Monthly Archives

March 2017

Govt looks to prioritise palliative care

By | Recent News

NewsTalk ZB 30 March 2017
Family First Comment: This is great. A positive response promoting real care and dignity, rather than the Green/Labour/ACT push for assisted suicide.
#rejectassistedsuicide
The Government’s making assurances palliative care is one of its health priorities.
It comes as a review of the sector recommends major changes and improvements because of a rising demand for palliative care from the country’s aging population.
The Adult Palliative Care Services in New Zealand – Review and Action Plan shows there will be an over 50 percent increase in the number of people needing palliative care over the next 20 years.
It’s recommending greater emphasis be put on palliative care, its quality be improved, that the capability of informal carers be increased, and that response to those with palliative care needs be improved.
Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman said palliative care is a priority for the Government.
“We’re committed to ensuring New Zealanders can access palliative care services when they need them and in the settings they prefer,” said Dr Coleman.
READ MORE: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/govt-looks-to-prioritise-palliative-care/

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Ron Jones: Leave doctors out of 'assisted dying' discussion

By | Recent News

NZ Herald 23 March 2017
Family First Comment: “Since there are currently no medical indications for ending a person’s life, the use of the word “medical” by legislators dishonestly transfers undue responsibility for the act of euthanasia to the medical profession. Termination of life is an anathema to most doctors and I doubt if many will wish to participate. Palliative care physicians, arguably the most trusted and empathetic members of our profession, will not have a bar of it. This may lead to a small coterie of doctors who wish to be involved – “Doctor Deaths” – a phrase that will not be welcomed by the profession or most of the public.”
Most individuals have strongly held views either for or against the proposed euthanasia legislation. My own views are those of a retired, perhaps somewhat cynical, doctor who has spent most of his professional life caring for women with gynaecological cancer.
During this time I was never asked to deliberately end the life of one of them; my wife died of cancer in her mid-40s.
A Herald editorial pointed out Parliament’s health committee has “an unenviable task”, observing, “the weight of public opinion appears to support a right to die with deliberate medical assistance though the weight of medical opinion remains decidedly against it”.
While I, and many other doctors, may have sympathies with both sides of this debate, doctors are not God, and the majority, for moral, ethical, legal and professional reasons, do not wish to become involved in killing their patients.
This emotive subject is coloured by semantics and euphemisms. The Oxford Dictionary defines medicine as “the science or practice of the prevention and treatment of disease”. This definition does not include euthanasia.
“Medically assisted dying” is a classic euphemism for euthanasia. David Seymour’s proposed End-of-Life Choice bill included the words “medically” or “medical” 178 times. The word provides an aura of caring, respectability, trust and legitimacy.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11823577
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Woman comes out of coma after doctors tell her mother to turn off life support

By | Recent News

Stuff co.nz 22 March 2017
Family First Comment: “At that time, Wilson (21) had a 20 per cent chance of surviving and was not responding to treatment. “They said if I did pull through, it was highly likely I would need 24-hour care.” In the face of the grim prognosis, her mother agreed to have Wilson’s life support turned off. “I must have heard it because I was like ‘I’m not ready just yet, just having a sleep’, Something happened and they kept me on and I woke up.” Wilson, now 32, spent 2½ weeks in a coma.”
Euthanasia laws are based on the definition of ‘terminal’ – but nobody can ever REALLY tell for sure. That’s why euthanasia is a risky road to go down.
Doctors didn’t think Jules Wilson had much of a chance after a crash left her critically injured and in a coma. Her mother agreed to turn off her life support. But Jules wasn’t done yet. Nicholas McBride reports.
Jules Wilson’s life was hanging by a thread.
Lying in a coma, part of her skull cut away to ease the pressure on her swollen brain, her mother made an agonising choice – to turn off her life support.
But Wilson wasn’t ready to give up.
Wilson was just a typical 21-year-old when a car crash in 2005 changed her life forever.
A passenger in a car that crashed into a ditch while passing at 150kmh, she suffered critical head injuries.
Doctors doubted she would last the night.
At that time, she had a 20 per cent chance of surviving and was not responding to treatment.
“They said if I did pull through, it was highly likely I would need 24-hour care.”
In the face of the grim prognosis, her mother agreed to have Wilson’s life support turned off.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/90705063/Woman-comes-out-of-coma-after-doctors-tell-her-mother-to-turn-off-life-support?cid=app-iPhone

