Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Supreme Court rejects euthanasia in South Africa.

Euthanasia Exposed protest (November 2016)
Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Supreme Court of South Africa rejected euthanasia and assisted suicide by overturning the lower court decision that approved death of Robin Stransham-Ford, of Cape Town, by euthanasia or assisted suicide by Judge Hans Fabricius on April 30, 2015.

Judge Fabricius legislated from the Bench when he ruled that:
"The applicant is entitled to be assisted by a medical practitioner either by the administration of a lethal agent or by providing the applicant with the necessary lethal agent to administer himself."
Stransham-Ford died of cancer two hours before the order was granted.

Euthanasia Exposed, a group that formed to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, sent out a media release (by email) stating:
BREAKING NEWS: Today, 6 December 2016 the South African Supreme Court of Appeal said that Judge Fabricius was wrong in his 2015 judgement authorising Robert Stransham-Ford to have assisted sucide/euthanasia.
The court confirmed this is really a matter for elected parliament and not judges to decide. The decision was made in haste and did not properly consider South African law, the international context, our social values or the impact on the right to life. The medical information provided to the court was flawed and contradicted the real medical records, which were withheld until a court order was issued. The case was manipulated by the euthanasia lobby group, its lawyers and the estate, and the medical records indicate Stransham-Ford was actually asking if he could back out of euthanasia/assisted suicide. 
The court judgment used many of the same reasons which we wrote in our article 'Why judge Fabricius was wrong':
  • The separation of powers requires that parliament as representatives of the country as a whole should decide any changes on the law rather than requiring judges to decide.
  • The applicant died before the ruling was given.  Circumstantial evidence seems to indicate this information may have been deliberately withheld from the court.
  • Judge Fabricius ruling was decided in haste (one day) on a matter of national importance, an urgency apparently manufactured on an individual case by the lobby group Dignity SA.
  • The applicants attorneys had refused to provide the opposing friend of the court legal teams with information they needed to respond.
  • The South African situation is different to the juristictions where euthanasia is legal, which argues against foreign cases being used as precedent. We have different social values, a different socio-economic and policing situation.
  • The applicants affidavit was factually and medically doubtful on many points.
  • The organisation Dignity SA was publicly raising funds to pay for the court case, but the application insisted it was just on behalf of the individual.
  • The hasty Fabricius judgment did not properly consider South African law or international precedent cases.
  • Judge Fabricus was wrong to assume that the common law on murder needed to change to accommodate assisted suicide and euthanasia. The court needs to consider whether its decision would undermine the foundational value of the right to life or be supportive of it.
Further reasons emerged from the judgment, which we were not aware of:
  • The picture of Mr Stransham-Ford's final illness as depicted in the legal affidavits bore little resemblence to reality as found in his medical records.  
  • The psychologist who declared the applicant Robert Stransham-Ford to be psychologically fit and his desire to apply for suicide, did not provide reasoning on how the conclusion was reached and previously lived in the same street as him, which raises questions of independence.
  • The applicants doctors medical records indicate he was wavering in his desire for suicide/euthanasia and asked his doctor if he could change his mind and that his real medical situation was very different to that described in the affidavits. The estate of Stransham-Ford had refused to release these medical records until a court order was issued for them. [Our comment on this is that it is very normal for people to waver in their desire for suicide, but suicide is irreversible, and this is a strong argument against legalising suicide.]
The Centre for Applied Legal Studies, at Wits submitted argument to the court that euthanasia and assisted suicide were working well overseas. The Health Professions Council of the State and the State submitted detailed evidence rebutting these claims and giving evidence of numerous abuses and problems overseas. The court provisionally accepted this evidence but after reviewing it, decided that it was too complex and detailed to sift through or decide on.
Euthanasia Exposed (SA) formed to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide in South Africa, prepared an excellent opposition to the Fabricius decision that is published on their website.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Euthanasia activist demands euthanasia without restrictions.

Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia activist, Philip Nitschke, has established a political action group to pressure governments to legalize euthanasia without restrictions.

