Thursday, November 16, 2017

New South Wales Australia defeats euthanasia bill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Congratulations to HOPE Australia and all of the caring people who are standing for the protection of vulnerable Australians.

The New South Wales (NSW) Australia euthanasia bill was defeated by a vote of 20 to 19 in the Upper House of parliament.

ABC News reported that MP's in NSW were given a free conscience vote on the euthanasia bill. According to ABC News:

Christian Democrat Fred Nile said legalisation was a dangerous move. 
"How will such a bill, once passed, impact on how we see value in life?" he said. 
Liberal backbencher Taylor Martin argued euthanasia was comparable to re-introducing the death penalty. 
"One of the main reasons why Australia stopped the barbaric practise of capital punishment is because it is so final," he said. 
"We must consider this bill through a similar lens."
Similar to the experience in the United States, when elected representatives examine the language of the legislation, they will often change their minds and vote against the bill. 

Lawyer, Margaret Dore, from Choice is an Illusion wrote an excellent evaluation of the NSW euthanasia bill.

The euthanasia bill in Victoria Australia is being debated in the Senate. I HOPE that the Senators in Victoria will examine the language of the bill and vote against it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Assisted Suicide Is a Prescription for Abuse

Nancy Elliott
I am a former three-term State Representative in the state of New Hampshire USA. I was alarmed to see that Victoria may be close to passing a bill to legalize assisted suicide.

Four years ago, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a similar bill in a bipartisan vote. The vote was an overwhelming 3 to 1 defeat, 219 to 66.*

Many representatives who initially thought that they were for the law, became uncomfortable when they studied it further. Contrary to promoting “choice” for older people, assisted suicide laws are a prescription for abuse. They empower heirs and others to pressure and abuse older people to cut short their lives. This is especially an issue when the older person has money. There is NO assisted-suicide bill that you can write to correct this huge problem.

Do not be deceived.

Nancy Elliott
Amherst, New Hampshire USA

Swiss assisted suicide deaths increase by 30% in 2015

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Swiss statistics office reported that there were 965 reported assisted suicide deaths in 2015 up from 742 in 2014. Earlier media reports suggested that there were 999 Swiss assisted suicide deaths in 2015. There were 86 reported assisted suicide deaths in 2000.

The Swiss statistics indicate that 539 women and 426 men died by assisted suicide compared to 279 woman and 792 men who died by suicide (not assisted). There were 67,606 total Swiss deaths in 2015.


According to Expatica.com news the number of assisted suicide deaths in Swiss nursing homes, by the Exit suicide clinic, increased from 10 deaths in 2007 to 92 in 2015. The news service reported that the Swiss association for ethics and medicine found this trend alarming and stated:
“To end lives in this way gives it [the practice of assisted suicide] an institutional seal of approval.”
In August 2015 a healthy depressed British woman died by assisted suicide in Switzerland.

Pietro D'Amico
In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria Italy, died by assisted suicide at a suicide clinic in Basel Switzerland. His autopsy showed that he had 
a wrong diagnosis.

A 2014 Swiss assisted suicide study found that 16% of the people who died at Swiss assisted suicide clinics had no underlying illness.

In February 2014, Oriella Cazzanello, an 85 year-old healthy woman died at a Swiss suicide clinic. The letter she sent her family stated that she was unhappy about how she looked.

In May 2014, the Exit suicide clinic extended assisted suicide to healthy elderly people who live with physical or psychological pain. This decision has led to an increase in assisted deaths.

The Swiss assisted suicide statistics prove that when assisted suicide is accepted then deaths by assisted suicide will continue to increase and the reasons for assisted suicide expand.

Margreet: "She was euthanized without consent (in the Netherlands). They decided."


The Fatal Flaws film (Spring 2018) questions the long term effects of assisted death laws on society.

Australia is currently debating the legalization of euthanasia. Political leaders and decision makers need to see this film clip.

The most shocking story in Fatal Flaws comes from Margreet whose mother was euthanized in the Netherlands without consent. Please watch and share this film clip.



