Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quebec nurses and palliative care leaders say NO to euthanasia.

Kevin Dougherty of the Montreal Gazette reported in an article that was printed on September 28, 2010 that an organization representing Quebec nurses stated that they are 'opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, suggesting the province should instead invest more to catch up in providing palliative care.'

The article quoted the leader of the Quebec nurses group as saying:
Gyslaine Desrosiers said the risks of legalizing medical means to ending life are very real.

"It would be premature to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide when there remains so much to do in the area of end-of-life care. Protection of the dignity of people is a daily task."

"Euthanasia and assisted suicide are acts which must remain exceptional."
A network of palliative care doctors agreed:
Justine Farley, a medical doctor, speaking for a network of palliative care in Quebec, noted a recent New England Journal of Medicine article that said people with lung cancer who receive palliative care live longer than patients not given palliative care.

Farley said people with cancer and other diseases may be depressed or anxious and need the support palliative care offers, as an alternative to euthanasia or assisted suicide.
We need a society that cares for and not kills its citizens.

Link to the article in the Montreal Gazette.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is the Euthanasia ad banned or not in Canada?

Sheena Goodyear wrote a second article for the Sun Newspapers entitled: Euthanasia ad not banned, says regulator about the Euthanasia TV ad, that was developed by Philip Nitschke, Australia's Dr. Death, that has been rejected for Australian use, and that may be rejected for Canadian use.

The article states that Nitschke's euthanasia ad has neither been rejected or approved by the Television Bureau of Canada but is actually under review.

Link to the article: http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/09/28/15504911.html

So why all the fuss by Nitschke?

Is Nitschke creating a controversy in order to get free advertising for his suicide seminars?

Nitschke recently stated in an article titled: "No such thing as bad publicity" published by the Brisbane Times concerning the controversy that erupted when the Australian regulator rejected his euthanasia ad:
"I've just been on the phone to the BBC," he said. "There's been 14,000 viewings of the ad on YouTube"

In other words, Nitschke likes creating a controversy to promote his agenda

Link to the Brisbane Times article: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/the-diary/no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity-20100913-159dv.html

Goodyear, the writer of the article, called me and quoted me this way:
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said this isn't the only confusion there's been about the status of the ad, alleging he received an e-mail from Exit in early September (September 20) claiming it had been approved.

The coaltion says it's against Exit's planned Canadian workshops, not because they discuss euthanasia, but rather because Dr. Philip Nitschke, the Australian physician behind Exit International, is known to use his speaking appearances to teach audience members how to kill themselves.

"It doesn't make sense that this man be allowed to aid and abet suicide in Canada when it's illegal," Schadenberg told QMI Agency. "I don't think he should have the right to come to Canada and do something which appears to contravene the Criminal Code."

After reading the new article I spoke with Sheena Goodyear, from QMI Agency. I then spoke to Les Perreaux, the author of the Globe and Mail articles.

People have the right to be safe and secure. They have the right to not be pushed over the ledge when they are experiencing a termporary depression.

The Euthanasia Ad that was developed by Nitschke, may or may not be approved for use in Canada.

The fact is that the Exit International TV ad is designed to steer people to their website, or in Canada, steer people to Nitschke's suicide seminar.

If you consider the fact that Canadian law states that it is illegal to aid, abet (encourage) or counsel suicide and Exit International lists as part of its suicide seminar:
• The Barbiturates: Sources, Storage, Testing & the Ohio Single Drug Protocol
• Gases: Helium, Nitrogen, Argon - the Peaceful Hypoxic Death
• Poisons: Carbon Monoxide, Cyanide - Risks, Safety, Procedures
• Other Prescription and Non-Prescription Substances - Combinations, Substitutes, Warnings

It is possible that Nitschke's suicide seminar is illegal in Canada and thus if the ad is sending people to a possibly illegal event, then the ad must also be rejected in Canada.

Nitschke's ideology is dangerous to vulnerable people. Just ask the parents of Robert Miller and James Robertson whether Nitschke's website can kill vulnerable people?
Link to the article about Robert Miller and James Robertson: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/were-robert-miller-and-james-robertson.html

Did Nitschke counsel two Canadians to commit suicide?

Les Perreaux has written two consecutive articles for the Globe and Mail about Philip Nitschke, Australia's Dr. Death, and his upcoming suicide seminar tour of Canada and the United States

Yesterday's article was entitled: Ad campaign for assisted suicide banned from Canadian airwaves.

The article reported that the Television Bureau of Canada rejected Nitschke's - "Exit Choices" ad that was also rejected for airing in Australia. The ad was rejected because it might contravene the Criminal Code of Canada.

The article implies that the ad was rejected due to the lobbying efforts of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. The article stated:
The self-regulating body of Canadian broadcasters said it was inundated by a “great volume of e-mails threatening, pleading and warning us not to approve your commercial, as doing so would be a violation of the Criminal Code.”

Les overstated the nature of the emails from our supporters and he has given us credit for killing the ad that we do not deserve

What happened?

I contacted the Television Bureau of Canada (TVB) on Monday, September 20, after reading a media release by Nitschke and Exit International celebrating the approval of their euthanasia ad by the Television Bureau of Canada. I asked them: what criteria was used to approve the ‘Exit Choices’ TV ad? The TVB contact person stated:
“The ad has not been approved for Canadian use.”

I then sent a message to our supporters asking the question: Has the Euthanasia ad been approved in Canada or not?

Link to Monday's article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ad-campaign-for-assisted-suicide-banned-from-canadian-airwaves/article1727127/

I also stated:
Is Nitschke attempting to create controversy surrounding the possible rejection of this ad for Canadian use or does this mean the ad has simply not been approved yet?

Therefore, I was told that the ad had not been approved, after Nitschke lied about his euthanasia ad being approved.
As for lobbying the TVB, in fact, I warned them that they would probably be pressured by Nitschke and they said:
We do not make decisions based on pressure.

It was stated in the CBC report last Friday:
An Australian-based organization that promotes assisted suicide is considering legal action after Canadian regulators refused to allow one of its advertisements to be broadcast in Canada.


Who is actually lobbying the TVB?

Link to the CBC article: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/24/exit-international-ad.html

Today's article in the Globe and Mail focuses on at least two Canadians who committed suicide after attending Nitschke's suicide seminar in Vancouver.

The article states:
The methods of a controversial Australian doctor who advocates assisted suicide – and is planning to offer instructions on how to do it in Toronto and Vancouver next month – have already been used in Canada.

At least two Canadians have already died and five more have made preparations following the instructions of Philip Nitschke, according to the physician and an independent researcher familiar with the cases.

In one option, patients bought pentobarbital from Mexico, where it is easily found. Taken in high quantities, the drug stops the heart and lungs from functioning. Others have purchased helium gas used to inflate balloons which can be fed into a plastic bag worn over the head, triggering asphyxiation.

