Tag Archives: euthanasia

This Dying Woman Has Cancer Like Brittany Maynard, But Her Response is Priceless

LifeNews.com: Lizz Lovett could choose to take her own life. As an Oregon resident stricken with advanced stage kidney cancer, Lovett could lawfully utilize Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act to end her life prematurely through euthanasia.

This path, chosen by many, was recently launched to the media forefront by Brittany Maynard’s choice to end her own life last year when diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

When a surgical procedure last spring failed to remove Lovett’s cancer, the wife and mother of four chose a different path. “My life is not a story written by cancer – it’s written by love,” she said. With the help of friend Chris Stefanick, Lovett and her husband, Ryan, released a video documenting her courageous experience.

“I think [Stefanick] saw we still lived joyful lives, and that cancer didn’t define who we are,” Lovett said. “He said he was struck by the dramatic juxtaposition between our life – taking each day as a gift for us to give and receive – and Ms. Maynard’s, where she appeared to want control, by taking her own life.”

In the powerful video, Lovett shared why she is choosing to live despite her terminal diagnosis. “While many of us do not agree on how to think about euthanasia, I do think many of us can still be touched by beauty,” Lovett said. “And from that common experience, I hope we can reconnect how we think about the world and – perhaps – be persuaded to be open in a new way to life.”

Many members of Lovett’s family still hold to the “pro-choice” viewpoint that death by euthanasia is a lawful right. Lovett hopes her story can reach out to them and others faced with this difficult deliberation.

Suffering, Lovett argues, is not the problem. “I hope people will see there can be great joy and love in suffering, and great joy and love can come from it too,” Lovett said. “The stuff of life that has the most meaning – the opportunities for grace, the moments of littleness, humility and weakness that can be made into something so powerful through faith – are in danger of being snuffed out, removed before they even have a chance to occur.”

Lovett believes true dignity is found in living each and every day with love. Finding strength in her faith, Lovett continues to appreciate the time she has left with her family with new perspective.

“Life, indeed, is short,” she said. “And of course, everyone is going to die. I just have a better idea than most of when that may be. I think it is blessing in some ways to have that clarity as I live life each day.”

Her children – aged 2 to 7 – and her husband, remain consistent blessings. Lovett names Ryan as her “backbone of strength.” And Lovett is grateful for the outpouring of support that friends and community members have showered on her family.

“By ending my life prematurely, I lose the opportunity to love, and to be loved,” Lovett said. “We are all in each other’s lives for a reason. This is our journey, something we do together. When we feel the pressure – whether interiorly or from outsiders, subtly or otherwise – to just end it all because we are inconvenient, nothing could be further from the truth. It is through this suffering that our faith grows, our love grows, and the world is transformed, one relationship at a time.”

“I hope people will learn not to confuse an undignified circumstance with a lack of real dignity. I hope people will learn not to confuse pain with suffering. That people will see that what gives our lives greatest meaning is not feeling good, but being good: feeling good is not compatible with suffering, but being good is.

“And since the issue of euthanasia is not going away, I wanted my voice to be heard – to offer a truthful witness to what death with dignity really means.”

DCG

Up to 650 babies euthanized every year in Holland

newborn crying

LifeSite News: As many as 650 babies are euthanized every year in the Netherlands because they are believed to be suffering or because a newborn’s imminent natural death is emotionally distressing for the parents, reports the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG).

In the organization’s policy statement “Medical decisions about the lives of newborns with severe abnormalities,” it explains that a lethal injection to euthanize a baby is ethically permitted if “the period of gasping and dying persists and the inevitable death is prolonged, in spite of good preparation, and it causes severe suffering for the parents.”

In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world after the downfall of the Nazi regime to legalize euthanasia, but the law at the time restricted the practice to those 18 and older.

Eduard Verhagen

Eduard Verhagen

Since 2005 the country has not prosecuted doctors who euthanized children as long as the doctors acted in accordance with a set of medical guidelines called the Groningen Protocol, drafted by Dr. Eduard Verhagen in 2004.

