Monthly Archives

October 2016

Elder Abuse – Left penniless by daughter

By | Recent News

Father, 85, speaks of daughter’s betrayal: ‘I never dreamt that she would do it’
Stuff co.nz 28 October 2016
Family First Comment: “It is estimated up to 25,000 older people in New Zealand experience abuse or neglect each year. The abuse can be psychological, physical, financial or neglecting basic health and welfare needs.”
Imagine the effect of euthanasia laws!
Elder abuse in New Zealand is predicted to get worse and its impact can be devastating. Deena Coster shares the heart-breaking tale of what one man endured because of his daughter’s greed.
When Ray Thomson lost his life savings, he also lost the daughter he thought loved him the most.
“I was led to believe she was doing everything for me. She was alright but she was doing everything for herself – with my money,” he says.
Over two years, Thomson’s daughter Helen Williams robbed her father of everything he had, cleaning $320,000 out of his bank account, leaving him with just $20.
The blind man now lives in a rest home, in a single, sparsely decorated room, a transistor radio among his meagre possessions.
In January, Williams was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention for her deceit, a crime she says was motivated by a gambling and drug addiction.
Thomson can’t talk about what his daughter did without breaking down. She was going to get half his money when he died but she couldn’t wait, Thomson says – her “plain greed” got in the way.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/85404476/Father-85-speaks-of-daughters-betrayal-I-never-dreamt-that-she-would-do-it?cid=app-iPhone
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Wellington woman Annemarie Treadwell's death trigger for Police euthanasia furore

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Stuff co.nz 28 October 2016
Family First Comment: Very sad – and evidence of the vulnerability of the person.
“I did not and do not want to be a burden to my children,” Treadwell wrote in January. She said she suffered from chronic pain, arthritis, clinical depression, and short-term memory problems.
“Not for them the worry whether mum ‘has fallen downs the stairs’ at home or worrying phone calls from her neighbours. No feelings of stress or guilt for the family members who scarcely have time for their meeting their own needs.”
The controversial police investigation into a euthanasia group followed the death of Annemarie Treadwell, a Wellington woman who supported Maryan Street’s petition in support of assisted dying.
Treadwell died on June 6 in Wellington, aged 77.
“This was a person who was a member of Exit for a number of years, and an elderly person who was trying to make sure she had some choices,” Dr Philip Nitschke, the founder of Exit International, said on Friday.
Another source also said Treadwell’s death, and subsequent coronial investigation, spawned the widely-criticised police checkpoints targeting members of Exit International.
On Friday, a Hutt Valley teacher appeared in court charged with importing a drug used for euthanasia. Susan Dale Austen, 65, faced one charge of importing the narcotic sedative pentobarbitone, known as Nembutal, between March 2012 and October 2016, and one of importing on September 30.
She appeared before a Wellington District Court registrar and was remanded until February without entering a plea.She appeared before a Wellington District Court registrar and was remanded until February without entering a plea.
‘I WILL NOT HAVE TO GO ON SUFFERING’
“I did not and do not want to be a burden to my children,” Treadwell wrote in January. She said she suffered from chronic pain, arthritis, clinical depression, and short-term memory problems.
“Not for them the worry whether mum ‘has fallen downs the stairs’ at home or worrying phone calls from her neighbours. No feelings of stress or guilt for the family members who scarcely have time for their meeting their own needs.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/85828119/wellington-woman-annemarie-treadwells-death-trigger-for-police-euthanasia-furore

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Police Correct To Investigate Promotion of Suicide

By | Media Releases

Media Release 27 October 2016
Family First NZ says that the police are absolutely correct to be investigating and shutting down the promotion of suicide in New Zealand, and especially the operations of Philip Nitschke.

“Nitschke promotes suicide, has left a trail of destruction, and is evidence of just how far some euthanasia advocates will take an assisted suicide law if it was ever introduced. Vulnerable people are being exploited by his agenda and the police need to protect NZ’ers from him. The suicide prevention messages will be completely undermined if he is not stopped,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

In 2014 Nitschke came under fire from two Australian suicide prevention organisations, Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute, after his involvement in the suicide of a physically healthy 45-year-old Australian man, Nigel Brayley. Complaints have also been made regarding the suicides of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother suffering from post-natal depression who died an agonizing death from euthanasia drugs; Lucas Taylor, a 26-year-old suffering from hidden depression; Gillian Clark, a 47-year-old who was undergoing medical tests; and Joe Waterman, a physically healthy 25-year-old, among others.

