Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Prosecutor says: it was not "free-speech" when Melchert-Dinkel encouraged Nadia Kajouji to commit suicide

An article that was carried by the Associated Press and written by Amy Forliti states that the Minnesota prosecutor stated: Encouraging suicide is not free speech.

William Melchert-Dinkel is facing assisted suicide charges based on the suicide deaths of Nadia Kajouji, a 18 year old first year university student, who committed suicide in March 2008 after allegedly being encouraged online by Melchert-Dinkel, a confessed suicide predator.

Melchert-Dinkel's lawyer is suggesting that the charges should be dropped based on previous decisions that guarantee free speech on the internet.

The article stated:
A former Minnesota nurse charged with aiding the suicides of two people, including an Ontario woman, was not covered by free-speech protections when he sought out depressed people online and encouraged them to kill themselves, a prosecutor argued in court documents Wednesday.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, of Faribault, is charged with two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of an English man and a Canadian woman, Nadia Kajouji. His attorney has asked that the case be dismissed on free-speech grounds, and argued the state’s aiding suicide law is too vague.

In his response Wednesday, Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster wrote there is no case law that says speech is protected if its goal is to obtain someone’s death. He also said Melchert-Dinkel knew what he was doing was wrong.

He said Melchert-Dinkel’s actions are the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre and “words meant as an incitement to illegal action or action for the destruction of life do not constitute free speech.”

Beaumaster said Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging, and cruised the Internet for potential victims. When he found them, he posed as a female nurse, feigned compassion, and offered step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves, Beaumaster said. He also entered phoney suicide pacts.

“This was not public speech or discourse or honest individual discussion as to the concept of suicide, this was Mr. Melchert-Dinkel attempting by deception to gratify his own depraved desires to push individuals over the ledge,” Beaumaster wrote.

Melchert-Dinkel’s attorney, Terry Watkins, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.

Watkins filed documents last month arguing that courts have protected speech on the Internet. He cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision that noted regulating content on the Internet “is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it.”

Melchert-Dinkel was charged in April with two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Conventry, England, and the 2008 drowning of Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ont.

Beaumaster wrote that Melchert-Dinkel admitted to participating in online chats with at least 15 to 20 people about suicide and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10 people, five of whom he believed killed themselves.

In Drybrough’s case, Beaumaster wrote, Melchert-Dinkel used the handle “Li Dao” and gave Drybrough detailed instructions on how to hang himself. Li Dao also told Drybrough he would soon commit suicide himself by hanging. In emails to Li Dao, Drybrough wrote he was ill but afraid to commit suicide and that he wished he had Li Dao’s courage, Beaumaster said.

Beaumaster said Kajouji told Melchert-Dinkel — who was posing as a nurse named “Cami” — that she would jump into a frozen river, wearing ice skates to make it look like an accident. Beaumaster wrote that Cami stated hanging would be better and promised she would hang herself with Kajouji the next day if her jump was unsuccessful.

Minnesota’s statute says whomever “intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other’s own life” is committing a crime.

Watkins, Melchert-Dinkel’s attorney, has argued the Legislature hasn’t specified what type of behaviour is prohibited under the aiding suicide law and that it’s not clear if speech is prohibited. He said his client had no direct participation in any suicides.

But Beaumaster wrote that the law is clear and that Melchert-Dinkel knew he was committing a crime.

“The statute leaves no room for wild speculation as to meaning or application,” Beaumaster wrote. He added that during the investigation, Melchert-Dinkel admitted to posing as a female nurse online and offering suicide advice, but said he stopped after about five years because he knew it was wrong. He said Melchert-Dinkel also called his own actions “disgusting.”

It’s not clear when Rice County District Court Judge Thomas Neuville will make a decision on the defence request to dismiss the case. Watkins has also asked Neuville to throw out Melchert-Dinkel’s confession, and that decision is pending.

Kajouji’s mother, Deborah Chevalier, said Ottawa police told her Wednesday that they would not be bringing charges against Melchert-Dinkel in connection with her daughter’s death because he is already facing trial in the U.S. She said she hopes the Minnesota case goes to trial so a precedent can be set.

