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Archive for the ‘Right to die’ Category

no-physician-asst-suicideThe American Medical Association (AMA) is in the process of considering whether to forego its opposition to assisted suicide and “go neutral.”

At its summer meeting, the group voted to further study the issue, after rejecting a proposal from the Louisiana delegation that would retain the AMA’s opposition to physician-assisted suicide.

Kansans for Life is sponsoring a citizen petition to urge the AMA not to abandon its long-held opposition to physician-assisted suicide. Please sign the petition here today and circulate on social networking. It is urgent that physicians hear from thousands of concerned Americans.

National Right to Life’s NRL News Today continues to cover this issue. It featured a November commentary about the AMA retreating “into the mirage of moral neutrality,” the position articulated by Dr. Frederick White, chair of the International ethics committee with the Willis Knighton Health System in Shreveport, Louisiana. White writes:

“The central premise of physician-assisted suicide is this: A doctor should be allowed to kill certain patients. …
Despite what advocates of physician-assisted suicide claim, this debate is not about autonomy. Patients with terminal conditions already have the autonomy to direct limitation or withdrawal of life-sustaining care, to request palliative and hospice care, and to even take their own lives. Physician-assisted suicide is about a method of death, about whether that method of death should allow a conspirator, and about whether that conspirator should be a doctor.
…on the most pressing life-and-death issue of our day, doctors cannot take a pass. They must choose — either a doctor will or will not be allowed to kill certain patients. “

Recently NRL News Today posted an encouraging article, announcing that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has taken a strong position that

a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.

This implies that it is not ethical for a psychiatrist to help a non-terminally ill person to commit suicide, either by providing the means or by direct lethal injection, as is being currently practiced in The Netherlands and Belgium.

Although this binds only APA members, the APA is one of the world’s most influential professional bodies. The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) is considering a similar statement.suicide-control

FALSE ASSURANCE of CONTROL
Prolific author and euthanasia opponent, Wesley J. Smith, debunks the popular idea that medicalized killing will be “a last resort” reserved for the terminally ill, “to be deployed only in the context of a long-term relationship with a caring doctor and, even then, strictly when there is no other way to alleviate suffering.”

Smith reminds that no law requires objective proof of unalleviable pain and suffering before death can be administered.  So-called “protective guidelines,” are false assurances, because as it works out in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, “doctor-facilitated suicide is available to the dying, the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill—and even some married couples who choose death over the prospect of future widowhood.

Read more about physician-assisted suicide from NRL News Today here.

TAKE ACTION: A position of “neutrality” from the AMA on physician-assisted suicide is unacceptable cowardice. Sign the KFL petition to the AMA today!

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asst suicideKansas pro-lifers have become acutely aware of how legislation they support is under threat from courts acting like legislatures. Kansas has a host of excellent pro-life laws (see here) and that includes assisted suicide as a felony crime.

In the National Right to Life News Today, the role of the 2016 elections and the next nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court is examined  with respect to assisted suicide and even, involuntary euthanasia. Jennifer Popik, J.D. and Burke Balch, J.D. are the experts at the National Right to Life’s medical ethics division and they have authored a sobering look at the issue. Here are some excerpts:

-While the Supreme Court does indeed exercise judicial functions in a number of cases with low-ideological content – settling contract and patent issues, for example—when it comes to making “constitutional” rulings the body has gradually come to act more and more like a “Supreme Legislature.”

-Whereas in past decades presidential candidates often eschewed so-called “litmus tests” [for the U.S. Supreme Court] for how their appointees would vote on specific issues, instead talking generally about “judicial philosophy,” today those in both parties talk openly about a laundry list of positions anyone they’d nominate would have to take.

-For example, it is clear as daylight that if the Scalia vacancy is filled by a President Obama, Clinton or Sanders, there will be five votes on the 9-member body to strike down essentially all limits on or regulations of abortion, ranging from the Hyde Amendment through informed consent and parental involvement laws to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg contends that any law touching abortion differently than, say, prostate surgery invalidly constitutes “sex discrimination.”

-Less widely discussed is that the issue of assisting suicide will almost inevitably again come before the High Court. So while you might not live in one of the states where doctor-prescribed suicide is legal, if more states join the ranks of California, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont—and above all if 2016 sees the election of a president and Senate likely to use the next Supreme Court vacancy to nominate and confirm a justice sympathetic to euthanasia–there is the real risk the U.S. Supreme Court might well follow the Supreme Court of Canada recent decision holding there is a federal constitutional right to assist suicide.

