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December 2016

Doctors raise concerns over 'granny dumping' as families head away at Christmas

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Stuff.co.nz 23 December 2016
Emergency departments across New Zealand face a grim and growing annual Christmas tradition, dubbed “granny dumping” by hospital staff.
Each Christmas season, elderly people are being left at hospital emergency departments as the families who would normally care for them take off for a summer break.
New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association national secretary Deborah Powell confirmed “granny dumping” was a growing reality.
“It is a thing – we are seeing more of it. Every year that passes, we are seeing a bit more.”
The practice amounted to “leaving granny at the doorstep [of ED], so to speak”, she said.
Figures were hard to come by, as she had heard only anecdotal evidence from her members, and no work had been done on investigating the scale of the problem.
“The cause of it isn’t well understood. We really haven’t investigated this fully enough. In fact, it is about time we did.”
It was clear that it put extra strain on hospitals, which would not turn elderly people out if it was not safe, she said.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/87803485/doctors-raise-concerns-over-granny-dumping-as-families-head-away-at-christmas

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Euthanasia group plans to turn militant in NZ over the buying of lethal drugs

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Stuff co.nz 14 December 2016
Family First Comment: So now they’re showing their true colours – and intentions.
An Australian euthanasia advocate is vowing to set up a new militant arm of his organisation in New Zealand to import large quantities of lethal drugs.
Exit International director Philip Nitschke said his members were fed up with politicians’ inaction, and would set up ExitAction as a shamelessly criminal group similar to the Aids drug-buying group portrayed in the movie Dallas Buyers Club.
“This is not something you beg for. This is something you take,” Nitschke said.
It would mean that people wanting to take their own lives would not have to import euthanasia drugs illegally and – as happened earlier this year – receive visits from police.
“We are not going to sit around for another decade while politicians wax and wane [on legalising euthanasia],” he said from Amsterdam.
When ExitAction was announced internationally earlier this month, Nitschke put out a statement saying access to euthanasia drugs was a right of all competent adults, “regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession”.
Exit members are believed to be concerned that the Government position could change under new Prime Minister Bill English, who is Catholic and a known opponent of voluntary euthanasia.
His wife Mary, a Wellington GP, told a health sub-committee hearing on the subject last month that legalising euthanasia would create ethical issues for doctors.
“A core principle has been that we do not kill our patients.”
She repeatedly referred to pro-euthanasia laws by the acronym “MAD”, or medically assisted dying. “It would be unsafe for those at risk of suicide.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/87547949/euthanasia-group-plans-to-turn-militant-over-the-buying-of-lethal-drugs
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Euthanasia debate: 'Those in pain shouldn't have to die like a dog because of ego and conceit of others'

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Stuff co.nz 12 December 2016
OPINION: Family First spokesperson Bob McCoskrie was recently reported as drawing no separation between euthanasia and suicide due to mental illness.
Refusing to accept the notion that euthanasia is actually “death with dignity”, he has labelled it as an “objectionable and dangerous topic”.
McCoskrie’s view is offensive to many who have watched a loved one die a slow and anguished death and clearly he is out of touch with the realities of the pain and suffering to the individual with terminal illness.
You only have to look at the case of Lecretia Seales, a bright, intelligent lawyer who recently passed after insufferable and incurable pain.
She fought for the right to die with dignity on her own terms but alas, her condition made it impossible for her to continue her legal struggle.
Not everybody has her skills which is why her case was so important.
Just why McCoskrie and those who think like him believe they have the right to make those in similar circumstances as Seals have to tolerate unbearable pain is beyond me.
It’s nothing short of egotistical and conceited when good people are forced to die like a dog in a ditch just because of the beliefs of others.
I acknowledge that those who provide hospice care do a wonderful job for those who need it but for many with terminal illness life shouldn’t get to the stage where that’s necessary.
As our population ages, we are all starting to lose friends and relatives and to have to watch them go through torment we wouldn’t let an animal go through is wrong.
The law forces this situation on us and it needs to change to show support for those facing a certain and painful death.
Of course there needs to be legal safeguards to protect people from those who would seek to profit from such a death and the decision must be made by the person themselves while they are compos mentis; the same as a final will, but with these in place, the right to die should be made available when the tolerable become the intolerable and the bearable become the unbearable.
It needs to be a decision made similar to becoming an organ donor, for example, and totally retractable.
After all, there are “no atheists in a foxhole” but the right to die with dignity must always remain with the individual.
Their life, their death, their decision.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/euthanasia-debate/87453080/john-sargeant-dying-like-a-dog-because-of-ego-and-conceit

