Friday, September 19, 2008
The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.
She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.
The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.
Lady Warnock said: "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.
"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.
"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."
She went on: "If you've an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die.
"I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down."
Monday, September 08, 2008
5.30pm: Dad is bent over the toilet bowl with a brush in his hand and a scowl on his face. I walk up to him. "Shall I give you a hand?" Dad begins to snigger, abandoning any attempt to make sense of the situation. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our backs to Mum, who paces around the landing with a newly fitted catheter in her hand.
The catheter has been put in by nurse Marianne to enable our GP, who will be with us in half an hour, to give Mum a lethal injection. But instead of having a moment of peace with us, as Marianne suggested, Mum demands that we clean the toilets. Both upstairs and downstairs.
My brother, Maarten, is sitting on the edge of the bath, staring out of the bathroom window.
"Imagine," he mutters. "Her last hour, spent like this."
This is the Netherlands, where voluntary euthanasia is permitted, as well as physician-assisted suicide. This is the day my mother has chosen to die, and the toilets need to be spotless.
The mundane stories of everyday euthanasia,those that don't usually make it into the papers are often the most disturbing. The blockquote above doesn't adequately express the essense of this story. For those who haven't seen the grim, desparate and ultimately tragic side of this debate, I encourage you to read the whole article. It does an excellent job of pointing out that those who choose assisted suicide are more often than not motivated not by pain, butdepression and fear. What is needed is not a quicker death, but hope.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Alison Davis, who has spina bifida, and leads No Less Human, a division within SPUC, says:
"The story of Mrs. Seema Sood explains in a nutshell why allowing legalised killing of vulnerable people by euthanasia is wrong. Mrs. Sood, who is now 37, longed for death two years ago, and even petitioned the President of India for euthanasia. She had lost all movement of her limbs for 15 years following a severe attack of rheumatoid arthritis, and was in despair. Now two years later, after surgery paid for by the Government of her state and her university alumni association, she says 'I regret the letter to the President. Everything was so dark for me ealier, but I'm excited about my mobility now and I'm confident I will improve.' "
"Euthanasia would have robbed Mrs. Sood of the chance to recover her love of life, and to benefit from the surgery which revolutionised her life, and no one would have known that life held something better for her in the future. She is not the only vulnerable person who has changed her mind about wanting to die. I've been through the same experience myself."
"But euthanasia allows for no changes of mind. It is the philosophy of despair. What sick and disabled people who want to die really need is the sort of help and support which Mrs. Sood received both from politicians and her friends. Note well, politicians. Your actions could save a life like Mrs. Sood's rather than condemning her and others to death."
Thursday, June 05, 2008
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (Reuters) - Elderly foreign tourists are tapping Mexican pet shops for a drug used by veterinarians to put cats and dogs to sleep that has become the sedative of choice for euthanasia campaigners.
Tourists from as far as Australia have travelled to Mexico to buy liquid pentobarbital, which causes a painless death in humans in less than an hour, right-to-die advocates say.
Clutching photos of the bottled drug to overcome a lack of Spanish, they have maps sketched by euthanasia activists to locate back-street pet shops and veterinary supply stores near the U.S. border. There they can buy a bottle for $35 to $50, enough for one suicide, no questions asked.
"We have a moral right to a peaceful death. I don't want to die with a total loss of dignity, incontinent, barely able to see and stand up, suffering as my mother did," said Bron Norman, a healthy 65-year-old Australian woman who spent $2,860 to fly to Mexico in March to buy pentobarbital.
Used legally across the world to anesthetize and euthanize farm animals and pets, pentobarbital, sometimes known by the trade name Nembutal, is tightly restricted to veterinarians.
But lax regulation in Mexico means it can easily be bought.
Euthanasia campaigners call it "the Mexico option" and say they are willing to travel so far because pentobarbital is one of the few drugs that produces a reliable and tranquil death by sending a person to sleep before shutting down breathing.
"There are few countries in the world where the drug is as readily available as in Mexico," said Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, who set up pro-euthanasia group Exit International.
Exit International has helped 250 people from Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand get pentobarbital in Mexico over the past few years. And, it says, interest is growing.