Nitschke was quoted as saying:
“I’m pleased that I’ve been able to give information so people know what they’re doing and know they won’t fail,” said Dr. Nitschke from his home in Darwin, Australia.

The article also stated that the reason the euthanasia ad, and the Vancouver and Toronto libraries have refused Nitschke's request is that he may be breaking the law. The article stated:
Libraries in Vancouver and Toronto that refused to allow the presentation, along with the Television Bureau of Canada, a broadcaster umbrella group, have obtained legal opinions telling them Dr. Nitschke is breaking the law.

Link to today's article in the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/at-least-two-canadians-have-followed-controversial-doctors-advice-on-suicide/article1729506/

Nitschke is similar to a suicide predator who preys on vulnerable people. He promotes suicide and sells information and devices to commit suicide.

He makes his living by selling his suicide manual for $75.

Further to that, an Australian article from September 20 pointed out that Nitschke has not distanced himself from his support to make euthanasia available to troubled teens. It stated:
“Doubts remain over whether some of the patients Dr Nitschke has euthanised were terminally ill and he is on the record saying that euthanasia should be available to troubled teens.”

Choice is a lie, people rarely choose to die, they are most often subtly pressured or depressed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Assisted Suicide like execution

This is a letter to the editor that was published in the Spokesman-Review in Washington State on September 26, 2010.

Katie Densley from Wilbur Washington explains the circumstances surrounding the assisted suicide death of her uncle a year ago.

It is important to note that her uncle was depressed and not terminally ill. Please read the following:

It’s been a year since my uncle opted for assisted suicide. To me it’s an excruciating anniversary. He talked about this for a year before it became law. He’d had surgery for cancer which left him with a catheter. He was depressed at 94 but was home with assistance from friends and health givers. I thought this could never happen because he was just old and depressed.

When the law became reality, friends helped him with his quest. They took him to doctors that my uncle convinced this was what he wanted. His profession had been car salesman so he got the doctors to sign off on him. Friends who were his caretakers tried to talk him out of it, saying it wasn’t right because he wasn’t terminal.

The date was set for the final event. I loved him and wanted to be with him when he died. It felt like an execution.

The details are still painful. Holding him the 25 minutes it took for his heart to stop.

My uncle was the third person to die under the new law. Depressed yes. Terminal no.

Katie Densley
Wilbur, Wash.


Link to this letter to the editor: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/sep/26/suicide-like-execution/

Choice is an Illusion

The Globe and Mail has done exactly what I predicted that Canadian media outlets would do - re: Ad campaign for assisted suicide banned from Canadian airwaves.

Philip Nitschke, the leader of Exit International, who acts similar to a suicide predator, developed a euthanasia promoting ad that was rejected for airing in Australia, because the ad promotes an illegal act.

Nitschke then asked the Television Bureau of Canada for permission to air the same ad in Canada, to promote his upcoming suicide workshops. It was also rejected for Canadian use, probably because it promotes an illegal act.

On September 20, Exit sent out a media release claiming that the ad, which has been rejected in Australia, was accepted in Canada. When I contacted the Television Bureau of Canada, they stated: 'the ad had not been accepted for Canadian use and that they did not know why Exit was claiming that it had been approved.'

I stated on my blog: Is Nitschke attempting to create controversy surrounding the rejection of this ad for Canadian use or does this mean the ad has simply not been approved yet?

Link to my blog comment: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/euthanasia-tv-ad-approved-in-canada-or.html

Now the Globe and Mail has printed an article, just as Nitschke had hoped and I had predicted, to cover the controversy of the rejected euthanasia ad and to promote his upcoming suicide workshops.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition supports Nitschke’s right to free speech, but Nitschke doesn’t debate the law, but rather he explains how to contravene the law.

I have viewed the ‘Exit Choices’ TV ad. It appears that the TV ad and the ‘Suicide Workshops’ contravene the Criminal Code of Canada

For those who think this issue is just about choice, did Robert Miller (19) and James Robertson (20) freely choose death or were they experiencing short term depression that made them easily influenced by Nitschke's ideas?
Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article7149562.ece

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Exoo cancels plans to open assisted suicide clinic.

Last week we reported that euthanasia lobby activist, George Exoo, was planning to open a suicide clinic in North Carolina.

Exoo bought a small house in Gastonia North Carolina that he was planning to renovate and turn-into a suicide clinic.

Link to my blog article on the suicide clinic: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/george-exoo-planning-to-start-death.html

Recently Stuart Weisberg, a psychiatrist in Portland Oregon announced his intention to open a suicide clinic, similar to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Weisberg was planning to offer extra services for his clients, including a $1200 fee for a three session with his dog (dog therapy). Link to my blog article about Weisberg: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/06/dignitas-founder-ludwig-minelli-is-now.html

The fascination with opening assisted suicide clinics appears to be linked to the reports that Ludwig Minelli, the founder of Dignitas the assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland, has become phenomenally wealthy from his death mission.

Yesterday, an article written by Karen Garloch was published in the Charlotte Observer reported that Exoo didn't expect that he would be met with such outrage for opening an assisted suicide clinic and has shelved his plans to open an assisted suicide clinic.

Garlock reported:
Only days after going public, an internationally known right-to-die advocate says he's calling off plans to open a center for assisted suicide in Gastonia.

The Rev. George Exoo of West Virginia claims to have attended the suicide deaths of more than 100 people in multiple states and, most famously, in Ireland.

Exoo, 68, spent several months in a West Virginia jail in 2007 until a U.S. judge rejected a request from Irish authorities who wanted to extradite him and charge him in connection with the 2002 suicide of Rosemary Toole.

The experience didn't deter Exoo. He still believes mentally competent adults have the right to end their lives with assistance and support if pain from cancer or other disease becomes too great.

His plan for Gastonia grew out of his purchase four years ago of a $30,000 investment property. In a phone interview, he said renovations didn't go as planned, and he came up with the idea to use one of two houses on the lot as a "hospice facility for people who want to die intentionally."

Exoo thought North Carolina would be a good location because it has no law specifically making assisted suicide a criminal act. (N.C. law allows a person to choose a natural death, free from unwanted medical treatment or life-prolonging measures. But it also says that "should not be construed to authorize any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.")

Thirty-six states, including South Carolina, have laws specifically prohibiting assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington and Montana.

Exoo said he expected people would come from other states to take advantage of his service in Gastonia. Unlike Michigan's Jack Kevorkian, the widely publicized "Dr. Death," Exoo said he had hoped to operate quietly, like a shelter for battered women.

But last week, after newspaper and TV reports generated "nasty" website comments from the public, Exoo said he's abandoning his plans. "It's been a nightmare," he said.

Exoo's idea would have run into other roadblocks anyway.