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South Africa court overturns right-to-die ruling for the terminally ill

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Africa News 6 December 2016
Family First Comment: Mthunzi Mhaga, the spokesman for the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, is quoted by the BBC to have said that the government is relieved that this judgement was set aside: ‘‘Our argument has always been that the right to life is enshrined in our constitution – and equally doctors took an oath to save and preserve life, not to end it.” The GOVERNMENT (!!) also argued in this appeal that the right to die can be abused and that there was no legal frame work to regulate decisions in matters of life and death.
Yes – that’s correct – the Government of South Africa appealed (and won) this case! If only our Parliament was equally anti-euthanasia!
South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has overturned a High Court ruling that granted the right-to-die to a terminally ill cancer patient.
The Pretoria High Court last year ruled that the patient had the right to commit suicide with a doctor’s help. The case involved Cape Town advocate 65-year-old Robin Stransham Ford, News24 portal reports.
The High Court’s decision was appealed by the State. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, the Minister of Health, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Health Professionals Council of South Africa were all involved in the appeal.
Mthunzi Mhaga, the spokesman for the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, is quoted by the BBC to have said that the government is relieved that this judgement was set aside:
‘‘Our argument has always been that the right to life is enshrined in our constitution – and equally doctors took an oath to save and preserve life, not to end it.”
The government also argued in this appeal that the right to die can be abused and that there was no legal frame work to regulate decisions in matters of life and death.
READ MORE: http://www.africanews.com/2016/12/06/south-africa-court-overturns-right-to-die-ruling-for-the-terminally-ill/
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20 y/o sex abuse victim allowed euthanasia (Holland)

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Daily Mail 11 May 2016
Family First Comment: Safeguards? Yeah right!
“It went ahead despite improvements in the woman’s psychological condition after ‘intensive therapy’ two years ago, and even though doctors in the Netherlands accept that a demand for death from a psychiatric patient may be no more than a cry for help.”
#RejectAssistedSuicide

A former victim of child sex abuse has ended her life under Dutch euthanasia laws because she could not live with her mental suffering.

The woman, in her twenties, was given a lethal injection after doctors and psychiatrists decided that her post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions were incurable.

It went ahead despite improvements in the woman’s psychological condition after ‘intensive therapy’ two years ago, and even though doctors in the Netherlands accept that a demand for death from a psychiatric patient may be no more than a cry for help.

The woman, who has not been named, began to suffer from mental disorders 15 years ago following sexual abuse, according to the papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission. The timescale means she was abused between the ages of five and 15.

News of her death angered anti-euthanasia MPs and disability campaigners in Britain. One Labour MP said it meant sex abuse victims were now being punished with death.

It comes at a time of continued controversy over assisted dying in Britain. A steady flow of people from this country travel to die legally at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, and judges and the courts appear to be leaning in favour of making it legal to help someone to die.

Details of the Dutch case were released by authorities anxious to justify euthanasia laws and to demonstrate that mercy killings are carried out under full and correct medical supervision.

The papers said that the woman, who was killed last year, had post-traumatic stress disorder that was resistant to treatment. Her condition included severe anorexia, chronic depression and suicidal mood swings, tendencies to self-harm, hallucinations, obsessions and compulsions.

She also had physical difficulties and was almost entirely bedridden. Her psychiatrist said ‘there was no prospect or hope for her. The patient experienced her suffering as unbearable’.

However, the papers also disclosed that two years before her death the woman’s doctors called for a second opinion, and on the advice of the new doctors she had an intensive course of trauma therapy. ‘This treatment was temporarily partially successful,’ the documents said.
READ MORE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3583783/Sex-abuse-victim-20s-allowed-choose-euthanasia-Holland-doctors-decided-post-traumatic-stress-conditions-uncurable.html

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Death on Demand True Euthanasia Movement Goal

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National Review 5 December 2016
Family First Comment: Wesley Smith is one of the best researchers and writers on this issue in the world. And of course he is once again right. Many key proponents of assisted suicide ultimately want simply a right to sucide. End story. #scary #chooselife

