UK high school kids taught about assisted suicide

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Revelations this week that a UK company that produces educational videos for school children has included in its production vision of Dr. Nitschke’s ‘death machine’, explanations on how it works and footage from his workshops explaining his other suicide methods has shocked even pro-euthanasia advocates in the UK.

The Daily Mail report suggests that children as young as 14 years of age have seen the video sparking angry responses from pro-life groups and church leaders who described the video as an ‘invitation to commit suicide’.

At the same time the BBC is scheduling a program by euthanasia advocate Sir Terry Pratchett that features the death of a UK man in the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

Claims by the education video producers that the issue is treated in a balanced way simply don’t add up. Including contrary messages from anti-euthanasia campaigners can never balance… click here to read whole article and make comments



From a doctor who changed her mind

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Dr Diane E. Meier is one of America’s leading palliative care physicians. She is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and is the recipient of numerous awards. She was once an advocate of assisted suicide, but has changed her mind. Here are some remarks she made last month at a community seminar in Vermont.

Questioner: If we had a fully implemented palliative care model in this country, working as we think it should be working. . .Is there a need for policies . . . such as “Death with Dignity”?  Is there a correlation or relationship between those two, – some people would say, you don’t need Death with Dignity if you have a good palliative care model.  I was curious as to your thoughts on that.

Dr. Diane Meier: I, as a… click here to read whole article and make comments



Nurses union boss endorses euthanasia

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Nurses are the front line of health care so their views on euthanasia matter a lot. That’s why it was so surprising to read an editorial in the Australian Nursing Journal by the president of the Australian Nursing Federation, Coral Levett, which endorses it wholeheartedly. It is a personal endorsement, but since her union has 200,000 members, her personal views are likely to influence policy-making within the Australian Labor Party, and even in the Gillard government.

And it was even more surprising when I discovered that the editorial was based upon a Powerpoint presentation by the vice-president of NSW Dying With Dignity, Sara Edelman.

I published an indignant opinion piece in The Punch, a News Ltd on-line magazine (they picked the image above). To quote myself:

The ANF has effectively become a ventriloquist’s dummy for the Dying With Dignity movement, echoing its distorted slogans… click here to read whole article and make comments



Unclear end-of-life concepts cloud euthanasia debate

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A genuine public debate on "legalising euthanasia" can only happen after a clear distinction is made between assisted suicide and euthanasia and the withholding, refusal, or withdrawal of life-sustaining measures, says a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) law academic.

Dr Andrew McGee, whose article on the subject has been published in the international journal, Legal Studies: Journal for the Society of Legal Scholars, said the preparation of a new private members bill for voluntary euthanasia recently announced by the Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, may not reflect public support for such a bill, because the surveys on which the assessment of public opinion was based were flawed.

"It has been claimed that a survey showed 80 percent of people in Tasmania are in favour of euthanasia, but the Parliamentary report on the bill in which these findings are presented itself concedes that the wording of the survey was confused," Dr McGee said.

"The… click here to read whole article and make comments



51 die in first full year of Washington’s right-to-die law

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Fifty-one people have died in the first full year under Washington state’s Death with Dignity Act. Figures released by the state health department show that 68 physicians wrote life-ending prescriptions for 87 patients in 2010. Of these 72 died: 51 from the medication and 15 died of their illnesses. Another 15 patients were still alive. In 6 deaths, it was unclear whether the patients had taken the drug.

"There are no surprises here," said Robb Miller, executive director of Compassion & Choices of Washington, a leading euthanasia group. "We are seeing a steady increase in the number of participating physicians and a continuation of a very small percentage of dying patients who use the law. About one-tenth of 1% of all people who die in Washington elect to self-administer life-ending medication. It's a very, very small number."

Critics of the law, however, complained that exact figures are papering over… click here to read whole article and make comments



Senior doctors slam South Australia’s euthanasia bill

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A number of senior doctors from around Australia severely criticised South Australia’s proposed euthanasia legislation today, describing it as a dangerous bill which will place vulnerable patients at risk. In a letter to SA’s parliamentarians, Doctors Opposed to Euthanasia argue that elderly people would be pressured into dying and that the bill would inevitably lead to involuntary euthanasia.

“It is particularly worrisome that the current bill would permit a medical professional to defend themselves from prosecution by arguing that their patient had merely implied they wanted assisted suicide…”

The Criminal Law Consolidation (Medical Defences – End of Life Arrangements) Amendment Bill 2011 has fewer safeguards than previous bills, they argue.

“The Key’s Bill provides no protection for patients who feel that life has become intolerable, even though that belief may be fuelled by depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. Requests for euthanasia or assisted… click here to read whole article and make comments



A UK suicide shows that the slippery slope is alive and well

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According to the Sunday Times, an 84-year-old British woman committed suicide at a Swiss facility last month because she did not want to die of old age. Nan Maitland (pictured), who suffered from arthritis but was active and not terminally ill, left a note saying she wished to escape the 'long period of decline, sometimes called "prolonged dwindling", that so many people unfortunately experience before they die'.

Maitland, who was separated with three children, was a joint founder of SOARS (Society for Old Age Rational Suicide), an organisation that campaigns to allow elderly people who are not terminally ill to receive assistance to end their lives.  She was accompanied on her trip by Liz Nichols of FATE (Friends at the End) and Michael Irwin, the leading… click here to read whole article and make comments



Reasons to thank Philip Nitschke

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Now that’s a headline direct from the ‘now that I’ve got your attention’ files!

I never thought I’d be giving a bouquet to ‘doctor death’. After all, there’s nothing that he has said or done in the public eye that I find the least bit agreeable (except, perhaps, the recent picture of his visit with his mother).

But Dr. Nitschke has in fact, done us a favour by his grandstanding about setting up  a ‘killing centre’ in Adelaide to take advantage of what he no doubt hopes will be the successful passage of the Key bill through the SA parliament.

I find it difficult to take Nitschke seriously. While I was in Hobart he was pulling the same stunt down there and he’s also tried it in the UK. You may recall that he once suggested that a ‘death ship’ could sail outside Australian territorial waters… click here to read whole article and make comments



Video wrap-up of Australia’s debate

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This short feature from Australia's ABC is a good broad-brush sketch of the issues and personalities in the local euthanasia debate.

click here to read whole article and make comments



Euthanasia makes it easier to have a customised funeral

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If you are up for some spine-chilling excitement, take a look at this video clip from Flanders News, in Belgium. A few days ago, a Belgian couple were euthanased together because they could not imagine life without one another. He was 83 and had cancer. She was 78 and suffered from old age. A euthanasia expert explains that euthanasia is becoming normal in Belgium – no normal that it featured on the couple’s memorial card. Many people mistakenly believe that euthanasia is only for the terminally. Wrong! he says cheerfully. It’s a beautiful choice for everyone who feels that life has nothing more to offer.~ Flanders News, March 26

click here to read whole article and make comments


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Careful! is MercatorNet's blog about end-of-life issues. We respect the dignity of each person from the beginning of life to its natural end. Leave your comments at the foot of our articles. The more the better! Write to us at

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