“No matter what happens with this, he’s not going to be punished as he should,” Chevalier said. “In reality, he’s a serial killer.”

Link to the article

Melchert-Dinkel needs to go to court to defend his disgusting and terrible actions

Tracy Latimer was human

Gary Bauslaugh has written the unauthorized biography of Robert Latimer, the man who killed his daughter Tracy, who had cerebral palsy, in 1993. According to a recent article written by Ian Mulgrew and published in the Vancouver Sun, Bauslaugh's book is simply preaching to the converted.

Mulgrew states in his article:
The facts of their horrible struggle are here, and there are quotes from him and her, culled from public sources. But the couple that captured a nation's emotional attention for so long is not to be found

Latimer makes it clear he didn't want to share his soul with author Gary Bauslaugh, and who can blame him? And for her part, Laura has fiercely defended the family's privacy for nearly 20 years.

Theirs is a story we all want to hear, but their voices remain muted.

What B.C. humanist academic Bauslaugh offers, instead, is a polemic in favour of more liberal euthanasia and assisted-suicide laws. It's a sermon for the converted.

Unfortunately, I found much of Bauslaugh's argument self-indulgent. Why, for instance, did an editor not cut the invented five-page speech he wishes he could have made to the second Latimer jury?

Bauslaugh frames his narrative with a Biblical quotation. Like Abraham in the Old Testament, Latimer felt commanded to kill his child. But while the patriarch's hand was stayed, he intended to carry out the killing. Still, Abraham never explained his plan.

What explanation is possible? Perhaps what Latimer has lived through is beyond the capacity of language to convey. Perhaps reverential silence is more appropriate.

What upsets me about those within the euthanasia lobby who are trying to rewrite history or use this case to promote the legalization of euthanasia, is that they ignore that Tracy was a human person deserving of love and compassion, but not death.

Tracy has been dehumanized by the media and even this article compares Tracy to a guinea pig.

People with disabilities recognize that the acceptance of Tracy's death will lead directly to the acceptance of their deaths.

The fact is that Tracy deserved to be protected. When she was killed, everyone in similar conditions deserved to have the killer, Robert Latimer, convicted and serve the same sentence as any other killer.

Tracy Latimer RIP

Monday, October 25, 2010

Battle over do not resuscitate order in Toronto

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition receives calls from family and friends of loved ones in care on a regular basis. We are asked questions concerning medical treatment decisions or informed about an injustice, whereby a person is denied medical treatment either because that person is believed to lack "quality of life" or because the hospital cost containment policy is being used to pressure the family or the physicians to deny basic care for a person requiring beneficial but expensive treatment.

I have always said that if euthanasia were ever legalized in Canada, that soon these decisions would be combined with the hospitals cost containment policy, and quickly people would be offered euthanasia or euthanized without request or consent, as happens 32% of the time in Belgium, according to a recent CMAJ report.

Robert Cribb, staff reporter for the Toronto Star reported about another case at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto today. The article stated:
As Mann Kee Li lies in hospital fighting dire prospects, his family is engaged in a life-or-death struggle, not with the cancer spreading through his body, but with the doctors treating it.

Li, a 46-year-old Toronto accountant and father of two young boys, wants doctors to use all medical measures possible to save him in the event of a life-threatening emergency.

He made those intentions clear to his doctors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre when he entered the hospital in August. He wrote it in a power of attorney document and confirmed it in a videotape statement, his lawyers say.

While his doctor initially agreed to respect those wishes, physicians unilaterally reversed the decision a week ago without consultation and imposed a “do not resuscitate” order, his family alleges.

“There’s something seriously wrong with the system,” says David Li, Mann Kee’s younger brother who travelled to Toronto from his home in Singapore this week to join the family’s 24-hour watch at the hospital.

“I can’t understand what’s going on in the heads of these people. They’re effectively playing God . . . I’m at a loss for words.”

Julie Cheah, Li’s wife, says she was “shocked” to learn doctors had decided to withhold emergency treatment “without even giving us a heads-up.”