Nitschke does not support the "medical model" of euthanasia legislation and has decided to take direct action to legalize euthanasia. According to the Guardian report:
Exit Action said it would take “a militant pro-euthanasia position” to coordinate direct action strategies and force legislative change. 
“Exit Action is critical of the ‘medical model’ that sees voluntary euthanasia as a privilege given to the very sick by the medical profession,” the organisation said. 
“The standard approach for years has been to get the very sick to tell their stories of suffering to the public and politicians, in the hope that politicians might take pity and change the law.”
Nitschke is pushing for the final strategy of the euthanasia lobby. The mainstream euthanasia lobby agrees with Nitschke, but they are committed to incremental strategies.

Several years ago I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference in Toronto. One of the debates, during the conference, was whether activists, like Nitschke, are hindering the euthanasia lobby from achieving their incremental goals. One of the goals, as expressed by the Netherlands euthanasia lobby was the acceptance of the "last will pill." 

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) produced the Euthanasia Deception documentary to make known stories of people with direct personal experience with euthanasia. Order the Euthanasia Deception documentary today.

Sadly, it didn't surprise me when the Dutch government recently announced that they will expand the euthanasia law to include people who are not sick or dying, but have lived a "completed life."

Nitschke is simply pushing for the final strategy. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Switzerland: 26% increase in assisted suicide deaths.

Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Swiss media are reporting that the federal statistical office reported that 999 people died by assisted suicide at the Dignitas and Exit suicide clinics in 2015 an increase of 26% in one year.

In October Swissinfo.ch news reported:
The Federal Statistical Office reports that in 2014 Switzerland saw 742 cases of assisted suicide, more than 2.5 times as many as five years previously. In the latest statistics, assisted suicide accounted for 1.2% of all deaths in Switzerland that year. 
Men and women were nearly equally represented in the assisted suicide numbers, with ten out of 100,000 men and nine out of 100,000 women choosing to die in that way when spread out over Switzerland’s resident population. 
In 42% of cases, assisted suicides followed illnesses caused by cancer. Neurodegenerative disorders led to 14% of assisted suicides, followed by cardiovascular illnesses at 11% and musculoskeletal maladies at 10%.
Even though the Federal Statistical Office recently published this information, the data is not new. The Exit suicide clinic reported a 34% increase in 2015 with 782 assisted suicide deaths. The report from Exit suicide clinic indicated that of the assisted suicide deaths, 55% were women and 45% men in 2015.

Pietro D'Amico
In August 2015 a healthy depressed British woman died by assisted suicide in Switzerland.

A 2014 Swiss assisted suicide study found that 16% of people who died at Swiss 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.

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.

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

Italian doctor and nurse may have killed dozens.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr Leonardo Cassaniga
An Italian doctor and nurse were arrested yesterday for allegedly causing the deaths of 10 people between 2011 - 2014 and are being investigated in connection to 50 suspicious deaths at the hospital in Saronno Italy.

Yahoo news reported that:

Emergency room anaesthetist Leonardo Cazzaniga, 60, and nurse Laura Taroni, 40, were held on Tuesday over the deaths of at least five patients but prosecutors are now examining the medical files of more than 50. 
The couple is also suspected of killing Cazzaniga's father, as well as Taroni's mother and Taroni's 45-year-old husband, who the couple reportedly tricked into believing he was diabetic. 
Taroni's spouse died on June 30, 2013 after regularly taking medicine that was "absolutely incongruous with his actual health conditions, weakening and eventually killing him," according to a police report.