Dr. Verhagen, who is one of the authors of the KNMG policy statement, explained to Volkskrant, a leading Dutch newspaper, why parental anguish is relevant to the decision to kill their child. He argued that doctors should spare parents the “abomination” of seeing their child die in distress, saying that it is part of good palliative care. “These children are gray and cold, they get blue lips and suddenly every few minutes they take extremely deep breaths. That’s very nasty to see, and it can go on for hours and sometimes days,” Verhagen said.

The KNMG policy statement said that out of the 175,000 babies born in the Netherlands each year, 650 are candidates for euthanasia because these children are likely to die anyway.

“These babies, despite very intensive treatment, will certainly die in the short term. They have a poor prognosis and a very bleak life perspective. They may not be dependent on intensive care but they face a life of serious and hopeless suffering. Doctors and parents face the exceedingly profound question of whether to start or continue treatment or even whether a good action may actually be a harm, in view of the suffering and disability that may result from the poor health of the child.”

Dr. Verhagen says he himself is unsure about whether a child who is “gasping” is actually suffering. “It may feel pain and discomfort, but suffering is a complex social and psychological phenomenon without scientifically validated criteria,” he said.

While Dr. Verhagen is well known for his continuing support of euthanasia in the Netherlands, other experts have changed their minds after seeing the escalation of administered death in their country.

Theo Boer

Theo Boer

Dutch ethicist Professor Theo Boer, who is on record for having said that a “good euthanasia law” would produce relatively low numbers of deaths, told the British House of Lords in 2014 that he now believes that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure.

“I was wrong – terribly wrong, in fact to have believed regulated euthanasia would work. I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law. But now, with 12 years of experience, I take a very different view,” he said.

“Euthanasia is now becoming so prevalent in the Netherlands, that it is on the way to becoming a default mode of dying for cancer patients,” he continued. “Assisted deaths have increased by about 15 per cent every year since 2008 and the number could hit a record 6,000 this year.  Campaigns for doctor-administered death to be made ever easier will not rest until a lethal pill is made available to anyone over 70 who wishes to die. Some slopes truly are slippery.”

Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, wrote in The National Review that the argument for euthanasia based on elimination of suffering due to terminal illness is a dangerous illusion.

Stop pretending assisted suicide is about terminal illness and admit it is much more about disability–which is why the disability rights movement remains so opposed as they are the primary targets.  It is about allowing killing as an acceptable answer to many causes of suffering, whether terminal or chronic disease, disability, mental illness, or existential despair,” he wrote.

“Indeed, as we have seen in Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium, once the fundamental premise [of euthanasia] is accepted, the sheer force of logic leads to permission for virtual death-on-demand.”

See also:

 

DCG

Elderly couple to die together by assisted suicide even though they are not ill

angel

DailyMail: An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world’s first “couple” euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill. Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.

Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, said they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed. The children have gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple’s mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia.

The couple, from Brussels, are receiving regular medical treatment for age-related ailments. Francis has received treatment for prostate cancer for 20 years and is unable to spend a day without morphine and Anne is partially blind and almost totally deaf. They always go out shopping together because they are both scared that one day the other will not return home.

They decided that life in a care home was not an option because of  their fear they would end up bedridden without the strength to insist on euthanasia. They are also afraid that a good retirement home would cost more than their combined pensions and that they would have to dig into their savings to afford it.

They planned to commit suicide on February 3 next year, their 64th wedding anniversary, by placing plastic bags over their heads after taking an overdose of sleeping pills. “We want to go together because we both fear of the future,” said Francis. “It’s as simple as this: we are afraid of what lies ahead. Fear of being along and above all, fear of the conseque4nces of loneliness.”

He told Moustique, a Belgian online news service, that they eventually opted for euthanasia because they were too scared to attempt to commit suicide. “It takes courage to jump from the 20th floor and I am unable even if I wanted to do it,” said Francis. “It takes courage to hang, it takes courage to jump into the canal. But a doctor who makes you a shot and lets you gently fall asleep? It does not take courage.”

Their son, John Paul, 55, approached their doctor to request their euthanasia – which was legalized in Belgium in 2002 – but the doctor refused because there were no grounds for it. John Paul found another doctor willing to perform he killings in an unnamed hospital in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium in which 82% of euthanasia cases are performed.