The hospital and its doctors, meanwhile, argue the ultimate decision on whether to resuscitate a patient rests on physician judgment rather than patient wishes.

“When clinical teams determine that further interventions would have no benefit to the patient . . . ethically and legally, health-care providers are not obliged to provide interventions that lie outside the standard of care and would be of no benefit, and indeed may well cause harm to a patient,” said Sunnybrook executive vice-president Dr. Keith Rose in a written statement.

Li’s two treating doctors — Robert Fowler and Cameron Guest — declined an interview request.

But their lawyer, Harry Underwood, told a court Friday that any order compelling doctors to administer CPR to Li would be “unconscionable.”

“He should be allowed to die in peace without this gross and monstrous intervention.”

This is the second end-of-life case involving a Sunnybrook patient to reach the courts in the past month.

They both pose a highly charged question that inhabits a legal and ethical grey area in Canada: When patients and their families disagree with doctors over life-saving treatment, who decides?

On Friday, lawyers for Li, the hospital and the two doctors treating him sought an order from a Superior Court judge clarifying just what should happen if Li’s life falls into question.

With the weekend looming, Madam Justice Barbara Ann Conway crafted a handwritten order that struck a vague balance of interests — it effectively revoked the “do not resuscitate” order imposed by Sunnybrook physicians but made clear that it didn’t compel them to actually resuscitate Li in case of emergency, leaving the matter to their own judgment.

Acknowledging her order reaches only “midway ground,” Conway then tossed the legal hot potato to an independent provincial body called The Consent and Capacity Board to conduct a hearing. An emergency hearing is scheduled to begin Monday morning.

The court order lifting the “do not resuscitate” order is likely a precedent in Canada, said Barry Swadron, the lawyer arguing the case in court for Li’s family.

“It is a recognition by the Superior Court that physicians should not be making DNR orders without first obtaining consent of patients or substitute decision makers.”

Li, described by his younger brother as a hardworking father and a man of deep integrity and loyalty, was first diagnosed with thymic carcinoma in 2001. The cancer gradually spread to his liver and he underwent chemotherapy at Princess Margaret Hospital last year that was unsuccessful, says an affidavit filed in court by his wife.

He took a turn for the worse in August when he awoke one morning unable to stand or walk.

Paramedics delivered him to Sunnybrook.

He is currently in and out of consciousness and unaware that his wish for life-saving care is being denied by doctors, his family says.

The end-of-life arguments in the case couldn’t be more polarized.

“I think it was terribly wrong of the treatment team to change the man’s code status without even advising the family that they had done so,” says Mark Handelman, one of Li’s lawyers and a trained bioethicist who specializes in health-care law.

Dr. Fowler’s affidavit, referred to in court, claims Li’s condition changed “materially” during his stay at Sunnybrook and that “CPR will be ineffective” even if it were administered.

Last month, the Star reported on the case of Douglas DeGuerre, another Sunnybrook patient who requested full emergency care, which was changed by doctors without consultation, according to allegations filed in court by his daughter.

His daughter, Joy Wawrzyniak, says she pleaded with doctors to save her father’s life as he was in critical condition two years ago.

They stood back and refused as he suffered an arrest, she alleges.

He passed away moments later.

That case remains before the courts. Sunnybrook officials declined to comment.

“There needs to be far more communication between doctors and patients and substitute decision makers and I think we need to clarify the law on whether or not doctors are unilaterally entitled to withhold treatment that does not meet a purely medical standard of care,” said Handelman.

“I agree that doctors do not have to propose treatments that they think are not appropriate or to which they have a moral objection but I think they need to be more careful about what they propose or do not propose.”

Transcript details patient’s wish to live

On Aug. 12, Toronto lawyer Mark Handelman interviewed Mann Kee Li for the purpose of preparing a power of attorney document detailing Li's wishes for care in hospital. Handelman videotaped the interview.

