Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Canada: Kill Your Disabled Daughter - Home For Christmas

The Canadian legal system shows it’s bias in the Latimer case. Latimer murdered his disabled daughter claiming that he did her a favor. When he came to trial I wasn’t surprised (but many were) that many Canadians thought he did the right thing. He’s been on partial release for a while, and now the monster’s free. Tracey, his dead daughter, is forgotten.
Robert Latimer granted full parole
CALGARY – Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan wheat farmer who killed his severely disabled daughter, has been granted full parole, his lawyer said Monday. more

Good For Slovenia: Palliative Care Trumps Euthanasia Every Time

Good for Slovenia!! This piece tells a very encouraging story. NOTE: A fabulous sentence where doctors insist that with good palliative care euthanasia will not be necessary. Spot on.
Preparing to die in Slovenia’s first hospice institution
For the first time in its 15 years of existence, the Žargi association will offer all-round care to nine dying and terminally ill patients in Ljubljana, with construction financed by the City of Ljubljana’s housing fund. more

Already Aussie Pro-Deathers Promise To Be Back Next Year

Pay attention, folks. As I’ve often mentioned here, just because pro-deathers get defeated, it doesn’t mean they give up. The just try again, again, again, you get the picture. A proposed bill legalizing euthanasia has just gone down in flames in Aussie, and already the pro-deathers promise to be back next year. Stay vigilant!!
Door 'open' for euthanasia Bill return
PROPONENTS of a voluntary euthanasia Bill that failed in the Upper House on Wednesday say the Bill could return for a vote next year.
The Bill, prepared by Greens MLC Mark Parnell and ALP backbencher Steph Key, was defeated "on the voices" and did not go to a vote after debate indicated it would be defeated.
Mr Parnell said some key members had expressed in-principle support for voluntary euthanasia which had "left the door open" for future legislation.
"Of course we are disappointed the Bill didn't pass the Upper House last night, but this by no means is the end of the debate," he said. more

Yes, You DON'T Have To Be Sane To Ask For Euthanasia

Yes, it’s true – you don’t have to be in your right mind in the Netherlands to be medically killed (so much for the pro-deather assurance that only people in their right minds could ask for this) But see here how far things have gone: trying to rationalize why it’s Ok to kill people who aren’t of sound mind. Disgusting.
Euthanasia for elderly people suffering from dementia
In the Netherlands, physician-assisted suicide is possible for people who suffer from dementia. But in practice, it's a complicated process. more

Monday, November 29, 2010

Absolutely: Medicalized Killing Will Target The Disabled First

Yes, yes – medicalized killing will, of course target people with disabilities first – no question about that.
Disabled will suffer from assisted dying law, claim critics of new inquiry
The warning came as the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, launches a new investigation into the case for reforming the law on assisted dying.
The Labour peer is to chair an inquiry, set up by the think-tank Demos, which is expected to issue a report next year.
The Demos “commission” promises to examine all sides of the argument, but critics allege that its claims to be independent are undermined because it has received funding and support from campaigners to legalise assisted dying for terminally ill patients. more

UK's Lord Falconer Claims "Independent Commission" He's Joking, Right?

Here’s why we need to be vigilant and wary of the pro-deathers: In the UK pro-death Lord Falconer is promising an “independent” commission on medicalized killing, even though the idea and funding came from the pro-death lobby.
Lord Falconer launches his sham 'Commission on Assisted Dying' tomorrow. He will call it 'independent'. Yeah, right...
I have been asked to give evidence to Lord Falconer’s entirely bogus “Commission on Assisted Dying”, which launches itself at the London offices of think-tank Demos tomorrow. The former Lord Chancellor will do his best at this event to present his “Commission” as “entirely independent”. more

