Honouring Kevin Fitzpatrick (OBE)

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick (OBE)

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick (OBE)

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick (OBE) passed away two weeks ago.

For me, Kevin was a trusted colleague and friend who I will always miss. I learned a lot from Kevin and I will carry those lessons with me forever.

Kevin accepted many leadership roles and he was an example of what can be done when people work together. Kevin was the director of EPC - International, the director of Hope Ireland and the past director of EPC - Europe.

Kevin was also a key leader with Not Dead Yet - UK and acted as their spokesperson for several of their successful campaigns.

Kevin's professional background gave his approach to the debate on how to care for and support people with terminal and incurable illnesses and disabilities a particularly well-rounded quality. From disability (Disability Wales; Disability Rights Commission; Inclusion21; Not Dead Yet UK) to adoption (the Welsh Government's Adoption Expert Advisory Group; St David's Children's Society), not to mention five years with the Welsh Ambulance Trust, Kevin's outlook was firmly rooted in seeking answers to a single question: 'how can we as a society work to support and uphold the value of every person around us?' This was his life's work, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable and marginalised. (borrowed from the Care Not Killing Alliance)

Kevin was a great communicator. Kevin wrote many articles, he did many debates, he was interviewed on countless occasions and he provided excellent conference speeches. Here are links to his recent articles:

Kevin was a collaborator. Kevin knew that success came through activating many people who have different perspectives. Kevin knew that there were many reasons to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. He was most comfortable speaking from his personal experience with disability, but he was also incredibly effective at reaching out to multiple political points of view.

Kevin was a leader. Kevin knew the direction that we needed to go and he shared his wisdom with everyone who he worked with. He had a way of listening to perspectives and carefully correcting false ideas. Several leaders have shared with me the way that Kevin would help them and advise them in their advocacy. He was a patient leader, even when he didn't agree.

Kevin was a family man and my friend. My experience with Kevin was that he put the needs of his family, especially his wife Fabienne, before himself. He was proud of his children, Terry, Gerry and Sue. He was sick for sometime, but he shared with me his concern for his family and placed them ahead of himself.

There are so many people who experienced Kevin, as a gifted friend, in their lives. I for one, will always be thankful for the opportunity of having him in my life.

Belgium: Euthanasia and Palliative Care - strange bedfellows

This article was originally published on the HOPE Australia website.

By Paul Russell, the Director of Hope Australia.

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

In November 2013, I had the distinct pleasure of travelling to Brussels for the launch of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - Europe at the EU Parliament.

The following evening my colleague and EPC International Chair, Alex Schadenberg joined Carine Brochier in debating Belgian euthanasia founders Dr Jan Berheim and Professor Etienne Vermeersch.

There was nothing veiled in what Bernheim or Vermeersch said that night. There's a subtle arrogance, it seems, when speaking with the knowledge that virtually a whole country agrees.

Bernheim told the audience that it was he who first went to London, to visit Dame Cicely Saunders, with the intention to bring palliative care to Belgium precisely because he saw this as a way to usher in euthanasia. Whether his actions and intentions were publicly known at the time, whether he is 'gilding the lily' or whether in fact the Belgian medical system fell for the trojan trap or went willingly is moot, I guess.

Whether as a direct result of Bernheim's actions or whether simply a matter of pro-euthanasia spin, we often here the claim that euthanasia and/or assisted suicide are simply additional, complementary tools in a palliative physician's toolkit. We are being asked here to swallow a falsehood: that caring can include killing.

Reflecting upon the Belgian experiment, we are also told that euthanasia and assisted suicide would actually improve palliative care. Precisely how is never explained. But the reality that palliative medicine in Holland and Belgium is up there with the best in Europe tends to add credence to such a claim.

Link to the full article

The fear of challenging the Belgian euthanasia law

Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick

Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick

By: Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick
Not Dead Yet UK and Director of EPC - Europe

People in Belgium more or less ‘go along’ with the idea of euthanasia, even as the practice of euthanasia becomes more than problematic.
Nurses like Claire-Maire Luu-Etchecopar, who dare to ask questions, are threatened with losing not just their jobs in a particular ward or hospital, but in the healthcare system in Belgium. In effect, their whole careers and their livelihoods are threatened. It takes a special courage to be a whistle-blower concerning euthanasia in Belgium.

Read more: http://www.alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2014/08/the-fear-of-challenging-belgian.html