Advanced Request For Euthanasia?

This article was written by Dr Catherine Ferrier and published on June 10, 2016 by impact ethics in Canadian BioethicsDeath & Assisted DyingLaw & PolicyMental Health

Catherine Ferrier a physician in the Division of Geriatric Medicine of the McGill University Health Centre, and is the president of the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia.

The June 6 deadline for legislation in response to the Carter judgment has come and gone, and our government has yet to adopt a law regulating medical assistance in dying. Too few of us have any idea what we are rushing into.

In the Carter decision the Supreme Court judges stated that the risks associated with physician-assisted death can be limited through a carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards. In contrast, the pressure is on to offer death as a solution for all forms of suffering, available to virtually everyone, including those who fear future suffering or disability.

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs wants Bill C-14 amended to include the recommendation of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, “That the permission to use advance requests for medical assistance in dying be allowed any time after one is diagnosed with a condition that is reasonably likely to cause loss of competence or after a diagnosis of a grievous or irremediable condition but before the suffering becomes intolerable….”

I have spent the last 30 years diagnosing, treating, and caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It takes no special insight to realize that they are the principal intended “beneficiaries” of this recommendation.

Link to the full article

Woman, in the 20's, who was sexually abused, dies by euthanasia in the Netherlands

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 2015 Netherlands euthanasia report that was recently released states that there were 5561 reported euthanasia deaths in 2015, up from 5306 in 2014, there were 109 reported euthanasia deaths for dementia, up from 81 in 2014, and there were 56 reported euthanasia deaths for psychiatric reasons, up from 41 in 2014.

Shockingly, a woman who died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in 2015 was in her 20's and had been sexually abused.

The Daily Mail news reported:

The woman, in her twenties, was given a lethal injection after doctors and psychiatrists decided that her post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions were incurable. 
It went ahead despite improvements in the woman's psychological condition after 'intensive therapy' two years ago, and even though doctors in the Netherlands accept that a demand for death from a psychiatric patient may be no more than a cry for help. 
The woman, who has not been named, began to suffer from mental disorders 15 years ago following sexual abuse, according to the papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission.

The Daily Mail reported that the Netherlands government released information about the case to prove that the case fulfilled the requirements of the law.

Link to the full article

Dutch euthanasia deaths continue to rise in 2015

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Netherlands 2015 Euthanasia report indicates that euthanasia deaths continue to increase. According to the 2015 report, there were 5561 reported euthanasia deaths in 2015 up from 5306 reported euthanasia deaths in 2014

Since 2006, there has been a 289% increase in euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands.

There is also an increase in the number of euthanasia deaths for people with dementia and for psychiatric reasons. There were 109 people who died by euthanasia based on dementia in 2015, up from 81 in 2014 representing a 34% increase. There 56 people died by euthanasia based on psychiatric reasons in 2015, up from 41 in 2014 representing a 36% increase.

Similar to the 2014 report, there were only 4 cases referred by a Regional Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission for investigation.

In January 2016, the Netherlands decided to extend euthanasia to people with severe dementia. The Netherlands euthanasia lobby is now lobbying the government to approve euthanasia for people who are healthy but "tired of living."

A study, that was published on Feb 10, 2016 in the Journal of Psychiatryconcerning euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in the Netherlandsuncovered significant concerns. According to researcher Scott Kim:

in one EAS case, a woman who died by euthanasia was in her 70s without health problems had decided, with her husband, that they would not live without each other. After her husband died, she lived a life described as a "living hell" that was "meaningless." 
A consultant reported that this woman "did not feel depressed at all. She ate, drank and slept well. She followed the news and undertook activities."

Every five years the Netherlands conducts a major study on euthanasia. We are expecting to receive the 2015 study in early 2017. The 2010 study was published in the Lancet (July 2012) indicated that 23% of all assisted deaths went unreported in the Netherlands.

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Postcard Campaign

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) has launched a postcard campaign to Members of Parliament under the theme: I support Caring Not Killing.

The postcard campaign urges members of parliament to reject euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with dementia and minors, people with psychiatric conditions and to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals.

EPC is distributing three different bilingual postcards to be sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, or Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould or your Member of Parliament (MP).

Link to the list of members of parliament.