Albania Pro-Deathers Raise Their Evil heads

Ya know, where do you begin with this stuff? Albania is jumping in to the pro-deather camp with the same evil poppycock as was used in Western Europe to justify medicalized killing – it’s happening anyway, so why not make it legal. If you’re reading this in Albania, you better start opposing this nihilistic madness.
The actuality and the historical background of covert Euthanasia in Albania
Euthanasia is not legal in Albania, yet there is strong evidence that euthanising a terminally ill patient is not an unknown concept for the Albanians. . . . There is a trend among relatives and laymen taking care of terminally ill patients to apply tranquilisers in an abusive dosage, or even against medical advice, aiming at sedating the ailing patient. These actions, the refusal to keep on consistently applying life prolonging treatment, and other data, suggest that covert euthanasia is a practice and legal interventions are needed towards formalising it. more

Stunning Pro-Death Spin From The Netherlands

As jaded as I am, even I occasionally gasp at the media pro-death spin. The conclusion of this Dutch piece is that everything in the Netherlands around euthanasia is just fine, and it’s not abused. Now, if you believe that, write me a letter, because I’m the King of the World.
Ten years on: who will follow the Dutch example on euthanasia?
Today it is ten years since the Netherlands passed a law legalising euthanasia. This made the Netherlands the first country in the world to establish legal guidelines for ending a human life. But why has almost no other country followed the Dutch example?
The Netherlands likes to see itself as an ethical guide that other countries should follow. In 2001, the Mayor of Amsterdam presided over the first same-sex marriage while the world looked on. Since then, over ten countries have legalised same-sex unions.
One year earlier, the Netherlands became the first country to adopt a law on euthanasia. This was another Dutch breakthrough that attracted the attention of the world, but it did not inspire widespread admiration. Only two other countries have ventured to follow in the Netherlands’ footsteps: Belgium in 2002 and Luxembourg in 2009. more

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Medical Ethical Debates About Euthanasia Are So Much Hot Air

Yes, yes, the handwringing continues. Why don’t we cut the balderdash and say, “Yeah, we’re doctors, we can turn your machines off any anytime. You die, we move on, have a nice day . . . “
Turning off heart devices near life's end stirs ethical, legal debates
A survey shows that nearly all physicians approve of turning off a defibrillator, but nearly a third say withdrawing a pacemaker amounts to assisted suicide.
Many physicians believe that deactivating heart devices is a form of physician-aided death, according to a survey published in the November Mayo
Clinic Proceedings.
"Almost one-third of medical professionals surveyed considered withdrawal of a pacemaker in a pacemaker-dependent patient as physician- assisted suicide or euthanasia, but only a very small percentage believed the same about an ICD," said Samuel J. Asirvatham, MD, the study's lead author and an electrophysiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. more

Aussie Euthanasia Proposal Goes Down In flames

Well, after all the hullabaloo and the pro-deathers assurances that euthanasia was what Aussies really wanted, it turns out that they don’t. Another significant victory after the assisted suicide bill in Scotland went down in flames earlier this week. However, celebration needs to be short and sweet – the pro-deathers will be back before you know it to try again.
Euthanasia Bill defeated
South Australia's controversial voluntary euthanasia bill has been defeated in the state parliament. more

Does Your Doctor Favor Euthanasia? Better Check!

If this piece tells me anything at all, it’s that you better have a little heart-to-heart with your doctor to make sure your views about end of life issues are in sync with yours, because if they aren’t, things might be a tad iffy if you ever are in need of end of life information.
Exclusive Ethics Survey: "Doctor, Will You Help Me Die?"
Doctors are sharply divided over the question of physician-assisted suicide.
In August-September 2010, Medscape electronically surveyed over 10,000 physicians representing all specialties. Respondents answered a series of ethics questions, including the following: "Are there situations in which physician-assisted suicide should be allowed?" Of the more respondents, 45.8% answered "Yes"; 40.7% answered "No"; and 13.5% said "It depends." more

Scot Disability Community Rises Up Against Euthanasia

We who oppose the pro-deathers sometimes think that our opposition is simply token, and that the good old ship Legalizing Killing sails on unfettered. Not so. Scotland has just rejected this tomfoolery, as evidenced in this piece about the Scottish disability community, who, I think, are finally rising up to oppose legalized killing that would most certainly target them before anyone else.
Euthanasia report is ‘victory for disability movement in Scotland’
Disabled activists have welcomed a Scottish parliamentary committee’s recommendation that MSPs reject plans to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in Scotland. more