Australia’s Philip Nitschke is the euthanasia movement’s most candid advocate.
While most euthanasia/assisted suicide promoters pretend the movement is mostly about ending the suffering of those with terminal illnesses–a demonstrably fake limitation to get people to swallow the cultural hemlock of “death with dignity”–Nitschke bluntly states euthanasia should be available to all without regard to cause.
Indeed, in 2001, he told Kathryn Jean Lopez, he would like to make suicide pills available in supermarkets, including to “troubled teens:
” So all people qualify, not just those with the training, knowledge, or resources to find out how to “give away” their life. And someone needs to provide this knowledge, training, or recourse necessary to anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, [and] the troubled teen.
If we are to remain consistent and we believe that the individual has the right to dispose of their life, we should not erect artificial barriers in the way of sub-groups who don’t meet our criteria.
Fast forward fifteen years, and Nitschke’s tune hasn’t changed. Now, he’s starting an advocacy group that candidly will call for death on demand. From The Guardian story:
Exit Action said it would take “a militant pro-euthanasia position” to coordinate direct action strategies and force legislative change.
“Exit Action is critical of the ‘medical model’ that sees voluntary euthanasia as a privilege given to the very sick by the medical profession,” the organisation said.
“The standard approach for years has been to get the very sick to tell their stories of suffering to the public and politicians, in the hope that politicians might take pity and change the law.”
“Exit Action believes that a peaceful death, and access to the best euthanasia drugs, is a right of all competent adults, regardless of sickness or permission from the medical profession.”
Please understand, Nitschke is not an euthanasia outlaw disdained by his fellow travelers. Indeed, he enjoys something of a cult status among euthanasia camp followers.
Nitschke has often been a featured speaker at international pro-euthanasia symposia, His only sin, in the eyes of movement leaders, is excess candor. For political reasons, they want to pretend that euthanasia will remain a limited option rather than the wide-open death agenda we see developing already.
READ MORE: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/442766/death-demand-true-euthanasia-movement-goal

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Woman taken off life support lives to tell amazing story

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CBS5AZ 4 March 2016
Family First Comment: Lyndee has a message for people who have, and maybe one day will have, loved ones hospitalized, physically not responding. “Just because you are not conscious does not mean you cannot hear,” she said. “So you should talk to your loved ones if you are in that situation. They hear you.”
Last month, Steven found Lyndee unconscious. He called 911.
Lyndee, 45, fell into a coma for 12 days.
Her doctors told her family — her husband, her daughter, Amanda, and Steven — that there was nothing more they could do for her.
Respecting Lyndee’s decision to preserve her organs for donation, the family decided to take her off life support. One by one, each family member sat with her, talked to her. Lyndee heard every word they said.
“I remember people talking to me,” she explained. “I remember when people came to visit, my niece reading to me.”
“[Doctors] told [my family] that I would start to make noises when they turned off life support. I was very agitating. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t respond. I could just hear conversations around me and about me,” Lyndee continued. “I remember a doctor opening my eyes, messing with me, and telling my family I was not reacting.”
Lyndee says she tried desperately to speak.
“In my head it was very clear what I was saying, but it wasn’t to them. I was finally able to get out ‘I’m a fighter,’ which is what my husband was whispering in my ear. [He said] ‘I need to you to fight.'”
Despite all medical predictions, Lyndee was back, responding, not even realizing what was happening Amanda came in the next day and melted down.
“I looked at her, and she just says, ‘Hi,’ and I just fell to my knees,” Amanda said tearfully. “I told her, ‘I thought you had been gone for 12 hours.'”
“I don’t take for granted that I get to come home and kiss my mom,” Steven said. “Every day I come home from work, seeing her and talking to her.”
Lyndee has a message for people who have, and maybe one day will have, loved ones hospitalized, physically not responding.
“Just because you are not conscious does not mean you cannot hear,” she said. “So you should talk to your loved ones if you are in that situation. They hear you.”
READ MORE: http://www.cbs5az.com/story/31365550/woman-taken-off-life-support-lives-to-tell-amazing-story?&utm_source=LTcom
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McCoskrie: Euthanasia – we don't need it

