THURSDAY, 11 SEPTEMBER 2014

A compassionate society prevents suicide; it doesn’t promote it

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Here in Australia another World Suicide Prevention Day has passed uneventfully. Suicide Prevention Australia made some touching TV advertisements which made me cringe at the pain felt by those left behind. Their anguish is something we too often forget.

As Lifeline, the suicide prevention organisation, puts it, “Suicide loss can impact on physical and mental health. It’s important people bereaved by suicide are treated with compassion and support. They may experience: shock, numbness, denial; searching for reasons ‘why?’; guilt; anger/blame; despair; listlessness; stigma and shame; loneliness and disconnection; depression; thoughts of suicide themselves.”

This message does not seem to be getting through to the media, however. An Australian Senator, David Leyonhjelm, published a libertarian argument for assisted suicide in OnLine Opinion shortly before Suicide Prevention Day. “It is fine to promote the treatment of depression and palliative care,” he wrote. “But it is not acceptable to claim their availability… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2014

Belgium’s euthanasia law challenged

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Dr Wim Distelmans  

A Belgian man is challenging his country’s euthanasia law in the European Court of Human Rights. Dr Tom Mortier’s mother was put to death by a doctor for “untreatable depression” even though she was not terminally ill. Mortier did not find out what had happened until he received a telephone call the day after her death.

“The government has an obligation to protect life, not assist in promoting death,” said a lawyer working on the case, Robert Clarke, of the Alliance for Defending Freedom. “A person can claim that she should be able to do whatever she pleases, but that does not override the government’s responsibility to protect the weak and vulnerable. We are encouraging the European Court to uphold this principle, which is completely consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Oncologist Wim Distelmans killed Godelieva De… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 29 AUGUST 2014

Don’t like nursing homes? The Dutch have a solution for you

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The end-of-life clinic in The Hague.     

It's official. Like Belgium, The Netherlands has completely lost any sense of respect for the law and has leapt, lemming-like, off the moral cliff. Dutch news is reporting on the euthanasia death of an elderly woman who sought euthanasia because she did not want to live in a nursing home.

The report said that she visited a 'special clinic set up to help people whose doctors do not support euthanasia'. This incident sparked the second reprimand of the 'Life Clinic' in the last four months. In the previous case the same clinic euthanasied a woman with identified psychiatric problems without enough consultations with the woman. In this current case, according to the Trouw newspaper, the eutanasia monitoring committee concluded that "The doctor has based his decision solely on the fact that the patient was in a nursing home."

Earlier… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 1 AUGUST 2014

“End of life options”: a young person’s game

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I wonder why discussion of end of life options comes mostly from people younger than I am.

Recently, I was on a panel at a meeting of Liberal senators. Their open caucus initiative reaches beyond politics and invites other Canadians to share information and discussion on topics of national importance — an admirable endeavour.

The topic was end of life care choices. The first speaker was the MP whose private member’s bills in the Commons would legalize doctor-assisted dying in Canada. Three of us spoke from personal knowledge of people who have disabilities; another from the perspective of dying with dignity; another about palliative care.

Personally, I believe that palliative care should not be considered an option, but as good medical practice. That it is not available to all who need it, is to our collective shame.

After almost 50 years of voluntary effort in the disability community, it is not unusual for me to be the oldest person in… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

Medical homicide: telling it as it is

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Perhaps in part because of the dwindling birth rates and a steadily ageing and costly population, it is customary now in Britain for the subject of active euthanasia to be revisited every year. Charles (Lord) Falconer is at it again seeking to legalise medical complicity in homicide. The subject comes before Parliament today.

Notwithstanding the horrific findings of widespread non-consensual sedation and dehydration in UK's hospitals, hospices and care homes and the Neuberger Review confirming the catastrophe, Falconer is seeking to open up new ways of eliminating the disabled, depressed, old and vulnerable.

A letter organised by Terence English, patron of Dignity in Dying, is being supported by 27 public figures including Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, Michael Rawlins, former chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Graham Winyard, a former NHS director.