Kevin Dunn traveled to the Netherlands, throughout the United States and Canada to interview people with personal stories concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide laws.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition needs donations to complete this important film project (Donation link).

The first video, The Euthanasia Deception, continues to be an incredible success. We need you to enable Fatal Flaws to also be an incredible success.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Suicide prevention leader opposes legalizing euthanasia/assisted suicide in Australia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Warwich Baines, a board member of a suicide prevention charity in Australia, wrote a letter that was published by Central Western Daily on November 12, 2017 under the title: Euthanasia bill enables killing of adults

Baines writes from a straight forward point of view. He states:
THE euthanasia/assisted suicide legislation currently before parliaments in Victoria and NSW are the latest in a long line of attempts to legalise the killing of adults in Australia. 
If that sounds jarring that’s because it is. 
Irrespective of the euphemism – ‘voluntary assisted dying’ is currently in vogue – what is actually being sought is a dystopian two-tier society: those whose lives we want to preserve and those to whom we are effectively saying ‘you are better off dead’.
Baines then expresses his support for improvements in palliative care, but he states:
Yet high quality palliative care does not satisfy advocates. Why? According to the NSW parliamentary working group “the fundamental principle behind the call for legislating to allow for assisted dying is to provide dignity to people who wish to pass peacefully on their own terms”.
Baines then refers to the cultural trends:
In our increasingly individualistic society, emotional appeals to absolute autonomy over our own lives are attractive. 
But we are not islands. The choices we make have consequences for others. 
It will be the weak – the lonely and the isolated – who will be vulnerable, who will find it difficult to withstand the pressure to relieve others of the burden of their existence. 
That is the reality where euthanasia has already been introduced, despite so-called safeguards. 
I am a board member of an Orange-based suicide prevention charity that seeks to care for vulnerable people. 
Please, let’s not make them even more vulnerable.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Patient's recovery convinces doctor to fight euthanasia laws.

This article was published by The Australian on November 11, 2017, link, for pdf, link.

By Cameron Stewart


Dr. Kenneth Stevens
When American doctor Kenneth Stevens heard about Victoria’s plan to introduce assisted dying for the terminally ill he couldn’t help but recall the story of his patient Jeanette Hall.

Hall, then 55, came to Stevens in 2000 after being diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer in Portland, Oregon, a state that in 1997 introduced laws enabling doctors to prescribe fatal pills to the terminally ill. 
She walked into Stevens’ office and told him she wanted to die, but Stevens, a cancer specialist, disputed the diagnosis of her original doctor.

“I told her that I believed this was potentially curable but she said ‘Dr. Stevens, you don’t understand, I voted for the law and I don’t want to go through all the treatment, I don’t want to lose my hair, I don’t want to go through all that’,’’ Stevens says.

The specialist delayed her ­request to write a prescription for the fatal drugs and instead tried to talk her out of it.


Jeanette Hall
I learned she had a son who is in the police academy and I said, ‘wouldn’t you like to see him graduate, wouldn’t you like to see him get married’ and eventually she realized she really did have something to live for,” Stevens says.

Hall, a bookkeeper and a single mother, agreed to have radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Within months, Stevens says her tumor “just melted away.” “She’s still alive 17 years later with no evidence of any recurrence of the cancer and one of her favourite phrases is ‘it’s great to be alive’,” he says.

Hall’s unusual story turned Stevens from being merely an opponent of assisted suicide into an activist against it. 
A professor emeritus and a former chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, he has treated thousands of patients with cancer.

He says he came to oppose assisted suicide from his observations as a doctor, rather than from any religious standpoint.


“Actually, my first wife died 35 years ago of cancer so I’ve seen it not only from the professional side but also from the family side,” he says. 
“I continue to be against because I don’t feel that is the role of a doctor to kill a patient or to order them to die.

Hall, now 72, no longer wants to speak to the media about her story because of the attention it has garnered after it was co-opted by campaigners against assisted suicide.

