Monthly Archives

April 2018

Euthanasia Bill risks are too great – expert

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NewsHub 27 April 2018
Family First Comment: Dear David Seymour, anyone who claims assisted dying already happens in New Zealand is peddling fake news.

Anyone who claims assisted dying already happens in New Zealand is peddling fake news, a palliative care expert says.

A panel of specialists says the End of Life Bill going through Parliament is dangerous and the burden on doctors to assist a patient to die is too great.

Dr Selina Lupati is a palliative medicine specialist and says the risks in the Bill – or any legislation around assisted dying – are too great.

She says the Bill is asking doctors to make decisions that are irreversible, with less rigour than is applied to imprisoning someone in the justice system.

“Medicine is not an exact science – we make mistakes in making diagnosis, we make mistakes in prognostication.”

She is part of a panel of those working in palliative care who say public debate has been dominated by euthanasia advocates – and glossed over obvious flaws in the proposed law.

Aged Concern reports 1500 cases of elder abuse and says 75 percent of alleged abusers are family members.

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Palliative care specialists reject End of Life Choice bill

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Stuff 27 April 2018
Family First Comment: Superb. Thank you!

The medical specialists tasked with guiding us to death are unwilling to administer euthanasia.

Senior palliative care specialists gathered on Thursday to warn against the End of Life Choice Bill, currently being considered by a parliament Select Committee.

All rejected legalised euthanasia, feared patients might be coerced into death, and considered doctors and nurses ill-equipped to evaluate a person’s readiness to die.

Hibiscus Hospice palliative medicine specialist Professor Rod MacLeod said patients were prone to changing their mind.

“Almost always when people are asking for a quick way out, what they’re saying is: ‘I don’t want to live like this’.”

New Zealand’s palliative care – which ranks third in the world – was well designed for people with terminal cancer and neuro-muscular disorders, he said.

“There’s a large cohort of people who are dying of heart failure, respiratory disease, dementia – in particular – who don’t ever get referred to palliative care services.”

These people were most vulnerable to coercion from family to end their life, which was impossible to identify, he said.
READ MORE:–reject-end-of-life-choice-bill
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Majority of doctors opposed euthanasia

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Doctors split over assisted dying issue
Otago Daily Times 27 April 2018
Family First Comment: 52% against. Only 32% for. But the ODT tries to suggest it’s an even split 😊

The medical profession is split on the issue of assisted dying.

Just over half are opposed but a sizeable minority favour a law change.

New Zealand Doctor yesterday released results of a survey of subscribers, carried out as Parliament considers the End of Life Choice Bill.

That Bill, if passed, would permit people to request assistance in dying if they were competent and suffered from a terminal illness likely to end their life within six months, or had a grievous and irremediable medical condition.

The survey found 52% of doctors totally opposed assisted dying if death was imminent, while 32% supported it.

The numbers shifted slightly if the patient’s condition was irreversible but death was not imminent, with 56% opposed and 31% in favour.

The numbers did not surprise University of Otago law lecturer Colin Gavaghan, who has written extensively on the subject.

“The medical establishment has been anti all along, and when doctors are surrounded by those values, I guess a lot of them internalise them,” Dr Gavaghan said.



Outrage as world’s first euthanasia machine to be unveiled

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NewsHub 18 April 2018
Family First Comment: This is how sick, and how far, supporters of euthanasia will go. It’s not about ‘death with dignity’. It’s about suicide on demand.
Warning: This article contains sensitive content that may distress some people.

The announcement of the world’s first 3-D printed euthanasia machine has been met with outrage in the country it’s to be unveiled in.

Australian Philip Nitschke, a prominent international euthanasia advocate, has built Sarco, a device that allows people to end their own life at the simple press of a button, the Daily Mail reported.

The machine fills with nitrogen, which results in a person painlessly losing consciousness after a minute. They then die five minutes later.

Mr Nitschke has planned to officially release the machine at the upcoming Amsterdam Funeral Fair; people will be able to get a foretaste of the technology by wearing a virtual reality headset.

However Dr Nitschke says the machine aims to give people a ‘euphoric’ experience rather than a ‘dignified’ death.

“What if we dared to imagine that our last day on this planet might also be one of our most exciting?” he told the Huffington Post.

“A Sarco death is painless. There’s no suffocation, choking sensation or ‘air hunger’ as the user breathes easily in a low-oxygen environment. The sensation is one of well-being and intoxication,” he said.

Dr Nitschke intends the machine to be transported wherever one chooses – for instance the top of a mountain range or somewhere overlooking the sea.