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Indian Disabled Push Back Against Euthanasia Musical

Here’s some push-back to the new Indian musical about euthanasia. Good for Indians with disabilities who are questioning the premise and bigotry that says if you have a disability, you’re probably better off dead.
Hope scores over death
Hrithik Roshan may be winning accolades for convincingly playing a quadriplegic, Ethan, in Guzaarish but the fact that his character resorts to euthanasia is being regarded in poor light. Activists and even those living with physical challenges believe the film sets a poor example. For the lakhs of Indians suffering from spinal injuries who brave each day, trying to live a normal life despite their injuries, the film seems to ignore their need for hope and validation. Hrithik’s character’s plea for euthanasia goes against the grain in a country that boasts of glowing examples of quadriplegic survivors living successful, productive, happy lives. more

German Citizen Sues Germany In EU Court To Allow Assisted Suicide

Well, this will be interesting: A German citizen has sued Germany in the EU court after German authorities denied his wife meds that would have helped her commit assisted suicide. This will be especially interesting given the acceptance of assisted suicide or euthanasia in Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and so on.
German widower goes to court over assisted suicide
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg began hearing the case of Ulrich Koch vs. Germany on Tuesday. A court brief said the case concerned the German authorities' refusal to grant his late wife authorization to acquire a lethal dose of medication enabling her to commit voluntary, assisted suicide. more

A Dying UK Doctor Changes Her Pro-death Mind

This is a fascinating piece – it starts out as the usual “I’m-terminally-ill-and-have-a-right-to-asisted-suicide-or-euthanasia-because-I-don’t-want-to-suffer-unbearable-pain.” Then, as I keep reminding people, something happened – she was medically able to relieve her pain, and by the end of the piece,. At least it seems to me, she is not anywhere as adamant about wanting to kill herself or have someone do it to her.
Cancer is killing me, so why can't I decide when and how I die?
At a cancer check-up in early June 2009, I got the news I most dreaded. The tumour doctors had discovered in my pancreas three years earlier, and from which I’d been free for two wonderful years, had returned and spread to my lung.
‘We can’t say for sure how long you will live, but you know as well as I do the prospects of living for more than a few months are not great,’ my oncologist — a friend as well as a colleague — told me.
I was dumbstruck, unable to think beyond the horror of sharing the news with my family. Telling Klim, my ­medical scientist husband of 40 years, was the easy part. more

Monday, November 22, 2010

Terri Schiavo Forgotten: Perversion Is Now Legit

If you read nothing else I post on this news blog, please read this piece from my dear friend & colleague, Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo. As always, Bobby hits the proverbial nail on the head: Terri is forgotten because talking about abuse of the disabled is something we’d rather not do.
From Unthinkable to Ordinary
Last week, former U.S. President, George W. Bush released a memoir of his tenure in office called “Decision Points.” In this 500-plus page account, Bush revisits a number of official and personal events, as well as choices that shaped both his presidency and his attitudes in private life.
I was disappointed to learn that Bush’s actions in March of 2005—that led to the passage of Terri’s Law—were not a part of this account. On March 20, 2005 in what was called the Palm Sunday Compromise, Congress passed “Relief of the Parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo”—a law that gave the Federal court access to review of the case to dehydrate my sister, Terri Schiavo, to death. President Bush left his home in Texas—in the middle of the night—to return to Washington, D.C. in order to sign this bill into law. more

Pain And Thinking You Are A Burden Should NEVER Be An Excuse For Asking To Be Killed