Here is a partial transcript included in Handelman's affidavit submitted in court:

(In referring to our afternoon meeting) “Are you aware that you told me that you wished to have all things done to continue your life?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“Are you aware that you may no longer be able to make decisions, that you could lapse into a coma, never to regain consciousness?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“In those circumstances would it still be your wish to have your life continued?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“For as long as possible?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“Are you aware some of the measures to continue your life could be painful to you?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“For example, if your heart stops and doctors need to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation they may have to pound on your chest?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“That could break some of your ribs?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“And that a broken rib could puncture a lung?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“Do you want them to do that if necessary?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

“Even if you will never regain consciousness?”

Mann Kee nods affirmatively in response.

Link to the Toronto Star article.

Nurse in UK caught turning off paralysed patient's ventilator machine

An article in the Telegraph UK online paper links to a video of Violeta Aylward, a nurse, turning off Jamie Merrett's ventilator. Merrett was ventilator dependent and the act was done against his wishes causing brain damage. This is one more, of many, articles to prove that people with disabilities are not respected or treated with dignity within society.

The article stated:
Violeta Aylward, an agency nurse working for the NHS, was caught on camera turning off the ventilator keeping quadriplegic Jamie Merrett alive.

The 37-year-old, left paralysed from the neck down following a car accident in 2002, had a bedside camera set up at his home after becoming concerned about the standard of care he was receiving.

Footage recorded only a few days after it was installed shows Miss Aylward fiddling with the ventilator before a high-pitched warning tone sounds, indicating it is switched off.

Mr Merrett is then left fighting for life as the nurse panics about what to do next, unable to restart the ventilator or properly operate resuscitation equipment.

It was not until 21 minutes later that paramedics who rushed to the scene managed to turn the life support machine back on.

But by that time, Mr Merrett had suffered serious brain damage, which has left him with the mental capacity of a young child.

Before the incident, he was able to talk, use a wheelchair and operate a computer using voice-activated technology.

His family claims that the brain damage has severely diminished his quality of life, and he is now mounting legal action.

Miss Aylward, who was caring for Mr Merrett at his home in Devizes, Wilts, has been suspended while the incident is investigated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Karren Reynolds, Mr Merrett’s sister, told the BBC’s Inside Out programme: "His life is completely changed. He doesn't have a life now.

"He has an existence but it's nowhere near what it was before. He is very brain damaged compared to what he was before.

“He was a highly intelligent man and you could have long in-depth conversations with him and now it tends to be more simplistic."

She added that her brother has become increasingly worried about alleged errors involving nurses operating his ventilator in the weeks before the incident.

Mr Merrett had written to the trust by email, warning of his concerns but that nothing was done, she claimed.

Mr Merrett’s solicitor, Seamus Edney, said: “In my experience, this is the worst case of negligence.

"No one has come forward to make any admission, so now almost two years after the event we are trying to get someone to admit liability for what has happened."

In a statement, NHS Wiltshire Primary Care Trust said: "The PCT has investigated the incident in January 2009 when the patient’s ventilator care was compromised.

"We have apologised to the patient and his family for this, and have put in place a series of actions to ensure that such an event will not occur again either for this patient or others.

"The incident is the subject of likely litigation so the PCT is restricted in what further it may say in public."

Miss Aylward, 55, from Reading, Berks, has not commented on the case.

If euthanasia were legal, Aylward might have claimed that he had requested this action. Even worse, if euthanasia were legal, now that Merrett has a significant cognitive disability, the doctors would determine that he is incompetent and then euthanize him without explicit request or consent based on his quality of life.

Link: article with link to the video from the Telegraph.co.uk.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hinkle: Aid in Dying is Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Senator Greg Hinkle responded to an article by Victor Lieberman in The Missoulian on Oct 13, 2010

Hinkle stated:
Victor Lieberman, who claims that aid in dying is not euthanasia needs a dictionary or a history lesson.

In the 1980's law students in Iowa drafted a model euthanasia act called the “Model Aid-in-Dying Act.” The act, was published in the Iowa Law Review.

The foreward to the Model Aid-in-Dying Act contains a discussion of euthanasia and how the act was written. Moreover, it defines “aid-in-dying” as euthanasia. It states that “aid-in-dying means ... the administration of a qualified drug for the purpose of inducing death.”

