Thursday, April 19, 2018

20% of End-of-life medical decisions made without cancer patients consent in Belgium.

10% of Flemish (Belgium) cancer patients die by euthanasia.

The following article was published by Bioedge on April 8, 2018.

Michael Cook
By Michael Cook

A survey of end-of-life decisions for cancer patients involving Flemish physicians has found that in 10.4% of the cases, there was euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide and life shortening without explicit patient request in 1.8%.

The results were published in the British Journal of Cancer and were based on a survey of physicians in Flanders, Belgium, in 2013. The percentages are based, not on cancer deaths, but on the number of end-of-life decisions for the patients. The classification system may seem a bit odd to non-specialists. If the drugs were given with the explicit intention of hastening death, the decision was termed “euthanasia” if “someone other than the patient at the patient ’s explicit request had administered the drugs”; physician-assisted suicide if “drugs had been prescribed or supplied and self-administered”; and “life abbreviation without explicit patient request” if there had been no explicit request from the patient.

The reasons for an end-of-life decision included (along with other motives) the “wish of the family” (28%) and an “unbearable situation for relatives” (12.4%).

Since cancer is the disease most often mentioned as a trigger for a euthanasia request, it is not surprising that requests for euthanasia are higher amongst cancer patients. The authors believe that “in Belgium assisted dying has clearly become a part of medical practice in the care of cancer patients and that the various disciplines of oncology need to be trained in dealing with euthanasia requests”.

The 1.8% of deaths which occurred without explicit request should not alarm anyone about “slippery slopes”, the authors believe. The proportion of such deaths has remained constant ever since euthanasia was legalised in 2002.

However, somewhat confusingly, the authors note that “decision-making took place without the patient’s input in almost 20% of the cases”. These decisions were not necessarily euthanasia; they could have been withholding treatment or aggressive pain relief. But as the authors note, it is still unethical.

Study examines euthanasia of people with intellectual disabilities in the Netherlands

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Not Dead Yet spokesperson
An important study was published in the Journal BMC Medical Ethics (March 5) examining nine euthanasia deaths of people with intellectual disabilities in the Netherlands.

The purpose of the study was to examine:
How do physicians and the Dutch regional euthanasia review committees operationalise the EAS due care criteria for patients who have an intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorder? What, if any, are the particular difficulties when the EAS due care criteria are applied to these patient groups?
For more information about euthanasia from a disability perspective go to the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet.

According to the 2017 Annual euthanasia report, there were 6585 reported euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands in 2017. and of those, 252 of them were people who died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons or for dementia.

The study acknowledges the growth in euthanasia for psychiatric reasons in the Netherlands:
There were 2 reported cases in 2010, 42 in 2013, and 60 in 2016. EAS for mental suffering has been fiercely debated. Arguments have focused on the difficulty of assessing the patient’s subjective perception and complaints and on the challenges in assessing the patient’s capacity of judgement, which may be impaired by psychiatric conditions such as severe depression.

The study examined 416 Netherlands euthanasia case summaries uncovering 9 cases of a person with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum. These cases are examined in the study. 

The nine euthanasia deaths included 6 woman and 3 men of varying ages. Of the 9 deaths by euthanasia, 6 of the people had intellectual disabilities, 2 were identified as Asperger’s syndrome and one was identified as autism spectrum disorder.

Three cases referred to family involvement, the other cases didn't include family information. One case stated that the person lived in a psychogeriatric unit while another case indicated that the person lived alone, while the other cases didn't refer to living conditions. Six cases referred to a previous admission to a psychiatric in-patient setting and there were several references to loneliness and social isolation.

The initial request was usually made to the GP. In six cases the GP refused, in three of the refusals, the GP did not support euthanasia and the other three cases the physician thought that the case was too complex or that the person did not qualify for euthanasia. In all of the six refusals, the person went to the "End of life Clinic" (euthanasia clinic) for approval.

Capacity assessments were referred to in eight cases, where five of the cases it stated that the person had decision making capacity. In three cases the physicians disagreed or wanted a second opinion concerning capacity.