The 2015 Victorian state government inquiry into end-of-life choices found that young and physically healthy people were killing themselves using a drug recommended by euthanasia groups – the same drug being recommended in NZ. The majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.

A Wellington woman ended her life with Nembutal in 2008, after receiving advice on how to obtain it from Dr Nitschke. She was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression, but was physically fit and not suffering a terminal illness. Australian Susan Potts was 89-years-old, fit, physically mobile, and by all accounts living a happy and enjoyable life; unencumbered by the illness and disease that plague many others her age. Nitscke met Susan before she died and admits to assisting her and ‘thousands’ of others to access the drug they need to kill themselves painlessly.

The Medical Board of Australia has imposed 25 strict conditions on Philip Nitschke, known as Doctor Death. The board believes he “presents a serious risk to public health and safety.”
“Nitschke defends the right of someone to take their own life, even when fit and healthy. New Zealanders reject this destructive message and the police are to be congratulated on exposing and removing this risk to vulnerable NZ’ers,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Nitschke’s promotion of euthanasia places 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.”
ENDS

Teacher charged over euthanasia drug

By | Recent News

Charges laid over importing euthanasia drug
Stuff co.nz 28 October 2016
Family First Comment: And this is why the police must be vigilant and investigate any risk to people of them being encouraged – and given the means – to commit suicide.
A Hutt Valley teacher has been charged with importing a drug used for euthanasia.
Susan Dale Austen, 65, listed as a teacher from Maungaraki, faces one charge of importing the narcotic sedative pentobarbitone between March 2012 and October 2016, and one of importing on September 30.
She appeared before a Wellington District Court registrar and was remanded until February without entering a plea.
A previous application for name suppression was not renewed.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/85827631/Charges-laid-over-importing-euthanasia-drug?cid=app-iPhone
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False checkpoint targeting euthanasia supporters part of investigation, police confirm

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NZ Herald 27 October 2016
A false police checkpoint set up by police to target euthanasia supporters is part of a police investigation into a suspected assisted suicide in June, police have confirmed.
Wellington Acting District Commander Paul Basham also confirmed that further deaths are being investigated as part of Operation Painter.
“When we become aware of information that people are contemplating suicide, we can’t look the other way,” he said.
The police took the rare step of referring itself to the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA) yesterday.
Police earlier admitted that officers used the pretence of a drink-driving stop in Lower Hutt to collect details about elderly people leaving an Exit International meeting last month.
Using those details, officers then visited the homes of nine people who were at the meeting to question them about potential involvement in assisted suicide.
Police called a press conference in Wellington, where Basham said he wanted to “provide some context” to the controversial police actions.
He said a coroner advised the police that a toxicology report in August showed a person had died after consuming a Class C controlled drug.
The person was not suffering from a terminal illness and there were no signs that the death, which occurred in June, was suspicious.
“Aiding and abetting suicide is the principal focus of the police investigation,” Basham said.
Investigators had since identified several more suspected euthanasia cases, though police would not reveal the total number being investigated.
After the police became aware of the Exit International meeting, the drink-drive checkpoint was set up to collect details of the attendees. Nine people were later visited and given counselling and support.
Basham said the investigation and the checkpoint took place “in the interests of preserving life”. Police were obligated to investigate serious offences “regardless of the strength of feeling on the issue.” In an apparent reference to allegations of political interference – a law change around euthanasia is being considered by a select committee – he said police had no position on the issue.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11737140

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Christian nursing home forced to allow assisted suicide

By | Recent News

CathNews 27 October 2016
Family First Comment: Disturbing development.
The nursing home, which is run by the Salvation Army, the UK-based Christian charity, lost a legal challenge to new assisted suicide rules.
The regulations, introduced about a year ago, compel charities caring for the sick and elderly to offer assisted suicide when a patient or resident requests it.
The nursing home objected on the grounds that the law violated the core religious beliefs of the Salvation Army and that it represented an affront to freedom of conscience.
But the Federal Court rejected the complaint of the home, which is situated in the canton of Neuchatel, and ruled that individuals have the right to decide how and when they would like to end their lives.
According to a report on Swiss Radio In English, the judges said the only way the home could avoid its legal obligations to permit assisted suicide was to surrender its charitable status.
This would put the home outside of State control but it would also involve the loss of State subsidies.
http://cathnews.com/cathnews/27387-christian-nursing-home-forced-to-allow-assisted-suicide-or-lose-charity-status