"You do this trip because you want an insurance policy," said Michael Irwin, a British euthanasia campaigner and former United Nations medical director who plans to take a dozen Britons to Mexico this year to buy the drug, helped by Exit.
"You make (the trip) in good health so that if you become terminally ill this can guarantee you a quicker exit."
Foreign buyers usually fly to U.S. border cities and cross over to Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo or Ciudad Juarez, the group says.
A Reuters reporter buying a bottle in Nuevo Laredo was given a range of brands to choose from.
How long before some clever entrepreneur sets up an retirement community based on this concept?
Bienvenidos a "Pueblo Fin dela Viaje"!
If you lived here, you'd be dead now.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The German Federation of Internal Medicine has awarded a former Nazi SS doctor, suspected of carrying out euthanasia. Dr. Hans-Joachim Sewering, 92, was honored for giving "unequalled services in the cause of freedom of the practice and the independence of the medical profession and to the nation's health system," according to the Federation.
American Jewish organizations previously have charged that Sewering killed 900 Jewish children at a euthanasia center. He has admitted to being part of the elite SS unit but has denied carrying out euthanasia.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Even with the departure of Rosie O'Donnell, The View continues to to be the lowest circle of that outer darkness known as daytime TV. In yesterday's program, Whoopi Goldberg gushes over Jack Kevorkian's run for Congress.
...euthanasia, like race, is one of those things nobody wants to talk about. It makes people very uncomfortable. I think euthanasia is, is an important thing and it should be there for people to make that decision if they chose to. It should be available to them with counseling like a lot of other things. And I’m a big fan of Jack’s because he believed that he could help people who were in, in a place where no one was helping them. And where, where it was too much.
Like most of Jack's fans, Whoopi doesn't have her facts straight. Most of Kevorkian's victims were not terminally ill, and it is likely if they were properly treated for depression they would still be alive today. We don't know if Whoopi is aware of the ghoulish experiments on the dying that Kevorkian performed or planned, or if it would change her opinion of him.
What is clear is that is that the media will always portray Kevorkian as an icon of social activism despite all evidence to the contrary. I don't know how Whoopi came to the conclusion that euthanasia is like race, but it's led her to the same tired propaganda that this attention starved malignant and mentally ill character is somehow a brave crusading pioneer of human rights...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Hugo Claus, the Belgian writer considered the greatest in Dutch-Flemish, has died through euthanasia: his publisher 'De Bezige Bij' announced this from The Netherlands, quoted by the Belgian press. Claus suffered from Alzheimer, and he announced his desire to die this way a long time ago, even specifying the precise hour of his death: today, in the clinic of Antwerp. He was 78 years old. Born in Brussels, writer, poet, dramatist but also scriptwriter and painter, anti-conformist, Hugo Maurice Julien Claus obtained his biggest success in '83 with what is considered his masterpieces: "The sorrow of Belgium", on the Nazi occupation of his country.
While it's not exactly shocking that a post-modern angst-filled writer would opt out of existence this way in a country where it is legal, I found the language interesting. "Died through euthanasia" sounds so innocuous, doesn't it? The reality is of course Minheer Claus was incapable of ending his own life so he went to a clinic and some medical staffer was apparently happy to assist him. For some [and perhaps a diminishing number] this would present a moral problem with more consequences for society than can be reliably foreseen by mortals. But this isn't a concern for most of Europe. We are accustomed to phrases like "died after a long illness" and "passed away quietly at home" in the obituaries. Expect "died through euthanasia" to be making more frequent appearances in the future...
AN 81-year-old Gold Coast man built, and yesterday used, an intricate suicide machine to remotely shoot himself, after downloading the plans from the internet.
The Burleigh Heads man, who lived alone, left notes of his plans and thoughts as he struggled to come to terms with demands by interstate relatives that he move out his home and into care.
He spent hours searching the internet for a way to kill himself, downloaded what he needed and then built a complex machine that would remotely fire a gun.
He set the device up in his driveway about 7am yesterday, placed himself in front of it and set it in motion.
His notes explained that he chose the driveway as he knew there were tradesmen working next door who would find his body. The plan worked as the workmen heard the gunshots and ran to investigate.
The Gold Coast Bulletin will not reveal how the machine worked, but it was attached to a .22 semi-automatic pistol loaded with four bullets.