The study concludes that safeguards and capacity assessment in cases of people with intellectual disabilities or autism do not effectively protect this group of people:
...Following the examination of the Dutch case reports, we conclude that the safeguards, in the form of legal due care criteria, are not easily applied to people with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder, and that the usual standards could in fact have the unintended effect of leaving vulnerable patients at risk. 
...From the literature and our examination of nine case reports published on the RTE website, we conclude that assessment of capacity can be extremely difficult people with intellectual disabilities, however mild. It requires a high level of expertise and an intimate knowledge of the patient. There are specialist intellectual disability physicians in the Netherlands, but there was evidence of involvement of such a specialist in only one of the cases (2016–03). 
...The Dutch cases raise the possibility that the bar for assessment of intractable suffering is set lower for people with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder than for the general population, by considering their long term disability as a medical rather than a social condition. 
The study then suggests that the problems with euthanasia that were uncovered by examining deaths of people with intellectual disabilities may also apply to the general population:
Widening the implications even further, we speculate that many of the challenges highlighted in this paper could also be relevant to patients in the general population, and that they are simply more pronounced or extreme for vulnerable patient groups. It is quite possible that people with intellectual disabilities are like the canary in the coal mine, among the first to come up against issues that turn out to be issues for everyone. ...It may well be that the ability to use rationality and logic when weighing up the EAS option, and thus decision-making capacity in accordance with standard capacity tests, is impaired in most people affected by the emotional turmoil of terminal illness or suffering caused by chronic conditions.
The final comments from this study clearly uncover a reality, that being that all people who are considering death by lethal injection, at that moment, are part of a vulnerable patient group. The concept that euthanasia concerns free choice and autonomy represent a false and dangerous concept because the reality is that people only consider death by lethal injection when they are at the lowest point in their life. In other words, euthanasia is not about freedom, choice and autonomy but rather an abandonment of people at their time of need.

For more information 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Assisted suicide lobby group delays launch of suicide drug.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Reuters reported that the assisted suicide lobby group, Cooperative Last Will has delayed the launch of the lethal suicide drug known as Substance X after a 19-year-old died by lethal drugs:
Cooperative Last Will scrapped its plan for Substance X after prosecutors launched an investigation into the group following the suicide of a 19-year-old woman. Her parents blamed Last Will on the grounds that its announcement made her aware of the existence of the chemicals she used to kill herself. 

The assisted suicide group made headlines when a 19-year-old woman died by assisted suicide with the alleged involvement of this group. According to Reuters:
Prosecutors had been looking at the Final Wish cooperative since September... 

Final Wish made headlines ...when the father of 19-year-old Ximena Knol said on television the group should be shut down after his daughter’s suicide using a powder believed to be the same “Substance X” the association promotes.
The 2017 Netherlands euthanasia report indicated that there were 6585 reported assisted deaths, up 8% from 2016 with 252 of the assisted deaths done for dementia or psychiatric reasons, up by 25% since 2016.

In January 2017, a Netherlands euthanasia review committee decided that the death of a woman with dementia, who died by euthanasia against her will, was done in "good faith." The woman was held down while the doctor lethally injected her. On January 1, 2018, Berna van Baarsen, a euthanasia assessor for 10 years, resigned over the acceptance of euthanasia for dementia in the Netherlands. On January 26, 2018 a 29-year-old woman died by euthanasia for psychiatric reasons.

Reuters reported that the recent furor over the death of 19-year-old Ximena Knol has led to new calls to review the Netherlands euthanasia law.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fatal Flaws film - Premiere Screening May 8 in Ottawa

"Fatal Flaws" Premiere Screening & Round-table Discussion will be at the:
Ottawa Little Theatre - 400 King Edward Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 7M7 
7:00 PM Documentary Screening – "Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death"
(Arrive early, seating is on a first-come, first serve basis.)
Purchase your $10 screening ticket online here. Eventbrite.
 Click here to view the event poster.
“Are laws allowing euthanasia and assisted suicide leading society down a dangerous path?”
Kevin Dunn
Over the past two years, filmmaker Kevin Dunn has traveled throughout Europe and America asking some of the most fundamental philosophical questions of our time:
"Should we be giving doctors, or anyone, the legal right to end the life of another human?" and, "How do these laws affect society over time?"
Purchase your $10 screening ticket online here. Eventbrite.

Contact the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition to book a speaker for your screening of the Fatal Flaws film at: info@epcc.ca or call: 1-877-439-3348

The film features powerful testimonies from patients, doctors, lawmakers and advocates from both sides of the debate.
8:45 PM Round-table Discussion – LIVE RECORDING
Following the screening, join us for the live recording of a round-table discussion on the dangers of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide, also known as "medical aid in dying". The session will be recorded for broadcast and educational purposes and moderated by Mr. Dunn.

