Marlowe's Shade

Friday, January 27, 2006

Haleigh Safe for Now

From The Boston Globe

The 11-year-old Westfield girl who was close to being removed from life support after allegedly being beaten into a coma by her adoptive mother and stepfather has been moved to a rehabilitation hospital in Boston.

Haleigh Poutre was discharged Thursday from Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and admitted to the Franciscan Hospital for Children. She has been hospitalized since September, when authorities say she was beaten into a coma.

A statement issued by the Franciscan Hospital said: "It is our hope that her stay at Franciscan will afford her the opportunity to maximize her potential for gains in her recovery."

The hospital advertises itself as the largest pediatric rehabilitation facility in New England.

Hospital officials and officials from the Department of Social Services, which has custody of Haleigh, refused to discuss her medical condition because of privacy laws.
papijoe 3:04 PM |

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Michelle Malkin Speaks Out for Haleigh

From LifeNews

Steve Ertelt has been getting some great guest columnists lately such as Jill Stanek and Wesley Smith. Today Michelle Malkin has called for the same celebrities who wrung their hands over the execution of convicted murderer Tookie Williams to come out in support of another person currently under a death sentence. However, Haleigh Poutre never harmed a soul.

I have a question for the hordes of bleeding-heart Hollywood stars who joined the "Save Tookie" brigade, who bowed their heads in prayer with ex-Crip gangster Snoop Dogg and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and pleaded to protect convicted Death Row murderer Stanley "Tookie" Williams, and who lobbied so hard for the government to err on the side of life.
Where are you now?

In Boston, an innocent girl was sentenced to death by the state. Her name is Haleigh Poutre. Last fall, she was hospitalized after her stepfather allegedly burned her and beat her unconscious with a baseball bat. Haleigh was kept alive by a feeding tube and ventilator. Doctors said she was "virtually brain dead." They said she was in a "persistent vegetative state." The medical professionals pronounced her "hopeless."

Less than three weeks after Haleigh's hospitalization, the Massachusetts Department of Social Services was raring to remove Haleigh's feeding and breathing tubes. Even her biological mother (who had been deemed unfit to care for Haleigh and whose former boyfriend was accused of sexually abusing the child) wanted her to be put to death. The only person who wanted Haleigh alive was her stepfather, who will likely be charged with murder if Haleigh dies.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of killing Haleigh, saying it was "unthinkable" to give the power to make a life-and-death decision to the man accused of putting Haleigh in a coma. Instead, the court did something just as unthinkable: It handed that power over life and death to the same child welfare agency that had failed time and time and time again to protect Haleigh from her abusers in the first place. According to the Boston Herald, a report by her court-appointed guardian showed that the Department of Social Services had received 17 reports of abuse or neglect involving Haleigh in the three years before her adoptive mother and stepfather were charged with pummeling her into a coma.

After failing to protect her from her abusive step-parents, the Commonwealth also failed to present her medical case properly:

As state officials prepared to remove Haleigh's life support, the supposedly impossible happened. She began breathing on her own, responding to stimuli and showing signs of emerging from what the medical establishment had deemed her hopeless condition. Everyone had given up on Haleigh -- except Haleigh. ''There has been a change in her condition," announced a DSS spokeswoman, Denise Monteiro. ''The vegetative state may not be a total vegetative state."

Unbelievably, the state had weaned Haleigh off her breathing tube before the state Supreme Court had made its ruling -- but the government failed to inform the court of the development. Haleigh's medical records and the social service agency's brief remain sealed.

Politicians in Massachusetts are vowing full-scale investigations of the state's incompetent child welfare bureaucrats. But where's the accountability for the medical experts whose faulty diagnosis led to Haleigh's court-approved death sentence? Will they step forward and reveal themselves? Will they explain how they erred? Will they apologize?

It was The Experts' unequivocal assessments that led the court to declare Haleigh in "an irreversible vegetative state" and to assert that "the child could not see, hear, feel or respond." Now, they admit they were wrong. And now, Haleigh's life depends on the whims of a hopeless government agency that didn't think the court needed to know that the child was breathing on her own.

Haleigh's story is a wake-up call to "right-to-die" ideologues who recklessly put such unlimited trust in the medical profession and Nanny State. With such uncertainty surrounding persistent vegetative state diagnoses, the presumption must be in favor of life. Yet, the "right-to-die" lobby's mantra seems to be: When in doubt, pull it out.

Ms Malkin makes an excellent point. If the authorities can't properly protect children in their care, why should we trust them with any other life-or-death decisions?
papijoe 9:13 AM |

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Romney Orders Investigation of MA Girl Targeted for Euthanasia

From LifeNews

Governor Mitt Romney yesterday announced that he will put together an independent panel to investigate the case of Haleigh Poutre, an 11 year-old Massachusetts girl who is at the center of a euthanasia battle similar to that of Terri Schiavo.
Poutre was beaten into a coma by her adoptive parents and was placed into state custody. State officials pressed for and won a case, over her stepfather's objections, to have Poutre euthanized.

The state Supreme Court sided with Massachusetts officials last week.

