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

Elder Abuse - a very real concern

This article was published by Hope Australia on May 27. Paul Russell is the director of Hope Australia.

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

Elder Abuse is a serious issue. The abuse of elderly people by unscrupulous relatives or carers or people who befriend a lone elder with sinister motive vexes authorities.

Why? Because it is a mostly hidden phenomenon of people who will have a diminished ability to speak out by virtue of the abuse itself or because of their isolation.

Characterised mostly by greed over finances, elder abuse has also been noted as physical, emotional and even sexual abuse of a vulnerable elderly person.

The image of such a person is perhaps of one who is aware of the abuse but has no ability to complain. This may not always be the case. It is also possible that a person offers excellent care and support of an individual at all times and uses their friendship and influence to have the elderly person make over their estate to them at the exclusion of any other beneficiary.

The recent story of a nurse gaining the full estate of an elderly Melbourne man may well be such a case. I say 'may be' deliberately because, to date, no case has been proven against Abha Anuradha Kumar, who managed aged care facility Cambridge House, where Lionel Cox was being cared for.

Friends of Mr Cox have questioned the new will created only weeks before Mr Cox passed away witnessed by two other staff at the care facility. Spellng corrections, shaky handwriting and other errors in the drawing up of the newest will cast additional suspicions. Ms Kumar stands to gain more than $AU900,000.

Link to the full article

Canada’s Bill C-14, which seeks to codify assisted suicide and euthanasia, is a recipe for elder abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY MAY 19, 2016 

Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore

Proposed recommendations by the Senate Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee do not solve the bill’s problems. The bill violates the Canadian Supreme Court case, Carter v Canada. Recent news stories have proven Carter wrong. This justifies a new look at the issue, including time for more study or a new law prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide. 

Contact: Margaret Dore: (613) 899-0366
margaretdore@margaretdore.com

Ottawa - Lawyer Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has been fighting efforts to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in the United States, Canada and other countries, made the following statement in connection with Canada’s Bill C-14: 

"The Senate Committee's thoughtful recommendations include that patient 'eligibility' be defined as a 'terminal illness, disease or condition' for people at the end of life," said Dore. "In Oregon, which has a similar criteria, chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes qualify, 

Dore said, "This is because the the eligibility determination is made without treatment. The typical insulin dependent 18 year old with treatment will have decades to live, but without treatment will have less than a month to live to therefor qualify for assisted suicide or euthanasia. (William Toffler, MD declaration) The Committee’s recommendation, if adopted and interpreted according to Oregon's precedent, will encourage people with years, even decades to live, to throw away their lives.”

“Doctors can, regardless, be wrong about life expectancy, sometimes way wrong,"said Dore. "This is due to actual mistakes and the fact that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. For this reason also, the bill encourages people with years, even decades to live, to throw away their lives

"The bill is also a recipe for elder abuse, with the most obvious reason being a complete lack or oversight at the death" said Dore. "In the case of assisted suicide under the bill, no doctor, not even a witness is required to be present. This creates the opportunity for someone else, such as an heir who will financially benefit from the death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient, in private without consent. The drugs used are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be administered to a restrained or sleeping person. Even if the patient struggled, who would know?" 

“The bill is a response to the Canadian Supreme Court decision, Carter v. Canada, which envisioned a ‘carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards, ” Dore said. “With no required oversight at the death, the bill has no such system.” The bill violates Carter. 

"Carter understood that that the 'slippery slope' phenomenon, in which restrictive legal euthanasia blooms into expansive euthanasia for all types of conditions and people, including children, would not happen in Canada," said Dore. (Carter, paragraphs 111 to 120) "Recent news stories prove this understanding wrong as euthanasia proponents now demand such expansion, This new development gives Parliament an opening to follow its own path, to protect the public. This could include more study or a new law prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia." Dore concluded, "This is the only sure way to protect the public." 

For more information, see: 

1. Margaret Dore, Legal/Policy Analysis of Bill C-14, May 15, 2016. Memo available here:https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/memo.pdf Attachments available here: 

https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/memo-index-final.pdf 

2. Margaret K. Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009, 

3. Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty: Washington’s new ‘Death With Dignity’ law allows doctors to help people commit suicide-once they’ve determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they’re wrong?" The Seattle Weekly, 01/14/09.

Jean Echlin: Letter to the Minister of Justice on euthanasia

Jean Echlin RN, MScN

Jean Echlin RN, MScN

As a nurse consultant for 36 years in palliative care & gerontology I believe that hospice palliative care for every Canadian must be the priority. 

How dare we ask our doctors and nurses to put patients to death when a safer option exists. Healthcare providers must never assume the role of killers or refer to another who will provide the "death management." Trust and legal issues will make more problems for our sick and elderly. 

Abuse of the elderly and "copycat" suicides will increase. If economics are driving this movement and if we are honest cost-savings will be an outcome, we are a society bereft of moral and ethical values. 