The Premiere screening is sponsored by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition www.epcc.ca.

Link to the Facebook - Fatal Flaws event page.


Visit the film's website for advance previews and more: www.fatalflawsfilm.com.

Oregon Health Plan – Medicaid, Rationing of Care for Patients with Cancer Changes in Eligibility Criteria over the years from 1994 to 2018

This article explains how the Oregon Health Plan rations care for patients with cancer.


Dr Kenneth Stevens
By Kenneth R. Stevens, Jr., MD 

April 15, 2018

The Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) uses a Prioritized List of Health Services (Link) established by the state Health Services Commission in determining what diagnoses, conditions and treatments will be covered. The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) was established in 1994.

It is currently under the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

The OHP Guidelines for patients with serious illness have changed over the years.

During its early years (1994 to about 2008-2009), one of its guidelines was: 

“It is the intent of the Commission to not cover diagnostic or curative care for the primary illness or care focused on active treatment of the primary illness which are intended to prolong life or alter disease progression for patients with a 5% chance of a 5 year survival.”
This was the criteria used to deny Barbara Wagner of Springfield, Oregon from receiving chemotherapy for her recurrent lung cancer.

Barbara Wagner’s story: 
Barbara Wagner of Springfield, Oregon, a 64-year old great-grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer in about 2006. Her cancer was initially treated with chemotherapy and radiation, and she went into remission. In early May 2008, a CT scan revealed her cancer was back and her cancer physician prescribed Tarceva (brand name erlotinib) a pill taken once a day for the purpose of slowing the cancer growth and extending her life. Studies show the drug provides a 30% increased median survival for patients with advanced lung cancer. One-year-survival rate for patients who took Tarceva increased by more than 45% compared to patients who took a placebo. She was on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) and was notified in May 2008 that the OHP would not cover the beneficial chemotherapy treatment, “but that it would cover palliative, or comfort care, including, if she chose, doctor-assisted suicide.”

She said she was devastated when she found that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn’t cover the cancer medication prescribed by her oncologist. “I think it’s messed up,” Wagner told the reporter, bursting into tears. (“A Gift of Treatment – When the Oregon Health Plan fails to cover a cancer drug, the drugmaker steps in” by Tim Christie, June 3, 2008, The Register-Guard Newspaper, Eugene, Oregon.)
 
She was particularly upset because the letter of denial said that doctor-assisted suicide would be covered! “To say to someone, we’ll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it’s cruel,” she said. “I get angry. Who do they think they are?
Barbara Wagner
Having been given no help or hope from the State of Oregon, her oncologist appealed to Genentech, the company that markets Tarceva in the United States, to cover Wagner’s medication. On Monday, June 2, she got the call from Genentech that they would cover the drug for a year, at which time she could re-apply. She was expecting delivery of the drug on June 3. “It’s fantastic”, she said, “I can’t wait to start the medication.” Ultimately, the drug company demonstrated more concern about Barbara’ continued survival than did the state of Oregon.
Mrs. Wagner died a few months later.

The Oregon Health Plan later changed the guidelines for patients like Barbara Wagner.

The guidelines for the January 1, 2010 OHP Prioritized List (revised 7-21-10) states:

Guideline Note 12. Treatment Of Cancer With Little Or No Benefit Near The End Of Life.

All patients receiving end of life care, either with the intent to prolong survival or with the intent to palliate symptoms, should have/be engaged with palliative care providers (for example, have a palliative care consult or be enrolled in a palliative care program).

Treatment with intent to prolong survival is not a covered service for patients with any of the following:

  • Median survival of less than 6 months with or without treatment, as supported by the best available published evidence. 
  • Median survival with treatment of 6-12 months when the treatment is expected to improve median survival by less than 50%, as supported by the best available published evidence.
  • Median survival with treatment of more than 12 months when the treatment is expected to improve median survival by less than 30%, as supported by the best available published evidence.
  • Eastern Co-operative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance score of 3 or higher 
The Health Services Commission is reluctant to place a strict $/QALY (quality adjusted life-year) or $/LYS (life-year saved) requirement on end-of-life treatments, as such measurements are only approximations and cannot take into account all of the merits of an individual case. However, cost must be taken into consideration when considering treatment options near the end of life. For example, in no instance can it justified to spend $100,000 in public resources to increase an individual’s expected survival by three months when hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are without any form of health insurance.