Order the postcards by contacting EPC at: 1-877-439-3348 or email: info@epcc.ca and tell us how many postcards you want and where we need to send them. EPC is distributing the postcards for free, but we ask you to consider making a donation to the cost of the campaign.

On the one side of the card, write your name, address, Postal Code and Signature. On the other side of the card and write the name of the political leader or your member of parliament.

It is free to mail the postcards to federal politicians.

Link to the full article

Essential safeguards identified to protect vulnerable people from abuse in assisted dying law

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

The following article was published by Advocate Daily on March 3, 2016.

Toronto constitutional and human rights lawyer Hugh Scher is endorsing the Vulnerable Persons Standard, a list of evidence-based safeguards to protect Canadians requesting physician-assisted death who may be subject to coercion and abuse.

“There is certainly no guarantee that this standard alone is going to prevent unwanted deaths or the impact on our culture of legalized assisted death,” says Scher, principal of Scher Law and a frequent commentator on assisted dying issues.

“That said, the standard goes a long way to providing a level of protection against the risk of abuse of vulnerable people. It does provide for an effective means of oversight, which is essential in the event that this policy of assisted death is to possibly be safely implemented in this country.”

The Vulnerable Persons Standard includes the requirement for access to palliative care, and for two physicians as well as a judge or tribunal to sign off on a death. There is a requirement that consent be received at the time of the death, and that the consent is assessed at that time.

The standard has wide support among medical, legal and community-based organizations, including the Canadian Association for Community Living, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Vivre dans La Dignite and the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada.

Scher is counsel for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, a leading national and international association of doctors, nurses, people with disabilities and of leading experts on euthanasia and assisted suicide practices in foreign jurisdictions.

The intent is for the standard to become part of the new legislation or a form of regulation as the federal government prepares to introduce a new law on assisted dying.

Link to the full article

Founder of American assisted suicide lobby urges legalization of euthanasia

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Derek Humphry

Derek Humphry

Derek Humphry, the "father" of the modern assisted suicide lobby in America and co-founder of the Hemlock Society, now Compassion & Choices, is urging the assisted suicide lobby to extend the criteria for assisted suicide laws and to legalize euthanasia (lethal injection) in America.

In an article published on his website, Humphry states:

Passing these so-called ‘prescription laws’ is a wonderful start but it is not the complete answer. 
The future in the choice in dying movement lies with a deliberate widening of the scope of people for whom we will campaign publicly and whom we will help. (This is already happening in Europe.) Then who?

Humphrey outlines five directions that the assisted suicide lobby in America should go:

1. It is time to consider more seriously offering to help persons with long-term, untreatable, serious mental illness. 
2. Persons with what I call ‘terminal old-age’ whose advanced years and accompanying medical problems no longer make their life worth living. 
3. We should begin to argue for the current Death With Dignity Acts now passed in the four states to be improved. Humphrey suggests that the laws be extended to include people who are likely to die within 12 months, rather than 6 months, and to legalize euthanasia (lethal injection) for people who cannot swallow. 
4. We must think through and tackle the problem of when and how Alzheimer’s patients and persons with long-term degenerative diseases can be helped to die ... 
5. Long-term, we should consider opening a clinic to help the sort of people I’ve just been talking about.

Humphry concludes his article by stating that these are his thoughts only.

1/3 Dutch GPs Would Kill Mentally Ill!

This article was published on Wesley's blog on April 15.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Whoa! Don’t tell me that euthanasia doesn’t lead off a vertical moral cliff: A recent survey of Netherlander MD general practitioners found that very high percentages would kill cancer patients, and 1/3 would be willing to euthanize the mentally ill. From the PsychCentral story

For mental illness, only 34 percent would consider helping the patient die, and 40 percent would help someone with early-stage dementia to die. The rate was slightly lower for late-stage dementia, at 33 percent. 

Only?! Good grief. 

Once killing is accepted as a proper answer to human suffering, there are no brakes. 

By the way, 42 mentally ill patients were euthanized in the Netherlands in 2013 most recent year for which statistics are available, as psychiatrists up their participation as a “liberation” for the patient and the doctors. Also, nearly 100 early stage dementia patients. And those are the ones reported. How many were killed surreptitiously cannot be known. 

How do you spell euthanasia? A.B.A.N.D.O.N.M.E.N.T.