Old age alone shouldn’t be considered a justification for physician-assisted death

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The Globe and Mail 9 April 2018
Family First Comment: Excellent article from Canada where old age is being considered as justification for euthanasia…
“Good treatment addresses our fears, it does not embrace them. It helps people through and past crisis points. That won’t happen when age is considered a terminal diagnosis, however, when physician-assisted death is the go-to answer. Ever since Jack Kevorkian, physicians in this line of work have had termination as their reflexive response. If you need help living, see someone else. We want to grow old but are afraid of aging. We want to be healthy and in control and so we fear any kind of disability. Thinking of age as a terminal condition easily ended plays to our fears, not the potential of our lives. The simple truth is circumstances may change at any age; we can’t control that, only our response to them.”

Age is a chronic, not a terminal, condition. And yet, as Canadians live longer, we often do not celebrate our longevity, but worry about its continuance. Suddenly, the idea of a long life is seen as something fearful and worth ending.

A current example is the recent Globe and Mail report of the March 27 shared death by lethal medical injection of George and Shirley Brickenden, both in their 90s, in their Toronto retirement home. They were, by all reports, an engaging, intelligent and relatively healthy couple.

The story raises real concerns about the grey-zone of medical ethics, targeting the end zone of what today is being promoted as a reasonable basis to end life. The question is: Who is fragile and how do we respond to their needs and fears?

For more than 30 years, I have worked with fragile seniors and their families, including my own. For 25 years, I’ve also worked with and written about adults living with a range of chronic conditions. The thing I learned from, and with, them all is that while death is inevitable, there is no clear past-due date for any of us.

In the medical assessment required before physician termination, one doctor wrote that Mr. Brickenden “has a serious and incurable illness, which is age-related frailty. It is end stage.” This was a way of fitting Mr. Brickenden into the legal standard requiring a patient’s death be “reasonably foreseeable” and inevitable.
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Hawaii legalises assisted suicide

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BioEdge 8 April 2018
Hawaii has become the seventh American jurisdiction where assisted-suicide is legal. The “Our Care, Our Choice Act” passed  the Hawaii House of Representatives on a 39-12 vote on March 6, and cleared the Senate on a vote of 23-2 this week. Governor David Inge signed the bill on Thursday. “It is time for terminally ill, mentally competent Hawaii residents who are suffering to make their own end-of-life choices with dignity, grace and peace,” he said.

Under the provisions of the new law, the terminally ill may get a prescription for a lethal drug so long as two doctors agree that the patient has no more than six months to live and is mentally competent. He would also need to undergo a mental health evaluation; two separate requests should be made to an attending provider (who could be a nurse, not a doctor); and two witnesses must attest to the patient’s wish to die. Although a doctor could dispense the medication, patients would be required to take it on their own. The patient’s family need not be informed of his decision.

Since 1997, the legislatures of Hawaii, Oregon, Washington state, California, Colorado, Vermont and the District of Columbia have passed laws permitting assisted suicide. In Montana, a court decision found that it was legal, but there has been no legislation.

In the same time ten states have passed laws explicitly banning assisted suicide. The latest was Utah, where the criminal code was clarified to include assisted suicide. It was prompted by a gruesome case in which 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien helped 16-year-old Jchandra Brown to hang herself and filmed her last moments.


Medically assisted death allows couple married almost 73 years to die together

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The Globe and Mail 1 April 2018
Family First Comment: Canada is the Niagara Falls of euthanasia! Very disturbing.

The Brickendens are one of the few couples in Canada to receive a doctor-assisted death together, and the first to speak about it publicly.

On March 27, George and Shirley died holding hands in their own bed in a Toronto retirement home.

Their children, who watched from the foot of the bed, say the couple drew their last breaths at almost the same moment.

Mrs. Brickenden’s body was wracked by rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory condition that turned her hands into swollen purple claws.

Her heart was failing. She nearly died during an operation after she suffered a heart attack in 2016.

That was enough for two doctors – as required by the law – to conclude in early 2017 that Mrs. Brickenden was eligible for an assisted death.

Around the same time, two different physicians assessed Mr. Brickenden. The first felt that Mr. Brickenden’s advanced age and frailty made him a candidate for an assisted death, but the second disagreed because Mr. Brickenden did not have a specific underlying illness that made his death reasonably foreseeable, the standard set out in the legislation.

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Boy battling cancer wakes from coma as family agree to cut life support

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NZ Herald 3 April 2018
Family First Comment: A perfect example of why euthanasia is so dangerous – not only for adults but also for children. Don’t let the politicians go near it!

A two-year-old boy in the UK woke up from a coma right after his family agreed to switch him off life support.

Dylan Askin, from Shelton Lock, Derbyshire, suffered from a very rare type of lung cancer. He received the one-in-ten-million diagnosis of Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis (PLCH).

On Good Friday of 2016, Dylan’s outlook was so tragic the parents made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support the following day.

Little Dylan fought through and, by Easter Sunday, was deemed to be in “stable” condition.

Two years on, Dylan has beaten cancer.