Friday, December 8, 2017

Woman who attempted suicide based on a terminal illness had a wrong diagnosis.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Mya DeRyan
he story of Mya DeRyan is not just a story of gaining a second chance at life, but it is also a warning to Canadians, now that euthanasia is legal, that some people with a misdiagnosis will die by lethal injection (euthanasia).

Jessica Lepp reporting for CTV Vancouver Island stated in this incredible report that DeRyan, who thought she had a terminal illness, decided to die by suicide. But thankfully she survived. According to the CTV report:

On Oct. 30, DeRyan set the plan into motion. She left behind a book with pertinent information for her son and on top of it, a note that simply read "My body's in pain. My heart is full. It's time. I love you." 
She boarded a BC Ferries vessel travelling from Vancouver's Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay in Nanaimo. Halfway through the sailing near Bowen Island, she stripped down on a car deck and took the plunge into the icy water. ...
But ... somebody saw her take the leap overboard and the search was on almost immediately. 
"Suddenly I hear an alarm and the announcement of man overboard, and all of the sudden the moment changed," she said.
But then life changed for DeRyan, According to the CTV report:
DeRyan spent about a week in hospital being treated for hypothermia, but that's when the next incredible part of her story materialized. 
Doctors gave her news that would change her life again – DeRyan's terminal diagnosis was wrong. She wasn't dying at all. 
"I think it was that moment, I was still in the hospital realizing there's got to be a plan, and there's got to be an intention," she said. "I feel like it's a new body. Any little malady I had is absolutely gone." 
With a new lease on life, DeRyan said time with her son is her first priority.
Based on her wrong diagnosis, DeRyan would have qualified for euthanasia. If it had been legal in Canada in October 2016, she might have died by lethal injection (euthanasia).

In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria Italy, died by assisted suicide at a Swiss suicide clinic. His autopsy found that he had a wrong diagnosis.

The fact is that legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide directly threatens the lives of people who have received a misdiagnosis. 

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Death by lethal euthanasia or assisted suicide can and will occur to people who have received a wrong diagnosis.

Another UK hospital will not provide baby with life-sustaining treatment nor transfer baby to a hospital that will.

This article was published by National Review online on December 7, 2017

Wesley Smith
By Wesley Smith

Readers here may recall the infamous Charlie Gard case earlier this year. Charlie was a terminally ill baby with a progressive and terminal genetic disease. Charlie’s parents wanted to take their boy to a specialist in the US, but was refused permission by the hospital, later supported by a judge. Further, the hospital obtained a ruling that Charlie should be taken off life support, an imposition to which the parents eventually agreed after the US doctor said that with the passage of time, he could no longer help. 

Well, it is happening again–except in this case the baby isn’t terminally ill but has been unconscious for a year. Moreover, as I wrote here previously, there isn’t even a diagnosis as to the cause. 

An Italian children’ hospital has offered to take the child as a patient for further inquiries and treatment. But the UK hospital administration and doctors are not only saying NO, but as in the Charlie Gard case, also seeking a court order allowing them to withdraw life-sustaining treatment. From the Echo story
Ader Hey Children’s Hospital has applied to the High Court to switch off life support for a baby in a coma, the ECHO understands. 
Alfie Evans’s family said they were now in a “living nightmare” after the hospital said they had exhausted all options in trying to diagnose and treat his mystery brain condition. 
It comes shortly after his parents Thomas Evans and Kate James, both 20, said that months of searching they had finally found a hospital abroad that was willing to take him; 
But a letter to them, seen by the ECHO, shows Alder Hey are opposing the move to an Italian children’s hospital – and are stepping up the battle over Alfie’s life by taking the matter to court. 
Let us focus on the wrongness of this. 
  • Alfie has not been diagnosed; 
  • The baby is not terminally ill in the sense that Charlie Gard was, but in a coma; 
  • The family has found another hospital willing to continue care, or at least continue to seek a diagnosis; 
  • If Alfie is unconscious, he is not suffering; 
  • The hospital, in essence, wants a court to declare that dying now is better than being severely cognitively disabled for an indeterminate period. 
  • By resisting the transfer, the hospital administration and doctors are essentially declaring that they do not want the child to have any chance of surviving. 
The UK’s laws are different than here in the USA. The technocracy there has greater power, and parents have fewer rights over their children. 

