Monday, February 27, 2017

Assisted suicide can be a slow and painful death.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In October 2012, Ezekiel Emanuel wrote an article titled Four Myths About Doctor-Assisted Suicide that was published in the New York Times. In the article, Emanuel explains why assisted suicide is not necessarily a "Good Death." Emanuel wrote:
The last misconception about assisted suicide is that it is a quick, painless and guaranteed way to die. But nothing in medicine—not even simple blood draws—is without complications. It turns out that many things can go wrong during an assisted suicide. Patients vomit up the pills they take. They don’t take enough pills. They wake up instead of dying. Patients in the Dutch study vomited up their medications in 7 percent of cases; in 15 percent of cases, patients either did not die or took a very long time to die—hours, even days; in 18 percent, doctors had to intervene to administer a lethal medication themselves, converting a physician-assisted suicide into euthanasia.
Recently Kaiser Health News published an article promoting a new assisted suicide drug cocktail. The article outlines a few of the horrific details associated with current assisted suicide drugs.
The first Seconal alternative turned out to be too harsh, burning patients’ mouths and throats, causing some to scream in pain. The second drug mix, used 67 times, has led to deaths that stretched out hours in some patients—and up to 31 hours in one case.
In other words, in the past few years some assisted suicide deaths have been horrific. Dr. Carol Parrot, a doctor who does assisted suicide in Washington State explains:
Concerns about the overly long deaths surfaced last summer. Nearly all of the problems occurred in patients already taking high doses of opiates. 
“We run into patients who are so tolerant or dependent on narcotics that even the astronomically high doses of oral narcotics in our prescription do not stop them from breathing,” she said. 
If patients have diseases that slow or alter normal organ function, it can affect the speed and amount of drugs absorbed in the small intestine, metabolized in the liver and sent to the rest of the body. Very large patients, too, may require larger doses. 
Deaths aren’t required to be supervised, and no doctor was present with the unidentified patient who took 31 hours to die, so doctors would only be speculating about the reason, Parrot said.
The article concluded by informing that reader that:
KHN’s coverage of end-of-life and serious illness issues is supported by The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
We need society to be committed to caring for, not killing people.


Nullifidian said...

Isn't it rather ironic to point up how deaths from assisted suicide can be slow and lingering when you want more people to die slow, lingering deaths from terminal illnesses in the absence of anything that might speed up the process?

Patricia said...

I am afraid that instead of deterring people from pursuing Physician assisted death, or suicide, what will transpire is that more lethal concoctions will be demanded , experimented with and used. The pharmacists and doctors will become expert at what killing concoctions are swiftest. Assisted suicide is a moral , ethical and legal travesty. The logistics of killing are indeed not as easy as some surmise, but i wonder if the risk is enough to deter anyone with this mindset from such a drastic choice.

Alex Schadenberg said...

First of all Nullifidian, we have no wish for anyone to die a painful death. This is an assertion by the death lobby to attack people who believe in caring for people and who oppose killing people.

This article proves the lie of the euthanasia lobby that sells lethal injection as a quick, easy and painless death, when in fact this is not always true.