Horrible UK End-of-Life Care Pushes Assisted Suicide

This article was published on Wesley Smith's blog on October 29, 2015.

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

By Wesley Smith

A Netherlander death doctor once notoriously said he had little need for palliative care because he had euthanasia.

Negligence and lousy medicine can also push desperate people into assisted suicide rather than face awful conditions. That is apparently what is happening in the UK, as horrible end-of-life care pushes people to accept assisted suicide over abandonment and being allowed to die in pain. From the Telegraph story:

“Shocking” standards of end-of-life care in the NHS are fueling support for the legalisation of assisted dying, the chairman of an inquiry by MPs into palliative care in the UK has warned. 
Bernard Jenkin chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee said a fear of “finishing up on some hospital trolley, dying in some forgotten corner” was helping drive support among the public for a change in the law. 
The committee is calling for an urgent overhaul of training and the working culture in hospitals to address “systemic” failings in caring for people in the final days and hours of their lives.

This is a lesson of the dangers of the growing “quality of life” ethic in medicine and centralized, bureaucratic control over the delivery of health care, coming our way with Obamacare.

But assisted suicide is not the solution. It is, instead, a surrender that will make such negligent and indifferent care more difficult to remedy.

But boy, what a vote of no confidence that many Brits suicide as preferable to receiving end-of-life care in the NHS.

Proponents of assisted suicide have lost in Great Britain

Originally published on September 14 by OneNewsNow.

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

The vote was 330-118 against the bill to permit doctors to help some dying patients terminate their lives. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells OneNewsNow that the negative outcome represents an absolute majority of Members of Parliament – and he credits that outcome to two groups: Not Dead Yet, a UK-based disability rights group, and the Care Not Killing Alliance.

"They worked together to effectively accomplish this – and they did so by working with average people," he explains. "There wasn't big money involved in this. They worked with average people to defeat this very dangerous bill."

Despite the bill's defeat in Parliament, Schadenberg believes supporters could still try to legalize it through the courts, as was the case in Canada.

"They've already tried the way of going to the courts," he shares, "but they might try again with another way of going. So basically speaking, the other side is absolutely committed to being involved with causing people's deaths." 
"I call them the suicide lobby or the euthanasia lobby because they're not about providing choices," he adds. "They're about giving doctors the right in law to cause your death."

According to Schadenberg, proponents of euthanasia were backed by many big names, including stars from the entertainment industry. Opponents of assisted suicide were led by one: Liz Carr, a well-known disabled British actress and comedian.

British Parliament overwhelminly defeats assisted suicide bill (330 - 118)

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Incredible news. The Marris assisted suicide bill in Britain was defeated today by an overwhelming vote of 330 to 118.

This victory is due to the incredible work of the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet UK, and the co-ordinating efforts of the Care Not Killing Alliance.

Not Dead Yet maintained a presence in the media by writing articles and through social media / youtube video's to clearly state why people with disabilities oppose assisted suicide. They also organized successful rallies on several occasions, including this morning, to ensure that Members of the British parliament understood that people with disabilities oppose assisted suicide.

The Not Dead Yet campaign slogan - Assist us to Live Not Die - resonated with the public as well as actress, Liz Carr, effectively countered the message from the "British elite" that assisted suicide is a progressive issue.

BBC News reported:

Fiona Bruce, the MP for Congleton, said the bill was so completely lacking safeguards for the vulnerable that "if this weren't so serious it would be laughable". 
Her impassioned speech concluded: "We are here to protect the most vulnerable in our society, not to legislate to kill them. This bill is not merely flawed, it is legally and ethically totally unacceptable."

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges our world-wide partners to learn from the British campaign.

First: The disability rights leaders were not only front and centre in the campaign against assisted suicide, they also held successful rallies at the British parliament. Those rallies did not require hundreds of people with disabilities to attend, but rather they had a good number of committed disability rights leaders and individuals and they were joined by other supporters.

Second: They communicated within their leadership and consulted other concerned people and designed a campaign with common messages. They did not present themselves as only one voice, but they did maintain message discipline.

Third: They did not have money but they did maintain an effective social media campaign. The suicide lobby featured well known entertainers, while, other than Liz Carr, a well known actress and disability rights activist, the Not Dead Yet campaign featured real people who live with disabilities.

Fourth: All of the groups worked both independently and in unity.

Congratulations to everyone who worked to overwhelmingly defeat the Marris assisted suicide bill. You are responsible for protecting people from assisted suicide.

Easy ways to oppose the British assisted suicide bill

This article was published on Dr Peter Saunders blog on September 9, 2015.

By Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director - Care Not Killing Alliance

On Friday 11 September, MPs will vote on the Assisted Dying (No.2) Bill which aims to allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to mentally competent adults with a terminal illness.

It's a Private Members' Bill tabled by Labour's Rob Marris MP, with the support of campaign group Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society).

Here are some easy things you can do to oppose the bill ahead of Friday's vote in Parliament.

Read, Act, Pray and Go!

Read - CMF and the Care Not Killing Alliance have produced a number of excellent reading materials to inform your arguments against the bill. Read this CMF Blog on why the current law is not 'broken' and doesn't need 'fixing'. Also read this useful guide on the bill.