But several years ago she wrote of her experience. “I did not want to suffer,” she wrote. “I wanted to do our law and I wanted Dr Stevens to help me. Instead, he encouraged me to not give up and ultimately I decided to fight the cancer. I had both chemotherapy and radiation. I am so happy to be alive.” “If Dr. Stevens had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. Assisted suicide should not be legal.”

When Stevens read about Victoria’s proposed assisted suicide laws he wrote to The Australian in a letter published this week.

“With the legalisation of assisted suicide, Oregon’s health plan has been empowered to offer patients suicide in lieu of treatments,’’ he wrote. “Don’t let legal assisted suicide come to Victoria.”

Victorian politicians say they have closely followed the Oregon model for the state’s voluntary assisted dying scheme, which will go before the upper house for a final vote next week.

The scheme’s authors say they were drawn to the Oregon model because after 20 years it was still regarded internationally as one of the most conservative schemes. 


Cameron Stewart is also US contributor for Sky News Australia.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands increasing quickly.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The Guardian News published an article by Daniel Boffey concerning the increasing number of euthanasia deaths at the Levenseindekliniek (euthanasia clinic) in the Hague and in the Netherlands in general. According to the article, the number of euthanasia deaths will exceed 7000 in 2017 representing, at least, a 67% increase in deaths since 2012.
Boffey interviewed Steven Pleiter, the director of the euthanasia clinic who is hiring more staff for his death clinic. From the article:
Steven Pleiter, director at the clinic, said that in response to growing demand he was now on a recruitment drive aimed at doubling the number of doctors and nurses on his books willing to go into people’s homes to administer lethal injections to patients with conditions ranging from terminal illnesses to crippling psychiatric disorders.
Pleiter stated that he has 57 doctors on call and he may soon require 100 doctors.
“It’s the first time,” Pleiter said of the recruitment drive, sitting in his bright and airy office near the centre of The Hague, where the clinic’s neighbours include legal firms and a kindergarten. “Until today we rarely needed to search for doctors. That is changing now. We need a dramatic growth in doctors as the numbers have changed so much... 
“We ask the doctors to work eight to 16 hours a week for this organisation. A full-time job involved in the death of people is probably a bit too much, and ‘probably’ is a euphemism.”
Theo Boer
In response to Pleiter, Boffey interviewed Professor Theo Boer, who is a past member of a regional euthanasia review committee and now believes that the law has gone too far.

“Starting from 2007, the numbers increased suddenly,” Boer said. “It was as if the Dutch people needed to get used to the idea of an organised death. I know lots of people who now say that there is only one way they want to die and that’s through injection. It is getting too normal.” 
“In the beginning, 98% of cases were terminally ill patients with perhaps days to live. That’s now down to 70%.
The Guardian article brought forth interesting information, but the article fails to look deeper into the Netherlands euthanasia law.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) (August 3, 2017) published the data from a Netherlands euthanasia study entitled: End-of-Life Decisions in the Netherlands over 25 years.
The data from the study indicates that in 2015 there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 terminations of life without request) and 18,213 deaths whereby the medical decisions that were intended to bring about the death in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands 2015 euthanasia report stated that there were 5561 reported assisted deaths in 2015 and yet the data from the study indicates that there were 7254 assisted deaths in 2015.

Therefore, according to the data from the study, in 2105, 1693 (23%) of the assisted deaths were not reported and 431 assisted deaths were without request.

Since the Netherlands euthanasia law uses a voluntary self-reporting system, meaning the doctor who lethally injects the patient also submits the report and since people do not self-report abuse of the law, therefore the law enables doctors to cover-up "abuse" of the law.

Is it actually possible to know how many people are dying by euthanasia in the Netherlands? Is it actually possible to determine how many  involuntary euthanasia deaths occur in the Netherlands?