In fact, I think power is what this and the Charlie Gard case are ultimately all about. Otherwise, why not allow the parents to try other potential avenues of care? Why not give Alfie a shot? 

The fact that refusal of transfer would probably not happen here, should not make us complacent. We have our own medical technocrats who want greater power over patient care or withdrawal thereof. 

P.S. Alfie’s parents have established “Alfie’s Army” Facebook Page for those who may be interested.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Irresponsible media articles promote Nitschke and suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

"Dr Ted"
I am shocked by the media promotion of Philip Nitschke's new suicide device. Nitschke is being compared to prominent persons and his suicide device is being promoted as an easy and painless death. 
A previous death device was sold by Nitschke through a fake beer brewing company.

Nitschke lost his medical license in Australia for providing suicide instructions to people with mental health issues and to a man who was suspected in the death of his wife

Nitschke has been a world-wide euthanasia promoter for many years and is connected to pro-suicide counseling service that included a youth suicide counseling component where he encouraged young people to contact him with the image of a teddy bear known as "Dr Ted."

It is one issue that Nitschke is so cavalier about providing pro-suicide counseling and advice; it is another issue that the media are promoting his suicide device and ideology.

Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) updated their guide: Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals. The summary of the WHO guide states:
  • Don't place stories about suicide prominently and do not unduly repeat such stories,
  • Don't use language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide, or presents it as a constructive solution to problems,
  • Don't explicitly describe the method used,
  • Don't provide details about the site/location,
  • Don't sensationalize headlines,
  • Don't use photographs, video footage or social media links.
Most of the media reports have broken all of these guidelines in their report about Nitschke's death machine.

A Psychiatrist sent me an email with the following comment about Nitschke's death machine:
This is a terrible development (particularly for our psychiatric patients).
I share the concerns of my Psychiatrist friend and I recognize that many suicidal people are not receiving the psychiatric or social support that they need and may feel compelled to contact Nitschke. Nitschke is a disturbingly dangerous man.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Former California politician charged with assisting the suicide of his wife.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Steven Clute, a former member of the California Assembly, was charged with assisting the suicide of his wife, Pamela Clute. Pamela Clute died from a gun shot wound on August 21, 2016 at their home. Her husband stated that the suicide was related to her severe pain.

According to the Associated Press article:

Steve Clute, 69, a former Navy pilot who served as a Democrat in the state Assembly from 1982 to 1992, allegedly gave her the handgun she used to take her life, John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside district attorney, said Monday.
The Clute assisted suicide trial may test the limits of the California assisted suicide law.

The Associated Press article stated that Steve Clute was not present at the time of his wife's death. Even if this is true, according to the law, it doesn't matter. 

The California Penal Code 401 - Aiding, Advising or Encouraging a Suicide states that it is a crime to: advise or encourage someone to commit suicide.

There were no independent witnesses at the time of the death.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Assisted suicide: Definition of "self-administer"?

Margaret Dore
By Margaret Dore, Esq.

Is Self-Administration Enforceable?
Victoria Australia's deceptively named Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill uses the term, "self-administer," at least 30 times.[1] Indeed, self-administration of the lethal dose was a major selling point of the bill, to convince the public and Parliament that patients would be in control.

But, the term is not defined.

When a term is not defined, a court or other interpretative body will often look at how the term is used in other jurisdictions.

In the US, Washington State's similar law also uses self-administer, which is defined as the "act of ingesting." Washington's law states:

"Self-administer" means a qualified patient's act of ingesting [the lethal dose] .... (Emphasis added).[2]
With this definition, a patient's mere ingestion of the lethal dose is sufficient to comply with Washington's law, for example, if the patient absorbs the dose via a patch while she's sleeping.[3]

With Washington's law having an actual definition of "self-administer," it would not be unreasonable for an Australian court or other interpretive body to adopt the definition. If so, the purported "safeguard" of a patient having to actively administer the lethal dose to himself or herself will be unenforceable.