This from near my home country of South Africa. It is an exemplar of how the pro-deathers spin things, although the subject of the story is not a pro-deather, I’m sure. This poor man wants to die because he is in pain and sees himself as a burden to those around him. See?? This is why we should medalcalize killing!! At least that’s what the pro-deathers say.
LUDZIDZINI Royal Residence Governor and popular radio man Jim ‘Mbhokane’ Gama says he is a sick man. Gama, who became popular for his radio problem-solving programme known as Khalamdumbadumbane, wished he died when he suffered a stroke and subsequently a swollen foot sometime last year.
Up to now, Gama believes death could be the only way out for him because of the pain he endures everyday because of his ailment, which he claimed doctors have failed to arrest.
“Life is hell for me, I am going through heavy pain,” he said.
In his baritone voice, Gama said at one point he wished the country had a law that allowed Euthanasia (whereby the law allows a doctor relative to administer lethal medicine to terminally ill patients for them to die). more

In NY: No, It's Not "Mercy Killing," It's Murder

Yeah, I know, there’ll be lots of sympathy for this husband who killed his wife. “Mercy” and all that. I wonder where people get the idea that killing others is merciful? Could it be pro-deather ptropaganda??
88-year-old man allegedly shoots ill 86-year-old wife in head in 'mercy killing' at nursing home
Roy Charles Laird, 88, has been arrested on suspicion of murder of his 86-year-old wife, Clara Laird, after she was found shot to death in her bed at a nursing home where she lived.
An 88-year-old man and devoted husband allegedly shot his wife of nearly 70 years in the head at a Southern California nursing home in what the couple's daughter described as a "mercy killing." more

UK: Husband Kills Wife Because She Asks - How's That Different From What The Pro-Deathers Want?

Ok, I’m sorry, but in the UK the hypocrisy continues. Wife plans to commit suicide. Asks husband to finish it off if she doesn’t get it right. She doesn’t, he kills her – and he’s up on murder charges? His mistake? His suicidal wife gonr to the Netherlands and asked for euthanasia and a doctor would have happily helped her out. Amazingly astonishing.
Wife is smothered to death by pensioner husband after her failed suicide bid inspired by 'Midsomer Murders'
Pensioner George Webb says he smothered his 75-year-old wife after she failed in her bid to commit suicide
A pensioner killed his 75-year-old wife after a failed suicide attempt inspired by an episode of Midsomer Murders, a court heard yesterday.
Beryl Webb took an overdose of tablets and allegedly told husband Hugh, 73, to smother her if ‘she didn’t go’.
Fearing she was coming round, Webb suffocated her. more

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Aussie: A Dying Man Takes On The Pro-Deathers

Wow, it’s getting hard to keep up with all the excellently argued push-back to assisted suicide/euthanasia – first in Canada (see below) and now this piece from OZ:
A dying man explains why euthanasia is so dangerous
Associate Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini is dying and in pain, but says his opposition to legalised euthanasia remains unchanged. Here’s his letter to South Australian Premier Mike Rann: more

Even More Canadian Push-Back Against The Screeching Pro-Deathers

Wow, another Canadian piece strongly providing push-back to the current orgy of pro-death screeches. Keep it up, you guys!!
Menzies: A culture of life over death
There are of course arguments of compassion for euthanasia; those who have argued for it have used enticing one-liners for their campaigns like, "the right to die," or, "to die with dignity." But euthanasia cannot truly be compassionate, as the only way to show true compassion is by breeding a culture of life in our medical and palliative care practices. more

Yes: Palliative Care Over Legalized Killing - Always

This is a very good piece out of Canada. The bottom line: We had better improve palliative care, or we may be overwhelmed with a tide of pro-death rhetoric that will make legalized killing the only alternative for people with medical and other disabilities.
A crisis in dying Care
When 72-year-old Alice was diagnosed with breast cancer, she bravely faced a mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment in Calgary. Although she had been declared cancer free at the end of five years, she began to experience heart problems, and received a pacemaker. By the time she reached age 88, Alice's pacemaker was starting to fail, and her cardiologist recommended a new one. Just six weeks after receiving her new pacemaker, Alice was hospitalized for what the doctors initially believed was pneumonia. In fact, the cancer had returned and had metastasized in her lungs. Her decline was swift, and she instructed the doctors and family members that she didn't want any more interventions to extend her life. more