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High court pick Gorsuch is harsh critic of assisted suicide

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NBC 18 March 2017
Family First Comment: Speaking common sense…
“Legalizing the practice, he said, could be a slippery slope. Doctors, insurance companies and the healthiest in society might wind up looking for ways to shorten the lives of the frail and the elderly to preserve resources for those with more promising futures. Doing so, he said, would have a disproportionate impact on the poor, the powerless and minorities who sometimes do not receive the same quality of medical care and pain-control management when they are ill.”
Good nominee, Donald!
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch made it clear in a book and other writings what he thinks about assisted suicide and euthanasia: He’s not a fan.
His reasoning is not based on religious conviction but rather stems from his investigation of the subject stretching from ancient Greece to modern times.
In his 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” Gorsuch derided the idea that a person could take their own life as a way of achieving “death with dignity.”
He wrote, “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
Gorsuch, whose nomination is to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, favors the power of the states and sticking closely to the texts of laws and Constitution as they were understood when written. But his views on some controversial subjects, such as how widely the Second Amendment applies or whether abortion should be legal, are not known. Assisted suicide is a different matter.
Legalizing the practice, he said, could be a slippery slope. Doctors, insurance companies and the healthiest in society might wind up looking for ways to shorten the lives of the frail and the elderly to preserve resources for those with more promising futures. Doing so, he said, would have a disproportionate impact on the poor, the powerless and minorities who sometimes do not receive the same quality of medical care and pain-control management when they are ill.
READ MORE: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/34940383/high-court-pick-gorsuch-is-harsh-critic-of-assisted-suicide
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Cancer patient told hospital would rather spend money on others

By | Recent News

Stuff co.nz 20 March 2017
A woman with terminal cancer says she was told by medical staff the hospital would rather spend its money on people they could actually help.
Alison MacKenzie was shocked to learn she had bowel cancer after multiple doctor’s visits left her with no indication anything was wrong.
MacKenzie, 44, was told she had weeks to live, before being turfed out and then told chemotherapy should be for people they could actually help.
The Palmerston North woman was left in the dark and unsure if she would live to see her son’s 5th birthday.
MidCentral District Health Board has refused to offer any explanation, but it has done a U-turn by offering her chemotherapy.
Alison MacKenzie’s husband Dion said the experience had rocked their faith in the health system.
“You have this belief in the system that you think has got your back and is looking after you.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/90267348/cancer-patient-told-hospital-would-rather-spend-money-on-others

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Euthanasia ‘Elephant In The Room’ – Healthcare Costs

By | Media Releases

Media Release 21 March 2017
Family First NZ says that the example of a cancer patient being turned away because of her potential healthcare costs is a disturbing development which will only be exacerbated by allowing euthanasia in to our laws. The woman with terminal cancer was told by medical staff the hospital would rather spend its money on people they could actually help.

“One of the disturbing underlying justifications for euthanasia is that euthanasia could result in valuable savings in public healthcare and geriatric services expenditure. A large amount of the public purse is spent on healthcare for the dying, those with dementia and the elderly. Euthanasia is cheap; good palliative care and hospice services expensive. Bureaucrats are always
looking for the cheapest ways to spend health care budgets. This is a disturbing development, perhaps unintentional, but a real risk,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This harsh argument from economics is seldom, if ever, heard from advocates for euthanasia, but it is arguably the ‘elephant in the room’ in the debate.”