Treatment with the goal to palliate is addressed in Statement of Intent 1, Palliative Care.

The most recent guideline 3-22-2018 states:

Guideline Note 12, Treatment Of Cancer With Little Or No Benefit 

Cancer is a complex group of diseases with treatments that vary depending on the specific subtype of cancer and the patient’s unique medical and social situation. Goals of appropriate cancer therapy can vary from intent to cure, disease burden reduction, disease stabilization and control of symptoms. Cancer care must always take place in the context of the patient’s support systems, overall heath, and core values. Patients should have access to appropriate peer-reviewed clinical trials of cancer therapies. A comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to treatment should be offered including palliative care services (see Statement Of Intent 1, Palliative Care).

Treatment with intent to prolong survival is not a covered service for patients who have progressive metastatic cancer with:
A) Severe co-morbidities unrelated to the cancer that result in significant impairment in two or more major organ systems which would affect efficacy and/or toxicity of therapy; OR
B) A continued decline in spite of best available therapy with a non reversible Karnofsky Performance Status or Palliative Performance score of 3 or higher which are not due to a pre-existing disability.
Treatment with intent to relieve symptoms or improve quality of life are covered as defined in Statement Of Intent 1, Palliative Care:

Examples include: 

A) Single-dose radiation therapy for painful bone metastases with the intent to relieve pain and improve quality of life.

B) Surgical decompression for malignant bowel obstruction.

C) Medication therapy such as chemotherapy with low toxicity/low side effect agents with the goal to decrease pain from bulky disease or other identified complications. Cost of chemotherapy and alternative medication(s) should be considered.
To quality for treatment coverage, the cancer patient must have a documented discussion about treatment goals, treatment prognosis and the side effects, and knowledge of the realistic expectations of treatment efficacy. This discussion may take place with the patient’s oncologist, primary care provider, or other health care provider, but preferably in a collaborative interdisciplinary care coordination discussion. Treatment must be provided via evidence-driven pathways (such as NCCN, ASCO, ASH, SBMT, or NIH Guidelines) when available.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Nebraska man convicted of assisted suicide in the death of girlfriend.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Matthew Stubbendieck
After two days of hearings and three hours of deliberation, a jury in Nebraska found Matthew Stubbendieck guilty of assisting the suicide of his girlfriend Alicia Wilemon-Sullivan in August 2017.

According to Paul Hammel reporting for the Omaha World Herald:

Wilemon-Sullivan, a divorced mother of four, had texted her boyfriend photos of supposed cancer surgery scars and claimed she had tried radiation treatments that were unsuccessful. 
Stubbendieck, admitted that Wilemon-Sullivan was coming to Nebraska to take her life, and he helped her find a secluded spot.
Even though the article suggested that jurors felt sorry for Stubbendieck, when he admitted that he layed with Wilemon-Sullivan for seven hours while she was dying of self-inflicted wounds, a female juror stated that, 'that was enough for her.'

Shirley Wilemon the mother of the deceased also thought that Stubbendieck should be found guilty. According to the article by Hammel, her mother stated:
“If you love someone, you don’t just sit there and let them die,” 
“He could have saved my daughter, and he chose to leave her out there.”
Stubbendieck also admitted to attempting to suffocate her while she was slowly dying.
Wilemon-Sullivan may have been dying of cancer, but that does not justify abandoning someone to their suicidal ideation.

No DC assisted suicide deaths in the first year after legalization. Doctors don't support assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In the first year of legal assisted suicide in Washington DC, there were no assisted suicide deaths and only two of 11,000 licensed physicians and only one hospital agreed to participate in assisted suicide.