German nurse may have killed more than 100 patients.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Niels Högel
Reuters News article is reporting that Niels Högel's, the German nurse who was convicted of killing 2 patients between 2000 - 2005, is now suspected to have killed at least 102 people. According to Reuters:
He has confessed to some killings, but police said in August that he could not remember all the details of his actions, prompting them to exhume the remains of 134 people with links to Niels H. to identify further victims. 
The investigation has now turned up evidence leading authorities to suspect Niels H. killed 38 people at a clinic in the northern German city of Oldenburg and 62 at one in nearby Delmenhorst, Oldenburg police and the city’s public prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Thursday. 
That is in addition to two counts of murder for which an Oldenburg court sentenced him in 2015.
In August, German police indicated that Högel's was responsible for at least 86 deaths, Reuters suggests that the death count may continue to rise.

If anyone thinks that Högel's murders could have been prevented if assisted death was legal and regulated in Germany, think again.

None of the euthanasia laws have a mechanism to prevent this type of abuse of the law and all of the euthanasia laws require doctor who lethally inject a person to self-report the death.

A recent Netherlands study indicated that in 2015, 431 assisted deaths were done without explicit request while a Belgian study indicated that in 2013, at least 1000 assisted deaths were done without explicit request.


Medical killing is a world-wide phenomenon.

Suspected medical abuse/murder cases are usually not reported since the medical system lacks effective oversight. When abuse is uncovered, they rarely report the problem to the legal authorities based on fear of lawsuits as in the Elizabeth Wettlauffer case in Ontario.

In December 2016, in Italy, an emergency room anaesthetist Leonardo Cazzaniga, 60, and nurse Laura Taroni, 40, were arrested for the deaths of at least five patients but prosecutors were examining the medical files of more than 50.


Charles Cullen, a nurse who was also a medical serial killer in the United States. known as the 'Angel of Death' murdered at least 40 patients to become one of America's worst serial killers spoke from prison to chillingly claim: 'I thought I was helping.'


Dr Michael Swango is believed to have killed 35 - 60 patients, and similar to Cullen, he was simply asked to resign, or moved to another medical center. Aino Nykopp-Koski is a nurse who was convicted of killing 5 patients in Finland. In March, 2013 Dr Virginia Soares de Souza was arrested in Brazil and is suspected of killing 300 patients. Then there is Dr Harold Shipman, who was convicted of killing 15 people in England but is suspected to have killed between 250 and 400 of his patients. Then there is the case of William Melchert-Dinkel, the Minnesota nurse who was convicted of 2 counts of assisted suicide for counselling depressed people to commit suicide.

New study casts doubt on effectiveness of euthanasia regulation in the Netherlands

This article was published by Mercatornet on November 9, 2017
Review committees struggle to judge if patients are eligible

By Xavier Simons

“Strict”, “scrupulous” and “rigid”. These are some of the words that have been used to describe the regulation of euthanasia in the Netherlands. But how closely are doctors actually monitored?

A new study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that the Dutch euthanasia review committees (RTE) struggle to judge whether doctors have correctly applied criteria, and are ultimately dependent on the transparency with which physicians report cases of euthanasia.

The study, authored by David Miller and Dr Scott Kim from the NIH’s bioethics department, analyses 33 cases from 2012-2016 in which the RTE committees deemed that doctors had failed to meet due care criteria.

The results are revealing. In light of the “open-ended” and “evolving” nature of the Dutch criteria for euthanasia, the RTE committees focus primarily on whether doctors have followed procedural regulations, rather than whether the patient was actually eligible for euthanasia.

“Evaluating patient’s [euthanasia] requests requires complicated judgements in implementing criteria that are intentionally open-ended, evolving and fraught with acknowledged interpretive difficulties. Our review suggests that the Dutch review system’s primary mode of handling this difficult is a trust-based system that focuses on the procedural thoroughness and professionalism of physicians”.
The study found that out of 33 cases reviewed, 22 failed to meet only the procedural due care criteria (i.e., due medical care and consulting an independent physician). “These criteria are more clearly operationalised than other criteria”, the authors observe.

In seven of the cases, the committee deemed that the consulting physician was not sufficiently independent from the euthanasia physician. In 14 of the cases, physicians were found not to have followed “due medical care”. The authors write that “this criterion was most commonly not met because physicians incorrectly used drugs, dosing regimens (too low), rout of administration (intramuscular instead of intravenous) or order of administration of EAS drugs (eg, paralytic before sedative).”