As stated in a 2013 paper in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, the cold, fiscal reality is that “End of life care is expensive and having citizens opt for an earlier death is associated with substantial government savings”.[1]
Dr Rex Ahdar, the author of Family First’s 2014 report “Killing Me Softly: Should Euthanasia Be Legalised?”, warned that;

if assisted suicide or euthanasia were permitted, “many might resort to it to spare their families the substantial financial burden of end-of-life healthcare costs”. So wrote the US Supreme Court (Glucksberg at 732)[2]. But this point is just as valid in New Zealand and not just the hyper-expensive American healthcare system. Elderly and ailing patients are all too aware that their increasingly expensive rest home and geriatric care is steadily dissipating the inheritance that awaits their children. Sadly, the more unscrupulous and callous offspring would not be slow in pointing this out either.

“The case highlighted today proves that this risk is a real threat, and yet another reason to kill any euthanasia bill.”
ENDS

[1] Mishara, Brian L and David N Weistubb (2013) “Premises and evidence in the rhetoric of assisted suicide and euthanasia” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 26: 427-435
[2] Washington vs. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702

16,000 Voices Show Kiwis Say No to Euthanasia

By | Recent News

Scoop.co.nz 8 March 2017
Family First Comment: “For nearly seven months, the Health Select Committee has been hearing stories from hundreds of Kiwis, and 3 out of 4 of them have been saying no to euthanasia,” says Dr. Smith. “But hardly anyone outside of the Committee is aware of what they’ve said.
”Today marks the launch of the campaign 16,000 Voices – Kiwis say no to euthanasia. The campaign gives voice to a sampling of the 16,000 people who wrote in to the Health Select Committee expressing their opposition to euthanasia.
“Most of the New Zealand public is unaware of just how overwhelming the opposition has been to the introduction of euthanasia legislation,” says Dr Jane Silloway Smith, Director of Every Life Research Unit, whose analysis of submissions made to the Committee forms the basis of the information provided in 16,000Voices.
“For nearly seven months, the Health Select Committee has been hearing stories from hundreds of Kiwis, and 3 out of 4 of them have been saying no to euthanasia,” says Dr. Smith. “But hardly anyone outside of the Committee is aware of what they’ve said.”
“If the Committee reports accurately on what they’ve been reading and hearing, we’re unlikely to see an endorsement for euthanasia legislation, which may come as a shock to many. That’s why 16,000 Voices is so important – to let us hear why Kiwis are saying no to euthanasia in their own words.”
The 16,000 Voices campaign encompasses a website with videos and written submissions, alongside a Facebook page and You Tube channel.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1703/S00090/16000-voices-show-kiwis-say-no-to-euthanasia.htm
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Droves of Canadian doctors opt out of euthanasia

By | Recent News

World.wng.org 27 February 2017
Family First Comment: Alex Schadenberg, director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said doctors withdrawing from the assisted suicide program is no surprise. “It’s counter-intuitive to the human person to kill someone,” he said. “What I predict will happen is there will only be a few doctors in Ontario doing this euthanasia, or in Canada doing it, and all the other doctors will be forced to refer patients to them. And it doesn’t take a lot of doctors to kill people.”
#rejectassistedsuicide
Dozens of Canadian doctors who signed up to provide lethal injections have changed their minds, according to medical officials.
At least 24 doctors in Ontario have asked to be removed from a list of physicians willing to participate in Canada’s Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) law, passed in June. Some 30 more have requested their names be put on hold.
Jeff Blackmer, vice president of the Canadian Medical Association, said some doctors initially think they are helping patients end their suffering but find the reality much different.
“We’re seeing doctors who go through one experience and it’s just overwhelming, it’s too difficult,” he said. “And those are the ones who say, ‘Take my name off the list. I can’t do it anymore.’”
Ontario, one of the only provinces so far to track the data, currently has a list of 137 doctors willing to participate in assisted suicide. Of those, 107 are willing to administer a lethal injection or prescribe lethal drugs. The other 30 chose only to assess patients for eligibility.
The doctor opt-outs follow a similar decision by several Canadian hospitals that announced last year they would not participate in the program because of their religious convictions.
To be eligible for assisted suicide in Canada, a patient must have a “grievous and irremediable” illness, be physically or psychologically suffering, and have a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death.
READ MORE: https://world.wng.org/2017/02/droves_of_canadian_doctors_opt_out_of_euthanasia

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