Then, Poutre started breathing on her own and efforts to remove her feeding tube and disconnect her from life support were halted

Hopefully this will be enough to save Haleigh from another judiciary that is playing God.
papijoe 11:44 AM |

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Australian Study Claims Nearly 2 Out of 3 Hospital Deaths Involve Euthanasia

From The Herald Sun

Doctors play a part in almost two in three patient deaths in Victorian hospitals, a study into the ethics of euthanasia has found.

About 10,000 Victorians die in hospital each year after doctors withdraw treatment or give pain relief to end the lives of terminally ill patients, the study found.
Conducted by Monash and Melbourne university bioethicists, the soon-to-be-released report found about 40 per cent of Victorian doctors were willing to help patients die.

And it turned up cases of sick and dying elderly people whose families agree with doctors that lives should not be prolonged with drugs.

Victorian euthanasia researcher and Monash bioethicist Dr Helga Kuhse said her research mirrored a study by Britain's Brunel University released this week that revealed two out of three hospital deaths in the UK were assisted by a doctor.

Dr Kuhse has undertaken research into Australian doctors' attitudes towards euthanasia in 1988, 1997 and last year.

Her latest study, with Melbourne University researchers, shows many doctors support voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide of incurable patients.

"It is going on everywhere in Australia," Dr Kuhse said.

"But in Victoria we might have more cases of active voluntary euthanasia. Some doctors are prepared to breach the law in order to respond to patients' requests.

"Australian law has not prevented doctors from practising euthanasia."

Bill Muehlenberg, a conservative Melbourne ethicist, said doctors should not even contemplate euthanasia.

"The practice is illegal in Australia and there's a real danger in this of doctors playing God," he said.

"Who's to say a family member doesn't have a less than good reason to say to the doctor `go ahead and withdraw treatment'?"

Dr Kuhse said patients had the legal right to refuse treatment.

"And every hospital in Victoria will withdraw treatment if a patient requests it or doctors deem it futile to continue."

Typical of most of the media coverage of euthanasia there is a good deal of confusion of terms. Withholding treatment is different from physical assisted suicide and euthanasia. But I don't think many of these recent articles that overstate the case are doing so out of a kind of outrage. As I've stated before, I think that what we have here is actually a pro-euthanasia strategy in collaboration with a compliant press. The recurring theme is that since it is happening anyway we might as well legalize it. However the track record of legal euthanasia in Holland and Oregon shows that abuses continue to occur and the the practice expands into new ethical territory.
papijoe 9:45 AM |

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

End-of-Life Anarchy in the UK

This latest interpretation of a euthanasia study by the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society is a stroke of Machiavellian genius.

I saw a slightly different version of this story yesterday. The spin was similar, basically the gist of it was that euthanasia only represents less than 1% of all deaths in the UK.

Now look at the same story in the left-wing Guardian. Euthanasia: Doctors aid in 3000 deaths

Doctors in the UK were responsible for the deaths, through euthanasia, of nearly 3,000 people last year, it was revealed yesterday in the first authoritative study of the decisions they take when faced with terminally-ill patients. More than 170,000 patients, almost a third of all deaths, had treatment withdrawn or withheld which would have hastened their demise.
The figures, extrapolated from the study, show rates of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide which are significantly lower than anywhere else in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, where similar studies have been done. The numbers immediately provoked controversy.

"This research proves that some doctors break the law and deliberately help patients die," said Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. "This is all done in secret and denied in public. Some of these doctors are acting compassionately on their patients' wishes, but some clearly act without consent. This cannot be safe."

Isn't this interesting? It's not the pro-life advocates that are reported as being outraged, it's the right-to-die proponents. The pitch is that abuses are probably happening now and that by legalizing euthanasia and putting guidelines in place, this will prevent abuses.

Nowhere that euthanasia as been legalized has proved to be a good study in the effectiveness of any guidelines. Universally the guidelines have no teeth and leave interpretation and compliance up to the doctors themselves. With no independent oversight, does anyone really believe that guidelines mean anything?
papijoe 10:42 AM |

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Over Half of Euthanasia Patients in Holland Clinically Depressed

From LifeSite

A study published by Dutch researchers in the September 20, 2005 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) has shown that at least 50% of patients killed under the Dutch euthanasia programme were suffering from depression. In addition, 44% of those suffering from cancer showed clinical signs of depression when they asked for euthanasia.

Titled, Euthanasia and Depression: A Prospective Cohort Study Among Terminally Ill Cancer Patients, the study reports that the risk to request euthanasia for patients with depressed mood was 4 times higher than that of patients without a depressed mood. The significance of the study is sharpened since the researchers themselves admitted to a strong bias against their own findings.

The researchers at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, wrote that they were “uncomfortable” with the idea that a request for euthanasia is a symptom of depression and that the patient’s request for suicide should be deferred until his depression was treated.

Why would they be uncomfortable with this idea? Doesn't it make sense to defer a decision with an irreversible outcome when there is a good possibility it is motivated by a transient and treatable emotional problem?
papijoe 8:56 AM |

Monday, January 16, 2006

Would Martin Luther King Jr Have Opposed Roe vs Wade?

