Thursday, February 4, 2021

Is death by euthanasia similar to death by drowning?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Joan Bryden, reported for the Canadian Press about the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs hearings, who heard from expert witnesses this week concerning Bill C-7.

Bryden reports that Dr. Joel Zivot and Dr. Timothy Holland had different perspectives on how euthanasia drugs cause death.

Dr Zivot is a Canadian that is an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. Bryden reported that Zivot explained to the Senate Committee that death by euthanasia is similar to death by drowning:
...based on his study of the autopsies of criminals in the United States who were executed by lethal injection, he said an assisted death "could be exceedingly painful and more like akin to drowning."

In 85 per cent of the execution cases, he said the lungs were twice their normal weight and full of water, the result of using Phenobarbital in the drug cocktail.

"It means that when a person dies by lethal injection, they basically drown ... more akin to death by waterboarding that we recognize to be cruel," he said, referring to a torture technique used to simulate drowning.

If autopsies were performed on people who've received MAID, Zivot said: "Based on my knowledge of pharmacology and familiarity with these drugs, I would suggest that there is a high likelihood that the same things would be found."

He contended that the drugs used in MAID procedures in Canada are similar to that used in U.S. executions, where Midazolam has replaced Phenobarbital.

Moreover, Zivot said Propofol, when used to anesthetize a patient for surgery, can cause a burning sensation in the lungs -- and that's using one tenth of the dose administered during MAID. But the use of the paralyzing drug in MAID means the patient can't show distress.

"To state that the death that the person feels is peaceful, well, this is unknowable or false ... That's a chemical myth that is put in place. That is a trick of what is actually happening here."
Euthanasia and capital punishment use similar lethal drug cocktails to cause death.

Bryden reports that Dr Holland vigorously disagreed and told the Senate Committee that:
for patients the procedure is "a relaxing drift into sleep."

"It is a beautiful and inspiring event,"
Holland then describes how the drugs are used differently for capital punishment than euthanasia, but in fact, the lethal drug regimen for capital punishment has evolved over the past few years.

Last September I wrote the article: Is death by lethal injection similar to drowning.

Dr Zivot's research indicates that death by euthanasia is similar to death by drowning. With euthanasia they use drugs to paralyze and sedate the person, making it impossible for the person to show distress as their lungs fill with fluid.


Anonymous said...

I know my comment isn't related to this blog post but I am short on time and wanted to make a quick comment on your story about Dr. Asperger and Herwig Czech: the T4 program you mention was actually called "Aktion T4", the name assigned to it after Germany surrendered, as the Allies prepared for the Nuremberg Trials. Neither Hitler, his subordinates nor the NSDAP really assigned a name to the program, instead having conceived it as an idea, an extension of the party's so-called 'racial hygiene' doctrine, prior to the Invasion of Poland. The idea took on the contours of reality because there were German casualties returning from Poland, the beds were needed and the matter propagandized with the notion of "How dare these cripples live in relative luxury while our soldiers suffer!". The program began with zero fanfare but full effort: about 300,000 disabled died in Aktion T4's time, about 3,000 of those being children with autism and many connected with Asperger's practice...then the program was stopped (after growing outcry), boxed up, transferred to the SS and implemented in the todeslagers. Thought that might help. And despite the small glitch, you wrote an insightful article. Thank you.

GP said...

Interesting that the word "život" in Czech means life. I wonder if Dr. Zivot has a Czech background. If so, he is living up to his name!