Zoning might have been a problem because his property is in a residential area. Also, hospices require state approval in North Carolina. Gaston Hospice has been in operation since 1981, and the current state plan doesn't call for another.

Beyond that, hospice isn't the right word for what Exoo was planning. The hospice movement is based on providing pain relief and spiritual and emotional comfort at the end of life. But it does not endorse suicide.

When I talked to Exoo, he didn't seem to have thought much about these details. His focus was on people who might want his assistance.

Link to the article in the Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/09/21/1707013/assisted-suicide-plan-shelved.html

A couple of years ago Jon Ronson, a film biographer from the UK, produced a film about Rev Georger Exoo that was televised in the UK entitled Reverend Death. Ronson came to the project as a supporter of euthanasia. While filming the biography of Exoo he became aware of many concerns related to Exoo and the euthanasia lobby in general.

Link to my blog comment about the film - Rev Death: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/euthanasia-advocates-fail-to-distance.html

Link to the Reverend Death film on U-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/slackmaster2000#p/u/7/0VR7mK5hZwU

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Murderer of Tracy Latimer - In the News Again

Stephen Drake the research analyst for Not Dead Yet has commented on the recent decision to loosen the parole conditions for Robert Latimer, who killed his daughter Tracy in 1993.

Drake has been connected to the Latimer case for almost 15 years. He admits that his involvement in the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide grew out of the lenient attitude people have towards Robert Latimer.

Drake also introduces us to another blogger who has been trying to ensure that justice is served in the death of Tracy Latimer.

I have avoided writing about Latimer because he was serving his sentence for second-degree murder. I have started to comment on Latimer more recently because I am disgusted by the lenient conditions the parole board is placing a Latimer, a convicted murderer of his daughter, who due to her physical nature was dependent on him for her care. Please read Stephen Drake's comments:

Robert Latimer - Murderer of Daughter Tracy Latimer - In the News Again

I can't explain the feelings that go through me when Robert Latimer surfaces in the news again. Robert Latimer's murder of his daughter Tracy was pivotal in getting my attention directed at the euthanasia movement and in providing a solid foundation for my opposition to the movement.

Even though it looks like I haven't written anything here on the blog about Tracy Latimer's murder, the role the public debate about her murder played in my turn to activism has long been a part of my official bio:

During his years at Syracuse, one key event turned his interests and passions toward assisted suicide and euthanasia. In the early 1990s, Robert Latimer, a Canadian farmer who murdered his disabled daughter, Tracy, became a "poster child" for the Canadian pro-assisted suicide groups. Tracy Latimer was not dying and she did not ask to die. In 1996, while growing increasingly alarmed over the "better dead than disabled" rhetoric of the pro-euthanasia movement, he learned of the formation of Not Dead Yet and dropped everything to join its first protest action.

How far did the euthanasia activists in Canada go in embracing the killer of a nonterminally ill child who never asked to die? What did the champions of autonomy have to say?

Here's one example from a Canadian "right to die" leader, quoted in a 1994 NY Times article on Robert Latimer. She is reacting to the imposition of a 10-year prison sentence:

Marilynne Seguin, executive director of Dying With Dignity, a Toronto-based group promoting freedom of choice for physician-assisted deaths, said that the Latimers had already lived under a sentence during the 12 years that Tracy was alive and that to add the 10-year punishment "is quite unconscionable."

Link to the New York Times article from 1994: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/22/world/mercy-killing-in-canada-stirs-calls-for-changes-in-law.html
It's not often that people you didn't know were your enemies declare themselves so openly. When Seguin equated parenting Tracy Latimer to being under a prison sentence, it also meant that her murder was a release - but not for Tracy. By her reckoning, it was Robert Latimer who engineered his own "release."

Alex Schadenberg has posted about the latest round in news coverage - which revolves around efforts to get Latimer's parole conditions loosened. I recommend reading Alex's post on the subject.
Link to Alex's post: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/tracy-latimer.html

I found a blogger who has written two posts on this latest round of press coverage that seems to touch every single element in the complex mix churning in my own stomach every time Robert Latimer is in the news again.

On August 19, Trouble posted a blog entry titled "This post is about Tracy Latimer's Murderer":

OH YAY! Gentle reader, I'm here to inform you that once again Tracy Latimer's murderer is in the news, which means we can deal with another week or two or months or years of people wibbling on about how Tracy Latimer's murderer is such a sweet innocent man who only murdered his disabled daughter because Tracy wasn't really a person and deserved to be murdered, and how he's such a victim of the system, and woe is poor him, and how cripples really DO have no life and it's totally okay for people to murder disabled children, as long as they don't have a disability and murder their own non-disabled children. Those people are menaces and should be locked up forever!!!!!!!!!!!

Link to the blog comment by trouble: http://trouble.dreamwidth.org/617988.html
That was just for beginners.

She followed up with the post "it has begun":

I'm sure this weekend and into next week will be full of these shit-tastic stories, and I'm going to spend the whole damned week in a state of rage, and people will tell me to calm down because, you know, it's okay, it's just some 12 year old girl whose been dead since 1993.

Link to this blog comment by trouble: http://trouble.dreamwidth.org/618502.html?#cutid1

She also left a comment in that section on the second post that accurately describes how Tracy Latimer is treated in stories about her own murder. And it's a treatment that I've seen repeated in countless stories involving the murders of both adults and children with disabilities:

It's also something it's really hard to talk about. I try to blog about it calmly and rationally and then I remember that these people think that Tracy should be a footnote in her own murder, and I lose it.

I confess to having many of these same thoughts and feelings churning inside on a regular basis. Some days, it can be very difficult to write "calmly and rationally."

Please read both of Trouble's posts on Tracy Latimer's murder. I only shared a small excerpt and her posts should be read in their entirety. Link to trouble's blog: http://trouble.dreamwidth.org/.

Link to Stephen Drakes blog: http://notdeadyetnewscommentary.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 20, 2010

Were Robert Miller and James Robertson influenced by Philip Nitschke?

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Philip Nitschke, Australia's Dr. Death, has been involved with counseling and providing information in connection to suicide deaths on a world-wide basis.

Nitschke is known for creating and promoting suicide devices. When I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference in Toronto in September 2006, I witnessed Nitschke demonstrating a device to regulate the flow of helium from a tank.

This story of Robert Miller and James Robertson in the UK from the report from the Times Online from June 14, 2010; describes the case. The story reported:
A key issue for detectives will be whether Robert Miller and James Robertson were influenced by Philip Nitschke, the Australian medic nicknamed Dr Death. Dr Nitschke, who founded the pro-euthanasia group Exit International, is also the inventor of the “deliverance machine”, a syringe linked to a laptop that can administer a lethal injection.