* * *
[1] Victoria's bill can be viewed here.
[2] Washington's law, § 70.245.010(12), states in its entirety: "Self-administer" means a qualified patient's act of ingesting medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.
[3] “Ingest” means: "to take (food, drugs, etc.) into the body, as by swallowing, inhaling, or absorbing."


This article was published on the Choice is an Illusion Australia website on December 4, 2017.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Health Canada approves assisted suicide drug with side effects.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Joan Bryden recently reported in the Toronto Star that Health Canada approved Secobarbital for assisted suicide. Secobarbital is an old drug that had several uses, but was known for causing accidental overdose deaths. According to the Toronto Star article:
"It's kind of the barbiturate of choice because (its) quicker onset and duration is such that the dying period is reduced," said Dr. Stefanie Green, president and co-founder of the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers.
The Toronto Star article Secobarbital has side effects:
In general, orally ingested drug cocktails present some difficulties that are not associated with those injected intravenously: they taste bad, they can induce nausea and vomiting, the patient can fall asleep before the entire dose is consumed, which can ultimately cause it to be ineffective.
Last Feburary Kaiser Medical News published a warning concerning problems with assisted suicide drugs.

Ontario nurse suspended for withdrawing life support without permission

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Joanna Flynn
CTV News reported that the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) suspended nurse, Joanna Flynn, for five months after pleading guilty to professional misconduct for withdrawing life-support without permission. She was previously found not guilty of manslaughter.

According to the CTV News report by Adam Ward:

In its ruling, the committee said Flynn “contravened the standards of practice of the profession and engaged in dishonourable and unprofessional conduct by discontinuing life support for a client without the required medical authorization and failing to record that medical authorization to discontinue life support had been refused by the responsible physician.” 
In March 2014, Flynn removed Deanna Leblanc from life support at Georgian Bay General Hospital. She did so without the permission of a doctor, which she testified was allowed under the guidelines laid out by the CNO.
It is likely that Flynn also withdrew life-support without proper consent. The CTV News report stated: 
A point of contention in her manslaughter trial was whether she coerced Leblanc’s husband for consent. 
Last June, Ontario nurse, Elizabeth Wettlauffer, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after confessing to killing 8 people.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ontario MPP introduces Palliative Care bill

Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook introduced Private Member’s Bill 182, The Compassionate Care Act on Nov 27, 2017. 

The first debate on the bill will take place on December 14, 2017. The Compassionate Care Act will ensure that the government develops a framework, which will lead to improved access to and education about hospice palliative care in Ontario.

An Act providing for the development of a provincial framework on hospice palliative care

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Provincial framework on hospice palliative care
1. (1) The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care shall develop a provincial framework designed to support improved access to hospice palliative care, provided through hospitals, home care, long-term care homes and hospices, that, among other things,

(a) defines what hospice palliative care is;

(b) identifies the hospice palliative care training and education needs of health care providers as well as other caregivers;

(c) identifies measures to support hospice palliative care providers;

(d) promotes research and the collection of data on hospice palliative care;

(e) identifies measures to facilitate consistent access to hospice palliative care across Ontario; and