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Mike Yardley: Legalising euthanasia a step onto a slippery slope

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Stuff co.nz 25 October 2016
Family First Comment: Well said, Mike Yardley.
“The NZMA has reaffirmed their support for patient autonomy, the right for patients to refuse treatment, advance directives, do not resuscitate orders and the administration of pain relief, like morphine or midazolam, even if the secondary consequence of that medication expedites their death.”
#rejectassistedsuicide
OPINION: Flying home to Christchurch last week, assisted dying was playing on my mind.
No, not in response to the feckless behaviour of some passengers, but on the back of a chat with Karen, a lovely traveller from Oregon. She was intrigued that voluntary euthanasia was the subject of a parliamentary select committee inquiry in New Zealand.
Karen supported Oregon legalising the practise in 1995, but now deeply regretted doing so, “because the so-called safeguards are being overwhelmingly ignored.”
Like most Kiwis, I wrestled with the issue. No matter how we try and dress it up, euthanasia remains a profoundly vexing issue. But in all good conscience, I cannot support its legalisation.
Ahead of the Select Committee Inquiry, Sir Geoffrey Palmer laudably crafted a proposed law-change with an extensive set of criteria to strictly govern assisted suicide for a person with “a grievous and incurable medical condition that caused intolerable suffering.”
They include that the person must be at least 18, is capable of making decisions, their condition is certified by two medical practitioners, a doctor is available to carry out the assistance and a Family Court judge has to certify whether the criteria had been met.
It’s hard to see how some of these hurdles could be overcome, given the steadfast opposition of the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) to euthanasia.
Karen mentioned to me that in Oregon, the law supposedly restricts assisted suicide to the terminally ill with six months to live, but that is being widely flouted.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/85670299/mike-yardley-legalising-euthanasia-a-step-onto-a-slippery-slope

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Lecretia 'wouldn't have chosen voluntary euthanasia'

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NZ Herald 14 October 2016
The parents of the voluntary euthanasia campaigner, the late Lecretia Seales, doubt she would have chosen to die by that method, even if she had won the court case to obtain the right.
Shirley and Larry Seales today spoke to MPs on Parliament’s health select committee, which is hearing submissions on the idea of a law change to permit medically-assisted dying for people with a terminal illness or irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.
They were among nearly 150 people scheduled to speak to the MPs in Auckland, who split into three panels because of the volume of submissions.
A Wellington lawyer, Lecretia died aged 42 last year of a brain tumour, soon after a High Court judge rejected her bid for the legal right for a doctor to help end her life.
Her widower, Matt Vickers, and other supporters presented the petition of more than 8000 people for an investigation of public views on the issue, leading to the committee’s inquiry.
The Seales, of Tauranga, in a submission read by Shirley, told the hearing that, like Lecretia, they believed in the sanctity of life. They also believed terminally ill people should not have to suffer intolerable pain and should have the right to a dignified death.
READ MORE: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11729312

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How We Portray Suffering and Suicide

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First Things 7 November 2014
Those of us who have never experienced severe physical disability have no clue about the depth of suffering it can cause. But NPR’s megastar talk show host Dianne Rehm does, up close and personal. Her husband John had severe and progressive Parkinson’s disease, leading him to suicidal despair. John asked his doctor for assisted suicide. Told that was not possible, he starved himself to death—a process that euthanasia activists call “voluntary stop eating and drinking,” or VSED.
Rehm has responded by promoting the legalization of doctor-prescribed death. A recent profile of her by NBC focused solely on the pro assisted suicide side, giving no voice to those who warn against legalization. In the story’s telling, John’s suicide was necessary. The only question should be how best to get it done.
It is a profound disservice to the gravity of this issue that the media give scandalously short shrift to the many stories of people who find meaning and hope in life even as they grapple with the anguish of profound disabilities. But the stories are not hard to find—if only journalists were as interested in promoting hope as they are assisted suicide.
Take my friend Mark Pickup—a disability rights and pro-life activist. Like most in the disability rights community—both secular and religious—Mark is adamantly anti-assisted suicide, seeing it accurately as a lethal threat “to people like me.”
Mark’s illness hit him suddenly when he was thirty, in the midst of a successful career with the Canadian government. Suddenly, he found himself on what he calls a “roller coaster ride of grief. “ He told me, “One day, I could see, the next I couldn’t. One day, I woke up able to speak, and ended the day only able to froth at the mouth.”
Even worse, he felt like a burden, responsible for his wife’s anguish and that of his two young children. That led to a sense of hopelessness, Mark says, and real thoughts of suicide. But he got through it, with the support of his family and, as he describes it, “the love of God.” Today, at age sixty-one—more than half his life lived in the valley of the shadow of severe disability—Mark is a triplegic, with only his left arm unimpaired, requiring a wheelchair for mobility, often in pain from severe muscle contractions. He has lost his artistic ability, his musical talent, his capacity to care for himself independently.
It might surprise the media to learn, but Mark is happy. He writes the Human Life Matters blog and a regular column for the Western Catholic Reporter, where he focuses primarily on how his suffering—and that of his family—has been mediated by the love of Christ. From a recent column:

The bridge across my river of grief was the cross. Christ was not merely waiting on the other side of the river: He has been with me throughout every leg of my disability journey. He continues to help me redefine and redevelop my life; Christ is helping me understand where, how and why I fit into the world with my new and evolving realities.

“Think of what I would have missed if I had killed myself,” he says, “which I might have done if assisted suicide had been legal; watching my children grow up, the birth of my grandchildren, my increasing faith, the work the Lord has given me to do.”
Similarly, my late friend Robert Salamanca, who I met as a hospice volunteer. Bob wanted to commit suicide after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. This was when Jack Kevorkian was—to much media acclaim—helping people with disabilities and terminal conditions kill themselves. Bob wanted to fly to Michigan to die, but his family disagreed.
Eventually, as he described it to me, “I came out of the fog,” so happy to be alive. Bob spent his final years watching his children grow, investing successfully online to help his family financially, and collecting art. Before he died peacefully in his sleep, Bob wrote an op/ed column for the February 19, 1997 San Francisco Chronicle titled “I Don’t Want a Choice to Die”:
In my view, the pro-euthanasia followers’ posture is a great threat to the foundation upon which all life is based, and that is hope. I exhort everyone: Life is worth living, and life is worth receiving. I know. I live it every day.
By focusing so intensely on promoting suicide among those suffering from illness and disability—while mostly ignoring powerful and uplifting stories of people who manage to thrive in the midst of great pain—the media does society and the suffering a terrible disservice. As Salamanca wrote, “Reporting in the media too often makes us feel like token presences, burdens who are better off dead.”
https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/07/how-we-portray-suffering-and-suicide

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Assisted-suicide law prompts insurance company to deny coverage to terminally ill California woman

By | Recent News

Washington Times 20 October 2016
Family First Comment: DISTURBING!
A terminally ill mother of 4 said her doctors have appealed the insurance company’s decision twice, to no avail. She said the assisted-suicide law creates an incentive for insurance companies to deny terminally ill patients coverage. “As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option,” she said.
A terminally ill California woman says her insurance company denied her coverage for chemotherapy treatment but offered to pay for her to kill herself, shortly after California passed a law permitting physician-assisted suicide.
Stephanie Packer, a wife and mother of four who was diagnosed with a terminal form of scleroderma, said her insurance company initially indicated it would pay for her to switch to a different chemotherapy drug at the recommendation of her doctors.
“For a while, five months or so, we’ve been trying to get me on a different chemotherapy drug for the infusions, because my doctor felt that it would be less toxic than some of the other drugs that we were going to be using,” Ms. Packer said in a video distributed by The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network on Monday.
“And I was going back and forth, and finally I had heard back from them, and they said, ‘Yes, we’re going to get it covered, we just have to fix a couple of things,’” she continued.
But shortly after California’s End of Life Option Act, which authorizes physicians to diagnose a life-ending dose of medication to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live, went into effect, Ms. Packer’s insurance company had a change of heart.
“And when the law was passed, it was a week later I received a letter in the mail saying they were going to deny coverage for the chemotherapy that we were asking for,” Ms. Packer said.
She said she called her insurance company to find out why her coverage had been denied. On the call, she also asked whether suicide pills were covered under her plan.
“And she says, ‘Yes, we do provide that to our patients, and you would only have to pay $1.20 for the medication,’” Ms. Packer said.
Ms. Packer said her doctors have appealed the insurance company’s decision twice, to no avail. She said the assisted-suicide law creates an incentive for insurance companies to deny terminally ill patients coverage.
“As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option,” she said.
READ MORE: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/20/assisted-suicide-law-prompts-insurance-company-den/
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