Monthly Archives

July 2008

Oregon Offers Terminal Patients Doctor-Assisted Suicide Instead of Medical Care

By | Recent News

Fox News 28 July 2008
Some terminally ill patients in Oregon who turned to their state for health care were denied treatment and offered doctor-assisted suicide instead, a proposal some experts have called a “chilling” corruption of medical ethics.
Since the spread of his prostate cancer, 53-year-old Randy Stroup of Dexter, Ore., has been in a fight for his life. Uninsured and unable to pay for expensive chemotherapy, he applied to Oregon’s state-run health plan for help.
Lane Individual Practice Association (LIPA), which administers the Oregon Health Plan in Lane County, responded to Stroup’s request with a letter saying the state would not cover Stroup’s pricey treatment, but would pay for the cost of physician-assisted suicide.
“It dropped my chin to the floor,” Stroup told FOX News. “[How could they] not pay for medication that would help my life, and yet offer to pay to end my life?”
The letter, which has been sent to other terminal patients throughout Oregon, follows guidelines established by the state legislature.
Oregon doesn’t cover life-prolonging treatment unless there is better than a 5 percent chance it will help the patients live for five more years — but it covers doctor-assisted suicide, defining it as a means of providing comfort, no different from hospice care or pain medication.
“It’s chilling when you think about it,” said Dr. William Toffler, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. “It absolutely conveys to the patient that continued living isn’t worthwhile.”

Perth family lash out after mum's suicide death

By | Recent News

Perth Now 11 July 2008
THE grieving family of a Perth woman who committed suicide in Mexico have lashed euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke and the WA mental health system.
Mother-of-four Erin Berg, 39, died in a Mexican hospital in May, a fortnight after drinking a bottle of the veterinary barbituate Nembutal in a Tijuana hotel room.
Ms Berg’s anguished family say her slow and painful death could have been prevented if WA mental health authorities had acted differently and have appealed to Premier Alan Carpenter for an explanation. ANDREA MAYES reports:
ERIN Berg did not die peacefully or painlessly.
After flying to Tijuana, Mexico, she was discovered on the floor of her hotel room, unconscious and barely breathing, with an empty 100ml bottle of Nembutal beside her.
Admitted to hospital in a coma and with suspected brain damage, Ms Berg contracted a lung infection and doctors performed a tracheotomy to open her windpipe so she could breathe through a tube.
She regained consciousness for two days but eventually died on May 10.