Friday, October 24, 2014

Brittany Maynard - Don't rob them of hope.

This article was published on October 24 by Mercatornet.

Brittany Maynard is a 29-year-old woman who learned not long after her wedding that she had an aggressive brain tumour. She has announced that she has chosen to die on November 1, by assisted suicide in Oregon. A video that she made by the leading assisted suicide organisation in the US, Compassion and Choices, has been a huge hit on YouTube. Dennis Strangman is an Australian whose wife died of a similar disease.

By: Denis Strangman the former chair of the International Brain Tumour Alliance.
Dennis Strangman (middle)
I am very sorry to read that you have a brain tumor, and especially that you plan to kill yourself.

Although we live on different continents thousands of miles apart, and belong to different generations, I sympathise with your situation, though not with your plans. I am glad that you say your proposed suicide date is not “set in stone.” I sincerely hope you will quietly forget about it and choose life. Do not be stampeded in trying to meet your “deadline” by “Compassion and Choices” or other advocates for assisted suicide.

You say you are speaking to fellow “millennials.” I don’t think they have yet invented a catchy title for us septuagenarians but you and I are fellow humans, and I would like to tell you about my own experiences in the world of brain tumors. You see, we have something in common – those terrible words “glioblastoma multiforme,” the most lethal of the primary, malignant brain tumors. I lost my wife Marg, aged 55, to this same type of brain tumor some years ago.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dr Ira Byock: Brittany Maynard is being exploited by Compassion & Choices, ... And I think that’s a tragedy.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Ira Byock
In a debate format interview on the PBS Newhour, Ira Byock, a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care for the end of life debated Barbara Coombs Lee the leader of the assisted suicide lobby group Compassion & Choices.

Byock, with reference to the Brittany Maynard story stated on PBS Newshour that:

My heart goes out to Brittany Maynard. It’s a heart-wrenching story. But I want to assure ... people watching that she could get excellent whole person care and be assured of dying gently in her bed surrounded by her family. 
It’s ironic that we know how to give extremely good care, not only comprehensive medical care, but tender, loving care. But ... as the Institute of Medicine report shows, we’re just not doing it in this country. And it really is a national disgrace. 
And giving doctors now authority to write lethal prescriptions fixes really nothing, none of the deficiencies in practice or medical training. It’s really a socially dangerous thing to do.
Byock then examined the reality of legalized assisted suicide.
You know, Oregon’s law was modeled after Holland and Belgium. And in Holland and Belgium these days, people are being euthanized, by their own volition, for things like depression or ringing of the ears, not just pain. 
You know, Compassion & Choices actually sold to the public the legalization of physician-assisted suicide because of unremitting pain. But we can control pain. What’s happening now is that over 85 percent of people who use Oregon’s law and end their life do so because of existential or emotional suffering, feeling of being a burden to their families, feeling the loss of the ability to enjoy life, feeling the loss of meaning. 
Well, once those become criteria, there are a lot of problems and human suffering that then becomes open to assisted suicide and euthanasia. It’s an undeniable fact that the slippery slope exists.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Scotland: Assisted suicide plan 'unethical and uncontrollable'

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sign the CNK Scotland online petition against the assisted suicide bill.

The BBC reported that the Care Not Killing (CNK) in Scotland has launched an online petition calling on MSPs to reject a bill that would allow people to end their life by assisted suicide.

This bill represents the second attempt to pass assisted suicide at the Scottish Parliament, the first having been voted down by MSPs in 2010. The justice committee is due to take evidence on the practical application and legal aspects of the bill at its meeting on Tuesday October 28.