In 1991, there was an aid-in-dying initiative in Washington State. If passed, it would have legalized euthanasia in the state of Washington.

More recently, the Montana Supreme Court gave doctors who participate in aid in dying a potential defense to criminal prosecution. When doing so, the Court described aid in dying in terms of a doctor providing the means for a patient’s death, but not directly participating in the death. This is physician-assisted suicide, not euthanasia. But how long will that distinction be remembered? The term “aid in dying” also means euthanasia.

Lieberman also claims that aid in dying is legal in Montana, which is not the case. The Supreme Court’s opinion is limited to giving a doctor, and only a doctor, a potential defense against a homicide charge. The opinion offers no protection against civil liability.

Aid in dying is, regardless, a recipe for elder abuse. For that reason, it should be prohibited in Montana. I hope the readers will support my bill to do just that.

Australian federal Senator asks for more funding for palliative care

While on my Australian tour, I had the priviledge of meeting the Hon Michael Polley, the speaker of the house in Tasmania. His sister, Helen Polley, used the occasion of my Australian speaking tour to push the Australian parliament for more funding for palliative care.

The article that was published in ABC news in Tasmania on October 14, entitled MP seeks more money for palliative care stated:
A Tasmanian Labor Senator wants the Federal and State Governments to increase palliative care funding.

Helen Polley has made the call during the visit to Tasmania of a prominent Canadian anti-euthanasia campaigner, Alex Schadenberg, who'll be talking to state MP's and Catholic clergy.

Senator Polley has urged people to consider Mr Schadenberg's views.

Senator Polley says palliative care deserves a higher priority.

"Palliative care is an essential part of health care and it certainly should be given a higher priority than the State Government introducing, well the Attorney-General and the Greens, introducing legislation to legalise the murder of another human being by introducing legislation for euthanasia," she said.

A spokesman for the state's Health Minister says funding for palliative care in northern Tasmania alone, will increase by $2.5 million over the next three years.

The Polley family are great Tasmanians.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Disability Rights Advocate - Robert Greig - Responds to the euthanasia propaganda

I'm a Disability-Rights activist and writer who lives in a hospital's long-term care unit. I was born with Arthrogryposis, and I'm at the stage where I live with a chronic pulmonary condition.

In July, I will have been in long-term care for ten years, and in this ten year period, alot of people around me have died. With all the people I have gotten to know through the years, and who have died, I think most of them died with dignity.--This includes my sweet wife, who died in 2006 from Cystic Fibrosis.

The will of an individual is nobody's business, unless it imposes harm or inconvenience to others. The governments should keep their noses out of it. Leave the laws alone.--No more laws!

The people who stick their nose into "an individual's will" are those who will benefit from "legalized" euthanasia/assisted-suicide!

Sue Rodriguez was bullied by the Duty-to-Die movement,to "legalize" their services! It did not work, and she got to die as she wanted to anyway.--So, this illustrates my point! Leave the laws alone!

Most of the polls really show that, more than anything, Canadians want improved health-care resources and end-of-life care!--Not KILL-BILLS!

Decriminalizing euthanasia/assisted-suicide only creates a double-standard. Law-enforcement needs a single standard which serves all. Aside from Disabled People, elder abuse is a problem where the laws have been passed. Selfish beneficiaries are excused by the laws, so they can finish family members off to get inheritances. --The laws with all the built-in safeguards, which are never enforced!

All the KILL-BILLS are the same!--Well documented with safeguards against abuse. Nowhere have I read that anyone was charged with murder, of the growing number of involuntary murders which occur.--Because the laws are never enforced, and never will be.

Robert Greig

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Zealand man charged after euthanasia of mom

An article written by Aldi Schoeman and published in the Die Burger news in New Zealand explains that a man has been charged with the Euthanasia death of his mom. All I have to say is this is a man who had the means to offer help and support for his mom and instead killed her.

