Monthly Archives

May 2015

Euthanasia wanted for man in constant pain despite not being terminally ill

By | Recent News

MailOnline 28 May 2015
A father who is in ‘debilitating pain’ after having a tumour removed is asking people to donate to send him to end his life at Dignitas – despite not being terminally ill.
Roger Bailey decided he wanted to die at the Swiss assisted suicide clinic after nerve damage from the operation in 2012 left him in pain, doubly incontinent and ‘rapidly losing my dignity.’
The 66-year has now set up a crowd funding page and hopes to raise £30,000 to ends his life.
But campaign groups have warned that appealing for money for assisted suicide sent a ‘chilling message.’
Alistair Thompson, spokesman for Care Not Killing, warned that many who chose to end their own lives did so out of fear of becoming a burden.
He said that encouraging more people to take assisted suicide gave vulnerable or ill individuals the impression that ‘their lives weren’t worth living.’
However, Mr Bailey said his constant pain and fear he would become totally reliant on others had made up his mind long ago.
‘I decided more than a year ago it was time for me to die,’ said the father-of-two.
‘I am not terminally ill but I am in constant pain and rapidly losing my dignity.

Scottish Parliament rejects attempt to legalise assisted suicide

By | Recent News

The Independent 28 May 2015
The Scottish Parliament rejected an attempt to legalise assisted suicide following a vote in Holyrood.

A bill had proposed that those with terminal or life-shortening illnesses should be able to obtain help to end their suffering. But after an emotional debate, MSPs voted by 36 to 82 against the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.
Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who championed the bill, told politicians that the current law was both “inadequate” and “unclear.” He pointed out that a lack of guidance meant people wanting to help those with terminal illness end their life usually had no idea what actions might result in prosecution.
“Under the current law, any such circumstance leaves a person asking for or offering such assistance subject to the possibility that they would be prosecuted for murder or for culpable homicide,” he told members, adding: “I think the case for a change in the law is very strong.”
MSPs were allowed a free vote “according to their conscience”, rather than on party lines.

John Key 'happy to debate' euthanasia laws after 'tragic' Wellington situation

By | Recent News

OneNews 18 May 2015
The Prime Minister says euthanasia laws are very hard to get through parliament because so many MPs are opposed to the debate.
John Key says he sympathises with a plea by terminally ill Wellington woman Lecretia Seales to reconsider euthanasia laws but he doubts it would get any traction in parliament.
The Prime Minister says he watched TVNZ’s Sunday segment on Ms Seales, a lawyer who briefly worked for him and is now campaigning for the right to die when she chooses.
Ms Seales, who has a brain tumour, is arguing her case in the High Court at Wellington for a declaratory judgment that would protect her GP from prosecution if, and when, her doctor assists her to die.
But she’s also lodged a plea with Mr Key himself, asking him: “Please don’t put end of life issues on the backburner.”
“It’s a really important issue and as our population ages its going to become more and more important.”

Is Legalising Euthanasia Like Legalising The Death Penalty?

By | Recent News

Even though we can all probably think of criminals who deserve the death penalty, we also know that legalising the death penalty is not a good idea because of the risk that innocent people could be killed by mistake. But doesn’t that exact same risk exist if we legalise euthanasia?

The case of Tom Mortier shows how euthanasia advocates will never stop at the terminally ill

By | Recent News

The Telegraph 2 February 2015
Tom Mortier never paid much attention to the discussion about voluntary death in his country. “I was like just about anyone else here in Belgium: I didn’t care at all,” he said. “If people want to die, it’s probably their choice. It didn’t concern me.”