Even when substantive criteria were at issue, the authors write that: 
“the RTE’s focus was generally not on whether the physician made a ‘correct’ judgement, but on whether the physician followed a thorough process (ie, whether the physicians should have consulted specialists or evaluated the patient further, but not whether the patient should have received EAS)”.
In six of the cases, the RTE found that the euthanasia physician had not been thorough enough in applying the “unbearable suffering” criterion.

Xavier Symons is Deputy Editor of BioEdge, which is also published by New Media Foundation. He is doing a PhD in bioethics at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. This article has been republished from BioEdge.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Belgium refuses to prosecute doctor who killed depressed woman, son heads to top European court

Strasbourg
STRASBOURG, France – ADF International filed an  application with the European Court of Human Rights Tuesday on behalf of Tom Mortier, who wasn’t informed of his mother’s death until the day after a doctor killed her for being depressed. The case, Mortier v. Belgium, focuses on the right to life and the right to family life, which are both protected under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Belgian authorities have refused to pursue Mortier’s case, which opens the door for him to apply to the top court in Europe and is now his only opportunity to obtain justice for the loss of his mother. The court’s findings on doctor-prescribed death will impact 800 million Europeans in 47 countries if the court agrees to take the case.

"The big problem in our society is that we have apparently lost the meaning of taking care of each other,” said Mortier. “My mother had a severe mental problem. She had to cope with depression throughout her life. Psychiatrists treated her for years, and eventually the contact between us was broken. A year later, she received a lethal injection. Neither the oncologist who administered the injection nor the hospital had informed me or any of my siblings that our mother was even considering euthanasia. I found out a day later when the hospital contacted me to ask me to take care of the practicalities.”
When Belgium first legalized euthanasia, officials made promises that it would be well regulated with strict criteria; however, 15 years later, the number of cases each year has increased 780 percent from when it was first legalized. Belgium went further in 2014 by legalizing child euthanasia.

Cases of worsening eyesight, hearing, and mobility have been considered “unbearable suffering” for the purposes of qualifying patients for euthanasia in Belgium. Lawmakers have proposed limiting freedom of conscience and silencing doctors who are opposed to carrying out the killing of such patients. Most recently, in the Netherlands, a proposed bill would allow euthanasia simply for being “tired of life.”

“We will be judged as a society by how we care for our most vulnerable,” said ADF International Director of European Advocacy Robert Clarke, who represents Mortier before the European court. “International law has never established a so-called ‘right to die.’ On the contrary, it solidly affirms a right to life—particularly for the most vulnerable among us.” 
“The slippery slope is on full public display in Belgium, and we now see the tragic consequences,” Clarke added. “More than five people per day are killed in this way, and that may yet be the tip of the iceberg. Belgium has set itself on a trajectory that, at best, implicitly tells its most vulnerable that their lives are not worth living.”
ADF International, a global human rights organization advocating for respect of the right to life and for freedom of conscience, offers more information through a white paper titled “The Legalization of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.” It documents the harmful consequences of existing euthanasia laws and practices, showing that no so-called “right to die” exists in international law. The white paper aims to equip those involved in the debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide across the world and is a part of the Affirming Dignity campaign.

Mortier v. Belgium
Description: Oncologist Wim Distelmans killed Godelieva De Troyer, a Belgium citizen who was not terminally ill, because of “untreatable depression” in April 2012 after receiving consent from three other physicians who had no previous material involvement with her care. De Troyer’s doctor of more than 20 years had denied her request to be euthanized in September 2011, but after a 2,500 EUR donation to Life End Information Forum, an organization that Distelmans co-founded, he carried out her request to die because of the depression. The donation gives rise to an apparent conflict of interest. No one contacted Mortier before his mother’s death even though, Mortier says, her depression was not only largely the result of a break-up with a man, but also due to her feelings of distance from her family.

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