-Whether in one sweeping decision or through a carefully paced step-by-step series, an ideologically committed Supreme Court majority might well echo the Canadian court in ultimately stripping states of their legislative discretion. They would no longer be able to protect those with Alzheimer’s disease or other judgment-impairing mental disabilities from being killed at the direction of their relatives, guardians, or perhaps “ethics committees” at health care facilities presently often empowered to cut off treatment and assisted feeding for those under their care who have no one to speak for them.”

Please read –and forward–the entire article!

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asst suicide not safe“Physician-assisted” suicide in now legal in Washington & Vermont, and by court fiat in Montana. Supporters like Compassion & Choices (the old Hemlock Society) are using the Brittany Maynard case to fuel their agenda in many states.

However, their pleas are not gaining traction in Kansas, despite the filing of identical bills HB 2068 / HB 2108 last year and HB 2150 this year.

Kansas enacted a ban on assisted suicide in 1998 and it is the correct public policy.

Assisted suicide is opposed by the AMA and the Kansas Medical Society and vehemently opposed by disability rights groups such as the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund  and Not Dead Yet.

Kansans for Life opposes assisted suicide, whether renamed “Death with Dignity” or “physician-assisted death.” Once a society agrees some suicides are good, the categories of the “disposable” never stops expanding;

the “right” to die inevitably becomes the duty to die for the most vulnerable: the chronically ill, the elderly and the medically expensive.

In Oregon, legalization of assisted suicide in 1994 has empowered the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) to steer patients to suicide.  Specifically, the Plan denies coverage for treatment and offers to pay for suicide instead. (see affidavit of Ken Stevens, MD ¶¶ 8 to 12, here.)

PREDICTING “TERMINAL”
Oregon is now seeing a proposal to expand the current terminal diagnosis needed for assisted suicide to one year, instead of six months. Predictions of life expectancy, however, can be wrong and treatment can lead to recovery.

Consider Oregon resident, Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with cancer and adamant that she would “do” Oregon’s law.  Her doctor convinced her to be treated instead.  Now, twelve years later, “she is thrilled to be alive.” Legal assisted suicide encourages people with many quality years left to throw away their lives. (see affidavit of Kenneth Stevens, MD, ¶¶ 3 to 7 here.)

ELDER ABUSE
The Oregon and Washington assisted suicide laws have significant gaps so that people who use these laws are unprotected from abuse.  The most obvious gap is a complete lack of oversight when the lethal drug is administered.

This creates the opportunity for an heir, or for someone else who will benefit from the patient’s death, to administer the drug to the patient without his consent.   Even if the patient struggled, who would know?  These laws create the opportunity for the perfect crime.

Pro-assisted suicide groups tout Oregon as a model to follow. However the assisted suicide law “is rife with dangers and flaws,” according to Gayle Atteberry, Executive Director, Oregon Right to Life. The remainder of this post is excerpted from her excellent article, published today in National Right to Life News.

DEPRESSION
“While Oregon’s law requires that patients who are thought to be depressed have a psychiatric exam, only three percent of patients in 2014 were actually seen by a psychiatrist. This low percentage has remained consistent through the years despite a study which showed that 26% of patients seeking physician assisted suicide are depressed.

Depression is the number one factor in people seeking to kill themselves. Clearly Oregon’s law is failing to protect patients who could be treated for clinical depression and possibly miss many treasured times with family and friends.”

SECRECY
“Some who were first to use Oregon’s law, as well as Brittany Maynard, used their deaths to promote physician assisted suicide, and went to the press to “tell all.” However, other than those highly publicized deaths, we know very little about the other hundreds of assisted deaths.

Oregon’s law shrouds all physician-assisted suicides in secrecy. There is no peer or state review to see if deaths were carried out according to the law, and after a year all reports by physicians are destroyed. We have a few raw numbers garnered from physicians who self-reported the deaths. There is no way to know if all deaths are reported.

Each year since the law’s passage, deaths from physician assisted suicide have steadily climbed. The number of reported deaths in 2014 skyrocketed 44% over 2013 numbers. One hundred and five patients killed themselves using the law in 2014. Deaths have increased 556% since the law was implemented in 1998.”