Dr Nitschke said that he created the device to allow those wishing to take their own life to initiate the process instead of relying on a doctor. A needle is inserted into the arm of the patient before he or she answers questions on the laptop. It is made clear that if they choose the final option they will be injected with a lethal barbiturate.

Last year Dr Nitschke toured Britain giving suicide workshops to the elderly. Although those attending had to be over 50, there are fears that his information is being accessed by the young, the vulnerable, and the mentally ill.

The presence of a webcam in the hotel room where they died will also raise concerns that they may have been followers of suicide chat rooms, where people discuss their fantasies about killing themselves. Such sites attract “suicide voyeurs”.
Link to the June 14, 2010 article in the UK Times online: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article7149562.ece

I believe in free speech, but guys like Nitschke are dangerous and they don't care who dies from their ideology. 

Nitschke is planning a North American tour starting on October 7, 2010. It is time that he gets shut-down. Link to the tour information: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/australias-dr-death-philip-nitschke.html

Euthanasia TV ad approved in Canada or not?

Today, I received a media release from Exit International, the Australian based euthanasia lobby group that is co-founded by Philip Nitschke (Australia’s Dr. Death). The media release celebrates that the TV ad entitled ‘Exit Choices’, that was rejected by the Australian Commercial Industry Code of Practice for airing in Australia, was approved to be aired in Canada.

The idea that the ad ‘Exit Choices’ was approved for Canadian television broadcast was confusing to me at best. I have viewed the ‘Exit Choices’ ad on U-Tube. This is an ad that promotes euthanasia, and encourages assisted suicide, which are illegal in Canada.

After reading the media release, I contacted the Television Bureau of Canada (TVB) and asked them: what criteria was used to approve the ‘Exit Choices’ TV ad? The TVB contact person stated:
“The ad has not been approved for Canadian use.”
Is Nitschke attempting to create controversy surrounding the possible rejection of this ad for Canadian use or does this mean the ad has simply not been approved yet?

The last time Nitschke came to Canada he created a media circus surrounding the rejection of his 'Suicide Workshop' by the Vancouver Public Library. Nitschke may be attempting to manufacture attention again.

Nitschke stated in the media release (dated today) that these ads will be used to promote his suicide workshops that have been scheduled for October 7 in Vancouver and October 13 in Toronto. Canada’s assisted suicide act (S. 241 of the Criminal Code) prohibits aiding, abeting (encouraging) and counseling suicide.

Nitschke states in the media release: “At these workshops practical end-of-life methods will be described, and information on lethal drugs and other techniques provided.”

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition supports Nitschke’s right to free speech, but Nitschke doesn’t debate the law, but rather he explains how to contravene the law.

I have viewed the ‘Exit Choices’ TV ad. It appears that the TV ad and the ‘Suicide Workshops’ contravene the Criminal Code of Canada.

Encourage the Television Bureau of Canada (TVB) to reject the ‘Exit Choice” TV ad because it appears to contravene the Criminal Code of Canada. Contact them at: www.tvb.ca, or email: tvb@tvb.ca.

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
1-877-439-3348

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tracy Latimer

Robyn Joffe was printed in the Calgary Herald today responding to an Editorial that was published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on September 13, 2010 that was titled: Latimer doesn't fit

The Saskatoon Star Phoenix justified the loosening of parole conditions for Robert Latimer, who killed his daughter Tracy in 1993. Tracy had cerebral palsy.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has always held the position that Robert Latimer should be treated like any other person who was convicted of second-degree murder. The decision to ease his parole conditions appears to indicate that Robert Latimer is receiving special parole conditions.

I am reprinting Robyn Joffe's letter because he got it right. The letter follows:
--------------------------
Poor Tracy

By Robyn Joffe, Calgary Herald September 16, 2010

Re: "Latimer doesn't fit," Editorial, Sept. 13.

Robert Latimer should not be an exception to any parole rule. The bottom line remains he killed a human being. And like any other murderer, he should do hard time. While he may be sleeping in his home five nights a week, his daughter, Tracy, remains dead.

What message are we giving society when we take pity on a man who killed his own child? He could have and should have reached out and asked for assistance, from professionals who provide support to people with disabilities, and their families. Enough with feeling sorry for Robert Latimer. He is a murderer, plain and simple.

Read the original article that was published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Latimer+doesn/3515462/story.html

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Poor+Tracy/3532499/story.html

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

George Exoo planning to start a death clinic in North Carolina

Euthanasia activist, George Exoo, has announced his intention to open a "right to die" hospice in Gastonia North Carolina.

A few years ago, Exoo was featured in a film documentary entitled "Reverend Death". The filmographer, Jon Ronson, chose to do a film documentary on Exoo because Ronson had supported euthanasia and assisted suicide and Exoo was known to have participated in the assisted suicide death of Rosemary Toole in Ireland.

At that time Exoo told the film crew:
"I think it's the reason I'm placed on this planet,"

Exoo claims to have directly assisted more than 100 people die by suicide, with another 20 people who he claims to have assisted by phone.

Exoo claims:
"I have a heart and a passion for those people, and so reaching out to them may be in the spirit of the Good Samaritan. That's why I do this,”

The North Carolina media stated:
At the facility in Gastonia – he’s looking at a home on West Circle -- Exoo says he plans to help people with terminal and debilitating illnesses end their lives.

Exoo stated:
"This is for people who live in jurisdictions and states like Georgia and Mississippi, Florida, and New York, where having assistance with an intentioned death is not legal,".

As much as Exoo wants to portray himself as a caring compassionate person, the fact is that there is significant profit to be made by establishing a death clinic. Dignitas, the Swiss group that is operated by Ludwig Minelli, has enabled Minelli to become a very wealthy man.

Exoo chose North Carolina because it is one of four states that doesn't have a specific statute criminalizing assisted suicide. But similar to Idaho, even though it may not have a specific statute concerning assisted suicide, it does recognize assisted suicide to be a crime based on common law and legal precedent.

Dr Gerald Aronoff told the media:
"Although there's not a statute criminalizing physician-assisted suicide, it still is not condoning physician-assisted suicide as the best alternative for dealing with these complex, chronic pain, end-of-life issues,"

The article concluded by stating:
In 2007, Exoo spent four months in a West Virginia jail in connection with the death of a woman he assisted in Dublin. A court later ruled he could not be forced to return to Ireland.

Previous articles about George Exoo uncovered some very unsavoury concerns related to Exoo's clients. By filming Exoo over a period of years Ronson learned that most of Exoo's clients were depressed or needed psychiatric help.

Exoo also played games with his suicide victims by moving the bodies in such a way to make it look like they were sleeping.
Link to the article about the Ronson film: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-made-it-look-like-they-died-in-their.html

The other interesting fact that was uncovered by the Ronson film about Exoo was that Ronson learned that Exoo's clients were referred to him by the "mainstream" euthanasia lobby.