Act - Social media is becoming increasingly powerful as a tool to influence public opinion. If you're on Facebook would you share this post on your networks? Also if you're on Twitter please Retweet this Tweet. Together, our voice is stronger.

Pray and Go - If you are free this Friday please join us for a rally in Old Palace Yard (adjacent to Parliament Square), whilst the bill is being debated, beginning at 8.30am. All details here.

Assisted suicide, "some people's lives will be ended without consent, through mistakes and abuse."

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Liz Carr

Liz Carr

Liz Carr is an actress and disability campaigner in the UK. Carr is a spokesperson for Not Dead Yet UK

ITV news published an article on August 14 by Liz Carr.

Carr explains that she is not religious and she is not "anti-choice," but she works with Not Dead Yet to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide. She explains:

We believe that if the Assisted Dying Bill passes, that some people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes and abuse. 
No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome – which can never be undone. The only guaranteed safeguard is to not legalise assisted suicide. 
And we’re not alone in thinking this.

She explains that no organisations of disabled people support assisted suicide and most doctors oppose it. This is important to her.

As someone who has spent a lot of her life needing extensive health care, I am relieved to hear this. I wouldn’t be alive without the NHS but I recognise that it is currently understaffed and under resourced. Against a backdrop of longer shifts, difficulty in obtaining appointments and the rationing of certain treatments, should we really be pushing further pressures onto our reluctant doctors?

Carr continues by explaining that the assisted suicide bill that will be debated in the British parliament is based on the Oregon assisted suicide law. She says:

We’re told there’s been no problems with this law but that is to ignore the experiences of Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Both Oregonians with terminal cancer, their life extending drugs were denied to them based on cost. Instead, they were offered a range of choices, including cheaper drugs to enable them to end their life. 

Link to the full article

Healthy woman who dies by assisted suicide in Switzerland was likely depressed.

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

In September 2008, Lady Warnock, one of Britain's leading moral philosophers stated in an interview that:

Pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain. 
She insisted that there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society. 
She hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.

The recent case of a physically healthy 75-year-old retired British nurse who died by assisted suicide in Switzerland further opens the door to pressure on the older people to die when she stated in her blog:

I have always suspected that an ideal shelf life for many people is about 70 years. 

I am not a psychiatrist or a mental health professional, but Gil Pharoah, even though she states that she is not depressed, seems likely to be depressed when she stated in her blog:

I can no longer walk the distances I used to enjoy so the happy hours spent exploring the streets of London are just a memory now. 
I cannot do the garden with the enthusiasm I once had and I find fifteen minutes is more than enough time spent weeding or digging. Even that short time can result in a day on the sofa or a visit to the osteopath. 
My tinnitus is a big distraction. My hearing loss is helped by using hearing aids, but the tinnitus seems to enjoy competition, and seems to increase in volume, to meet the increased external noise, so I find it impossible to talk in a group of more than four people, and often have to activate the subtitles on the TV. I do not enjoy the carnivals like Notting Hill or Gay Pride which I once so loved. 
I do not have any desire to travel any more –there is nowhere I want to visit enough to spend hours in an aeroplane or airport. 
I have always loved cooking but I find it an effort now and prefer to have a couple of friends for lunch rather than a large late dinner party. Not to mention the hundred and one other minor irritations like being unable to stand for long, carry a heavy shopping bag, run for a bus, remember the names of books I have read, or am reading, or their authors. 
And I have a number of aches and pains which restrict my pleasure in life generally although none are totally incapacitating.

John Southall, Pharoah's life partner, stated to ITV news that:

I had plenty of notice, so it's not like it is perhaps for most couples when one dies unexpectedly. 
Gill has always said she would never grow old. Her longest-standing friends say when she was in her thirties she said fifty would be enough. And then she said as time went on, sixty. Then it became seventy. And she got to seventy and started taking it more seriously.

These statements represent a dreariness towards living that is likely related to depression.

Link to the full article

Out-of-control reasons for assisted suicide illuminate danger

This article was published by OneNewsNow on August 6, 2015

By Charlie Butts

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

Switzerland exemplifies why experts on physician-assisted suicide believe the solution is to not legalize it in the first place.

A 75-year-old retired nurse from the United Kingdom was in excellent health but decided she didn't want to grow any older - so she traveled to Switzerland last month, visited a suicide clinic, and died on July 21. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells OneNewsNow that recent incident is not an isolated case.

“There was a case of cousins who were both elderly and who were living together, and they decided they just didn't want to live anymore so they went to Switzerland,” he describes. “There was the case of the guy from Italy who had a wrong medical diagnosis. He died by assisted suicide in Switzerland. No one bothered to check the medical records. And then there's the case of a woman from Italy who just decided she didn't like how she looked anymore.”

Schadenberg points to these cases to illustrate the out-of-control concept of assisted suicide, which he says is the logical end of permitting someone to cause your death. Proponents would call it freedom, but Schadenberg says that's not true at all.

“So once you open the door, once you say it's okay to cause somebody's death, the only question that remains is Under what circumstances is it OK?” he says. “That's all that's left to decide. And so in Switzerland, the [list of allowable circumstances] just continues to expand, as it has in Belgium, the Netherlands, and even somewhat in Oregon.”

Schadenberg says the only way to prevent similar occurrences elsewhere is to not legalize the practice to begin with.