The article entitled "Prof charged after euthanasia of mom" states:
A professor from the Western Cape who gave his mother - who was suffering from terminal cancer - a lethal dose of morphine, is being charged with attempted murder in New Zealand after his act of euthanasia.

Sean Davison will appear in the Dunedin district court again on a charge of attempted murder on November 16, but his passport has been confiscated and it is unclear whether he will be able to return to South Africa after the November court appearance.

"We're currently going through a difficult time," his wife, Raine Davison, told Die Burger on Sunday.

"He went to a conference in Australia in September, and after that he went to his family in Christchurch because there had been an earthquake."

Davison was presumably arrested at his family's house, UWC spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said on Sunday.

Davison wrote in a book last year how his mother, Doctor Patricia Ferguson, had asked him to help her die.

He went to New Zealand in 2006 to visit her, and she died in October that year at the age of 85. Ferguson was a retired general practitioner and psychiatrist. In 2004 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She tried to hasten her own death by starving herself, the New Zealand Herald and Otago Daily Times reported.

In the original manuscript, Davison described how he had given her a lethal dose of morphine, but this was not published in the book Before we Say Goodbye.

However, the omitted section of the manuscript was leaked to the New Zealand Sunday Herald shortly after the book was published in June 2009.

"I did not intend for the details of my mother's death to end up in the public sphere, but I realised it might happen," he told the newspaper at the time.

"One of the reasons it was not included in the book was the possibility of legal action, which I think would be utter nonsense in this case."

According to reports in the New Zealand media, he appeared in the Dunedin district court on September 24 and again on September 27.

He was released on bail.

Tyhalibongo said Davison will retain his post, pending the outcome of the court case. He has been working at the university since 1995.

Davison's work involves, among other things, identifying bodies buried in mass graves during the apartheid years by means of DNA tests.

Link to the article

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Australian doctor warns against legalizing euthanasia

It is interesting that while I am on a speaking tour in Australia that Mark Boughey, a palliative care leader in Australia would be making news in Canada based on his comments at that Palliative Care conference in Montreal.

The article that was written by Aaron Derfel and published in the Montreal Gazette on October 8 stated:
Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide in Quebec would probably end up hurting palliative medical services in the province, warned an Australian physician who has studied the impact of his country's experiment with mercy-killing legislation.

Mark Boughey, director of palliative medicine at St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, recalled the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, which came into force in Australia's Northern Territory on July 1, 1996. (The law was nullified a year later by the federal parliament, but there is renewed talk of adopting similar legislation.)

Boughey said the law led to an exodus of health professionals specializing in palliative care from the Northern Territory. What's more, many aboriginals -whose culture is against mercy killing -grew distrustful of the medical establishment, and the number of routine childhood vaccinations dropped.

Boughey offered some wise advise to the Quebec people concerning euthanasia:
"Quebec should be broadening the palette of palliative care services," Boughey said in an interview after giving a presentation at the 18th International Congress on Palliative Care, which wraps up today in Montreal.

Under palliative care, doctors, nurses and other health professionals treat the symptoms and ease the pain of the terminally ill, making them more comfortable and helping them lead a dignified life until death. The goal is not to "cure" the patient, but it's also not to expressly hasten that person's death.

Boughey then spoke from his experience:
He recalled that in the Northern Territory, patients who had opted for physician-assisted suicide had to, by law, wait nine days until the act of dying. During that time, many were deprived of palliative care that could have eased their suffering.

Boughey noted that in Oregon - where the Death with Dignity Act has legalized physician-assisted suicide under certain circumstances - private Health Maintenance Organizations are increasingly promoting the euthanasia option.

The article concluded by quoting from Ira Byrock:
Ira Byock, director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, urged physicians at the conference to focus on suicide prevention with some of their terminally ill patients.

Byock recounted the examples of a couple of his patients who had expressed a desire to end their lives, but who then changed their views when provided with more comprehensive palliative care.

Society needs to care for people not kill them.