Watch the film about George Exoo - Reverend Death on U-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/slackmaster2000#p/u/7/0VR7mK5hZwU
Link to the article about Exoo's connections to the mainstream euthanasia lobby: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2008/05/euthanasia-advocates-fail-to-distance.html

Link to the article: http://charlotte.news14.com:80/content/local_news/charlotte/630337/assisted-suicide-activist-plans-gastonia--right-to-die--hospice

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bloc MP Francine Lalonde has cancer

The CBC News, and other news agencies, reported yesterday that Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde has announced that she won't be running for re-election in the next federal election because she has bone cancer.

Lalonde successfully battled bone cancer a few years ago. She has reported that the cancer is spreading rapidly.

We hope that the cancer will once again go into remission and Lalonde will receive the best medical care.

As for the coverage by the CBC, they stated that:
Lalonde made a name for herself in politics after introducing a private member's bill that would allow euthanasia and assisted suicide under strict conditions.

Bill C-384 was defeated 228-59 in a vote earlier this year.

Strict conditions?
- The fact is that Bill C-384 would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with mental or physical pain,
- You did not have to be terminally ill and it didn't define terminal illness.
- It was not limited to Canadian citizens.
- It defined competent as "appearing to be lucid."
- and much more.

The CBC would do us a great service by reporting the news and not trying to redefine the news.

Link to the CBC news article: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/09/13/bloc-mp-francine-lalonde.html

Monday, September 13, 2010

Palliative Sedation is not euthanasia, experts state.

A letter published in today's National Post states that the proper use of palliative sedation is not euthanasia.

This letter was written by the Canadian Palliative Sedation Therapy Guideline Working group in response to the comments by Dr. Gaetan Barrette, president of Quebec’s Federation des medecins specialistes, stating in reference to palliative sedation that euthanasia happens every day in Quebec.

The Canadian Palliative Sedation Therapy Guideline Working Group: Dr. Doreen Oneschuk, Palliative Medicine Physician, Grey Nuns Hospital, Associate Professor, University of Alberta; Dr. Victor Cellarius, Temmy Latner Center for Palliative Care, Mount Sinai Hospital, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto.

The letter to the editor stated:
Dr. Gaetan Barrette, president of Quebec’s Federation des medecins specialistes, is quoted as saying that euthanasia is already widely practised in [Quebec] through medicinal measures known as palliative sedation.

The Palliative Sedation working group responded to Barrette by stating:
Palliative sedation therapy, correctly practised, neither aims at death nor shortens life. Palliative sedation therapy is the use of a sedative medication to control severe and untreatable suffering at the end of life when other measures have been exhausted. It does not shorten life.

Palliative sedation does not require morphine or other opioids; is not used for every symptom; neither intends nor causes a hastened death. It is a last resort, when all other approaches have failed, to relieve suffering through the use of sedative medications.

To improve the knowledge and practice of practitioners, our group is in the process of developing national guidelines for palliative sedation therapy. We hope these guidelines will help prevent some of the misunderstandings regarding palliative sedation, especially the mistaken belief that palliative sedation is a form of euthanasia.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has always stated that the proper use of palliative sedation is not euthanasia. The fact is that the abuse of palliative sedation techniques can be euthanasia and if Barrett insists on comparing palliative sedation to euthanasia then he must really be saying that many Quebec physicians are abusing palliative sedation techniques.

Link to the letter in the National Post: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/09/13/todays-letters-dealing-with-the-final-chapter/#more-11429#ixzz0zR7wWMS2

Belgium style euthanasia

My letter to the editor was printed in the National Post today.

Belgium style euthanasia

Several reports have indicated that the promoters of euthanasia in Quebec are advocating “Belgium style” euthanasia.

A study that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on June 15, 2010 looked at the practice of euthanasia in Belgium and found it to be lacking in supposed safeguards.

The study examined 208 euthanasia deaths in the region of Flanders Belgium. The study found that 66 (32%) of the euthanasia deaths were done without explicit request or consent. Link to the study: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/abstract/182/9/895

Before Quebec considers opening the doors to euthanasia or assisted suicide it needs to consider how it will effect the average Quebecer.

In many cases choice is only an illusion.

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Link to the letter in the National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/Dealing+with+final+chapter/3515734/story.html

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Homicide-suicide deaths in Portland Oregon

In Oregon, a murder-suicide following the usual pattern of man shooting his female partner and then killing himself was reported by the Seattletimes from an Associated Press article.

A previous blog comment on homicide-suicide reported the research by Donna Cohen proving that homicide-suicide cases are rarely cases of "compassionate homicide". Link to the comment: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2009/03/murder-suicide-rarely-equates-to.html

Recently Stephen Drake, the researcher from Not Dead Yet, reported on his blog how Compassion & Choices, the leading euthanasia lobby group, have been exploiting the tragedy of homicide-suicide to promote the legalization of assisted suicide. Link to the comment: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/assisted-suicide-lobby-exploit-elderly.html
The article from the Seattle Times follows:

Police: Two Portland deaths homicide-suicide

The Associated Press - September 11, 2010

Portland police say a man and woman whose bodies were found Friday in a north Portland apartment died in a homicide-suicide.

Police were called to the apartment to do a welfare check because neighbors and a friend had not seen the woman recently.

Detectives have identified the dead as 42-year-old Stephanie Curtis and 60-year-old Francis "Frank" Masure. They say Masure shot and killed Curtis, then killed himself, likely on Monday or Tuesday. Detectives say Curtis lived at the apartment and was involved in a relationship with Masure, who lived in Vancouver, Wash.

Curtis recently reported domestic violence incidents to both Vancouver and Portland police and appeared to be ending the relationship


Obviously the legalization of assisted suicide does not prevent homicide-suicide deaths.

Link to the article: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012866753_aporapartmentdeaths1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss

Oregon suicide rate soars after legalizing assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Yesterday, I published a quote from the leader of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) saying:
"It's very dangerous to tread on those topics (assisted suicide) without an overarching support for suicide prevention. There's a risk that if legislation on assisted suicide were to move forward, that it could be misinterpreted and abused."
Several years ago I reported that the state of Oregon, that legalized assisted suicide in 1998, had one of the highest suicide rates in the United States. I suggested at that point that the rate of suicide has risen significantly since the legalization of assisted suicide in that state.

Now it has been reported that Oregon suicide rate is not only the highest in the United States but 35% higher than the national average.


When you read the article from the KTVZ.com in Oregon, that was published on September 9, you will notice that the suicide rate has skyrocketed since 2000. I was right when I stated a few years ago that legalizing assisted suicide increases the suicide rate because the taboo concerning suicide is eliminated when assisted suicide is legal. The article states:


Oregon Suicide Rate Tops U.S., By Far
Depression Kept Secret By Many


Oregon's suicide rate is a stunning 35 percent higher than the national average, a new state report out Thursday said.


