining order was dissolved and the Judges remanded the order to be decided by the trial court.

Lawyers for Dr Glassman told me that they made an immediate appeal, of the appellate court ruling, to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Judge dismisses lawsuit against doctors who withheld life-saving treatment, without consent, from a veteran.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Joy Wawrzniak, DeGuerre's daughter.
An 11-year battle to obtain justice for a veteran who was denied life-saving treatment against his wishes and without the consent of his daughter, the legally appointed power of attorney may have ended without justice.

On September 22, 2008, Douglas DeGuerre died after he was down graded from full code to DNR without his consent or consulting his family.

On Friday, August 23, 2019 Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Cavanagh dismissed the $2.2 million lawsuit against Dr Donald Livingston and Dr Martin Chapman by DeGuerre's daughter, Joy Wawrzyniak.

The Canadian Press article by Michelle McQuigge reported that Justice Cavanagh decided that the physicians made an appropriate decision about DeGuerre's health and took sufficient steps to communicate their actions to his daughter. McQuigge reported:
"Should Dr. Chapman and Dr. Livingstone have taken different or additional actions to try to reach the plaintiff to discuss the DNR order with her after it was made? Perhaps," Cavanagh wrote, noting they could have stressed the urgency of the situation or provided personal mobile numbers. 
"Without the benefit of hindsight, however, I am unable to conclude that actions taken by Dr. Chapman and Dr. Livingstone to communicate with the plaintiff about the DNR order would not be acceptable behaviour for a reasonably prudent physician in the same circumstances."
According to McQuigge:
The court ruling said Chapman then left a voicemail for Wawrzyniak in which he said he wished to discuss her father's condition, but made no mention of the newly implemented order and indicated "nothing has particularly changed." 
Shortly after receiving the voicemail, court heard Wawrzyniak went to the hospital and found her father struggling to breathe.
She summoned hospital staff who tried to help, but court heard that when Livingston arrived he told Wawrzyniak that resuscitation would be of little benefit and only cause suffering. Chapman asked staff to stop trying to revive DeGuerre. 
Wawrzyniak, a registered nurse, tried administering help herself, but was unsuccessful and DeGuerre died a short time later. She discovered the next day that her father's status had been changed.
Justice Cavanagh erred by ignoring the fact that Chapman and Livingston made the decision without consultation. This was not an emergency situation where there is no time to consult the power of attorney.

Wawrzyniak has continued her pursuit of justice for 11 years. In September 2014 the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board found that the doctors violated the law by unilaterally imposing a do-not-resuscitate order on Douglas DeGuerre against his family’s wishes.

The decision by Justice Cavanagh dismissed the lawsuit against Dr's Chapman and Livingston.
The doctors made the decision against the wishes of DeGuerre and his daughter, who was the legally appointed power of attorney. Even if physicians disagree with the family, the rights of the individual and their family should supercede the ideology of the doctors. Further to that, in Ontario, the Consent and Capacity Board exists to determine disputes between physicians and families.

Thank you Joy Wawrzyniak for continuing the battle for justice.

Canadian Healthcare system found it more convenient to kill a patient rather than provide home care.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Driector, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Sean Tagert with his son
Sometimes an article builds interest. The article by Wesley Smith - Father with ALS Euthanized after being denied sufficient care in Canada, led to interviews with myself from other media. 

Purvash Jain from Medgazette 24 published this article Canadian Healthcare system found it more convenient to kill a patient than finding ways to serve him.

Jain explains that Sean Tagert (41) died by MAiD (euthanasia) on August 7, 2019 after being given the choice of paying $263.50 per day for his care, which he couldn't afford, or being institutionalized in the George Pearson Centre in Vancouver where he would have been provided with 24-hour residential care.

Tagert wanted to live but he decided that he could not afford the cost of home care and living in the institution in Vancouver was worse than death because he wouldn't be able to see his son, who lived in Powell River.

Alex Schadenberg
Jain stated:

The Executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schadenberg said that when a person is refused necessary care, he might, out of despair, opt for euthanasia.
He had an idea this would happen and sadly, it did.
Jain concluded the article by stating:
If the system finds death as more efficient, then death it will be. Rather than finding measures for serving Tagert and his son, the health care system of Canada found it more convenient to kill him.
The death of Sean Tagert is the prime of example of what occurs when euthanasia is legalized. Death sometimes becomes the preferred option to life.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Chinese man awakens after 5 years of coma. His wife provided total and loving care.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Chinese man, Li Zhihua from Xiangyang in Hubei Province, woke up from a 5 year Coma thanks to his wife literally caring for him night and day. 