It was able to fire multiple shots into the man's head after he activated it.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
A gay teenager who claims he faces the death penalty in Iran after his boyfriend was executed there two years ago has spoken of his anger and disappointment at losing his legal battle against deportation.
Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who sought sanctuary in Britain in 2005 when he discovered that his partner had been hanged in Tehran for engaging in homosexual acts, is expected to be returned to Iran in the next few weeks.
Mr Kazemi fled to Holland from Britain last year after the Home Office rejected his claim for asylum. But yesterday, a Dutch court ruled that he should be sent back to Britain after refusing to consider his claim for asylum.
Speaking from an immigration detention centre in Rotterdam, Mr Kazemi told his uncle, a British citizen, that he was "very, very angry" at the decision, which will see him returned to Britain within 72 hours.
He believed he would have had a much better chance of protection from deportation to Iran in Holland, according to his uncle. But yesterday, Holland's highest administrative court rejected his lawyers' arguments that the UK asylum and immigration system did not take proper account of international conventions that uphold the rights of refugees.
If the secular world won't save Mehdi Kazemi, who will? As Christians who value life, can we reconcile our Biblical view of homosexuality with the plight of this young man? Would we be willing to work with those we usually oppose in the struggle over whose values should guide our culture?
If not, Mehdi may be facing his executioners in a matter of days.
Monday, August 06, 2007
A study by the Coma Science Group of the University of Liège, Belgium, finds that up to half of patients in an acute vegetative state regain some level of consciousness..
In the study, which analyzed data collected over a five-year period, researchers assessed and classified comatose patients according to the Coma Recovery Scale. The researchers determined that some 40 percent had been incorrectly diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, when they were in fact in a minimally conscious state. And 10 percent of those diagnosed as being minimally conscious were communicating functionally.
Patients who are minimally conscious shows periodic signs of awareness himself and his surroundings but is usually cannot communicate with others, whereas a patient who is in a persistent vegetative state is awake but lacks such awareness.
The Coma Science Group’s Dr. Steven Laureys presented the study findings at the European Neurological Society congress in June:“Our data show that acute vegetative state is certainly not rare among patients admitted to intensive care … What is important to note is that it may be transient and that the prognosis for patients with impaired consciousness depends to a great extent on the nature of the brain damage. … The study underlines the importance of extreme caution in any decision to limit the life chances of patients during the acute phase of a vegetative state.” …
Take the case of Jesse Ramirez, who suffered major brain injuries after his car flipped over and he was thrown from the vehicle on May 30th. Doctors predicted that the 36-year old Arizonan could remain in a permanent vegetative state. Less than two weeks after the accident, his wife, Rebecca, 33, asked doctors to remove his food and water tubes. But Jesse’s family challenged her decision in court, and a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered the tubes reconnected.
And then, Ramirez regained consciousness. The Arizona Republic reports:[H]e can hug and kiss, nod his head, answer yes and no questions, give a thumbs-up sign and sit in a chair. …
Jesse is now ready to move from a hospice to a rehabilitation facility.
“We have had a lot of miracles,” said Betty Valenzuela, Ramirez’s aunt. “He would have been gone.”
“All of the family is absolutely thrilled that he has now become conscious and is able to go through rehab,” Judge Paul Katz said. …
The Arizona Republic notes that this same Judge Katz had previously scolded the family for not acting in Jesse’s best interest
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
On May 30, Carol, a 55-year-old nurse and midwife with multiple sclerosis, died after drinking a cocktail of drugs at a flat in Zurich, courtesy of Dignitas - the controversial Swiss group which arranges legal euthanasia. Her mother was there, holding Carol's hand when she slipped into a coma three minutes after drinking the deadly liquid. Kathleen's last words to her daughter when she died 30 minutes later were: "Bye, bye, my darling."
It goes against every mother's instinct to stand back and watch her child commit suicide, yet Kathleen fought every maternal urge and did just that. Now she must live with the consequences.