Based on the Yahoo news report, Cazzaniga and Taroni may have had an obsession with killing:
Wiretapped conversations allegedly in the possession of investigators recorded the couple talking about killing other relatives, as well as Taroni discussing the "perfect murder" with her 11-year-old son. 
In one of the most disturbing calls, Taroni told Cazzaniga she was also prepared to kill her son and her eight-year-old daughter, wiretaps allegedly reveal. 
"If you want, I'll kill the children," she told Cazzaniga, who replied: "No, not the children." 
There is no evidence that Cazzaniga and Taroni were practising unauthorised euthanasia or that they were motivated by compassion. 
"Every now again I have this urge to kill someone - I need to," Taroni allegedly told Cazzaniga in an intercepted conversation. 
According to one of Cazzaniga's colleagues, the anaesthetist frequently referred to himself as an "angel of death".
Legalizing euthanasia provides a perfect cover for medical killings. Yahoo news reported that the Saronno hospital is also being investigated for either covering up the suspicious deaths or simply not investigating.
Prosecutors are also probing 14 people, including the top management of Saronno hospital, for failing to investigate the suspicious deaths. Regional health authorities have pledged to set up a committee of enquiry over the issue. 
One of the people under investigation, a female doctor, is allegedly suspected of blackmailing the hospital into hiring her in exchange for keeping quiet about the murders and of helping Taroni falsify blood tests results to convince her husband he had diabetes.

A 2103 study found that 1.7% of all deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were hastened without request. It is likely that other cases of medical killings would be found if an indepth investigation were done.

Considering the cases of medical killing and how the medical system rarely uncovers these acts, we cannot expect that effective oversight will be provided, where euthanasia is legal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Assisted suicide: Vulnerable to abuse

The following letter by John Kelly was published in the Cape Cod Times on November 28.
To the Editor: 
John Kelly
Proponents of legalization like Elias Lieberman (My View, 11/16) present assisted suicide as a fairytale in which doctors can predict the future and everyone wants the best for you.
In the real world, legalized assisted suicide inevitably leads to the tragic deaths of innocent people, through mistakes and abuse. 
Every year nationally, thousands of people prove doctors wrong by outliving their mistaken terminal diagnosis. Every year in Oregon and Washington, doctors prescribe suicide for people who are not terminally ill. You may have months, years, or decades of life left, but with assisted suicide it takes just one mistaken doctor and their colleague to put you in the ground. 
One out of every 10 older adults is abused every year, mostly by adult children and caregivers. Someone in line to inherit your estate can help sign you up, pick up the prescription, and then take action against you. No witness is required at the death, so who would know? 
Insurers always cover assisted suicide because it’s the cheapest “treatment.” Meanwhile, they routinely deny seriously-ill people medical treatment prescribed by their doctors. 
Let’s protect innocent people like ourselves from a law that could send us to our early deaths. 
John B. KellyDirectorSecond Thoughts MA: Disability Rights Advocates against Assisted Suicide
Link to previous articles by John B Kelly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Elder Abuse, Power of Attorney/Substitute Decision making.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

After speaking this morning to a caring daughter I felt compelled to write about the abuse of power by people who are designated as the power of attorney/substitute decision maker.

We often receive calls or emails from friends or family members of a competent person who is being pressured or controlled by the power of attorney/substitute decision maker.

This morning I spoke to a caring daughter who told me her brother, who is the power of attorney, is preventing her from visiting her mother and refused to release money, from her mother's bank account, to pay for her mother's prescription glasses. The mother is elderly but she remains competent to make decisions for herself.

The daughter said that her mother is afraid of her son. This is a serious problem and a form of elder abuse.

I received a call, a few weeks ago, from a daughter, whose mother was living with ALS. Her mother wanted a life-preserving medical intervention, but the hospital was refusing. The hospital abused her mother's rights by pressuring the "power of attorney" to refuse treatment, even though the mother was competent.

It must be stated that this type of abuse has also been expressed by disability advocates.

Family, friends, medical institutions, nursing homes, etc., should know that it is a form of elder abuse to ignore the rights of people who are elderly or living with a disability.  Just because someone has difficulty communicating doesn't mean that they are incompetent.

Elder and disability abuse is a scourge on the culture. 

Now that euthanasia and assisted suicide have become legal in Canada, the attorney for personal care may assume the "right to decide" if the person lives or dies. 