Tracy You reported on August 22 for the Mailonline:

According to reports, Mr Li was knocked down by a motorbike in August, 2013, while riding a scooter to work.

Describing his condition, Dr Wan Qing'an told reporters: 'When he was taken to the hospital, he was in a vegetative state. He could not respond to anything.'

His wife, 57-year-old Zhang Guihuan, recalled: 'The doctor told me it was possible that he would be in a persistent vegetative state.'

She said she was not willing to accept the diagnosis and wanted to prove the doctors wrong.
According to the article, his loving wife was persistent.
Day in day out, the determined spouse stayed next to Mr Li's bed to chat with him and play his favourite songs, hoping his condition would improve.

'These things were very helpful to stimulate his nervous system,' Dr Wan said.

The strong-willed woman slept only two to three hours a day and looked after Mr Li in every aspect possible. As a result, she lost 10 kilograms (22 pounds) during the course.

Ms Zhang said in order to feed her husband, she had to carefully put food into his month and then gently pressed his tongue to let him know that he could eat.

Mr Li miraculously regained his conscious last year. 
This story shows how love can lead someone to provide care. In this case, her care enabled her husband to recover.

This case also shows how providing stimulation and care may lead to someone recovering from a head injury.

In 2004 I attended a conference on Persistent Vegetative State whereby a doctor who ran an "awakening center" spoke about what they did to have such a high success rate in awakening patients in coma.

New Hampshire man found guilty of assisting his friends suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Parker Hogan (left) Michael Buskey (right)
Jurors in New Hampshire, after a three hour deliberation, found Parker Hogan (20) guilty of assisting the suicide of his friend, Michael Buskey (19).

Buskey shot himself in a wooded area in the middle of the night on May 7/8, 2018.

John Koziol, reporting for The New Hampshire Union Leader wrote that the prosecutor stated that Hogan provided a stick and helped him aim the gun and pull the trigger. Prosecutors told the jury that Hogan stated, in a police interview, that he had even offered to pull the trigger. Koziol reported that the defense argued that Hogan reluctantly carried out the wishes of Buskey after trying repeatedly trying to talk him out of suicide.

Koziol reported today that Hogan was convicted of assisted suicide and falsifying physical evidence. The conviction is likely to carry a term of 3.5 to 7 years.

According to the suicide plan, Hogan assisted Buskey with the suicide, then wiped the gun for evidence and contacted the police claiming he had found the body.

This case is very sad. It is possible that Hogan thought he was helping his friend, but really, what's the difference between a doctor thinking he's helping a patient and this case?

Suicide is always a preventable tradgedy. This case emphasizes the importance of not assisting the suicide of a person who is at the most vulnerable time of his life.

Farcical euthanasia debate in New Zealand Parliament dismisses doctors and hospices.

Euthanasia-Free NZ Media Release - August 22, 2019
Euthanasia-Free NZ is appalled that Parliament spent so little time debating Part 2 of the End of Life Choice Bill and voted to leave it full of holes.

Part 2 is the most extensive and complex section of the Bill, covering coercion, freedom of conscience rights, as well as the process: from making the request to reporting the death.

Despite being three times longer on paper, Part 2 received the same amount of debating time as Part 1 did. No fewer than 18 substantial new clauses were proposed in the amendments to Part 2, of which 5 came from David Seymour. Nevertheless, after only two hours of debate and with several clauses still unmentioned and many MPs asking to speak, some Labour MPs started to call for the debate to be stopped.

Some of the MPs who stated that they voted for the Bill in order have a discussion are the ones who are trying to stifle debate.

Eventually it was Seymour’s call that shut down the debate, after Simeon Brown asked him a question on the minimum time frame enabled by the Bill - one Seymour refused to answer. All parties except National voted in favour of Seymour’s motion.

Several MPs proposed amendments to address gaps in Seymour’s Supplementary Order Paper. Although only one MP other than Seymour spoke against these amendments, all of these were voted down.
"It seems that MPs who support euthanasia in principle decided in advance to support David Seymour’s proposals and reject everyone else’s, regardless of their content," says Renée Joubert, executive officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.
Hon Michael Woodhouse drafted an amendment in consultation with Hospice New Zealand that would allow organisations to opt out without risking losing pubic funding. When Hon David Clark spoke in favour of this amendment, he was jeered by his Labour colleagues and the amendment was voted down.
"David Seymour, NZ First, The Greens and most Labour MPs seem set on rushing this Bill through with little concern for stakeholders such as doctors and Hospices," says Ms Joubert.