The BBC reported that CNK, which includes disability and human rights groups, healthcare providers and faith-based bodies, said the current law making assisted suicide illegal is "clear and right". CNK stated that:
Proposals to legalise assisted suicide are "unnecessary, unethical and uncontrollable", according to campaigners opposed to the move.
Gordon Macdonald
The BBC stated that CNK Spokesman Dr Gordon Macdonald said: 
Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others. 
This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed. 
The Scottish Parliament rightly rejected the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia just four years ago out of concern for public safety. 
In every free democratic society, there are limits placed on human freedom in order to protect the common good and vulnerable people. 
The law must not be changed to accommodate the wishes of a small number of desperate and determined people at the expense of the rights of others." 
Once any so-called 'right-to-die' is established, we will see incremental extension with activists applying pressure to expand the categories of people who qualify for it. The right to die will become a duty to die."

What will happen to Brittany Maynard?

This article was published on the Choice Is An Illusion blog.

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

Margaret Dore
The suicide advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, is running a public relations campaign featuring the story of Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman with a brain tumor. According to media reports, she intends to take her life under Oregon's assisted suicide law in the near future. [1]

Lovelle Svart

In 2007, there was a similar case in Oregon involving Lovelle Svart, which was also promoted by Compassion & Choices. Svart, who had cancer, died at the end of a party in which she had been having a great time. The party was reported in the Seattle Times, which described her as being in control. [2] When it was time for her to die, however, she engaged in stalling behaviors ("a hugging line" and a cigarette break). 

There was also this exchange between her and George Eighmey, a member of Compassion & Choices:
“Is this what you want?” 
“Actually, I’d like to go on partying,” Lovelle replied, laughing before turning serious. "But yes."
The situation was similar to a wedding when it’s time to take your vows. Everyone is watching and it's the thing to do. Even if you're having second thoughts or would rather “go on partying,” you go forward. If Eighmey had wanted to give her an out, he could have said:
“You're having so much fun, you don’t have to do this today or even next week.”
Instead, he closed her by guiding her to take the lethal dose, which killed her.

Will Ms. Maynard get her choice?

It may be hard to know.

Compassion & Choices, regardless, will have an interest in getting the best promotional material possible from her death.

East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide

Attend the East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide on November 21 - 22, 2014 at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel (Bradbury Airport) near Hartford Connecticut.

Link to the registration.


The East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide will provide you and your group effective information to oppose assisted suicide in your state.

Wesley Smith
Speakers include:

Wesley Smith - Attorney and award winning author and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism.


Alex Schadenberg - Executive Director and International Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. He is an author and a well known speaker against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

John Kelly - Director, Second Thoughts Massachusetts and New England Regional Director, Not Dead Yet.

Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick - Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - International and leader of Not Dead Yet - UK.


Nancy Elliott
Nancy Elliott - A former three term New Hampshire State Representative, and organizer of Living with Dignity - New Hampshire.

Catherine Glenn Foster - Litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. She is a key member of the Life Litigation Team at its Washington, D.C., Regional Service Center.

Peter Wolfgang - Executive Director of the Family Institute of Connecticut and speaker against assisted suicide in Connecticut and regionally. Peter led the charge in Connecticut against assisted suicide. You won't want to miss his insights and experience gained by going up against the multi-million dollar organizations working hard to bring assisted suicide to your state.


Registration cost.
Friday November 21
Attend one of the sessions: Legal, Medical or Leadership sessions. $30.00.

Saturday November 22
Full day conference includes breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch and all speakers. $100.00.
Full day conference rate for students and people with disabilities. $30.00.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unconscious Patient Heard Push to Stop Care

This article was published on Wesley Smith's blog on October 21, 2014.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith
Sometimes, I think, the medical system is in too big a rush to assume that people with brain damage are out and gone.

This is the fruit of a “quality of life” value system that increasingly infects medicine. Human life matters far less now than the supposed quality of the life expected to be lived.

That’s very dangerous. Here’s an example: An Australian woman had a stroke. She appeared completely unconscious, but was really awake and aware. And she heard the push by her medical team to end life support. From the story:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia on Global News

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



Tom Clark from Global News, interviewed Dr Catherine Ferrier, the leader of the Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia. Clark fails in his attempt to discredit Ferrier in a one-sided interview, The interview is based on the - Open Letter to Canadians on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

The Physicians Alliance are urging Canadian physicians to sign the Open Letter to Canadians.