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yes, Legalized Killing WILL Target People With Disabilities

Aussie Erik Leipoldt gets it right – legalized assisted suicide & euthanasia will target those with disabilities first. How many people can’t see this is beyond me.
Euthanasia in Australia: Raising a disability voice
The Australian euthanasia debate is inviting us to conclude that lives lived with disability are often not worth living, while actual disability experience points to a contrary reality. more

Scots MP Plays Victim Over Defeated Assisted Suicide Measure

Margo MacDonald has been trying for years to get the Scots Parliament to legalize assisted suicide. Earlier this week, she failed again. What to do? Why, play the victim card? The reason it failed was because of those other nasty MPs who are “hostile” to her. Give me a break . . .
Macdonald Accuses Fellow MSPs for Rejecting Bill on Assisted Suicide
On Thursday, the hopes for an assisted suicide Bill shattered with a major Holyrood committee saying that it could not back the legislation for right-to-die.
Margo Macdonald, an independent MSP and the one who sponsored the End of Life Assistance Bill alleged her fellow MSPs for rejecting the Bill on the basis of their known hostility. She called for the assessment of criticism made by those MSPs to the Bill in that perspective. more

In Spain: Lies, Lies, And More Lies

Earth to Spain – it’s ALREADY possible to die without suffering – it’s called palliative care, which keeps people comfortable and pain free as the natural progression to a natural death occurs. Way better than the nonsense about legalizing killing. What a bunch of lies these people spin.
Spain to pass law to allow death 'with dignity'
MADRID — Spain's socialist government will approve a draft law in March 2011 on end-of-life care that will allow people with incurable diseases to "die with dignity", the deputy prime minister said Friday.
The law will spell out the rights of patients facing death and their families and the medical staff who care for them so they can "die without suffering", Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told reporters after a cabinet meeting. more

Another Death Clinic Killing

Another Brit case of an “enlightened” end. Finishes grand opus, flies to Swiss death clinic Dignitas, and the world marvels. Please . . .
Last images created by Brighton artist before his death
This is one of the final pictures created by graphic artist Johnny Hicklenton before he died at a Swiss euthanasia clinic. more

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Aussie Layperson's Commonsensical Opposition To Euthanasia

Here’s a commoner’s rational response to the Aussie’s clamor to legalize euthanasia. Good for him.
Husband questions euthanasia
NORTH Rockhampton's Vic Sneyd saw his wife suffer from cancer, but says euthanasia wouldn't have let her die with dignity.
And if he had to go through it all again, he still wouldn't consider euthanasia. more

Care Not Killing Responds To Recommendations Against Scottish Assisted Suicide

Care Not Killing has got it right about the Scot’s proposed assisted suicide bill being rejected.
Care Not Killing Scotland responds to the decision of the End of Life Assistance Committee to reject euthanasia and assisted suicide bill
Scotland welcomes the fact that the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill Committee has rejected Margo MacDonald's attempt to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide in Scotland. The Committee overwhelmingly rejected the Bill by 5 votes to 1 vote.
We are grateful that the Committee has comprehensively assessed the Bill and identified its manifold dangers. The breadth of people has been described as “extraordinarily wide”.
The inadequacy of the safeguards against undue influence on people to end their lives has been identified in the report as has the negative impact such a Bill would have on the disabled. more

Maybe The Scots Have Come To Their Senses

Good, looks like the Scots have come to their senses opposing the proposed assisted suicide bill that’s been Scot MP Margo MacDonald's crusade for the past two years.
Committee recommends MSPs throw out legalised assisted suicide Bill
A Holyrood committee has recommended MSPs throw out a bill to legalise assisted suicide.
Independent MSP Margo MacDonald wants Scotland to be the first part of the UK to legislate to allow this. The veteran politician, who herself has Parkinson's disease, is trying to get her End of Life Member's Bill through the Scottish Parliament. more

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Bad & Thanks To My Dear Colleague Alex

My good friend and esteemed colleague Alex Schadenberg notes a flub on my blog (post immediately below) - my joy at a politician "getting it" was not Canadian, but Tasmanian. Thanks, oh great guy. Alex is the go-to guy on things assisted suicide/euthanasia in Canada & increasingly internationally. Follow him here at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and his blog here.