The assisted suicide lobby accused DC officials of preventing assisted suicide. A Washington Post article reported that the DC Health Director rejected this accusation:
At a hearing before the D.C. Council on Monday, D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said she resented advocates who suggest she was trying to impede the law. She said the department notified all 11,000 licensed physicians that the law was in place, and suggested aid-in-dying advocates should have done more outreach to the medical community. 
“I’m not a gatekeeper to the patients. The program is launched,” Nesbitt said. “I don’t interfere in a patient-physician relationship.”
According to the Washington Post article doctors are not signing up to prescribe lethal drugs and they are not seeking more information:
There doesn’t seem to be much interest from doctors. 
No local practicing physician testified in favor of the measure, and several opposed it, during debate before the D.C. Council. 
“The physician community was not out there advocating for it, so I don’t think there should have been an assumption that there would have been a lot of physicians signing up,” said Pia Duryea, a spokeswoman for the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, which stayed neutral on the bill. “We haven’t had any doctors call us up and say, ‘I really want to sign up, and I think the process is too cumbersome.’ ”
I am concerned that the assisted suicide lobby will hire a death salesperson to push doctors to "sign-up" and to promote people dying by assisted suicide in DC.

France: Vincent Lambert to die by dehydration (euthanasia).

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Vincent & Viviane Lambert
On April 12, Figero news reported that Viviane Lambert announced that she was told on April 9, that her son Vincent Lambert, would have his fluids and food withdrawn and die a slow and agonizing death by dehydration, also known as euthanasia by dehydration.

Vincent Lambert was cognitively disabled in a motorcycle accident injury in 2008. His wife unsuccessfully petitioned the court to have all treatment and care ceased including food and water in 2015. His parents urged that their son be transferred to a rehabilitation center.

In the Figero news report Viviane Lambert stated (google translated):

My son was sentenced to death. His name is Vincent Lambert, he is the father of a little girl, he lives, and has committed no crime. And yet, this Monday, April 9, 2018, in France, a doctor told me that in ten days my son would begin the slow and long agony of dying of hunger and thirst. 
...Mr. President: my son did not deserve to be hungry and dehydrated. Who would dare, in this respect, to speak of "dying with dignity"? Why impose this sentence?
To intentionally kill a person by withdrawing fluids, when the person is not otherwise dying is euthanasia by dehydration since the person is directly and intentionally killed by dehydration.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

US nurse charged with murder. Assisted suicide laws will not protect people from medical killers.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


George Davis
The assisted suicide lobby argues that legalizing assisted suicide will prevent "underground" killing. They suggest that legalizing and regulating assisted suicide will protect people from illegal acts. 


Today we are hearing the shocking news of a former Texas nurse, George Davis, who has been charged in the murders of two people and causing significant injury to at least 3 others. According to KSLA news:
The affidavit describes seven incidents involving patients at the Peaches and Louis Owen Heart Hospital at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances, five of whom suffered significant injuries and two who are deceased. 
The document names one person who died, Christopher Greenaway, 47, and family members confirm that the second person who died is Perry Frank, age 61, of Grapeland. Frank died on June 22, 2017. He was the band director at Grapeland High School
Two others who were left with severe injuries, Joseph Kalina, 58, and Pamela Henderson, 63. It also lists several unnamed patients - a 58-year-old man, a 54-year-old man and a 56-year-old man.

In February 2018, Ivo Poppe, a former nurse and Catholic deacon was sentenced to 27 years after being convicted of killing at least 5 people, including his mother, but he indicated that he may have killing at least 20.peoplw

Poppe was arrested in early 2014 after he confided to a psychiatrist that he had "euthanised dozens of people." According to news reports Poppe allegedly killed his first victim in 1978 and his last alleged victim may have been his own mother who died in 2011. Most of the deaths connected to Poppe were done while euthanasia was legal in Belgium.

The Poppe case is similar to the Wetlaufer case in Canada because her crimes remained unknown until she told her psychiatrist that she had killed patients.

There is also Niels Högel's, the German nurse who was convicted of killing 2 patients between 2000 - 2005, and suspected in the deaths of at least 102 people. In December 2016, an Italian emergency room anaesthetist Leonardo Cazzaniga, and nurse Laura Taroni, were arrested in the deaths of at least five patients but prosecutors were examining the medical files of more than 50.

Poppe is not the only medical professional who kills patients in Belgium. 

A study published in the NEJM on March 19, 2015 on the experience with assisted death in Flanders Belgium found that 1.7% of all deaths in the Flanders Belgium, in 2013, were intentionally hastened without explicit request. Based on the data, more than 1000 people were killed in Flanders in 2013 without request.