Link to the video of the interview.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

People in a vegetative state may be aware

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The UK Independent published an article on a study by scientists at Cambridge University concerning tests on people considered to be in a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state.

The Independent is reporting that:
Severely brain-damaged patients in a persistent vegetative state may be capable of being consciously aware of the outside world, scientists said.
Scientists at Cambridge University have developed a test to determine whether people in a vegetative state can respond to their surroundings. Dr Srivas Chennu reported that:
“Our research could improve clinical assessment and help identify patients who might be covertly aware despite being uncommunicative,”
“... for patients diagnosed as vegetative and minimally conscious and their families, this is far more than just an academic question; it takes on a very real significance,”
The article in the Independent explained the research data:
The researchers analysed the brainwaves of 32 patients using 128 electrical sensors fixed to the scalp to measure electroencephalograph (EEG) activity. 13 members of the group were classed as being in a persistent vegetative state, with the rest being minimally conscious. 
The study, published in the online journal Plos Computational Biology, found that four of the 13 patients with persistent vegetative state had a “robust” network of brain activity that would allow conscious thoughts, which was confirmed when they were asked to imagine playing tennis when their brains were scanned using a magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) machine.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Catherine Frazee: There can be dignity in all states of life

This article was published in the Ottawa Citizen on October 15, 2014.

By Catherine Frazee

In his article of Oct. 9, Desmond Tutu emphasizes the importance of language on the sensitive issue of medically assisted dying. In the spirit of advancing a respectful dialogue, I must urge him to consider the deeper meanings of dignity, and how our experience of human dignity leads disabled Canadians to a very different conclusion about end-of-life interventions.

Last week I had the opportunity to share my thoughts with a small group of parliamentarians on the subject of medically assisted dying.

I was not alone. Several friends and colleagues from the disability rights community were each given five minutes to present an argument against amending the criminal code to sanction medically assisted dying.

One spoke about the discriminatory implication of offering state-sanctioned assistance not for everyone, but only for persons who are frail, very ill, or seriously disabled. Another presented a chilling account of the “creep” of euthanasia in permissive jurisdictions.

Another spoke from personal experience, about the time someone said to him, “I don’t know how you do it; I’d rather be dead than in a wheelchair.” There were nods of recognition around the room. This is a common experience.

I spoke about dignity. The suffering that medically assisted dying is said to alleviate most often correlates with loss of dignity. I don’t believe that anyone should take a position on medically assisted dying without first understanding what dignity is, and what it is not.

Assisted suicide often involves pain and suffering.

This article was published by the Providence Journal on October 17, 2014.
By Lani Candelora
Did you know that many assisted suicides experience complications? Assisted suicide is wrongly marketed to the public as a flawless, peaceful escape from suffering. It can be a painful and scary death. It can include gasping, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, panic, confusion, failure to produce unconsciousness, waking from unconsciousness and a failure to cause death.

Just recently, we saw a heartbreaking article about a woman named Brittany Maynard who has planned her assisted-suicide death for Nov. 1. She is clearly terrified of a hard and painful death, and has been led to believe that assisted suicide is the best way out. However, Compassion and Choices, the leading advocates of assisted suicide, cannot guarantee her the easy death they advertise.


The most comprehensive study on clinical problems with assisted suicide (published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Feb. 12, 2000) was conducted over a six-year period in the Netherlands, where assisted suicide has been legal for many years. It found that over 18 percent of assisted suicides experienced problems severe enough to cause a doctor to step in and euthanize the patient. In at least 14 percent of assisted suicides the patient had problems with completion including waking up from coma, not becoming comatose, and not dying after becoming comatose. Another 7 percent of assisted suicides reported muscle spasms, extreme gasping for air, nausea and vomiting.

The New England Journal of Medicine study insightfully mentions that all reporting doctors are practitioners and supporters of assisted suicide and euthanasia who are less likely to report unfavorable data. They “may have underestimated the number and seriousness of problems,” causing complications to be under reported to an unknown degree.