Monthly Archives

September 2013

Voluntary euthanasia bill withdrawn

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Stuff.co 26 Sept 2013
A bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia has been withdrawn amid fears it would become a political football during election year.
Labour MP Maryan Street withdrew her End of Life Choice Bill before today’s member’s bill ballot.
Street said there would probably be only two more days this year in which member’s bills would be considered by the House.
“Anything  that is drawn, including the ones drawn today, will be debated in  election year, and I don’t want my bill debated in election year,” she  said.
“I’m concerned that it would not get the treatment it  deserves. It needs sober, considered reflection, and that’s not a hallmark of election years in my experience.”
The move was simply pragmatism, she said, and she “absolutely” planned to put it back in the ballot after the election.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9214163/Voluntary-euthanasia-bill-withdrawn

Death of Assisted Suicide Bill Welcomed

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Media Release 26 September 2013
Family First NZ is welcoming the news that Labour MP Maryann Street has withdrawn her private members bill which would attempt to decriminalise assisted suicide or euthanasia. 
“To legalise assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.  
“It would have sent a dangerous message to young people about suicide and the value of life. Maintaining the current laws protects all New Zealanders equally.”
  “Labour’s key priority should now be to improve provision of good palliative care and practical support. All New Zealanders should have access to quality pain control — no matter where they live.  Pain control and palliative medicine should be given a higher priority in medical training so that every New Zealander can benefit.”

“Street’s bill was dangerous because the risk of abuse cannot be eliminated, as has been evidenced in overseas jurisdictions such as the Netherlands and Belgium,” says Mr McCoskrie.
 
“Legalising assisted suicide is a recipe for abuse.  So-called ‘safeguards’ are an illusion because they are unable to prevent the potential for coercion and abuse, potentially resulting in a ‘duty to die’.” 
“Older New Zealanders are not a problem to be rid of — they’re a generation to be honoured and cared for. Elder Abuse has become a significant problem in New Zealand. We cannot ignore the possibility that dependent elderly people may be coerced into euthanasia or assisted suicide,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS
 

Number of Dutch killed by euthanasia rises by 13 per cent

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The Telegraph 24 Sept 2013
Voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, where a doctor is present while a patient kills themselves, usually by drinking a strong barbiturate potion, has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.

Requests have risen steadily since 2003 when 1,626 people applied for medically administered euthanasia, in most cases by a lethal injection, or assisted suicide.
As previously controversial “mercy killings” have become socially and medically acceptable, the number of cases, the vast majority of medical euthanasia, have more than doubled over the decade to 2012.
One explanation for the steep rise of Dutch cases is the introduction last year of mobile euthanasia units allowing patients to be killed by volunatry lethal injection when family doctors refused.
Forty two people with dementia and 13 patients suffering severe psychiatric problems were medically killed in cases that are rarer and still generate concern over the competence of individuals to request death.
Medical review committees, that oversee euthanasia after the event, ruled that doctors had failed to meet legal requirements in 10 cases, with two incidents involving the difficulty of informed consent by people suffering from severe dementia.
It is not known whether or how often a decision to prosecute doctors was taken.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/10330823/Number-of-Dutch-killed-by-euthanasia-rises-by-13-per-cent.html

Flood of rest home complaints

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Stuff.co 25 Sept 2013
A horrified woman found dementia patients in her father’s rest home strapped to dining room chairs, while another elderly resident tried to cut them free with a knife.
In another home, an elderly woman had a fall and vomited 12 times before being taken to hospital later in the day. She died from her injuries.
Details of these and other failings in aged care nationwide have been revealed by the Ministry of Health after an Official Information Act request by The Dominion Post.
Choking incidents, surgery delays, bullying by rest home staff, and residents forced to live among paint cans are among more than 60 complaints substantiated in the past year alone.
Documents also show that two fresh complaints have been made against the Malvina Major Retirement Village in Broadmeadows, Wellington, since revelations in July about the shocking standard of care given to Susan Christian’s mother.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9204941/Flood-of-rest-home-complaints

Euthanasia advocate takes CREDIT for higher elderly suicide rate

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LifeSiteNews 18 Sept 2013
Top euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke has taken partial credit for the increase in the suicide rate among elderly men in New Zealand that was revealed in recently released statistics. According to the new statistics, the average suicide rate was 12.10 per 100,000 across the population for the year ending June 2013, but the rate for men aged 85 years plus was 31.38 per 100,000. While the total number of suicides among 85+ men only amounted to nine for the year, the increase has sparked concern in the country, with Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean saying that more research is needed to determine the cause.
…Exit International, the group founded by euthanasia and assisted suicide advocate Dr Philip Nitschke, said it was not suprised by the news, stating in a press release, “Exit has also been instruments (sic) in providing elderly New Zealanders with supplies of MaxDog nitrogen.” “As a society we should not be alarmed by this trend,” said Nitschke, “and taking steps to prevent access to new developments in end of life strategies or end of life drugs would be counterproductive, forcing people to use undignified and often ineffective methods”. Professor Emeritus David Richmond, spokesperson for Euthanasia Free New Zealand, called Exit International’s provision of information and products to commit suicide an “un-neighbourly contribution to the suicide rate.” He also expressed concern that in order for any such deaths to look natural, someone would have to assist in the suicide.
An End of Life Choice Bill is currently in the ballot box in the country.  If it were to be drawn and then passed, anyone over the age of 18 could obtain permission to end their lives due to “unbearable suffering”.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/euthanasia-advocate-philip-nitschke-takes-credit-for-higher-elderly-suicide
 

67% of American doctors oppose the legalisation of physician assisted suicide

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LifeSiteNews 16 Sept 2013
An on-line poll of readers of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the majority of American doctors are against physician-assisted suicide (PAS).
Based on 5,205 respondents from 72 countries, the poll showed that 67% of US readers opposed legalising PAS and a majority supported the practice in only 18 US states. Interestingly, this did not include Washington or Oregon, where PAS is already legal. Overall, 1,712 readers cast votes in the US.
The main reasons provided for opposing the practice were that it violates a doctors’ oath to do no harm and that it would likely lead to the legalisation of euthanasia, a far less palatable practice.
The survey follows the World Medical Association (WMA) reiterating its strong opposition to euthanasia. The WMA similarly opposes assisted suicide.
2011 study showed that doctors in the UK have opposed both euthanasia and assisted consistently over the past two decades. Researchers from Limerick, Ireland, used 16 key studies into doctors’ attitudes between 1990 and 2010. The findings appeared in the journal Palliative Medicine and further confirmed the fact that those doctors who favour a change in the law, constitute a small vocal minority.
http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/67-of-american-doctors-oppose-the-legalisation-of-physician-assisted-suicid

Trust saves unwanted dogs from euthanasia

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Otago Daily Times 6 September 2013
A charitable trust launched to save Dunedin’s unwanted dogs from death is having the desired effect.
Figures released by the Dunedin City Council yesterday showed the number of dogs being euthanised in the city was less than half what it was beforehand, down from 107 in 2011-12 to just 44 in 2012-13.
Council animal control team leader Ros MacGill said dogs still being euthanised were mainly classified as dangerous dogs, or considered unsuitable to be placed in a new home for other reasons.
”Either they’re classified as a dangerous dog, or the behaviour that we observe while we’ve got them in the pound indicates they’re not suitable to go into another home.
”If they’re classified as a dangerous dog due to their breed, they automatically can’t be rehomed,” she said.
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/271946/trust-saves-unwanted-dogs-euthanasia