Order the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care for $10 by contacting the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 or info@epcc.ca.

What do you need to know:
  • The person who you designate as your power of attorney or substitute decision maker only has the right to make decisions,  on your behalf, when you are deemed incompetent.
  • When you are competent, you can sign a new representation agreement (power of attorney) at any time, so long you sign it and have it witnessed by unrelated persons.
  • You are considered competent until you have been declared incompetent.
  • The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition distributes the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care for $10. This legal document will protect you.
Order the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care for $10 by contacting the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 or info@epcc.ca.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Caring not Killing pamphlet

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has published new Caring Not Killing pamphlet.

The Caring Not Killing pamphlet explains:
  • Why people ask for euthanasia or assisted suicide,
  • Why euthanasia or assisted suicide are not necessary,
  • Why we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide,
  • What is proper palliative/hospice care, and
  • How you can make a difference.
Order the Caring Not Killing pamphlet by calling: 1-877-439-3348 or email: info@epcc.ca.

The Caring Not Killing pamphlet is designed to be distributed in your community as a bulletin insert (Church) or to provide information at schools, etc. 

We need groups and individuals to order the Caring Not Killing pamphlet to distribute through Churches or mail boxes.

  • $25 for 100 pamphlets + (shipping and taxes)
  • $100 for 500 pamphlets + (shipping and taxes)
Order the Caring Not Killing pamphlet by calling: 1-877-439-3348 or email: info@epcc.ca.

EPC is working to build a culture of caring, not killing.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Iowa newspaper uncovers abuse of assisted suicide laws and pressure to extend it to lethal injection (euthanasia).

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Des Moines Register newspaper published an in-depth examination of the practice of assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington States and uncovered significant problems. They learned that the data is incomplete, that there missing reports (under-reporting) and that the laws are not designed to be effectively monitored.

They found that the assisted suicide lobby wants to extend assisted suicide laws to permit euthanasia or lethal injection.

Des Moines Register columnist, Kyle Munson, and investigative reporter, Jason Clayworth examine the practice of assisted suicide in America by analyzing the data and interviewing leaders from both sides of the assisted suicide debate. Their report was published on November 25, 2016.

The report states that Betsy Davis, who died by assisted suicide in California, received assistance in administering the lethal dose bringing into question the meaning of the term "self-administer." According to the report:
So when it came time to end her life under a new California law for the terminally ill, her caregivers propped her up and held the cup as she drank a fatal mix of prescription drugs. 
But physical assistance in taking the toxic medications is illegal, multiple experts contend. The report then examines the meaning of "self-administer." 
Kelly and Okray, Betsy's caregiver, were left with a lingering question: Is there an easier way to do this? 
Kelly said she also was troubled by the legal gray area: Had they violated the "self-administer" clause of California's law? 
The law defines “self-administer" as the “physical act of administering and ingesting the aid-in-dying drug to bring about his or her own death.”

"That doesn't mean they couldn't hold a cup that a person is drinking out of," said Matt Whitaker, state director in California of the organization, which supports assisted-suicide laws. "That would be fine."
Jennifer Holm
Jennifer Holm, who lobbies for assisted suicide in Iowa, stated that concerns with the definition of "self-administer" would be solved by legalizing euthanasia (lethal injection). According to the report:

Holm has been one of Iowa’s most outspoken advocates for assisted suicide. She says the data tell her that doctors should be allowed not only to prescribe the lethal drugs but to administer them as well, to help avoid complications.
The report not only uncovers problems with the definition of "self-administer" it also uncovers problems with the practice of assisted suicide laws. The report states:
Marilyn Golden (disability leader)
“Assisted suicide is nearly untraceable. There is minimal reporting and tracking,” said Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund in California. “It almost appears as if the practice of assisted suicide has deliberately been made secretive, all with the claim of patient confidentiality.” 
Among the 1,642 documented assisted suicides in Oregon and Washington since the states began reporting statistics in 1998 and 2009, respectively, the Register found: 
  • COMPLICATIONS: At least 38 people (about 2.5 percent) experienced complications as they were dying, including regurgitation of the fatal medicine, seizures or waking up after taking the medication. 
  • INCOMPLETE RECORDS: At least 478 deaths occurred without record of key details, such as whether complications occurred. At least 203 people have died without a record of whether the deaths were from ingesting medication or from natural causes. 
  • PROLONGED DEATHS: In 2009, a person in Oregon took more than four days to die after taking the medication. Of the two states, Washington had the most complete data. For deaths where time was recorded, 17 percent took 91 or more minutes. In Oregon, the median time before death in 2015 was 25 minutes.
  • NO DATA: Two of the states where assisted suicide is an option — Vermont and Montana — do not track deaths at all. Data from California and Colorado, the most recent states to legalize assisted suicide, is not yet available.
The Des Moines Register report uncovers similar abuses and problems with assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington State as reported by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Netherlands: Euthanasia for alcoholism.

Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Marcel Langedijk's brother - Mark
Michael Cook, the editor of BioEdge, reported that Dutch journalist, Marcel Langedijk, is writing a book about the euthanasia death of his brother Mark, who was an alcoholic. Cook reported:
The ever-expanding circle of eligibility for euthanasia now includes alcoholism. Writing in the Magazine Linda, journalist Marcel Langedijk describes the life and death of his brother Mark, an alcoholic. 
After eight years and 21 stints in hospital or rehab, Mark decided that he had enough. He had two children but his marriage had collapsed; his parents cared for him and he had plenty of family support, but he was unable to dry out.  
Finally he asked for euthanasia. Physically he was quite ill and psychologically he was suffering badly. 
A woman doctor in a black dress and sneakers arrived to give him his lethal injection. She confirmed his decision and then gave him three doses.
Mr Langedijk is writing a book about his younger brother’s disease and his death through euthanasia which will be published next year.
Recently the Dutch government announced that they will be amending the euthanasia law to include people who are not sick or dying but who simply believe that they have lived a "completed life" - whatever that means.

The Netherlands permits euthanasia for psychological suffering. The term - psychological suffering - has expanded over time. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Australian Medical Association re-affirms opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide

This article was written by Paul Russell, the director of HOPE Australia, and published on the HOPE Australia website on November 24.

Paul Russell
Today (24th November 2016) the Australian Medical Association released its new policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The policy review is a five-yearly process that involved significant consultation and surveying of members ahead of the development of the final document released today.

The two page document changes the focus somewhat by opening with various affirmations about the AMA's commitment to making quality end-of-life care available to all Australians:

1.4 All dying patients have the right to receive relief from pain and suffering, even where this may shorten their life. 
1.5 Access to timely, good quality end of life and palliative care can vary throughout Australia. As a society, we must ensure that no individual requests euthanasia or physician assisted suicide simply because they are unable to access this care.
The AMA rightly calls for action by all Australian governments:
1.6 As a matter of the highest priority, governments should strive to improve end of life care for all Australians through: the adequate resourcing of palliative care services and advance care planning; the development of clear and nationally consistent legislation protecting doctors in providing good end of life care; and increased development of, and adequate resourcing of, enhanced palliative care services, supporting general practitioners, other specialists, nursing staff and carers in providing end of life care to patients across Australia.
The statement includes a clear direction to doctors on their responsibility should a patient ever ask for euthanasia or assisted suicide:
2.1. A patient’s request to deliberately hasten their death by providing either euthanasia or physician assisted suicide should be fully explored by their doctor. Such a request may be associated with conditions such as depression or other mental disorders, dementia, reduced decision-making capacity and/or poorly controlled clinical symptoms. Understanding and addressing the reasons for such a request will allow the doctor to adjust the patient’s clinical management accordingly or seek specialist assistance.

The key paragraph that retains the AMA's opposition:
3.1 The AMA believes that doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life. This does not include the discontinuation of treatments that are of no medical benefit to a dying patient.
The statement acknowledges that there are divergent views in the medical fraternity just as there is in Australian society. They acknowledge, correctly, that law and public policy in this area is the preserve of our parliaments and they insist on being consulted and included in any debate on the matter.