Francis said he and Anne were grateful for the arrangement. “Without our son and our daughter, it would never have succeeded,” he said. “We are not sad, we are happy,” he continued. “When we were told we could leave life together smoothly we were on a little cloud. It was as if we had spent all that time in a tunnel and suddenly we came into the light again.”

The couple’s daughter has remarked that her parents are talking about their deaths as eagerly as if they were planning a holiday.

John Paul said the double euthanasia of his parents was the “best solution”.  “If one of them should die, who would remain would be so sad and totally dependent on us,” he said. “It would be impossible for us to come here every day, take care of our father or our mother.”

See also:

 

DCG

“Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”

AFP Photo

AFP Photo

France24: Parents of an extremely premature baby, currently in hospital in the city of Poitiers, have asked doctors to take their child off life support, or “passive euthanasia”. The doctors, however, say they need more time to evaluate the baby’s condition.

“We made this decision over a week ago,” said the baby’s mother, Mélanie, who was interviewed by France Info. “Who wants their son to live the life of a handicapped person? Maybe some families want this, but we don’t.”

The baby boy, named Titouan, was born on 31 August, four months before his due date. He weighed just under 2lb at birth and suffered from an intracerebral haemorrhage. For now, the doctors at the University Hospital Center of Poitiers (CHU) are unable to judge the extent of the damage to his brain.

“If we want to be able to fully understand the consequences [of the haemorrhage], we can’t rush this. We need a few weeks to evaluate his condition,” said Professor Fabrice Pierre, of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Poitiers CHU, on French TV channel France Bleu. “Currently, we are not giving him intensive treatment; we are simply giving him life support to give us the time to do a proper evaluation.”

The baby’s parents, Mélanie and Aurélien, who are both in their 30s, say that doctors have already told them that their son will be paralysed on one side and that it is very likely he will be “severely disabled.”

They accuse the “inhumane” doctors of prolonging their son’s suffering.

Currently, euthanasia is illegal in France, though the 2005 law says that doctors are allowed to end or refrain from using treatments or care that result in the artificial prolongation of life, as long as the family agrees with the doctor’s decision. This is often referred to as “passive euthanasia,” or withholding treatments necessary to the continuation of life.

Importantly, the 2005 law also puts the decision in the hands of the doctors.
Faced with the repeated demands of Titouan’s parents, CHU’s neonatal unit sought out the advice of an ethics panel. They have yet to make a decision.

Earlier in the year, French President François Hollande announced that the government planned to enact a tightly-framed law allowing “medical assistance to end one’s life in dignity”.

Close to nine out of ten French people (89%) interviewed said they would be in favour of a law authorising euthanasia, according to a survey published in French daily Le Parisien at the end of June.

In situations when a person is too sick to make the decision themselves, 53% said the family should make the decision, 41% said a doctor should only 6% said a judge should make the decision.

In June, The Council of State, France’s top administrative court ruled in favour of so-called passive euthanasia in the high-profile case of Vincent Lambert, a tetraplegic patient who has been in a state of minimal consciousness for the past six years.

See also:

DCG

Belgium’s culture of death: Doctor Kills Depressed Woman in Euthanasia, Doesn’t Tell Family Until Next Day

angel

LifeSiteNews: Alliance Defending Freedom filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights Wednesday on behalf of Tom Mortier, who is challenging Belgium’s laws that allow euthanasia. 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 ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Robert Clarke. “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.”

godelieva2Oncologist Wim Distelmans killed Godelieva De Troyer, a Belgium citizen who was not terminally ill, because of “untreatable depression” in April 2012 after receiving consent from three other physicians who had no previous involvement with her care. De Troyer’s doctor of more than 20 years had denied her request to be euthanized in September 2011, but after a 2,500 EUR donation to Life End Information Forum, an organization co-founded by Distelmans, he carried out her request to die because of the depression. The donation gives rise to an apparent conflict of interest.

No one contacted Mortier before his mother’s death despite the fact that he says her depression was not only largely the result of a break-up with a man, but also due to her feelings of distance from her family.

Distelmans has no psychiatric qualifications, and none of the doctors involved had any enduring doctor-patient relationship with De Troyer. In addition, the commission the government established to investigate any failure to observe the euthanasia law has been led, since its creation, by Distelmans. Despite evidence of widespread abuse of the law, the commission has never referred a case to the prosecutor.