It is argued that the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014

We were wrong, says former regulator of Dutch euthanasia

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Theo Boer is a Dutch medical ethicist who has changed his mind on euthanasia. This is an article he wrote for the UK's Dail Mail warning the House of Lords not to pass an "assisted dying" bill. Thanks to Alex Schadenberg.   

In 2001 The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia and, along with it, assisted suicide. Various safeguards were put in place to show who should qualify and doctors acting in accordance with these safeguards would not be prosecuted. Because each case is unique, five regional review committees were installed to assess every case and to decide whether it complied with the law.

For five years after the law became effective, such physician-induced deaths remained level - and even fell in some years. In 2007 I wrote that ‘there doesn’t need to be a slippery slope when it comes to… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 15 JULY 2014

Lord Carey’s suicide mission

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george carey
Lord Carey

 

Have the body-snatchers taken Lord Carey? This is what I ask myself as I read his support for an assisted suicide bill. He comes up with all the usual clichés used to justify turning doctors into assisted killers. Compassion, care, but worst of all, Christian love. He abuses each and every concept.

Lord Carey also conflates a number of key issues (perhaps conveniently, I am not too sure; I do not believe a man of his intelligence could be genuinely confused). I am tempted to go through his article line by line to point out the errors, but will desist.

First, he talks about a parishioner who suffered greatly at the end of her life and died. Lord Carey writes in Saturday’s Daily Mail: “Even the most devout believers will find their faith tested by the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 8 JULY 2014

A man who disdains euphemisms

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The recent news concerning Dr Philip Nitschke, Exit International and the suicide death of two men who were not terminally ill has forced the Australian public to confront the issue of assisting someone to die.

As Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt points out, this is not something new. Nor is the public commentary from Dr Nitschke at the pointed end of the debate: when a bill is before an Australian legislature.

When Nitschke comments on such bills there's a noticeable cringe factor among state-based supporters of such legislation, with the most common response being that Nitschke's comments 'are not helpful'.

Even though these organisations have always been effectively 'on the same page' as Nitschke in seeking legislative change, what they reject is essentially that Nitschke tells it like it is. To his credit, he shuns euphemisms and advocates directly for any adult to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 1 JULY 2014

Killing Me Softly: a New Zealand report on euthanasia

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Over the past 20-odd years New Zealand has seen three legislative attempts to legalise euthanasia. Only the first (1995) went through the legislative process – where it was defeated by 61 to 29 votes. The third, introduced only last year by Labour MP Maryan Street, was withdrawn by her from the private members’ bill ballot to prevent it becoming a “political football” in the general elections being held this year.

There is no doubt, however, that if Labour was able to form a government after the September elections the Street Bill would reappear. They and the Green Party (their likely coalition partner) regard it as their mission to advance “progressive” causes – as the passing of New Zealand’s same-sex marriage law in April last year showed.

It is particularly easy to push such controversial issues through the New Zealand legislative system since it is unicameral (there is no upper house) and has only 120 members. Similarly there are few national… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 10 JUNE 2014

“Yes” to euthanasia brings a seismic shift in values

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euthan

Why, after millenniums of prohibiting the intentional killing of another human being, in particular by physicians, did Quebec politicians think euthanasia is a “progressive” idea that must be implemented without delay? Bill 52, originally introduced by the Parti Québécois government, was rapidly reintroduced by the Liberals and passed Thursday.

Why did Quebec politicians fail to give sufficient weight to the dangers and harms of legalizing euthanasia, especially to vulnerable people — those who are old and fragile or disabled, and whose lives are denigrated by euthanasia’s message that they are not worth living?

Why have their ethical imaginations, human memories (knowledge of history) and examined emotions failed to warn them that they are on the wrong path? Did they fail to distinguish between obligations to kill people’s suffering through good palliative care and pain management, and killing the person with the suffering? Did they fail to… 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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