"No parent wants to witness their child dying, no mother wants to outlive her daughter, but this was what Carol wanted. This was all about Carol, not me, it was the last thing I wanted," says Kathleen.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The latest of these rhapsodies of support for Kevorkian, a lighthearted piece by Lisa Birnbach in The Huffington Post, explains the why any attempts to counter the media lionization of Kevorkian is useless. Facts are distinctly NOT welcome in any discussion of Kevorkian. In fact the the less you know about him or any related subject the more qualified you are to pronounce his worthiness. Observe how cunningly she establishes her credentials:
I can't say I've spent much time thinking about Jack Kevorkian. I haven't even spent much time thinking about euthanasia. That is, until the Terri Schiavo ratings period on CNN, when I devoted quite a bit of time thinking about the horrific politicization of this young woman in a prolonged vegetative state -- a women who would probably have pulled her own cord had she been able.
That last phrase is crucial. Did you see the aggressive shift from obliviousness to a brazenly uninformed position. So high is the confidence in her stance that she can throw around mangled phrases like "prolonged vegetative state" with impunity, then anchor the crux of the argument on what Terri "probably" would have wanted. It is at that point that it begins to dawn on even the slowest of us [like myself] that the innocence and goodness of Kevorkian and those who only wanted to help Terri achieve the death she probably would have wanted is so OBVIOUS that even a literary layman in ethical issues and humble expert on the culture of the mid to late 20th Century Preppie Nation can see it clear as day. The point is made masterfully here:
Every time CNN showed the one move she made in years, a kind of rolling motion (no proof of brain activity if you ask me, an English major -- no, actually worse, a pass/fail semiotics major) -- I cringed and got progressively angrier. She resembled David's haunting portrait, Death of Marat, or that's what I would have said in an art history paper, had I not already fortunately graduated from college with a degree in semiotics.
Be not embarassed about that liberal arts degree. It turns out that nothing else could better prepare one to discern the heart of Jack Kevorkian than that BA, and no one seems more surprised at this than Ms Birnbach herself. See the awesome effect of this juggernaut of mentation that she forged as an undergrad as it steamrolls all else but the noble object of her praises:
Last week, in advance of Dr. Kevorkian's release from the slammer in Michigan, where he'd spent the previous eight years for assisting in the death of a terminally-ill man afflicted with ALS, I started to think about him. And now I'm a passionate supporter of his work. A spokesman for the Detroit archdiocese which urged his incarceration, said, "For 10 years, Jack Kevorkian's actions resembled those of a pathological serial killer. It will be truly regrettable if he's now treated as a celebrity parolee instead of the convicted murderer he is,"
Aha! The Catholic Church has outsmarted themselves this time! By condemning Kevorkian they really gave away the whole game!
An angel of death or an angel of compassion? I'm voting for the latter. And I wonder, is opposition to euthanasia any different from opposing a woman's right to choose? At some point, we must become the stewards of our bodies. We decide how to feed them, how to dress them, how to medicate them, and whether to take vitamins. If our government wants to get involved in our reproductive lives and our end-of-life plans, will we need to submit our blueprints for tattoos we are considering, piercings we are planning, or whether to grow beards? Will there be an office that will approve (or not) haircuts, permanent waves, and Japanese thermal straightenings? How far can this go, oh party-of-less-government?
Way to run rings around those theocrats logically, sistah! But wait, the pyrotechnic finale is yet to come:
Please give us back our bodies! If you don't tell me how to wear my hair, I won't tell you that you can't have an abortion, or a tattoo. I heard Jack Kevorkian on 60 Minutes tell Mike Wallace, resignedly, that though he still believes in his work, he is forbidden from practicing ever again. It is unlikely that another doctor will take up where Kevorkian left off, at least in the foreseeable future. Of course, that future is filled with federal officials who want you to believe that healthy babies must be killed in order to procure the stem cells needed to solve many of the knottiest medical riddles of our day.
Kevorkian, now 79 years old and a Samuel Beckett look-alike, deserves our thanks for his courageous deeds.
After that last dervish dance of rhetoric you might be temped to think this is parody. Sneer not at the army of ponytailed males and Birkenstocked women reading Waiting for Godot in Starbucks across this preacher plagued nation to confound the Bio-federales and the stem cell spawned hallelujah howling flying monkey-chimeras that do their bidding in a war to enslave our bodily choices. If there is any laughing going on, it's at you. See the debate in the media over euthanasia and the sanctity of life is so long over that they have left the lightweights to deal with the remnant of you who even care about this. And they are just toying with you.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I can decide when my dog is in enough pain to give him drugs to euthanize him, but where I live, and in all but a single US state, I am not permitted to make the same decision for myself. That fact is ludicrous, but nonetheless true.