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Manukau Courier 30 November 2016
Family First Comment: The Manukau Courier kindly gave us the opportunity to respond to Louisa Wall’s piece promoting assisted suicide.
OPINION: Opposing euthanasia does not mean that a person opposes compassion.
Patients facing death have a fundamental human right – a right to receive the very best palliative care, love and support that we can give to alleviate the ‘intolerable suffering’ that they fear. This is real death with dignity. Assisting suicide is not the answer.
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.
Patients, even those without a terminal illness, may come to feel euthanasia would be “the right thing to do”, they have “had a good innings”, and they do not want to be a “burden” to their nearest and dearest. It won’t be about the ‘right to die’ but the ‘duty to die’.
Those concerned about the rights of people with disabilities are right to be concerned. A disability rights group in NZ said “There are endless ways of telling disabled people time and time again that their life has no value.”
One of the countries to decriminalise euthanasia has been the Netherlands. Professor Theo Boer was a member of the Dutch Regional Euthanasia Commission for nine years, during which he was involved in reviewing 4,000 cases. He admitted to being a strong supporter of euthanasia and argued that there was no slippery slope. However, by 2014 he had a complete change of mind. He said “Whereas in the first years after 2002 hardly any patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia appear in reports, these numbers are now sharply on the rise. Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved. Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades.”
The majority of the medical profession and national medical associations around the world have been resolutely against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.
Euthanasia would also send a conflicting message to young people and our communities about suicide and the value of life.
One of the main reasons that politicians in NZ have rejected previous attempts to decriminalise euthanasia is that they realised that the safeguards, while sounding good, would not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people including the disabled, elderly, depressed or anxious, and those who feel themselves to be a burden or are under financial pressure.
The international evidence backs up these concerns, and explains why so few countries have made any changes to the law around this issue.
We simply need to ensure a palliative care regime in NZ that is fully funded and world class. That’s where the politicians’ focus should be.
– Bob McCoskrie is the National Director of Family First and a Manurewa resident. Go to manukaucourier.co.nz to read Manurewa MP Louisa Wall’s perspective on her Authorised Dying Bill.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/87019781/mccoskrie-euthanasia–we-dont-need-it
Wall: Giving people a choice in their death
Manukau Courier 30 November 2016
OPINION: In June 2015 in the High Court at Wellington Justice Collins decided that Lecretia Seales’ doctor would be likely to be prosecuted under the Crimes Act if she helped her to die, and that New Zealand’s Bill of Rights Act does not provide for assisted dying.
Justice Collins stated in conclusion that –
“Although Ms Seales has not obtained the outcomes she sought, she has selflessly provided a forum to clarify important aspects of New Zealand law.  The complex legal, philosophical, moral and clinical issues raised by Ms Seales’ proceedings can only be addressed by Parliament passing legislation to amend the effect of the Crimes Act.”
Therefore, on 18 November 2016 at the Health Select Committee hearing on the petition of Hon. Maryan Street and 8,974 others, Professor Mark Henaghan and I tabled an Authorised Dying Bill that we have been working on since the High Court decision.
The Authorised Dying Bill proposes a legal process for an application to be made to an independent ethics committee by a mentally competent adult who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is expected to die within 12 months.  The ethics committee would be comprised of experts in diagnostic medicine, psychiatry, ethics, Maori tikanga, disability, elderly care and law.  The applicant must have been fully informed of all options in respect of their terminal illness and the ethics committee is provided with their full medical records.  It is then for the committee to determine whether to grant approval and to determine the appropriate procedure to carry out that approval.  It is a process that allows a person facing death to have an option of choosing the manner and time of that death.
An ethical question this process seeks to address is can society do harm to a person with a terminal illness who is facing death by allowing them to choose when and how they die with the support of an authorised medical practitioner?
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/87019852/wall-giving-people-a-choice-in-their-death

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Netherlands offers euthanasia for alcoholics

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MercatorNet 28 November 2016
Family First Comment: As the article says “It’s certainly less bother than a 12-step program in Alcoholics Anonymous.” Tragic.
The ever-expanding circle of eligibility for euthanasia in the Netherlands now includes alcoholism. Writing in the Dutch magazine Linda, journalist Marcel Langedijk describes the grim life and death of his brother Mark, a hopeless alcoholic.
After eight years and 21 stints in hospital or rehab, Mark decided that he had enough. He had two children but his marriage had collapsed; his parents cared for him and he had plenty of family support, but he was unable to dry out.
Finally he asked for euthanasia. Physically he was quite ill and psychologically he was suffering badly. He met the minimum criteria for euthanasia in the Netherlands. A woman doctor in a black dress and sneakers arrived to give him his lethal injection. She confirmed his decision and then gave him three doses. He died quickly.
Mark’s death underscores how little the world knows about real-life cases of euthanasia, as opposed to the sanitised versions which appear in politicians’ speeches. Isn’t this just another case of society giving up on a person who had given up on himself? What comes next? Will Dutch drug addiicts be encouraged to take the cheapest drug rehabilitation program ever? Just one needle and you are “cured” for ever…
Mr Langedijk is writing a book about his younger brother’s disease and his death through euthanasia which will be published next year.
https://www.mercatornet.com/careful/view/netherlands-offers-euthanasia-for-alcoholics/19066

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