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Posts Tagged ‘Physician assisted suicide’

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 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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