The Associated Press interviewed Belgian ethicist Freddy Mortier who stated:

Mortier was not happy, however, that the 'hastening of death without explicit request from patients,' which can happen when a patient slumbers into unconsciousness or has lost the capacity for rational judgment, stood at 1.7 percent of cases in 2013. In the Netherlands, that figure was 0.2 percent.
The number of assisted deaths without request are lower in the Netherlands than Belgium, but for Magreet, who is featured in the Fatal Flaws film explaining how her mother died by euthanasia without request in the Netherlands, a few deaths are too many.

Why does this occur?

Euthanasia and assisted suicide laws are designed to cover-up abuse of the law. Laws permitting assisted death require the doctor, who completes the act, to also report the act. These laws are based on a self-reporting system. None of these laws require a third party pre-death assessment or independent oversight of the law. Based on the data from Belgium and the Netherlands, we can conclude that doctors do not self-report abuse of the law.

Further to that, studies indicate that as many as 23% of the assisted deaths are not reported in the Netherlands and 40% of the assisted deaths not reported in Belgium.

Legalizing euthanasia and or assisted suicide does not prevent medical murders or even "underground" killing but rather they give physicians, the right in law, to kill. A right that most physicians do not want to have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fatal Flaws film will change the way you view assisted death. Order yours today.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC)


Many of our supporters purchased The Euthanasia Deception documentary and organized screenings throughout North America and all over the world. 

The Euthanasia Deception was designed as an advocacy film to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide through personal stories but it also resulted in advocates of assisted death changing their mindThe Euthanasia Deception was a great success.

Fatal Flaws features personal stories from people who oppose assisted death but also interviews with leaders of the death lobbies in the Netherlands and the United States.

EPC is also producing the Fatal Flaws pamphlet to re-enforce the message of the film. The pamphlet is excellent for promoting the film or for distribution at a screening.


All prices for the DVD and pamphlets include taxes and shipping: All orders can be made online (Link).
  • DVD: $40 each, 3 for $100, or 10 for $300.
  • Pamphlets: $40 for 100, 300 for $100, or 1000 for $300.
Further Discounts: All orders can be made online (Link).
  • 1 DVD + 100 pamphlets for $75,
  • With any Fatal Flaws order, get The Euthanasia Deception documentary for $20.
Further bulk orders are available upon request.

Order the Fatal Flaws DVD with companion pamphlets online,email: info@epcc.ca or call EPC at: 1-877-439-3348 or mail your check to:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - Box 25033 London, Ontario N6C 6A8 or
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Box 611309 Port Huron, MI 48061
The Fatal Flaws Film will change the way the culture views assisted death.

Fatal Flaws features incredible stories that have never been told before. The most shocking story concerns Margreet whose mother was euthanized in the Netherlands without consent. Please watch and share this film clip.


Fatal Flaws also features the story of Candice Lewis (25) (Link) from Newfoundland, Canada who was pressured by doctors to die by assisted death.

These two powerful stories are a small but important part of the Fatal Flaws film.

EPC is also producing a companion pamphlet to re-enforce the message of the film. The pamphlet is excellent for promoting the film or for distribution at a screening.



"Fatal Flaws" Premiere Screening & Round-table Discussion will be at the:
Ottawa Little Theatre - 400 King Edward Ave, Ottawa, ON K1N 7M7 
7:00 PM Documentary Screening – "Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death"
(Arrive early, seating is on a first-come, first serve basis.)
Purchase your $10 screening ticket online hereEventbrite.

The Opioid Crisis and Suicide

This article was written by Nancy Valko and published on her blog on April 10, 2018

Nancy Valko
By Nancy Valko

Statistics show that more than 115 Americans a day die after overdosing on opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that include both illegal drugs like heroin and legal prescription pain relievers such as codeine and morphine.

We are told that we have an opioid crisis that needs immediate solutions such as suing drug manufacturers, spending more on drug treatment centers, making drugs like Narcan more available to reverse the overdose if given in time, prescribing few-in any-opioids after surgery, adding more drug education in schools, etc.

Some of these ideas are worthy but are we missing a big existential part of the problem?