Assisted suicide advocate and pioneer Jack Kevorkian gets out of prison soon, thankfully. He was a pioneer in advocating for physician assisted euthanasia, and was severely persecuted by a perverse legal and logical system for his efforts. A system that is permeated by a so called religious culture that advocates capital punishment, and war, yet is often adamantly opposed to stem cell research, and euthanasia - regardless of the circumstances (the entire "culture of life" is a hugely hypocritical fiasco).
I've treated this chasm between the media created in a previous post. But this Wesley Smith article is the best I've seen and it certainly cuts to the chase: Kevorkian was a twisted ghoul who was obsessed with experimenting on living conscious subjects as they died. If you still have any doubts, take a look at some of his paintings. Each one speaks volumes about his character.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
THE outlawed euthanasia manual The Peaceful Pill Handbook will soon be available for download on the internet.
Co-author and euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke made a deal with Google Books in the US last week. He said the download version, illegal in Australia, would cost about $37.
Dr Nitschke said The Peaceful Pill Handbook had been a steady seller on Amazon.com, often ranking in the top 1000 books in a pool of 2 million but Australian customers ran the risk of customs confiscating it.
"The download version will be illegal but people will take that risk because they feel they won't be tracked down," Dr Nitschke said.
"We've heard there has been some trouble with buying it on Amazon . . . from people not receiving books. We suspect they've been intercepted or something's gone wrong."
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Hopefully publicizing it will expose the abuse and neglect in Oregon that hides behind the smokescreen of Oregon's advocacy of euthanasia
I've left out the names and other contact information from the original post.
What I've written here is a true story that must be told. There are people who have gone to great lengths to suppress the information herein. What I
hope to do is compel those reading it to join with me in demanding
accountability from the responsible parties. An investigation
independent of Oregon's Protection and Advocacy agency is needed to
decide exactly who the responsible parties are.
In early April 2006 I found out that a close friend of mine had stage
3 colon cancer. She had a profound developmental disability and was
non-verbal. In order for critical health care decisions to be made on
her behalf, she needed representatives who knew and cared about her to
gather and interpret medical information and weigh all her options. An
Advocacy Team was assembled including myself, two other staff members
from her day program (who knew her well), and her Individual Service
Plan (ISP) team. This consisted of a management staff representative
of the day program provider (who saw her a few times a year), the
owner of her foster home (who supervised her direct caregiver) and a
county case manager (who was assigned my friend a few months earlier,
and didn't know her). A close friend of the day program representative
was brought on board to act as health care representative (who didn't
know my friend prior to her diagnosis). We all met and decided that
the case manager would look into what was covered under her health
plan, the health care representative would get the medical record and
a 2nd opinion. She committed to providing these documents to the team
as soon as she got them. I said that I would look into treatment
options. Without any of this being accomplished, other than the
information I shared about diet and exercise being critical, she was
placed in hospice about two weeks later.
He describes in great detail the months of getting the runaround by the State until the case reaches it's inevitable end:
She continued in her day program until late November, when it was
announced that the cancer had spread and she was back in hospice. At
10:00 A.M. PST on December 14, 2006 my friend gave in to "pain
killers" prescribed while she was on hospice care. I believe my friend
was euthanized. I believe this was because she was unable to say "yes"
or "no". She was someone with a huge spirit and a small body. She was
someone with a quiet demeanor and a profound developmental disability.
In life she was easy to overlook, but the way she died will not be.
On January 10, I submitted a grievance with the P&A regarding their
handling of my friend's case. After not hearing from the executive
director in 15 working days, I sent the grievance on to the board's
grievance committee. After not hearing from them after 30 days, I can
only assume that my friend's death and her life don't merit their
If you are wondering whether I can back up my claims here, the answer
is YES. I have documentation that supports this true story and will
share it selectively. What I am looking for in sending this out is
feedback, advice, and legal assistance to ensure my friend's death was
not in vain. I also need help in getting as much exposure to this
story as possible.
I don't think the State of Oregon will ever properly police itself. Hopefully the feds will intervene.