The Oregon rate is 15.2 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to the national rate of 11.3 per 100,000.


After decreasing in the 1990s, suicide rates have been increasing significantly since 2000, according to a new report, "Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors," from Oregon Public Health.


The report also details recommendations to prevent the number of suicides in the state.


"Suicide is one of the most persistent, yet preventable public health problems. It is the leading cause of death from injuries – more than even from car crashes. Each year, 550 people in Oregon die from suicide and 1,800 people are hospitalized for non-fatal attempts," said Lisa Millet, MPH, principal investigator, and manager of the Injury Prevention and Epidemiology Section for Oregon Public Health.


There are likely many reasons for the state's rising suicide rate, according to Millet. The single most identifiable risk factor associated with suicide is depression. Many people are able to manage their depression; however, stress and crisis can overwhelm their ability to cope successfully.


Stresses such as from job loss, loss of home, loss of family and friends, life transitions and also the stress veterans can experience returning home from deployment – all increase the likelihood of suicide among those who are already at risk.


"Many people often keep their depression a secret, for fear of discrimination. Unfortunately, families, communities, businesses, schools and other institutions often discriminate against people with depression or other mental illness. These people will continue to die needlessly unless they have support and effective community-based mental health care," said Millet.
The report also included the following findings:
  1. There was a marked increase in suicides among middle-aged women. The number of women between 45 and 64 years of age who died from suicide rose 55 percent between 2000 and 2006 ­ from 8.2 per 100,000 to 12.8 per 100,000 respectively.
  2. Male veterans have a higher suicide rate than non-veteran males (45.7 per 100,000 vs. 27.4 per 100,000 respectively), and account for 27 percent of all suicides.
  3. Suicide rates vary by sex, age and race. Men were 3.7 times more likely to die by suicide than women. The highest suicide rate occurred among men ages 85 and older (78.4 per 100,000). White males had the highest suicide rate among all races and ethnicities (26.5 per 100,000).
  4. Firearms were the dominant mechanism of suicide among men at 62 percent. White men were more likely than other races to die from firearms (63 percent vs. 46 percent).
  5. Poisoning was a major mechanism of suicide among women at 46 percent.
  6. More than 70 percent of suicide victims had a diagnosed mental disorder, alcohol and /or substance use problems, or depressed mood at time of death; 36 percent of female victims and 16 percent of male victims had a previous suicide attempt.
  7. Despite the high prevalence of diagnosed mental health problems among people who commit suicide, less than one-third of males and approximately half of all females were receiving treatment for mental health problems at the time of death.
The report also contained recommendations to reduce the number of suicides, including universal depression screening by health care providers, particularly for youth, veterans and seniors; expanded prevention efforts across all ages focusing on men in particular; complete statewide implementation of comprehensive suicide prevention in high schools; identification of appropriate approaches that engage and enable men to identify depression as a manageable condition; and the promotion of community, business, family and individual tools to support successful self management.

Also, families and individuals should remove guns from homes when a family member is suicidal. Health care providers should counsel family members and individuals at high risk for suicide to remove guns from their homes.


The Injury and Prevention Program is working to establish more expert capacity in suicide prevention on the local level throughout Oregon.


The Garrett Lee Smith Act, named for the son of former Sen. Gordon Smith, funded projects throughout the state that implemented comprehensive suicide prevention in 50 high schools in Oregon; trained approximately 4,000 people or 1 percent of adults in Oregon to use intervention skills; and trained 36 applied suicide intervention skills trainers who can teach two-day intervention skills courses.


This year, 14 counties are implementing two public awareness campaigns; hospital emergency departments in counties are working with local county mental and public health agencies to conduct follow-up on youth who are treated in emergency departments and then referred to community care; and all nine Tribes are working together on an annual family event and ongoing suicide prevention activities.
To legalize assisted suicide sends the message that there is nothing wrong with suicide.

Last year there were 59 assisted suicide deaths and none of them were referred for a psychiatric or psychological assessment. Depressed people are dying by assisted suicide and assisted suicide has had a suicide contagion effect on regular suicide.


The concept of rational suicide is out of control. Very few people rationally commit suicide.


Finally, the one recommendation is to remove guns from a suicidal persons home. It should also state that the lethal assisted suicide prescription should also be removed from a suicidal persons home.


Link to the Ktvz.com article: http://www.ktvz.com/news/24945319/detail.html

Did George Soros collaborate with the Nazi's against the Jewish people in Hungary?

I was shocked to read an article that was written by Ezra Levant and published in the Ottawa Sun on September 4, 2010 concerning George Soros, one of the primary donors of the euthanasia lobby world-wide.

The article is concerning the attempt by Soros to derail the attempt by Sun media to get the CRTC to grant them a license to establish a new TV news channel in Canada.

The article stated:
George Schwartz was born in Hungary in 1930 — not the luckiest time and place to be born a Jew.

George’s father Theodore tried to change the family’s fortunes by changing their name to something less Jewish-sounding. It didn’t help. And soon war came.

When the Nazis took total control of Hungary in 1944, the Holocaust followed. In two months, 440,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.

To survive, George, then a teenager, collaborated with the Nazis.

First he worked for the Judenrat. That was the Jewish council set up by the Nazis to do their dirty work for them. Instead of the Nazis rounding up Jews every day for the trains, they delegated that murderous task to Jews who were willing to do it to survive another day at the expense of their neighbours.

Theodore hatched a better plan for his son. He bribed a non-Jewish official at the agriculture ministry to let George live with him. George helped the official confiscate property from Jews.

By collaborating with the Nazis, George survived the Holocaust. He turned on other Jews to spare himself.

George moved to London after the war and then to New York, where he became a stockbroker. He’s rich now. Forbes magazine says he’s the 35th richest man in the world. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He goes by the name his father invented: George Soros.

How does Soros feel about what he did as a teenager? Has it kept him up at night?

Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes asked him that. Was it difficult? “Not at all,” Soros answered.

“No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.”

A Nazi would steal the Jews’ property anyways. So why not him?

That moral hollowness has shaped Soros’ life. He’s a rabid critic of capitalism, but in 1992 when he saw a chance, he speculated against the British pound, causing it to crash, devastating retirement savings for millions of Britons. Soros pocketed $1.1 billion for himself. If he didn’t do it, someone else would, right?

In 2002, Soros was convicted of insider trading in France, and fined millions of dollars. He admitted buying the shares, but denied it was a crime.

Last year, when he made $3.3 billion off the banking collapse, he called the world’s financial crisis “the culmination of my life’s work.”
This is a man who boasted he offered to help his mother commit suicide. Apparently he didn’t see enough death in Hungary.

Soros is a sociopath. But he’s a sociopath with $14 billion, and he likes to spend it on politics.