"It’s disappointing that a life-and-death issue is being used as a party-political football."
13 Reasons Why Part 2 Has Holes:
1) The only doctor who would need to check for signs of coercion doesn’t need to talk to the person face to face and doesn’t need to have met the person before.

2) A doctor who works as a contractor would be left without protection from discrimination.

3) A healthcare assistant or caregiver who is pressured to participate in the euthanasia process would not be allowed to object on conscience grounds.

4) Every doctor would be forced to participate in the process by steering people towards euthanasia instead of towards treatment. A doctor who believes a euthanasia request is motivated by mental illness would be forced to participate in the person's death by referring them to the SCENZ Group.

5) A health professional may initiate a discussion about euthanasia with a patient, as long as the conversation covers another topic also and happens after, not during a consultation.

6) No evidence is required to show that a person confirmed their death wish before receiving the lethal dose and that they were mentally competent at the time.

7) A person can be coerced to sign someone else’s euthanasia request and doesn’t need to understand what they are signing.

8) A person’s abuser could sign a euthanasia request on the victim's behalf without needing to provide evidence that they were asked to do so.

9) The reasons why an eligible person request euthanasia may be unrelated to their medical condition.

10) Organisations such as Hospice may be forced to have euthanasia administered on their premises.

11) The doctors giving a person a terminal diagnosis and assessing their eligibility for euthanasia don’t need to have any training or experience in the field of medicine related to the person’s condition.

12) Even provisionally-registered doctors, fresh out of medical school with no specialist training, could meet the Bill’s definition of 'psychiatrist'.

13) No proof is required that unused drugs have been destroyed. 
Some issues with the End of Life Choice Bill
  • There is no clear definition of ‘terminal illness’. It could be interpreted to include any condition that is life-shortening or life-threatening. There is no bright line between terminal conditions and chronic conditions. Some chronic conditions can become life-threatening in a matter of minutes, for example diabetes, asthma, severe allergies and high blood pressure. There is also no bright line between terminal illness and disabilities, because many disabilities are life-limiting and involve complications that can become life-threatening. Even clinical depression could be regarded as a terminal condition by some, because it could lead to death (suicide), or to losing the will to live and fight a disease. 
  • Diagnosis and prognosis can be wrong. It’s impossible for doctors to accurately predict how long a person is expected to live, especially as long as six months out. There have been cases of people who were expected to die within hours or days, but they recovered and lived for months or years. Diagnosis can also be wrong, despite a doctor’s best intentions. Diagnosis and prognosis are not based on certainty, but on probability (the likelihood based on other cases). There is no guarantee that an individual’s disease will progress the same way as others’ have.
  • Subjective terminology. Words such as ‘unbearable’, ‘suffering’ and ‘intolerable’ are entirely subjective (up to the individual to determine). If a patient would use any of these words to describe their condition, the doctor would not be able to argue.  
  • Involves disabled people. ‘An advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability’ is just a wordy way of saying ‘disability’ or ‘ageing’. The Bill doesn’t explain what is meant by ‘capability’. Could a person qualify who has become less able to run, walk or read? Could a person’s ‘decline in capability’ become ‘irreversible’ by them refusing medical treatment?
  • Includes people who are depressed. The End of Life Choice Bill doesn’t mention depression. Even if it did specifically exclude depression, some depressed people could still access death instead of treatment under such legislation. Depression can be hidden, even from doctors. Depression can be misdiagnosed or dismissed as ‘understandable depression’. Even subclinical depression can still have an effect on a person’s decision making capabilities.
The debate on Part 3 of the Bill is scheduled to continue on 11 September.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Kiwis oppose implications of euthanasia process

Tuesday, 20 August 2019, 2:23 pm
Press Release: Euthanasia Free NZ

Euthanasia-Free NZ urge MPs to consider concerns relevant to tomorrow’s debate on Part 2 of the End of Life Choice Bill.

Part 2 is about freedom of conscience rights and each step of the proposed process: from making a request to reporting the death.

As lawyers would know, it's important to consider the possible loopholes in a piece of legislation: What would it do and allow, even if not explicitly stated?