This last observation, though a general principle no doubt, could just as easily be a reflection on the lack of consultation with the AMA and other medical bodies evident in the recent South Australian debate.

The AMA was clearly intent upon using the release of this new policy as an opportunity to educate the public. From the press release:

"Dr Gannon said the AMA recognises that good quality end of life care can alleviate pain and other causes of suffering for most people, but there are some instances where it is difficult to achieve satisfactory relief of suffering. 
“There is already a lot that doctors can ethically and legally do to care for dying patients experiencing pain or other causes of suffering,” Dr Gannon said.

“This includes giving treatment with the intention of stopping pain and suffering, but which may have the secondary effect of hastening death. This is known as the principle of double effect,” Dr Gannon said.
While the statement is exceptionally clear, the media reporting has been very shabby.

The Australian ran with the headline: Most doctors would help terminally ill die: AMA. The Fairfax Press: Four in 10 doctors want voluntary euthanasia, Australian Medical Association survey shows.

The Fairfax headline is at least accurate. Indeed, as the story states 38% of the doctors who completed the AMA survey said that doctors should be involved in euthanasia or physician assisted suicide. But, according to Fairfax, 50% said that doctors should not be involved.

The survey, according to AMA President Dr Michael Gannon, will not be made public until the membership has seen the results. It would seem that some of the references in the articles may well be to slightly different questions.

For example, The Australian says that 55% of doctors were in favour of retaining the existing policy; that's not the same result and probably not the same question referred to above. The Australian calls the results on the policy question 'relatively close' at 55-45. Not so. Only 30% of doctors, according to the same article were in favour of a policy change to 'neutral' on euthanasia while 15% were undecided.

The Australian's headline: Most doctors would help terminally ill die, is misleading. The article explains:

"Crucially, an even clearer majority of AMA members said if voluntary euthanasia were made legal at the state and territory level, doctors should be involved in helping terminally ill people die rather than dig in on principle and boycott the process."
That's a far more nuanced position than the headline suggests.

It tells us that while doctors don't want a change to the law, that if it is changed they think they have a role. This may be because they see no problem with patient killing but it may also indicate, for those not ethically or morally opposed, that better that doctors do it rather than cowboy operators. It suggests, as Dr Gannon confirms, that doctors see that they have a role in protecting their patients.

This is also borne out by the fact that the variation in results to the two questions on retaining opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide and whether a doctor should be involved suggests that some doctors who opposed any change in policy still thought that doctors had a role. This, it seems, reflects the understanding of the second question that it is not about doctors who are keen and willing to kill, but something much more than that. As Dr Gannon summarised:

“What did surprise me is that our members have made it very clear that if society moves, they want doctors involved in euthanasia. A conservative view might be that this is not medicine, that ending patients’ lives is not what doctors do and that role should go to another group in society, maybe a new professional group.”
I could go on about The Australian's new-found enthusiasm for euthanasia. That's annoying enough but sloppy journalism really gets me going. Here's a classic example (The Australian):
"The replacement policy states that a failure by doctors to initiate or continue life-prolonging measures for a dying patient does not constitute euthanasia."
Failure? That implies negligence; the doctor 'failed' to do his or her job. What rot! The policy says nothing of the sort:
2.2 If a doctor acts in accordance with good medical practice, the following forms of management at the end of life do not constitute euthanasia or physician assisted suicide: not initiating life-prolonging measures; not continuing life-prolonging measures; or the administration of treatment or other action intended to relieve symptoms which may have a secondary consequence of hastening death.
Doesn't sound like 'failure' to me.

In closing, we welcome the AMA's policy statement and its affirmation that 'doctors should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life.' We also welcome the educational initiatives and the call for better access to quality care for all Australians.

The survey recorded something like 4000 responses from a membership of some 30,000 doctors Australia wide.