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Chair of Belgian Right to die with dignity association referred to judiciary in death of healthy 85-year-old woman

by HOPE Australia, 29 October 2015

For the very first time since the Belgian euthanasia law was introduced in 2002, the Belgian Euthanasia Commission has referred a reported euthanasia case to the judiciary for review. It relates to the death of 85-year-old Simona de Moor, a physically healthy woman, whose story featured in a Dateline documentary aired in Australia in September.

The doctor involved is Marc van Hoey, chair of the Belgian Right to die with dignity association. In 2013 he was interviewed by the Canadian National Post:

Marc Van Hoey, a physician who performs euthanasia and is head of the Flemish death-with-dignity association, said there has been a shift toward euthanasia of what he called the high elderly. “Recently I went to see a lady of 95 years old, sitting in a nursing home all by herself. All her friends and family had died. The only people she had good contact with were the nursing team. She said every evening she goes to bed, she hopes, ‘Don’t let me wake up any more,’ ” he said. He told her she was a candidate for euthanasia.

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New Zealand ranked 3rd best in world for palliative care

by Care Alliance, 9 October 2015

New Zealand is the third best country in the world for palliative care, according to a new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The United Kingdom and Australia are ranked first and second respectively, and Ireland is fourth. The United States is ninth.The report considered data in five categories to decide an overall Quality of Death Index:

  • Palliative and healthcare environment
  • Human resources
  • Affordability of care
  • Quality of care
  • Community engagement

Matthew Jansen of the Care Alliance said:

The report shows that New Zealanders can have confidence that high-quality palliative care is available, but there is no room for complacency as our population ages. New Zealand can improve its performance further with extra government funding, as well as more training for the palliative care workforce we will need in the future.

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Most families are loving and caring. But sadly some are not.

by Baroness Ilora Finlay, President of the British Medical Association, The Economist, 22 June 2015

Jenny (not her real name) was a week or so short of her sixtieth birthday when she came into the hospice. She had advanced cancer and she, and her family, knew the end was close. And her family were devoted. Not a day went by without one or more of them at her bedside.

We stabilised Jenny’s condition; she was comfortable, more independent and able to have quality time with her family. And, as often happens with good palliative care, the prospect of her imminent death receded. Then came her birthday. It was a muted affair, but understandably so as it was clearly her last.

But then the family visits gradually fell away. “It’s a pity your family can’t come so often these days,” one of the nurses said to Jenny. “Oh,” she replied. “They won’t be in so much now. You see, my fixed-term life insurance expired on my birthday.”

This isn’t the only time I’ve been fooled. Most patients’ families are loving and caring. But sadly some are not, and they are not the rare exception.

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My late husband Sen. Edward Kennedy called quality, affordable health care for all the cause of his life.

by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Cape Cod Times, 27 October 2012

When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he had only two to four months to live, that he’d never go back to the U.S. Senate, that he should get his affairs in order, kiss his wife, love his family and get ready to die.

But that prognosis was wrong. Teddy lived 15 more productive months. During that time, he cast a key vote in the Senate that protected payments to doctors under Medicare; made a speech at the Democratic Convention; saw the candidate he supported elected president of the United States and even attended his inauguration; received an honorary degree; chaired confirmation hearings in the Senate; worked on the reform of health care; threw out the first pitch on opening day for the Red Sox; introduced the president when he signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act; sailed his boat; and finished his memoir “True Compass,” while also getting his affairs in order, kissing his wife, loving his family and preparing for the end of life.

Because that first dire prediction of life expectancy was wrong, I have 15 months of cherished memories — memories of family dinners and songfests with our children and grandchildren; memories of laughter and, yes, tears; memories of life that neither I nor my husband would have traded for anything in the world.

Click here to read the full article.