Two Curia Market Research Polls conducted earlier this year found that the majority of respondents are opposed to circumstances the Bill’s proposed process would allow. None of these concerns are addressed by David Seymour's proposed amendments. Their concerns are noteworthy especially since the majority of the 1,048 respondents are in favour of the concept of euthanasia.

The Bill would allow an eligible terminally ill person to request euthanasia:

1) without telling loved ones (opposed by 73%);

2) instead of treatment (opposed by 60%);

3) because they feel like a burden (opposed by 64%); and

4) because they feel depressed or that life is meaningless (opposed by 55%).
There's a distinction between eligibility criteria and reasons for requesting euthanasia.

“In its current form the Bill would not require a doctor to explore or consider the underlying reasons why an eligible person wants to die,” says Renée Joubert, Executive Officer of Euthanasia-Free NZ.

“The unbearable suffering a person experiences may not be caused by their medical condition. Instead the person may be suffering due to issues such as poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, loneliness, mental illness, depression, grief, bereavement or concern about being a burden.”

Part 2 is by far the most substantial part of the Bill, consisting of 17 clauses and almost 11 pages. In contrast, Part 1, which was debated on 31 July, consists of only 5 sections and almost 4 pages.

"We were shocked that the debate on Part 1 was cut short when some MPs still wished to speak and several proposed amendments had not even been mentioned, let alone debated," says Ms Joubert. "And that, after many MPs stated that they voted for the Bill at second reading in order for the House to have an extensive discussion.

"Since Part 2 is about the crux of the Bill, we hope that its details, as well as each of the proposed amendments, will receive discussion and unprejudiced scrutiny.

"Our members and supporters will be watching tomorrow's debate with interest."


Sunday, August 18, 2019

How a palliative care bill negatively affected conscience rights in Vermont.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In 2012, Vermont passed bill § 1871 Patient's bill of rights for palliative care and pain management bill. This bill seemed straight forward and it was seen as  seen as helping to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in Vermont. This bill stated:
(a) A patient has the right to be informed of all evidence-based options for care and treatment, including palliative care, in order to make a fully informed patient choice. 
(b) A patient with a terminal illness has the right to be informed by a clinician of all available options related to terminal care; to be able to request any, all, or none of these options; and to expect and receive supportive care for the specific option or options available. 
(c) A patient suffering from pain has the right to request or reject the use of any or all treatments in order to relieve his or her pain. 
(d) A patient suffering from a chronic condition has the right to competent and compassionate medical assistance in managing his or her physical and emotional symptoms. 
(e) A pediatric patient suffering from a serious or life-limiting illness or condition has the right to receive palliative care while seeking and undergoing potentially curative treatment. (Added 2009, No. 25, § 3.)
In May 2013 Vermont legalized assisted suicide. The assisted suicide statute (Act 39) states:
The rights of a patient under section 1871 of this title to be informed of all available options related to terminal care and under 12 V.S.A. § 1909(d) to receive answers to any specific question about the foreseeable risks and benefits of medication without the physician’s withholding any requested information exist regardless of the purpose of the inquiry or the nature of the information. A physician who engages in discussions with a patient related to such risks and benefits in the circumstances described in this chapter shall not be construed to be assisting in or contributing to a patient’s independent decision to self-administer a lethal dose of medication, and such discussions shall not be used to establish civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action.
Notice how the Patient bill of rights for palliative care and pain management and the assisted suicide act require physicians to provide all information and answers to any questions. Both statutes obligate physicians to provide information, even when the physician opposes one of the options.

Does requiring a physician to provide information also require the physician to prove a referral?

On May 23, 2017, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reported a victory, stating that Vermont physicians who object to assisted suicide are not required to provide information or refer for assisted suicide. 

The ADF signed an agreement with Vermont's Attorney General ensuring that physicians were not required to provide information or refer for assisted suicide.

According to Patient Choices Vermont, on December 18, 2017 US District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford decided that:
“The agreement does not represent the views of the court on the merits of the parties' dispute … The consent agreement is a purely private agreement-not a judicial ruling-and not subject to review on appeal. But it is far from inconsequential and maintaining it on the court's docket has value in informing the public of the terms of the settlement struck by the parties.”
Patient Choices Vermont argues that the language of the Patients bill of rights for palliative care and pain management statute, the assisted suicide statute and the decision by Judge Crawford requires Vermont physicians to provide assisted suicide information.