At Least One Canadian MP Gets The Danger Of Legalizing Assisted Suicide

Nah, ya think? That never happens in the Netherlands or Belgium!! Ergo, it won’t happen in Canada, right? Wrong. Here’s one Canadian MP who’s got it right.
Euthanasia could be forced on patients: MP
Legalised euthanasia could lead to patients being forced into assisted suicide for financial reasons, a Labor senator has told parliament. more

Now A Bollywood Musical About Euthanasia - Oy!

Ah, yes, hard on the heels of a prize-winning Belgian comedy movie about assisted suicide comes a Bollywood musical about euthanasia. The trailer looks like the musical trots out all the old, tired quality of life stuff, but we'll have to wait and see when it's released.

An Informative Piece On End-Of-Life Decisions

Here’s a commonsensical piece about end of life decisions that balanced and informative.
Many shy away from planning their exit
One in five Americans still die using emergency services, with more than 14 percent of these deaths occurring among patients 85 years and older. Although death is our only exit strategy in life, few of us are preparing for it. Ask any person how they want to die and they will have a definitive response, “quick and painless.” Yet despite this authoritative choice, we remain shy when planning to achieve such an exit — which is why many of us will end up in an emergency room to die. more

Vermont's New Gov Loves Assisted Suicide

Just what we need - a newly elected Vermont governor who’s in love with assisted suicide. I can’t wait.
Shumlin working to legalize assisted suicide
Following the campaign promise of Governor-elect Peter Shumlin (D), Vermont is again a target for passage of legislation that would legalize doctor-assisted suicide. more

Dutch Euthanasia On The Rise - I'm shocked, I Tell You!!

They’re killing more people in the Netherlands than ever. Nah, say it ain’t so!! Of course it’s increasing, especially the group who are killed without ever asking for euthanasia. If you leglaize it, they will die . . .
Steep rise in official Dutch euthanasia
An English translation of the government report on 2009 euthanasia cases in the Netherlands has been released. It includes the statistics about reported cases plus a number of fascinating case studies, including three in which the doctor did not comply with the criteria.
As BioEdge reported back in June, official notifications increased sharply in 2009, from from 2,331 in 2008 to 2,636 – a rise of 13%. In nearly all cases, the patient was suffering from cancer and died at home. The euthanasing doctor was nearly always a general practitioner. more

South African Press In The Tank For Euthanasia

I’m ashamed to say that the country of my birth, South Africa, is drinking the pro-death Kool Aid. Truth is, Sean Davidson flew to New Zealand from South Africa to euthanize his mother. He succeeded, but it’s a crime in NZ, so he’s in jail awaiting trial. But the opening of this story is how awful it is that he missed the birth of his new son. Duh – if you’re so boneheaded as to commit a crime in a foreign country, then perhaps you should have considered that you might, just might, get arrested.
Mercy killing: A wife's anguish
Sean Davison never got to hear the first words uttered by his baby son. The South African professor being held in New Zealand over the death of his cancer-stricken mother from a morphine overdose has not seen his family in Cape Town for over two months. more

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ruling: Convincing People To Kill Themselves Isn't Free Speech

Good, very good. This Minnesota creep won’t be allowed to argue that convincing people to kill themselves live on the web is free speech. Put him in jail and throw away the key.
Judge refuses to dismiss charges for encouraging suicide
MINNEAPOLIS—A former Minnesota nurse who prosecutors say sought out depressed people in Internet chat rooms and encouraged two of them to kill themselves won't get his case dismissed on free speech grounds, a judge ruled Tuesday.
William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, of Faribault, is charged with two counts of aiding suicide, for allegedly advising and encouraging an English man and a Canadian woman to take their own lives. more