Sometimes his gifts are large, like the $24 million he spent in 2004, trying to defeat George W. Bush. Sometimes they’re small, like $20,000 to a woman convicted of helping terrorists.

Soros has been donating to the euthanasia lobby for several years.

Choice is a lie. The euthanasia lobby is really about how we cause the death of people who are "better off dead".

Link to the article in the Ottawa Sun: http://www.ottawasun.com/comment/2010/09/03/15242561.html?comments_page=5&id=15242561#/comment/2010/09/03/pf-15242556.html

Australia's Dr. Death, Philip Nitschke, plans North American suicide tours of Unitarian Churches

Philip Nitschke, Australia's Dr. Death is coming to a Unitarian Church near you as he travels across North America on his suicide tour.

We alerting our supporters of how the euthanasia lobby is challenging the protections that exist for vulnerable people.

Nitschke promotes the online purchase of Nembutal, a veterinary euthanasia drug, and he is not concerned that an Australian study proved that depressed and mentally ill people are obtaining Nembutal via Nitschke's instructions.

I believe in freedom of speech, but I also agree that vulnerable people need to be protected from cavalier people like Nitschke who are willing to encourage and counsel suicide.

Vancouver BC - Thursday, October 7
Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 49th Ave West, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 2T1
Toronto ON - Wednesday, October 13
1st Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, 175 St Claire Ave West, Toronto, ON, M4V 1P7.
New York, NY - Wednesday, October 20
Community Church of New York, 40 East 35th St, New York, NY, 10016.
Orlando, FL - Saturday, October 23
A Gathering Place, 1st Unitarian Church of Orlando, 1901 Robinson St East, Orlando, FL, 32803.
San Francisco CA - Friday, November 5
Audre Lorde Room, Women’s Building, 3543 18th St #8, San Francisco, CA , 94110

Saturday, September 11, 2010

President of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention says assisted suicide is very dangerous

An article about the online poll by the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP), written by Lee Greenberg and Charlie Fidelman and published yesterday in the Montreal Gazette, quoted Marion Cooper from the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention as stating that legalizing assisted suicide is very dangerous.

The article stated:
Marion Cooper, president of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, said public discussion about assisted suicide is important, "but it's premature to have a position on assisted suicide when we don't have a national strategy on suicide prevention, which is a public-health issue," she said.

"It's very dangerous to tread on those topics without an overarching support for suicide prevention. There's a risk that if legislation on assisted suicide were to move forward, that it could be misinterpreted and abused."

Today it has been reported that the state of Oregon, the state that legalized assisted suicide 12 years ago, has the highest rate of suicide in the United States.

Canada needs a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy before Canadians should ever consider legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Link to the article by Lee Greenberg: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Terminally+seniors+afraid+death/3504604/story.html

Monique David's testimony to the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity in Quebec

Monique David gave a profound presentation to the Dying with Dignity committee in Quebec. The national post published an special article by her that represents a synopsis of her presentation to the Quebec committee. The article was titled: Suffering and Strength. Please read:

Monique David, Special To The National Post · Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

This week, the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity, mandated by Quebec's National Assembly to examine end-of-life issues, began its public hearings. What follows is an abbreviated version of Monique David's testimony to the committee.

On July 14, 2009, my father, having enjoyed reasonable health thus far in his life, suffered a heart attack at the age of 86. He remained significantly weakened, and his quality of life was noticeably diminished. Throughout the following six to seven months, he often expressed a desire to die. My once-optimistic father was experiencing what the Canadian Association of Palliative Care describes as the four main reasons patients want to die: pain and physical suffering; loss of control over their illness, their lives and their bodies; the desire to not be a burden; and depression and psychological distress linked to their illness.

His family doctor prescribed anti-depressants. Thankfully, his anxiety crises mostly disappeared, as did his discourse surrounding death and his perception of burdening the lives of those around him. My family helped him understand that serving his needs was our way to reciprocate for all that he had generously given us throughout his life.

Gradually, he came to realize that he could continue to be useful -- less physically, but more interpersonally. His presence, his listening, his smile and his attentive gaze continue to positively transform those around him. But if we had succumbed to his dark, recurring desires, supported by a doctor or a medical system that legalizes euthanasia, my father would no longer be among us.

This personal experience convinced me that desires to die should be disarmed, not encouraged.

"I want to die" is a powerful sentence whose meaning begs to be questioned and understood -- so we, as a society, can allocate more collective will, expertise, creativity and research, especially for the psychological and physical relief of degenerative diseases.

We urgently need more doctors trained in pain management, which should become an essential part of basic university medical training. Regarding psychological, social and spiritual suffering, palliative care medicine is a highly effective solution. This multidisciplinary expertise addresses all dimensions of the person; additionally, it is inexpensive.

We live in a society that places much undue importance on the body and its appearance. Illness rattles this mirage. Exposure to suffering opens a door, unseen until then, on the internal richness of the human being and its spiritual dimension.

Compassion for those going through this process requires us to suffer with the patient, and implies an acceptance of his suffering in our lives without adopting a defeatist or passive attitude. Compassion is to do all that we can to eliminate the pain within the individual and not seek to kill the individual to eliminate the pain. A society that strives to be compassionate must support the sufferer and his support network, must continuously find or develop means of assistance and relief, encourage volunteering, promote family solidarity and sustain disabled people.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates claim the right to terminate life at the moment and in the way that the individual chooses (or that someone chooses for his). Therefore, we should not be referring to the "right to die" (a right that is intrinsic to the human condition), but rather to the right to be killed. It is separate from suicide, which has existed since the dawn of humanity, and whose practitioners seek no sanction from society.

The desire for the right to euthanasia and assisted suicide, expressed in the language of human rights, demands the intervention of a third party and a legal system that authorizes it. It implies that doctors become agents of death and that society legally recognizes a crime to be a lawful medical act.

A society that justifies euthanasia and assisted suicide unites around a culture of death, fear and anguish. Conversely, accompanying a person imprisoned by a degenerative disease or at the terminal stage of life demands courage, and an expansion of self. It provides occasion for one to place his life at the service of the other who is slowly losing his.

Monique David is a Montreal-based writer.

Link to the article in the National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/Suffering+strength/3504147/story.html

Who decides when you die?

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Joy Wawryzniak
The case of Joy Wawrzyniak who is sueing the Sunnybrook hospital based on the death of her father Douglas DeGuerre’s. DeGuerre had legally assigned his daughter, Joy Wawrzyniak, as his Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) and his Power of Attorney for personal care document stated he wanted full code medical treatment.

On September 4, the Toronto Star published the article on the Wawrzyniak case.

Link to my comments on this case: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/lawsuit-could-set-precedent-about-end.html

Over the past few days there have been a significant number of letters printed in the Toronto Star about this issue. You need to know that the paper picks and chooses the letters it publishes, therefore the letters that were published represent a cross-section of the letters that were received.