What stand would Martin Luther King Jr have taken on the current abortion debate?

Both pro-aborts and pro-lifers have claimed Dr King for their side, but based on the facts of Dr King's life, who has the stronger case?

Before Roe vs Wade Dr King did accept the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966 and voice support for the idea of "voluntary family planning".

As Chuck Colson noted in a column on Dr King a few years ago, groups like NARAL and the elected officials like Donna Brazile who support them have have co-opted Dr King's legacy for the abortion camp.

Colson goes on to argue King's defense of natural law which would prohibit his support of Roe vs Wade:

While in jail, King received a letter from eight ministers. They agreed with King's goals, but they thought he should call off the demonstrations and obey the law. King disagreed, and his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail explains why. "One may well ask," he wrote, "how can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer, he said, "is found in the fact that there are two kinds of laws: just laws . . . and unjust laws."

"One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws," King affirmed, "but conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

A just law, King wrote, "squares with the moral law of the law of God. An unjust law . . . is out of harmony with the moral law."

This is a strong case, but Dr. King's position wouldn't necessarily prevent at least a limited support for abortion.

The truth is we can't really say either way what position Dr. King would have taken. It would seem that there were two Dr Kings whose views were never reconciled. One was the "whole Gospel" Dr King who was rooted in a strong Christian tradition, and then there was the "social justice Gospel" Dr King that opposed the Vietnam war and accepted an award named of after a notorious racist and eugenicist. Richard John Neuhaus has a fascinating portrait of the two Dr Kings and in it we see two possible directions the historical Dr King may have taken. They are represented by two of his colleagues Rev Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy. Jesse Jackson's career is well known, and it is fair to say that had King's views aligned more closely with the liberal theology of social justice embraced by Jackson and most of the mainline churches in America he too would be squarely in the liberal progressive camp and would no doubt be a supporter of Roe vs Wade. Rev Jackson's own opposition to abortion (which he at one point called a "war on the poor and the most defenseless") didn't survive his ambitions as a presidential candidate.

Ralph Abernathy on the other hand has been roundly criticized for his more Biblically-based views on the issues of the day:

Abernathy was beyond doubt closer to King than anyone else. After the assassination, he took King’s place as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), although he knew as well as anyone that he was no Martin Luther King. His book was harshly criticized for its candor about King’s sexual vagaries, but other published accounts had been more explicit on that score. What I think got to many reviewers is that Abernathy refused to toe the line on the leftist ideology of the movement and even, in the early eighties, took a conservative turn, offering some favorable words on, of all people, Ronald Reagan.

I'll challenge the reader to take a look at the article and decide which Dr. King would have won out in the end. But one indisputable fact is that Dr King had a presentiment of the price he would pay for his ministry to this country, and he demonstrated the love he had by laying down his life, and we honor him for the healing his sacrifice brought.
papijoe 10:01 AM |

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Belgian Euthanasia Doctor Arrested in France

From Expatica

A Belgian surgeon who has admitted to several previous "mercy killings" has been charged with killing a patient in France.

The news agency AFP reported on Monday that a female doctor had been held in custody since Saturday for giving a 74-year-old patient an insulin overdose.

Lest you think this is a selfless crusader who's only concern is her patients, the article takes a closer look at the unnamed doctor:

The surgeon treating her at Belley Hospital had admitted injecting 200 units of insulin into the woman's drip.

[Public Prosecutor Cedric] Cabut said it was not certain that the insulin had killed the patient, since she died two days after the overdose, on 23 December.

However, Cabut said the intention to kill her had been established.

He added that, during interviews with the police, the doctor had admitted being imprisoned for four months in Belgium for fraudulently using a patient's blue health card.

She also claimed responsibility for several acts of euthanasia, including that of her own grandmother, before the Belgian law legalising some forms of "mercy killing" was introduced in 2002. She moved to France to work in 2001.

Cabut said the doctor suffered from depression and alcoholism.

The French authorities intend to ask for Belgium's legal records about the doctor.

This is not the same Belgian doctor mentioned in this earlier post.
papijoe 9:03 AM |

Monday, January 09, 2006

China to Continue "One Child" Policy

From LifeNews

An official in the Chinese government delivered news on Friday that's a concern to pro-life and human rights activists across the globe: China will not abandon it's coercive one-child population control policy in the coming years.

Zhang Weiqing, minister of the State Commission of Population and Family Planning, said the one-child policy is a long-term government program to curb China's growing population. He said the population control policy will appear in the nation's 11th Five-Year Plan, covering 2006-2010, and beyond.

The policy has been attacked by pro-life and human rights groups because of the numerous abuses that have developed under it. Women have been subjected to forced abortions and husband and wives to forced sterilizations.

Those who violate the policy have been forced to pay fines totaling months or years worth of salary, have been imprisoned, lost their jobs, and have seen family members assaulted or abducted who are hiding couples with more than one child.

This disastrous policy combined with a cultural gender preference for males has reportedly produced a "surplus" of 20 million boys over and and above the female population. The social effects on China will be devastating, but the corrupt Communist system still prefers to have less people to manage despite the inevitable problems this will create.
papijoe 10:04 AM |