In a recent Kaiser Health News article asking “How Many Opioid Overdoses are Suicides?”, reporter Martha Bebinger relates a heartbreaking interview with a young drug addict:

“She wanted to be dead, she said, glancing down, a wisp of straight brown hair slipping from behind an ear across her thin face. 
At that point, said Ohlman, she’d been addicted to opioids — controlled by the drugs — for more than three years. 
“And doing all these things you don’t want to do that are horrible — you know, selling my body, stealing from my mom, sleeping in my car,” Ohlman said. “How could I not be suicidal?… “You realize getting clean would be a lot of work,” Ohlman said, her voice rising. “And you realize dying would be a lot less painful. You also feel like you’ll be doing everyone else a favor if you die.”” (Emphasis added)

Having had a daughter with drug addiction and relapses for 16 years who finally succumbed to suicide in 2009 using a horrific assisted suicide technique, I recognize the same pain this young woman expresses. I also know the frustration and fears of families and friends desperate to help.

The Kaiser article goes on to quote Dr. Maria Oquendo, immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association, who said that “[Based on the literature that’s available], it looks like it’s anywhere between 25 and 45 percent of deaths by overdose that may be actual suicides,” *(Emphasis added).

The article also quotes a pair of distinguished economists who say that “opioid overdoses, suicides and diseases related to alcoholism are all often ‘deaths of despair’” caused by “underlying deep malaise”. (Emphasis added)

We have both a suicide and a drug crisis that often overlap due to an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

Examining the scope of the problem.

As psychiatrist Dr. Oquendo notes in a related article, US suicide rates were declining until they “abruptly stopped in 1999” and now have increased 25%, especially among adolescent girls.

Now, there are about 123 reported suicides per day in the US but the real figure may be as high as 3 to 5 times that number because many suicides go unreported as suicide because of reasons like the stigma of suicide and the difficulty in determining intent.

Additionally, nearly half of US adults have a close friend or family member with a current or past drug addiction.

We have more drug treatment centers and suicide prevention programs than ever (with unfortunately varying levels of quality and allowed family involvement) but the problems continue to persist and even worsen.

Conclusion

What has happened in the US since suicide rates started rising two decades ago and drug abuse has surged?

First, we must recognize that American culture, law and politics changed radically in the last two decades and this has drastically affected all of us, especially our young people. For example, the legalization and glamorization of assisted suicide and mind altering drugs like recreational marijuana have not helped anyone want to embrace personal responsibility and caring for others as worthy goals.

We also now have a culture where religious values are often derided as judgmental and even harmful to social progress. Obscene language and violent, hypersexualized entertainment is applauded as liberating rather than offensive. Having children is portrayed as more of a potential economic, professional and personal burden rather than a joyful manifestation of love, commitment and family.

We owe our society and especially our young people a more hopeful, less selfish view of life rather than just the pursuit of money, fame and pleasure.

Without a strong foundation of love, strong ethics and ideals, the resilience required to weather both the ups and downs of life without drugs or succumbing to suicide can be lost.

As much as we need good, affordable suicide and drug treatment programs, we adults also need to be examples of a truly “good life” and step up to fight the dangerous influences that are killing our young people.

And we must never give up!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mary Kills People is a dangerous and irresponsible show that should be terminated.

Nancy Elliott
By Nancy Elliott
Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - USA

A recent article written by Lindsay Kornick, entitled “Euthanasia Drama Claims Death Can ‘Be a party’” gets it right. It seems that the series “Mary Kills People” is at it again. As she and her accomplice go around killing people, they try to candy coat it for their victims. The latest one is a sick man that instead of encouraging him to fight his disease, she tells him death is a party. First everyone knows that you do not encourage a suicidal person. Second as a doctor she should know that a person fighting a disease needs encouragement and not a kick to the pavement. Additionally, Mary acknowledges that the treatment is working. This is one of the main reasons that legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia is so detrimental to the health care of us all. Once doctors start killing their patients as a treatment for disease they no longer will work to cure people. This time is valuable to the individual. Yet Mary and those who subscribe to her thinking are OK with pushing people under the bus.
Let’s go back to the flippant comment used to push her death agenda, Death can be a Party. This is not an original thought. The pro death groups have been having death parties for some time. I heard of one in Oregon, where the friends and family of the soon to be departed, gathered to urge him on. The alcohol flowed making it hard for the victim to back down. There was another one where a woman allegedly danced all night at her death party and then encouraged by those around her took the poison, and let’s not forget the California woman who had the full weekend death party ending with someone helping her drink the poison. These are stories that are used to glamorize death by suicide. But is it really glamorous to commit suicide. No it is not. 