Canadian Pro-Death Support Weakens

This poll, commissioned by my friend & colleague Alex Schadenberg, shows that the sterling work he and his cohort are doing are making headway against the pro-deathers north of the border. more

Sanity From UK's Alison Davis

My good friend and colleague Alison Davis has published a very commonsensical letter to The Herald in Scotland. Read it and learn. Read anything Alison has written wherever you find it.
Look beyond the suffering
Mary Warnock makes a fundamental mistake when she suggests that so long as a bill legalising euthanasia/assisted suicide has sufficient “safeguards”, sick and disabled people need not worry that they will be first in the line of candidates for the lethal dose (Why sometimes it’s rational to choose death, Opinion, October 24). There is a more basic problem than relying on “safeguards” which, of course, would be written by the very people who want to legally hasten the end of some people’s lives. more

Where Are The Movies Putting Euthanasia In A Bad Light?

Well, I suppose any subject can be turned to humor. However, it’s instructive that euthanasia is becoming mainstream in the arts – all pro-death, of course.
Belgian euthanasia comedy wins Rome film festival
ROME — Belgium's "Kill Me Please", a black comedy about euthanasia shot by French director Olias Barco, won the Golden Marc'Aurelio best film award at the Rome film festival on Friday.
The film tells the life of Dr. Kruger who wants to turn suicide into a simple, medically assisted act. His clinic attracts a strange cast including a travelling salesman, a rich Luxembourg heir and an old Berlin cabaret singer. more

Support Your Local Hospice

Hospices are places that help people live until they die. November is national Hospice Month, and I applaud all the good work that hospice does. If you’re looking for some very rewarding volunteer work, call you local hospice and volunteer to be a respite volunteer or to work in any other area of help they may need. We also need to be vigilant in preventing the pro-deathers from infiltrating hospices to make them places of killing rather than care.
November is national hospice month
At some point, many of us have had loved ones admitted into a health care facility, connected to all sorts of machines and hope we'll have the chance to say "good-bye" in some meaningful manner.
Considering there is no cure for the patient, what are the options?
Why not have a conversation before reaching that point about what the person wants for the end of their life. Dr. David McGrew, M.D., medical director at HPH Hospice provides a perspective on there being something to dying well.
"We as physicians and patients need to figure out better ways to deal with chronic and terminal illness treatments and have the end-of-life discussion," McGrew said. more

Yes, There Really Are Death Panels

If you thought there weren’t death panels in Obamacare, here an expository piece that lays it out in some very plain language. Be very afraid . . .
An Exercise in Fatal Futility: Trying to Objectify the Subjective
Earlier in October, in a demonstration of my statistical insanity, I attended a (and presented at) conference of statisticians conferring as one might expect on statistics. The conference revolved around one particular software package the identity of which is irrelevant to this post (but if you really want to know, it’s SAS). However, one presentation I attended actually spilled over into realms of which I suspect the author was aware, but did not explicitly state at the time. An exposition of the topic is relevant to the current political landscape, so I thought I would address the gorilla in the room with the following commentary and observations since it is an interface of the kind addressed by this blog.
The paper was entitled “Comparative Effectiveness Analysis and Statistical Methodology” and if that doesn’t put you to sleep, be assured that what follows will, or should, wake you up. Let me give you the relevant portions of the paper summary as a framework for my analysis (with emphases added):
The purpose of comparative effectiveness analysis is ordinarily defined as a means to compare the benefits of drug A versus drug B. However, particularly in relation to cancer drugs, there is only drug A. Therefore, comparative effectiveness analysis tends to compare drug A to a quality adjusted threshold value, with a frequent conclusion that the cost of the drug is not worth the additional life. Ordinarily, a societal perspective is used to deny the drugs, since the additional life may be worth the drug cost for the patient. The British organization, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has denied many cancer drugs to their patients. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare want to initiate a similar process, denying treatments that exceed a quality adjusted price of $50,000. There are similar provisions in the Healthcare Reform Act. With the emphasis upon medications, medical procedures are not as subject to this comparative effectiveness scrutiny; procedures can frequently exceed the cost of medication treatments. However, each medication is considered separately; no analysis examines the total contribution of the treatment to the overall cost of healthcare. more