Link to the Montreal Gazette article: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Doctor+warns+against+legalizing+euthanasia/3642395/story.html

Friday, October 8, 2010

Getting the euthanasia facts straight

An article written by Neil Francis in the online opinion entitled Dying with Dignity, Francis claims to be setting the facts straight but he also gets the facts wrong. Link: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11084

Francis states:
Opponents also regularly point to 1,000 deaths in the Netherlands each year being a hastened death without a current request for assistance to die, and say that voluntary euthanasia laws promote this kind of behaviour. They offer this as evidence of the slippery slope to involuntary euthanasia but they ignore the facts.

First, the data they refer to - contained in the Remmelink report was collected in 1990. The Netherlands didn’t enact a euthanasia law until 2002.

The fact is that the Netherlands government do a report every 5 years. The last report was in 2005 and it stated that 550 people died in the Netherlands without request or consent. This number may seem much lower than the Remmerlink report of 1990 unless you are one of the 550.

A recent study that was published May 17 in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association stated that 32% of all euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region in Belgium are without request or consent.

To suggest that there is not a slippery slope is just ignoring the facts.

The fact is that for many euthanasia cases, choice is an illusion

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Dangers in Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Dear readers: Rachel Davis asked me if she could write a guest column for this blog. I agreed and after some editing this is the article that she has contributed.

This is a good article for discussing issues.

The question of assisted suicide is more concerning than she has presented. Assisted suicide is not suicide (per se) because another person is directly and intentionally involved with the act. Therefore the issue is whether or not society should allow one person to be directly and intentionally involved with causing the death of another person? For the sake of public safety and to protect people who are more vulnerable from elder abuse or subtle pressure, it is imperative that society not legalize assisted suicide.

As for euthanasia, it is a horrific idea, whether there are consequences or not. Euthanasia is when one person directly and intentionally causes the death of another person, usually by lethal injection. This is rightly, a form of homicide. It is absolutely unsafe for a society to give another person the right to intentionally and directly cause your death.

Rachel Davis is completely correct that these issues concern death and the right we have to take a life other than our own.

Here is the article:
----------------------------------------------
The Dangers in Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

By Rachel Davis

Euthanasia, assisted suicide, the death penalty – these are a few nagging issues that will never be resolved to anyone’s satisfaction. They all concern death and the right we have to take a life other than our own. Suicide is different in that it at least concerns your willingness to live or let go of life for some reason or the other; but when it comes to euthanasia, the line that demarcates right from wrong becomes extremely blurred.

It’s the same murkiness that clouds the death penalty. Those in favor of the death penalty argue that hardened criminals who murder and commit other crimes with no regret whatsoever and in cold blood deserve to die, but who are we to decide their fate? Are we not becoming murderers ourselves by passing decrees to end lives?

The same argument can be made in favor of assisted suicide – why is it legally and ethically wrong to help someone who does not want to live commit suicide? Why do they have to suffer unnecessary pain and indignity? Why do they have to depend on other people to take care of them when they know they don’t have much longer to live? Is it not better and more humane to allow them to die peacefully now than in pain and agony a few months or weeks from how?

The issue of euthanasia however is not that simple or straightforward. Yes, there are a few cases that do deserve sympathy and approval, but for the most part, it’s the caregivers of terminally ill patients who influence their patients’ decisions – they make either subtle or overt suggestions regarding euthanasia and how it’s a choice they can exercise if they want to. In the states and countries where it’s legal, there is no way of determining if the patient really wants to end it all or if they’re doing it because they don’t want to be a burden on their caregivers any more. Some of them are even pushed to make this decision because of the inheritance they leave behind – these elderly and terminally ill patients are brainwashed into believing that death is the best way out for them.

While euthanasia per se is not such a horrific idea, it cannot be legalized the world over without serious consequences. Death and murder (yes, assisted suicide is in a way murder) cannot be taken lightly when someone stands to gain from the demise – it may be just a caregiver’s way of regaining their lives again, but that does not give them the right to decide on someone else’s death.

By-line: This guest post is contributed by Rachel Davis, she writes on the topic of Radiology degree. Link: http://radiologydegree.com/

She welcomes your comments at her email id: racheldavis65@gmail.com.