FRIDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2016

A request for euthanasia is a failure of society

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Last week I accepted an invitation from CityLife MAtv in Montreal to be part of a round table discussion on End of Life Issues. They positioned my contribution in the context of a paper that I had submitted and presented in 2010 to the Quebec National Assembly’s Select Committee on “Dying with Dignity”, about my father’s health condition.

In a nutshell, the story goes like this. My dad had suffered a heart attack and, although it did not leave him with any major physical consequences like paralysis, it did affect his overall quality of life. He was very much weakened physically and psychologically, becoming gradually more dependent on my mother. The reality of seeing his autonomy declining caused him distress associated with anxiety crisis. He then started to say: I don’t have a purpose here anymore, I am poisoning your life, I would rather be dead.

click here to read whole article and make comments

 

MONDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2016

A peek behind Belgium’s euthanasia curtain

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Tine Nys (centre) with her sisters  

Another euthanasia scandal in Belgium. Two sisters have complained on a television program, Terzake, about the euthanasia of their sister. Tine Nys was 38 at the time and had broken up with her live-in boyfriend. On Christmas Eve 2009 she announced that she was going to be euthanased.

After interviews with doctors, she was given a lethal injection on April 24, 2010, with her mother and father and her two sisters, Lotte and Sophie, at her bedside.

Belgium allows people to request euthanasia if they have unbearable psychological suffering, not just a terminal illness. Tine was obviously a troubled woman and 15 years before she had been seeing a psychiatrist regularly. But she was recovering from a love affair, not suffering unbearable mental anguish.

Three doctors were supposed to concur that she met all requirements:… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2016

When do we get our euthanasia app?

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Euthanasia? Assisted suicide? There’s an app for that.

Or there soon might be in Canada, the executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) told a joint Senate-Commons committee this week. The committee is studying legislative responses to replace the Criminal Code prohibition on helping someone end his or her life.

That provision was struck down, of course, exactly a year ago by the Supreme Court of Canada. Parliament is now scrambling to meet a court-imposed deadline for new legislation because the previous Conservative government folded its arms and refused to touch the issue.

The BC Civil Liberties Association led in the battle to have the old law struck down. Not surprisingly, BCCLA representatives argued in front of the joint committee that any new law should be as minimalist as possible. By no means, executive director Josh Patterson contended, should there even be… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2016

Should people be denied choices at the end of life?

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(pdxdiver January 3, 2010)

Should people be denied choices at the end of life? It’s a loaded question: the suggestion that someone is being “denied choices” naturally gives rise to a sense of outrage and indignation. “How dare they!”

But choices are not always possible, no matter how beneficent they may be; no matter how legitimate they may seem.

To suggest, therefore, that people are “denied choices” is to infer that such choices are, indeed, legitimate.

Some, of course, are a simple matter of choosing between one legitimate option and another. Some, but not all.

Recently, I attended the funeral service for my brother’s father-in-law. An impressive, staunchly working class man, he had died well. That, for most of us, is what it is all about: we live as well as we can and we die as well as we can. We take both… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SUNDAY, 3 JANUARY 2016

Archbishop forces showdown over Belgian euthanasia law

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Over recent weeks the issue of conscientious objection, or the “conscience clause” in the Belgian euthanasia law has been brought into the spotlight by the assertion by the new Catholic Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Jozef De Kesel, that he has the right to refuse Catholic hospitals and aged care facilities to co-operate with euthanasia.

Euthanasia advocates both in academia and in the medical profession have bristled at the suggestion that institutions could say “Non” with many displaying a distinct and disturbing lack of understanding about the status of the 14 year old statute that allows doctors to kill their patients.

The Belgian law clearly provides a conscientious “out” for doctors and others assisting in a euthanasia but it is silent about institutions. Some suggest that the extension of a right of conscientious objection to institutions such as churches is implied while others suggest, dubiously to my… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2015

Making suicide easier – and no one takes notice

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“The reality is, a portion of our population will suicide and I don’t think we should make it so hard.”

Who said that? You’re guessing; putting two and two together, noting the author of this article and, hand quickly in the air from the back of the class you yell: “Nitschke!”

And you are right. The quote comes from a Guardian newspaper article on the 12th of December – three days ago. And not a word from the suicide prevention agencies. Even those like Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute – fine organisations that spoke out against Nitschke in the Nigel Brayley case in 2014 – total silence.

Not good enough.

Isn’t the whole idea of “prevention” precisely about making suicide difficult, making it unthinkable? Earlier this year a steel net was built at significant expense into the Golden Gate Bridge to,… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2015

Belgian MP calls for a review of the euthanasia law

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The open letter from medical professionals critical of the application of the Belgian law on euthanasia to people suffering psychologically has re-ignited debate on the safety and practice of the 2002 law.

Following the letter, Christian Democrat MP Els Van Hoof has raised significant further questions in the Belgian journal Knack. Van Hoof is severely critical of the development of the Belgian law and the amendment to include children in 2013 when, at no time over the more than a dozen years of operation has the law been formally reviewed.

“Since 2013 I follow as an MEP intensive debates on euthanasia. At stake in these debates was always the expansion of the existing Euthanasia Act of 2002, which allows euthanasia for adults. I then repeatedly asked the commission why should we decide to expand if an assessment had not been made of the existing law… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2015

Belgian doctors call for end to euthanasia for mental suffering

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Dr Marc Van Hoey with Simona de Moor shortly before she was euthanised. (SBS Dateline)   

On December 8, a group of psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers and others published a letter in De Morgen, a Flemish newspaper, asking the government to remove the option for euthanasia on the basis of psychological suffering alone. Here is an English translation from the blog of Trudo Lemmens, Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

* * * * *

For the first time since the adoption of the law in 2002, a decision to allow euthanasia –the De Moor/Van Hoey case – has been challenged by the euthanasia evaluation committee and forwarded to the public prosecutor.

The Australian broadcaster SBS made a documentary about this case and about the conversations between the patient… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2015

The case of the vanished euthanasia files

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Imagine for a moment that reporters broke the news that the Vatican had destroyed the bulk of its archival records. Researchers around the world justifiably might accuse the Roman Catholic Church of a deliberate cover-up.

Well, the Vatican has done no such thing. But it appears as if the right-to-die movement has. If so, one might well ask; why did people in the movement do it? Are they trying to hide something about their past?

One thing is clear: if the euthanasia movement’s records have indeed been destroyed, a lot of history has vanished, Orwell-like, down a cavernous memory hole. And with it, information the right-to-die movement doesn’t want you to know.

I should know, because I saw these records and I know what was in them. I wrote up my findings in my 2003 book on the history of the movement, published by Oxford University Press.

The story of… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2015

Nitschke tells medical board to go to blazes

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It took only a month for Australia’s leading right-to-die activist to tire of life without being able to teach people how to kill themselves. Philip Nitschke, who retained his medical registration last month only by agreeing not to promote suicide, has reneged.

In a dramatic press conference, he burned his medical practising certificate and announced that he would aggressively promote rational suicide. He said in a press statement:

30 years ago I left the Territory to study medicine in Sydney, 5 years later I returned and began my medical career here in this city, in Darwin Hospital. Today, and with considerable sadness, I announce the end of that 25 year medical career. I confirm this decision by burning my medical practicing certificate…..

However, he also asserted his right to use the title “doctor”, which medical authorities are likely to contest. He said defiantly:

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 editor@mercatornet.com.


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