As the ADF application explains, “The institutions of the Council of Europe have shown consistent opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia…. [T]he only positive duty on a State is the positive duty to protect life.”

The application argues that Belgium’s law, which now allows children to be killed as well, has gone too far:

“the balance has shifted unacceptably in favour of personal autonomy at the expense of the important public interest and a State’s obligation under Article 2 (the right to life).”

“People suffering from depression need compassion and love, not a prescription for death,” said ADF Senior Counsel Roger Kiska. “The state has a duty to put the necessary safeguards in place so that suffering patients receive adequate care from doctors and an opportunity to consult with family members.”

ADF is also involved at the ECHR in defending Switzerland’s denial of suicide drugs to a woman who does not suffer from any fatal disease. That case, Gross v. Switzerland, is very similar to a previous case, Haas v. Switzerland, in which the ECHR in 2011 unanimously rejected the claim that Switzerland had an obligation to assist individuals in committing suicide.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

See also:

DCG

Medicare may soon cover “death panels”

The expression “death panel” was coined in August 2009 by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, during the nationwide debate about the proposed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Referring to Section 1233 of HR 3200, the House version of Obamacare, which would have paid physicians for counseling Medicare patients about living wills, advance directives, and end-of-life care options, Gov. Palin expressed her concern that the proposed legislation would create a “death panel” of unelected bureaucrats who would decide whether Americans—such as her elderly parents or her child, Trig, with Down syndrome whom the vicious Left said she should have aborted —were “worthy of medical care.”

Sarah with baby Trig

The Left immediately demonized Palin and derided her claim as the “death panel myth.” Nevertheless, “death panel” instantly became a meme that penetrated through the minutiae of the 906-page long Obamacare legislation, arousing much public concern. As a result, the provision to pay physicians for providing voluntary counseling was removed from the Obamacare law that Congress passed and Obama signed into law in 2010.

But that’s not the end of the story, for Sarah’s “death panel” is back, via Medicare.

In 2010, Medicare added coverage of “voluntary advance care planning” in patients’ annual wellness visit to one of the myriad of regulations on how Obamacare is to be enforced. Altogether, Obamacare regulations are now 30 times longer than the law itself! But bowing to political pressure, Medicare rescinded that portion of the regulation, saying it had not considered the viewpoints of members of Congress and others who opposed it.

Now that Obamacare is (more or less) firmly in place and talk of “death panels” has subsided, Medicare is trying again.

The New York Times reports that next year, Medicare may begin covering “end-of-life discussions” if it approves a recent request from the American Medical Association (AMA), the largest association of physicians and medical students in the United States. One of AMA’s roles is to create billing codes for medical services which are used by doctors, hospitals and insurers. It recently created codes for end-of-life conversations and submitted them to Medicare.

Dr. Barbara Levy, chair of the AMA committee that submits reimbursement recommendations to Medicare, said, “We think it’s really important to incentivize this kind of care. The idea is to make sure patients and their families understand the consequences, the pros and cons and options so they can make the best decision for them.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS), which runs Medicare, would not discuss whether it will agree to cover end-of-life discussions; its decision is expected this fall. But the agency often adopts AMA recommendations, which are developed in meetings attended by CMMS representatives.

If Medicare adopts the change, its decision will also set the standard for private insurers, encouraging many more doctors to engage in these conversations.

Wanting to avoid situations in which they have to decide for incapacitated patients who have no family or state preference, some doctors already conduct “end of life” conversations for free (i.e., unreimbursed) or shoehorn them into other medical visits.

Experts say if Medicare covers end-of-life counseling, that could profoundly affect the American way of dying. But the impact would depend on how much doctors are paid, the allowed frequency of conversations, whether psychologists or other nonphysicians would conduct them, and whether the conversations must be in person or could include phone calls with long-distance family members. Paying for only one session and completion of advance directives would have limited value, experts say.

Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for the trade association America’s Health Insurance Plans, says some private insurers already are reimbursing doctors for “end of life counseling.” The industry, which usually uses Medicare billing codes, already had created its own code under a system that allows that if Medicare does not have one, and more insurance companies are using it or covering the discussions in other ways, including:

  • This year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan began paying an average of $35 per conversation, face to face or by phone, conducted by doctors, nurses, social workers and others.
  • Cambia Health Solutions, which covers 2.2 million patients in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington, started a program including end-of-life conversations and training in conducting them.
  • Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield of New York does something similar, reimbursing doctors $150 for an hourlong conversation and $350 for two hours.

End-of-life planning has also resurfaced in Congress. Two recent bipartisan bills would have Medicare cover such conversations, and a third, introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), would pay Medicare patients for completing advance directives. 

But few people think the bills can pass.

Dr. Phillip Rodgers, co-chairman of public policy for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, said, “People are so careful about getting anywhere close to the idea that somebody might be denying lifesaving care.”

As they should!

Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee, said in a statement that many doctors believed in “hastening death for those deemed to have a ‘poor quality of life.’ ” If Medicare covers advance care planning, he said, that plus cost-saving motivations will pressure patients “to reject life-preserving treatment.”

It is unclear if advance care planning saves money, but some studies suggest that it reduces hospitalizations because many people prefer to die at home or in hospices. Dr. William McDade, president of the Illinois State Medical Society that had asked the AMA to create codes for the discussions, admits that cost-saving can be an “inadvertent” result.

Although “end of life” conversations do not lock patients into decisions and some people later change their minds in a crisis, evidence suggests that those discussions do make a difference. One study found that cancer patients who previously discussed end-of-life preferences with doctors more often received care matching those wishes. Other studies suggest planning lowers stress in patients and families.

What do you think?

Are you concerned that, if approved by Medicare, some doctors and non-physicians might use “end of life” discussions to sway the elderly toward an earlier death?

Once approved by Medicare, such discussions most likely will spread to Medicaid.

I’m always in favor of everyone taking charge of our wellbeing, being maximally informed about our medical condition and prognosis, and thoroughly thinking through our end-of-life scenarios by having a will and advance directives, and appointing a trusted family member with medical power-of-attorney. But I also fear that the federal government’s (via Medicare) institutionalizing “end of life counseling” will be another of those slippery slopes — or the proverbial frog in the slowly-heating pot of water — at which our government has proven itself to be a master.

~Eowyn

Famous atheist Richard Dawkins says it’s our moral duty to kill the mentally retarded

“In a world without God, everything is permitted.”
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

In addition to exterminating millions of Jews, Nazi Germany also killed gypsies (Romani), Christians (Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe are examples), the physically handicapped, and the mentally retarded, including those with Down Syndrome.

Now a famous atheist, 73-year-old British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, says it would be “immoral” not to abort a baby with Down Syndrome, which is another way of saying it is our moral duty to kill those with Down Syndrome.

Richard Dawkins, 73

Richard Dawkins, 73

Dustin Siggins reports for LifeSiteNews that in an exchange on Twitter on August 20, 2014, Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be “uncivilized” and “immoral.”

The conversation began when Dawkins tweeted that “Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area.” The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases in Ireland.

A Twitter user named Aidan McCourt asked Dawkins if “994 human beings with Down’s Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012” was “civilised.”

Dawkins replied: “Yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings.”

Dawkins tweet

Later, Dawkins said that “the question is not ‘is it ‘human’?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’”

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that s/he “honestly [doesn’t] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma.”

Dawkins advised the writer to “abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. “Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can.”

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were “happy.” At the same time, 99% of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97% said they were proud of them.

Only 4% of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Scientist though he is, Dawkins is simply wrong about fetuses babies in the womb not feeling pain. It is now well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli — such as a mother’s stress levels — months before being born.

In other words, the unborn baby DOES suffer when he or she is aborted.

Finally, if “suffering” — as conjectured and determined not by the sufferer but by “scientists” like Dawkins — is the criterion for killing someone, then we might as well bring back Hitler and the Nazis.

Didn’t you know that the Nazis fervently believed that, in exterminating millions of human beings, they were doing good by eliminating the sub-human (Untermensch) so as to prevent them for polluting the human gene pool?

See also “Atheist Richard Dawkins says nothing wrong with pedophilia.”

~Eowyn