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yes, Aussie Drive For Euthanasia Mirrors The Nazis - No Question

I’m often criticized by my colleagues for drawing what I see as obvious parallels between the pro-deathers and the Nazi drive to rid their world of people with disabilities. Well, at least there’s someone who seems to agree with me, for a change . . .
Secularism leading to Nazi eugenics in Victoria, claims Bishop Peter Elliott
THE "warped practice of eugenics is rising from its Nazi tomb" in Australia, a senior Catholic bishop says.
Bishop Peter Elliott, head of Melbourne's John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family told mass-goers in Bendigo Cathedral on Sunday: "A seek-and-destroy policy kills little human beings in the womb because they are 'guilty' of Down Syndrome, dwarfism or other imperfection.
"They are deemed to be unfit to live for they do not come up to the standard of the 'designer baby' and a healthy, sport-loving race.
"It is no surprise that euthanasia is being strongly promoted today. Nor should it be a surprise that this is the policy of a political and ideological force that puts more value on wattle and wombats than people. more

Aussie Political Pressure To legalize Euthanasia Increases

The political pressure towards legal killing is increasing. Prediction: Eventually, the Aussies, after a ton of pseudo head scratching, will decide that yes, killing people because they are old/infirm/disabled is actually a good thing to do. Trust me, I’m a doctor . . . .
Stanhope's euthanasia plea
ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has written to every member of the Federal Parliament urging them to pass legislation allowing the territories to decide their own laws on euthanasia.
The Greens have introduced a bill to restore the right of the Northern Territory and ACT governments to legalise euthanasia.
Former ACT health minister Michael Moore introduced a euthanasia bill in the ACT in 1997 that was ultimately overruled by the Federal Government. more

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some Sanity In The Aussie Fascination With Euthanasia

Given the Aussie flirtation with assisted suicide and euthanasia, here’s a refreshing and utterly rational defense of people with disabilities as valuable, something that the pro-deathers routinely deny.
It’s probably quite difficult to understand the viewpoint of a person living with a disability.  I once thought it almost impossible. But that all changed when I met my wife-to-be. Anne’s older brother lived all his life with a significant intellectual disability.
My introduction to my future brother-in-law was handled extremely gently. I guess having grown up with Mark, Anne understood that people were often visibly uncomfortable in his presence and expected me to be no different. She was right. more

Who's Behind The Florida Petition To Legalize Killing??

Can’t say much about this, but it seems there is a least one pro-deather in Florida seeking a petition to make killing legal in Florida. Remember, this is the state who participated and sanctioned the murder of Terri Schiavo.
Legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state of Florida
Sponsored by: Heidi Marie Weidman
Florida laws currently prohibit physician-assisted suicide. It is our belief that it is a basic human right to die with dignity, and that those afflicted with a terminal or severe illness/injury should be allowed the option to end his or her life with the help of a physician in order to preserve personal privacy and dignity as well as alleviate suffering, not only for them but their families as well. more

The French Government Recognizes That The Disabled Are People, Too

Geez, of all nations, the French have stepped up to the plate and recognized someone who the pro-deathers say should have asked to be killed. Ms. Pavageau is severely disabled, but campaigns against assisted sucide & euthanasia for people like her. Good for her. Good for the French Government. Bad news for the pro-deathers who want people like this dead.
Locked-in syndrome woman receives Legion of Honour
France has just awarded the Légion d'honneur to a woman who has been a locked-in quadriplegic for 30 years. Maryannick Pavageau received the distinction for her battle against euthanasia. more

Monday, November 1, 2010

More On The Aussie Euthanasia Debate

Here's another take on the Aussie debate on assisted suicide/euthanasia:

The Aussies Debate Euthanasia

There's all out war in Aussie, with the Green Party planning on  introducing an assisted suicide bill next session. Here's an Aussie debate on the issue from earlier this week:

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