Jeanette Hall
The targets for assisted suicide and euthanasia are the sick, elderly and people with disabilities. It is a discriminatory policy that has a special carve out to kill certain people that society thinks are less important. And just like the man that was winning with his chemotherapy, they are not necessarily dying. In Oregon, a young otherwise healthy diabetic qualifies for legal assisted suicide if he refuses insulin. How many others people who are on meds become terminal if they cease their medication and what about all the treatable cancers and other diseases. People could be throwing away years and even decades. Jeanette Hall in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to a year to live. She wanted to use the act to have her life ended. Her doctor talked her into treatment instead and she was cured. Now 17 years later she is happy to be alive.

Doctors who kill their patients instead of treating them, encouraging them and showing them true compassion when they are in need, are lazy, incompetent, murderers, lacking in human empathy or compassion and deserve jail time. I would not want to go to a doctor who ends their patients life as I would not think my life is safe in their hands. And what about Hollywood and more of their usual garbage glamorizing doctors that kill their patients, they are no better than the Nazi’s in Germany who produced films to soften the public to accept euthanasia, and we all know how well that turned out. 

Mary Kills People is a dangerous and irresponsible show that should be terminated.

Nancy Elliott
Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - USA

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Assisted suicide push gains little ground in state legislatures

Alex Schadenberg
This article was published by OneNewsNow on April 5, 2018.

Supporters of assisted suicide are having little luck this year in convincing lawmakers to pass bills to legalize helping others die.

Bills failed in 26 states in 2017 and this year they have been introduced in 25 states.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition says so far Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New Hampshire have said no to the assisted suicide lobby.

"Utah actually passed a bill this year which criminalizes assisted suicide," he notes. "So opponents are leading in the effort to educate the public and lawmakers on the dangers of doctors helping people take their lives."

But the "success rate" for defeating pro-killing bills is not a complete victory this year, he adds, pointing out that Hawaii has passed an assisted suicide bill.

"Nonetheless," Schadenberg says, "the other side will want you to think that it's this massive victory in the U.S. in 2018."

Rhode Island assisted suicide bill will create the perfect crime.

Margaret Dore
Contact: Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA, President (206) 697-1217

Providence, RI -- Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide legalization efforts in many states, including Rhode Island, made the following statement in connection with the hearing on bill H 7297 seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in that state.
"There is a bill pending before the Rhode Island House of Representatives, which seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined," said Dore. “The bill seeks to legalize these practices for people with years, even decades, to live.”

“The bill is sold as assuring patient choice and control. But when you look at what the bill actually says and does, the bill is a recipe for elder abuse.” Dore explained, "The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient’s death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. After that, no doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death. If the patient objected or even struggled, who would know? The bill will create the perfect crime.”

"Other states are pushing back against assisted suicide,” said Dore. “This year, Utah passed a bill clarifying that assisted suicide is a crime. Last year, Alabama passed a bill banning assisted suicide. Two years ago, the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned assisted suicide: Physician-assisted suicide is no longer legal in New Mexico.”

“The Rhode Island bill seeks to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who are ‘terminal,’ which is defined as a doctor’s prediction of less than six months to live.“ Dore added, “In real life, such persons can have years, even decades, to live.”

“Doctors can be wrong about life expectancy, sometimes way wrong." Dore explained, "This is due to actual mistakes and the fact that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. A few years ago, I was met at the airport by a man who at age 18 had been diagnosed with ALS and given 3 to 5 years to live, at which time he was predicted to die by paralysis. His diagnosis had been confirmed by the Mayo Clinic. When he met me at the airport, he was 74 years old. The disease progression had stopped on its own.”

“If the Rhode Island bill becomes law, there will be new lethal paths of elder abuse, which will be legally sanctioned,” said Dore. “People with years, even decades to live, will be encouraged to throw away their lives or have their lives thrown away for them. Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and suicide and euthanasia, the proposed bill has it all wrong.”
For more information:

1. Margaret Dore, Legal/Policy Analysis of H 7297, Rhode Island House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, memo available here: Attachments available here

2. Margaret K. Dore, “Death with Dignity’: What Do We Advise Our Clients?,” King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009,  (available here).

Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation working against assisted suicide and euthanasia, worldwide

www.choiceillusion.org
1001 4th Avenue, Suite 4400
Seattle WA USA 98154

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