Just study the statistics from the Netherlands, especially Belgium and you will understand the fatal results of this death promotion. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in 2013, more than 1000 deaths were hastened without explicit request and more than 2800 died by euthanasia in Belgium. Does that promote a feeling of safety and security when we require acute or chronic care? Certainly many will fear institutional admission when the future reveals the magnitude of the coming "death tsunami." 

I fear that the "true north strong and free" is no longer a democracy if those who help us get cures and stay well are also denied their conscience rights. Please think how you would feel if society (government) stripped you of your rights and freedoms under our Canadian Charter? Would you quietly acquiesce or demand fair treatment under your Charter Rights? Please consider these thoughts. 

Thank you.
Jean Echlin RN, MScN
President - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

Nancy Elliott testifies against assisted suicide in Rhode Island

Nancy Elliott

Nancy Elliott

This is the testimony by Nancy Elliott, a former three term state representative from New Hampshire and a member of the EPC- International team. Nancy was given two minutes to testify in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island debates assisted suicide.

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Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia opens a huge avenue for elder abuse, from gentle coercion from medical personal to things much more sinister, particularly when the senior has money. It also discriminates against people with disabilities as most people that would qualify for this act are at that time disabled. Healthy people are protected from suicide while disabled people are steered to it. (Link to an article about some of the abuses in Washington and Oregon). It also encourages suicide in the general population. If grandma and grandpa kill themselves, when life gets hard, so will their children and grandchildren. It is a bad public policy. 

When suicide is a "treatment" for certain illnesses, it creates a lower standard in our overall healthcare. When doctors end the life of their patients for having certain diseases, that discourages looking for new cures or treatments. This encourages the mentality to just give up and die. This bill as with the others I have read, is not about people that are necessarily dying. A young person with insulin dependent diabetes would qualify. 

There are financial winners with Assisted Suicide. Where this is legal, state insurance has denied treatment to some patients, while offering to pay for their suicide. We all know someone that got an incorrect diagnosis from their doctor. With assisted suicide on the table, that diagnosis can lead to a deadly mistake, having the patient throw away their lives. At a recent Massachusetts hearing a doctor that was for assisted suicide was talking about what a good doctor was. He said that doctors need to "guide people to the right choice." As he is a proponent for assisted suicide is there any doubt what he or other doctors like him will steer their patients toward. For these reasons and many more we in the New Hampshire house have rejected assisted suicide/euthanasia. The last time was in 2014 where it was defeated on the floor of the House by 219 to 66. Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians joined together to protect our citizens from this form of exploitation. I urge the Rhode Island House of Representatives to reject it too.

Nancy Elliott
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - International - US

Elder advocate: it is death by doctor not assisted death

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Judith Wall

Judith Wall

A conference on euthanasia and assisted suicide on March 21 in Ottawa examined the care of the elderly in relation to legal euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Ottawa Citizen report, that was written by Elizabeth Payne, reports that Judith Wall, the executive director of the Advocacy Center for the Elderly, told the participants:

“I am calling it death by doctor, not death with the assistance of a doctor, but death when the doctor decides you are going to die,” 
“I don’t think health professionals want that as an approach.”

Wall also opposes forcing medical institutions to participate in euthanasia. According to the Ottawa Citizen report:

public funding should not mean institutions have to act against their values by either offering physician assisted suicide or referring patients.

Wall also opposes Recommendation 7 from the Special Joint Committee on Assisted Dying. Wall believes that people with dementia, who supported death by lethal injection in the past, should not be approved for euthanasia. Wall stated: 

“I would hope that it is not something that is being considered, because it is too risky.” 
Not only do people often change their minds about how they view their quality of life, as their illness progresses, but Wahl said she fears there could be pressure on health professionals to use doctor assisted death to free up hospital beds if patients have consented in advance.

According to the (CBC report) Wall stated:

"I think it will open up the door to 'death by money,'" 

Judith Wall is a veteran advocate for the elderly. The government should heed her warning. 

Colorado Assisted Suicide Bills Recipe for Elder Abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY3, 2016

Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore

Dore: "Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the proposed Colorado bills have it all wrong.”

Contact: Margaret Dore (206) 697-1217

Denver, CO  --  Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide legalization efforts in many states and now Colorado, made the following statement in connection with legislative hearings being held today and tomorrow on bills seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in that state.  

"The bills, SB 16-025 and HB 16-1054, seek to legalize physician-assisted suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined," said Dore. "The bills are described as 'aid in dying,' but their reach is not limited to dying people. 'Eligible' persons may have years, even decades, to live."

Dore said, "The bills are a recipe for elder abuse. The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient's death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. There is no oversight over administration."  Dore elaborated, "No doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death. Even if the patient struggled, who would know? The bills create the perfect crime."  

"It gets worse," said Dore. "The bills require the death certificate to be falsified to reflect a death by a terminal illness.  The significance is a loss of transparency as to the true cause of death and an inability to prosecute in the case of an outright murder for the money; the death, as a matter of law is a terminal illness."   

The Colorado bills seek to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who are "terminal," which is defined as a doctor’s prediction of less than six months to live. In real life, such persons can have years, even decades, to live.

Link to the full release