PAIN
“Contrary to the mantra of pro-assisted suicide folks that unrelenting pain is the reason assisted suicide needs to be legalized, the three most common reasons given for using the deadly potion were “losing autonomy” (96%), “less able to enjoy activities” (91%) and “loss of dignity” (75%).

Those who promote assisted suicide pretend they want a very limited law. We knew back in 1994 that was not their goal. Their real agenda can be seen in Belgium and the Netherlands, where they now are legally euthanizing people with “mental anguish.” Even children can legally “request” euthanasia.  It is also legal to have parents request euthanasia for their infants Their goal, it appears, is ‘death on demand’.”

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POLST TPOPP pink formA medical form targeting the elderly and chronically ill is being heavily pushed in Kansas by the Center for Practical Bioethics (more on this group in this post).

However, a new formal opinion from the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, verifies that in two distinct areas the form contravenes current statutes that protect patients!

At a press conference Wednesday hosted by Kansans for Life, (see press release here) Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), who had requested the A.G. opinion,

labeled the TPOPP form “misleading” and “deficient” and asked that it be recalled.

TPOPP is the acronym for “Transportable Physician Orders for Patient Preferences.” Its stated objective is to “improve the quality of care people receive at the end of life by translating patient/resident goals into medical orders.” TPOPP is printed on ‘hot-pink’ paper and is designed to be a permanent part of the patient file in all settings.

TPOPP is a form aligned with similar documents in other states supervised by a private entity, the National POLST Paradigm Task Force. These forms use a series of check boxes to indicate:

  1. whether the patient should be resuscitated (DNR),
  2. which of three basic levels of medical care a patient should receive, and
  3. whether the patient will get medically administered food and water.

It is items 1 and 3 where TPOPP runs afoul of Kansas law.

Under Kansas law, a  directive for DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) requires a witnessed and signed document excluding those who might financially gain by the death of the patient (K,S,A, 65-4943). TPOPP skirts these patient protections as well as eliminating the physician’s immunity from liability for not resuscitating–provided by a legal DNR under K.S.A. 65-4944.

Also, under Kansas law at K.S.A. 59-3075 (e)7), specific prerequisites are needed before guardians may withhold or withdraw life sustaining care.  TPOPP ignores this statute.

In essence, TPOPP purports to be physician orders, but it crosses over into legal areas– putting patients’ lives, and physicians’ careers, at risk.

WARNING
Unfortunately, significant medical groups and facilities across the state that should have been more vigilant and responsible, have already become partners and promoters in implementing TPOPP. (See list) Kansans for Life is notifying hospitals, medical facilities and physician groups about this new Attorney General opinion.

If you or someone you know has filled out a TPOPP form, you should seek counsel immediately on the legal effectiveness of this form. Patients, doctors and other health care professionals should be aware of the legal uncertainty that TPOPP presents.

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Sarah Palin with Piper and Trig

Prolifers warned the Roe v Wade decision, legalizing abortion through all nine months, would lead to infanticide.

Euthanasia for seriously ill newborns has been legal in the Netherlands under the  Groningen Protocol, which is currently in discussion to be expanded to kill infants for unrelievable “suffering” (not pain) in the FUTURE!

Lest you think the U.S. is not going down that path, a recent article in the online American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology promotes an ‘ethical framework’ justifying destruction of the disabled unborn.    The authors (a Cornell maternal-fetal specialist and a Baylor ethics prof) assert that doctors and parents facing  such cases have a ‘benificence-based’ obligation to prevent risk of live birth.

WHOA,whatever happened to judging right from wrong?  (more…)

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Euthanasia advocates are screaming about tax money going to hospitals that refuse to pull out feeding tubes, referencing a St. Louis case in 2000.

Last month, the U.S. bishops revised their health care ethical guidelines for Catholic hospitals and providers to state that food and water is normative treatment.

Today, the head of the oldest pro-death group in our country says if you want to help granny die in a Catholic hospital, you’ll have to (more…)

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U.S. Bishops have just strengthened protection for patients with impaired consciousness in their newly revised ethical guidelines for Catholic hospitals and providers.  Read more here about their defense of food and water as ordinary care.

With our Titanic- health care economy heading toward the anti-life, anti-disability Obama-care iceberg, this document warns (more…)

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