It is not completely clear whether the agreement between ADF and Vermont's Attorney General stands and it is not clear whether the language of both statutes require Vermont physicians to refer for assisted suicide.

Nonetheless, the concern about being forced to provide information about assisted suicide began with the language in the Patients bill of rights for palliative care and pain management act. 

In this case, a good intention resulted in a problematic outcome.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Australia's Dr Death is watching his clients die by suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Nadia Kajouji
In September 2014, a former Minnesota nurse, William Melchert-Dinkel, was convicted of assisted suicide in the death of Mark Drybrough from England and attempting to assist the suicide of Canadian teenager Nadia Kajouji. Melchert-Dinkel was a suicide voyeur who preyed upon suicidal members of a chat-room and counselled them to die by suicide on front of a web-cam.

William Melchert-Dinkel
Now, an Australian euthanasia leader, Philip Nitschke, known as Dr Death, has created a private live streaming service to enable him to watch his suicidal clients die by lethal drugs.

According to Tom Place, writing for the Australian Associated Press and Daily Mail Australia, Nitschke used the private live streaming to watch two clients die in May by his new suicide method. He claims that other clients have also agreed to let him watch their suicide deaths.

Nitscke says that his motivation is to ensure that his new suicide method will provide a "good and timely" death.

Protest of Philip Nitschke.
Nitschke, who has been involved with many controversial suicide deaths, lost his medical license in 2015 for his involvement in several controversial suicide deaths. At that time he was being investigated for his role in 20 deaths.


Recently Nitschke was challenged by a woman whose father died after receiving suicide advice from him.

In 2010, I wrote an article asking the question: Is Philip Nitschke different than Melchert-Dinkel? It seems more clear than ever that Nitschke has a suicide fetish that he is feeding with his new live stream death service.

Father with ALS Euthanized after being denied sufficient care in Canada

This article was published by National Review online on August 14, 2019.

Wesley J Smith
By Wesley J. Smith

A Canadian man disabled by ALS didn’t want to die now. He wanted to be cared for at home so he could be with his son.

Nope. The government’s socialized health-care system refused to pay for all the care he needed. But it sure paid to kill him by euthanasia. From the story:

Sean Tagert with his son.
Relocation was not an option as that would have taken him away from his son, of whom he had partial custody. . . .

“Ensuring consistent care was a constant struggle and source of stress for Sean as a patient,” read the Facebook post in his honour.

“The few institutional options on hand, Sean pointed out, would have offered vastly inferior care while separating him from his family, and likely would have hastened his death,” the post read.

Tagert pieced together a suitable care facility in his own home, which included an expensive saliva-suction machine that was needed to prevent him from choking, according to the post.
“We would ask, on Sean’s behalf, that the government recognize the serious problems in its treatment of ALS patients and their families, and find real solutions for those already suffering unimaginably,” read the post.
Because euthanasia is about “choice.”
Those with eyes to see, let them see.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Court order temporarily stops assisted suicide in New Jersey.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have amazing news.

Smith and Associates, a New Jersey law firm, obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the New Jersey assisted suicide act from going into effect. 

The New Jersey assisted suicide law passed on March 25 and was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on April 12.

The assisted suicide law went into effect on August 1, but due to the 15 day waiting period, no one could legally die by assisted suicide until Friday August 16. Smith and Associates stated:

The Act (which should be more properly called the “New Jersey Physician-Assisted Suicide Act”), provides for, among other things, the self-infliction of death by way of fatal “medication”, i.e. pharmaceutical poisons; compelling even non-participating physicians to transfer patients’ medical records for the purpose of furthering the Statute’s aims against many of such physicians’ beliefs and duties; allowing for the disparate treatment of patients; allowing for the transfer of unused fatal pharmaceuticals to persons not otherwise authorized; and amending the statutory duty to otherwise warn of harm to others. Moreover, the Act provides that in advance of the effective date of August 1, 2019, no fewer than six (6) regulatory bodies were to have issued required rules and regulations. However, no such required regulations or rules have been issued, rendering the entire death process wholly unregulated. If the Act is not immediately enjoined, New Jersey citizens can actually begin dying pursuant to its provisions as early as August 16, 2019.
The Superior Court of New Jersey, Justice Paul Innes, signed the temporary restraining order this morning. The New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Singh Grewel will have until September 13th to respond to the order.