(f) takes into consideration existing hospice palliative care frameworks, strategies and best practices.
(2) The Minister shall develop the provincial framework in consultation with hospice palliative care providers, any other affected ministries, the federal government and any other persons or entities that the Minister considers appropriate in the circumstances.
(3) The Minister shall initiate the consultations referred to in subsection (2) within six months after the day on which this Act comes into force.
Report to Assembly
2. (1) The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care shall prepare a report setting out the provincial framework on hospice palliative care and shall lay the report before the Assembly within one year after the day on which this Act comes into force.
(2) The Minister shall publish the report on a Government of Ontario website within 10 days after the day on which the report is tabled in the Assembly.
Report re state of hospice palliative care in Ontario
3. (1) Within five years after the day on which the report referred to in section 2 is tabled in the Assembly, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care shall prepare a report on the state of hospice palliative care in Ontario and shall cause the report to be laid before the Assembly on any of the first 15 days on which that Assembly is sitting after the report is completed.
(2) The Minister shall publish the report on a Government of Ontario website within 10 days after the day on which the report is tabled in the Assembly.
4. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
Short title
5. The short title of this Act is the Compassionate Care Act, 2017.
Link to the website promoting the Compassionate Care Act.

Doctors urge Western Australia not to legalize euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In the past few weeks, New South Wales Australia defeated a euthanasia bill while Victoria Australia Senate just passed a bill to legalize euthanasia.

Michael Gannon, President
Australian Medical Association.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA), which opposes euthanasia, warned Western Australia to not follow Victoria's lead. Sophia Moore with reported:
AMA president Michael Gannon told reporters on Monday that the focus should be on improving access to palliative care, rather than legalising euthanasia. 
Dr Gannon said international experience showed there would be attempts to extend euthanasia laws to people with dementia, mental illness and other forms of chronic disease. 
In the Netherlands, single women over the age of 50 with cancer or chronic illness were the primary group to seek euthanasia, and voluntary-assisted dying is available to children in Belgium. 
A 2015 AMA survey found the majority of Australian doctors oppose voluntary-assisted dying. 
"It goes to the heart of our code of ethics," he told reporters.
Moore then reported that the Western Australian Health Minister supports euthanasia. 
But WA Health Minister Roger Cook said international research done by the Victorian select committee would benefit WA's own investigation into euthanasia. 
"I personally supported euthanasia, in principle," he said.
A WA parliamentary committee investigating end of life choices has received more than 700 submissions, with a final report due in August.
  • Australian Medical Association (AMA) opposes bill to legalize euthanasia.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Québec doctors 'Complete' Suicides

This article was published by National Review online on November 27, 2017

Wesley Smith
By Wesley J. Smith

Euthanasia costs lives. Not only do doctors kill people who ask to die–generally without even attempting suicide prevention services–but the ethics-altering values of euthanasia/assisted suicide devalue despairing lives generally. 

For example, several years ago, a woman named Kerrie Woolterton in the UK swallowed anti-freeze and called an ambulance, the latest of several such suicide attempts. But she pinned a note to her blouse refusing treatment. Despite the medical ability to save her–which had succeeded with Woolterton on previous occasions–doctors honored her “choice” and just let her die (painfully) over a 24-hour period. 

In Quebec, which has legalized lethal injection euthanasia, some doctors have been letting people who attempt suicide die without treatment–even though they could be saved–thereby “completing” their suicides. From the National Post story
Quebec’s College of Physicians has issued an ethics bulletin to its members after learning that some doctors were allowing suicide victims to die when life-saving treatment was available.  
The bulletin says the college learned last fall that, “in some Quebec hospitals, some people who had attempted to end their lives through poisoning were not resuscitated when, in the opinion of certain experts, a treatment spread out over a few days could have saved them with no, or almost no, aftereffects.” 
How many of those people would have been glad their lives were saved, as sometimes happens when suicides fail? We’ll never know because they are dead. 

Even as they take action to save some suicidal patients, the College abandons others: 
From a moral point of view, this duty to act to save the patient’s life, or to prevent him from living with the effects of a too-late intervention, rests on principles of doing good and not doing harm, as well as of solidarity,” it reads. “It would be negligent not to act.” 
It says treatment should be withheld only in cases where a physician has “irrefutable proof” of a patient’s wishes in the form of an advance medical directive or a do-not-resuscitate order. 
Oh. In other words, another group of people abandoned to suicide, in addition to those whom doctors personally kill when asked due to illness or disability. 

Euthanasia corrupts everything it touches, including the basic ethics of medicine and common human decency.