Here is a cross-section of the comments that have been published in the Toronto Star:
Dr. Bernard Dickens says, “If the patient’s life cannot be saved in a meaningful way and if intervention would deny resources that would benefit other patients . . . then the doctor is justified in clinical judgment to withhold treatment.”

This seems to be the policy prevailing in Canadian hospitals, making elderly patients fearful of being hospitalized because tests and treatments will be considered in the context of their cost effectiveness and age appropriateness.

Ageism doesn’t appear to matter in the medical field, and a tragic proof was Douglas DeGuerre’s dying plight trying to breathe, with no doctors willing to help him.

I wish Joy Wawrzyniak success in her litigation. It may be too late for her father, but it could help save countless lives. 
Jaime Oksemberg, Toronto

“Physicians are not obligated to provide treatment that will almost certainly be of benefit to the patient” (2006 CPSO End of Life Policy).

What is a benefit and who defines it? The ambiguity of this definition allows doctors to use their clinical judgment along with their own value judgment to determine whether a patient is worthy of treatment. Every vulnerable patient is at risk.

Barbara Farlow, Mississauga

My blood boiled as I read this article. In December 2009 my elderly mother was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital. My mother also had a strong will to live. It was very clear from the start that the attending physician had “written her off” due to her age and co-morbidities and had no interest in optimizing her medical condition.

It was only due to a combination of both physician family members and other persistent family members who screamed and begged for treatment that the attending physician and his team begrudgingly gave it (by then, in an untimely manner).

The experience has haunted our family and left deep, lasting scars. It is frightening that his approach is being taught to residents and medical students on his team who follow him at this renowned teaching hospital.

Decisions about the extent of medical care need to be discussed with the patient and the family, and decisions to not provide active medical treatment cannot be a unilateral physician decision. Otherwise, this bodes extreme danger for the future medical care of our aging population.

Carolyn Telner, Toronto

Your article about Ms Wawrzyniak’s horrifying experience in Sunnybrook conjured up the demons of the past in me. A mere 65 years ago, doctors in my home country decided whose life is not worth living and who should not raise children. Doctors, assisted by nurses and social workers, “euthanized” and sterilized tens of thousands of people they, with their professional expertise, deemed too ill to live, too disabled to raise children or in general too much of a burden for society. ...

...Doctors may make suggestions — even recommendations — but certainly not decisions. This is entirely up to the patient. Or would you like to have your hairdresser decide what haircut is right for you, or let your real estate agent buy a house he finds appropriate for you?

The idea that doctors decide who is worthy of their help and who isn’t would make hospitals a scary place. Better not contradict your doctor or you might regret it later?

And think about the influence of economic circumstances in this equation. Better switch off that senior over there so we can use our resources more economically?

We must fight this at the beginning so this inhumanity can never again get a hold in our societies. If Ms Wawrzyniak needs support for her legal fight, I would gladly donate. And hope these arrogant doctors get a well-deserved slap on their hands.

Tom Wiedemann, Toronto

In 1996 the Ontario legislature passed the Health Care Consent Act, which clearly sets out that the wishes of a person are to be followed by health professionals, and that substitute decision makers are obliged to follow those wishes as well.

The legislation provides a mechanism for physicians to challenge a person’s decision to determine if it is appropriate. The legislation does not envisage physicians making unilateral decisions. The Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario was entrusted with the duty to adjudicate these issues and it has done so for the past 16 years, including many end-of-life issues.

People in this situation should know their rights and physicians should be more aware of the mechanisms in place to deal with these complex and emotional issues.

Theodore Nemetz, Barrister and Solicitor, Former lawyer member and past chair, Consent and Capacity Board
Considering the recent case of Joshua Kulendran Mayandy who was denied fluids and nutrition, even though he was not otherwise dying, and the hospital and the lawyers pressured the potential SDM was accepted only because he succumbed to the demand that no IV fluids, nutrition and medicine be provided to Joshua.

My biggest questions are related to definitions and false legal precedents. Since when was it in the "best interests" of the patient to deny them any medical treatment, including fluids, hydration and or oxygen, when they are not otherwise dying?

Link to the comments: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/858858--decisions-about-dying

Parole restrictions are eased for Robert Latimer

I have not made many comments about Robert Latimer since the Supreme Court of Canada upheld, by a unanimous decision, the jail sentence for Latimers second degree murder conviction for killing his daughter, Tracy, who had cerebral palsy.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition believes that Robert Latimer should be treated in the same manner as any other person who is convicted of second degree murder.

It appears that Robert Latimer has now received special conditions in the decision by the national parole board to ease his parole restrictions.

An article by Lori Coolican that was printed on September 8, 2010 in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. The article states:
The National Parole Board (NPB) has agreed to further relax Robert Latimer’s parole conditions, allowing him to spend five nights a week in his Victoria, B.C. apartment and only two nights a week in a halfway house.

The decision comes on the heels of a Federal Court ruling last month which ordered the board to reconsider, on an expedited basis, Latimer’s year-old request for the change.

Latimer, 56, had been on a “two and five” — spending two nights a week at his own place and five nights a week at a halfway house — since September 2008.

Parole board members, backed by the NPB’s appeal division, repeatedly denied his requests for a “five and two” on the basis that Latimer’s case did not meet the NPB policy manual’s definition of “exceptional circumstances” which would justify a reduction in his nightly reporting requirements.

However, the Federal Court ruled the “exceptional circumstances” test was an improper fetter on the board’s discretion and was inconsistent with the principles of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which governs day parole and calls for the least restrictive measures consistent with protection of the public.

In light of that ruling, the NPB reversed its earlier refusal after conducting an in-office review of Latimer’s file, according to a Sept. 1 decision sheet released Wednesday.

“According to your Case Management Team (CMT), your reintegration has been steadily progressing since your initial release into the community over two years ago,” the board wrote, noting Latimer recently finished the third year of an electrician program and expects to complete his fourth year by March.

“File information indicates that you handled the stress of a family member’s medical difficulties in an appropriate manner. There are no concerns regarding your behaviour in the community and your CMT currently assesses your risk to re-offend as very low.”

Latimer’s case management team and staff at the halfway house fully supported his bid for relaxed conditions, the decision states.

“The board notes that your CMT plans to reduce its frequency of supervision in light of your positive attitude and commitment to a prosocial lifestyle. The board further notes that at the current time you are spending little time at (the halfway house) other than the seven hours that you are required to be there, and no interventions have been required to date.”

I ask only one question. If Tracy had not had a significant disability, would Robert be receiving an easing of his parole restrictions today?

In otherwords, Robert is receiving special parole conditions because it appears that the parole board does not equate killing a person with a disability with killing an able bodied person.

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