But in April, 2012, ten years after the law changed to allow euthanasia, Mortier, a university lecturer, received a message at work. His 64-year-old mother, Godelieve De Troyer, who suffered from severe depression, had been euthanised the previous day. Would he be able to make the arrangements at the morgue?
His mother had largely broken off contact with the family but had informed him by email three months earlier that she was looking into euthanasia. Mortier did not dream that her request would be taken seriously because she was in perfect physical health. After his mother’s death, the doctor who gave her the injection assured Mortier that he was “absolutely certain” his mother didn’t want to live anymore. The shock felt by Mortier at the sudden – and unnecessary – loss of his mother inspired him to become a leading campaigner against Belgian euthanasia law.
Disturbing as Mortier’s case is, there are many supporters of ‘assisted dying’ in the UK who insist that it is not relevant here. Dignity in Dying, a slick and well-funded advocate organization, indignantly states that Belgium and the Netherlands – where a review committee ruled that the euthanasia of 47-year-old Gaby Olthuis, who suffered from tinnitus, was “careless” – have little to do with the law now slowly pushing its way through the House of Lords. Look away, they say, from entire nations where voluntary death has been legalized a few miles from our shores; instead, look to Oregon, a little state on the Pacific coast of the United States with less than two per cent of the country’s population which has become the go-to comparison for British euthanasia advocates.
They are wrong, of course. Belgium, not Oregon, is the future of assisted dying. In the US, a national campaign prioritizes the passage of assisted dying legislation across the country (with only three states currently permitting it). No one in any of the states which already have it will campaign to have the criteria extended to those who are not terminally ill for fear that it they would jeopardize the rolling campaign elsewhere.

World Medical Association Resolution on Euthanasia

By | Recent News

WMA May 2015
The World Medical Association’s Declaration on Euthanasia, adopted by the 38th World Medical Assembly, Madrid, Spain, October 1987 and reaffirmed by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005 states:
“Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.”
The WMA Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide, adopted by the 44th World Medical Assembly, Marbella, Spain, September 1992 and editorially revised by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005 likewise states:
“Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically. However the right to decline medical treatment is a basic right of the patient and the physician does not act unethically even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient.”
The World Medical Association has noted that the practice of active euthanasia with physician assistance, has been adopted into law in some countries.
The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and
The World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.

Upcoming euthanasia trial to explore meaning of suicide with regards to bill of rights

By | Recent News

NZ Herald 22 May 2015
Ahead of a major euthanasia legal battle, a local law professor and a US lawyer say there’s a strong case the law here doesn’t stop doctors helping mentally competent, terminally ill people to die.
Lecretia Seales’ case in the High Court at Wellington starts on Monday.
Ms Seales, 42, is dying from a brain tumour. She says she has the right to end her life with medical help, instead of suffering a slow, painful, undignified death.
Ms Seales wants the High Court to clarify whether a doctor would be committing a crime if they helped her die.
The University of Otago’s Professor Andrew Geddis and Kathryn Tucker, from California’s Disability Rights Legal Center, will publish an article on legal issues the case raises in the upcoming New Zealand Law Journal.
Prof Geddis and Ms Tucker said the law was currently vague, as Ms Seales’ lawyer Andrew Butler has argued ahead of the trial.
“The lack of clarity in the law creates an uncertain legal environment making it very difficult for competent, terminally ill persons to die as they prefer: peacefully, on their own terms, with help from a medical professional, avoiding the final cruel bit of suffering caused by their illness,” Prof Geddis and Ms Tucker wrote.

Seales' assisted dying case at top of slippery slope, opponents say

By | Recent News

Stuff 23 May 2015
Opponents of Lecretia Seales’ court case to clarify the law on doctor-assisted death say it would be the start of a slippery slope if she were to succeed.
The terminally ill Wellington lawyer’s application begins in the High Court at Wellington on Monday.
Treatment of her brain tumour has ended and she is having palliative care, but believes that might not continue to meet her needs. She wants the option of having her doctor help her to die if her suffering is intolerable.
That option would likely give her a longer, more peaceful life than if her only way to end suffering was to take her own life while still able to do so unaided, her claim says.
Seales, 42, says the court case is about her and her circumstances only.
The attorney-general, who is the defendant in the case, disagrees and so does an interest group, Care Alliance, which has been allowed a limited say in Seales’ case.
Solicitor-General Mike Heron, QC, representing the attorney-general, said if Seales’ claim were accepted, it would have implications well beyond her case and would apply to all who have a terminal illness and think their suffering is intolerable.
“The attorney-general’s position is that the conventional understanding of the Crimes Act – which precludes physician-assisted dying – must continue to apply unless and until it is altered by Parliament.”
Care Alliance says that, if Seales is successful, overseas experience suggests it would be the start of a slippery slope that would put vulnerable lives at risk.
It might start as an expression of compassion for one or a few, but then numbers would increase and decisions would begin to be made for people without their consent, such as people in comas or with dementia, opponents say.
Alliance spokesman Matthew Jansen said that,  as a compassionate society, we should be doing more to make palliative care available.
“Let’s take the harder but better road to invest in palliative care.”
Seales should have the best care and she and her family deserved compassion, but having a doctor help her to die, or kill her, should not be an option, Jansen said.
He said the alliance had gained members as a result of Seales’ case. Its members were individuals, as well as groups including Christian Medical Fellowship, Euthanasia-Free NZ, Family First, Palliative Care Nurses, and The Salvation Army.

Euthanasia is not merciful

By | Recent News

Sydney Morning Herald 20 May 2015
As a clinical psychologist, one of my roles when working with terminally ill individuals is to assist them to contain and tolerate their complex feelings of distress, fear, abandonment, helplessness and pain –physical and/or emotional. This is “true compassion” and empathy: accompanying someone during their unavoidable pain and suffering.
Treating people with dignity is providing care, compassion and company to those in desperate need of it, as they face their greatest fear: death.
Being in favour of assisted suicide goes against the principle that all life is precious. Euthanasia supports the view that human dignity or worth is dependent upon one’s health status or capabilities, rather than it being dependent upon simply being human. Assisted suicide promotes a utilitarian view of humanity, where we judge whose life is worthwhile and whose is not, based on their medical status or capabilities.
Doctors and other health practitioners who support euthanasia will be communicating an implicit message to the patient that “I agree with you, your life is no longer worth living”. First, by whose standards would we judge whose life is not worthwhile any more and whose is? Second, this implicit message, instead of alleviating the helplessness, will instead reinforce the helplessness and the hopelessness the patient is feeling.
Euthanasia changes the definition and role of a doctor from an expert in healing and helping the patient to be restored to health, to being expert in prescribing drugs to end life. Doctors to whom I have spoken informed me this goes against the Hippocratic oath they take when they become doctors to do no harm, and that this oath would likely need to be changed or excluded in their training, if laws allowing euthanasia were to be enacted. Do we really want this?

Media focuses on those wanting to die, not to live

By | Recent News

LifeSiteNews 18 May 2015
“I am Valentina Maureira. I am 14 years old. I have Cystic Fibrosis. I ask to urgently talk to the president, because I’m tired of living with this illness and she can authorize for me [to receive] the injection to fall asleep forever.”
These were the words in a viral YouTube video that sparked international controversy this February. Euthanasia is illegal in Chile.
Valentina got the idea to ask for a lethal injection from Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill patient who moved to Oregon because the state legalized assisted suicide. Maynard died from the procedure last year. But unlike Maynard, Valentina later changed her mind about her request.
“She is now determined to fight for her life and those of other children suffering from her same serious illness,” said her father.
Despite her dying wishes, her dramatic case was used to promote euthanasia in Chile.
Although the government had said last November that euthanasia was not going to be a legislative priority, Senator Guido Girardi from the Party for Democracy – a member of the Socialist International – used Valentina’s case to argue for “people’s right to decide against therapeutic obstinacy…when a person eventually wants to not submit herself to treatments – we are in favor of that.”
Senator Fulvio Rossi, from the Socialist Party said that “Chile must have a law to allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who want to die, to avoid the unbearable pain of a terminal illness.”
Freddy Maureira, Valentina’s father, accused Senator Girardi of using his daughter’s case for his own political agenda.