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How do the Dutch respond to euthanasia requests from the intellectually disabled?

by Michael Cook, Bioedge, 14 April 2018

Despite the fact that assessing the capacity of intellectually disabled people is very difficult and a task for specialists, the authors found that only in one of the nine cases was a specialist consulted.

“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. We found no evidence of safeguards against the influence of the physicians’ own subjective value judgements when considering EAS decision, nor of processes designed to guard against transference of the physicians’ own values and prejudices.”

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Comfort care, palliative care, hospice care explained after Barbara Bush’s death

by Nicole Villalpando, austin360, 18 April 2018

Choosing comfort care means that you are choosing treatment for comfort instead of a cure. If you had a disease like cancer, you would be deciding that you are no longer going to pursue chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Instead of curative treatments, doctors focus on treatments to provide a good quality of life. “You’re forgoing life-extending treatments,” she says. 

People often confuse comfort care with hospice care or palliative care.

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She spent her working life caring for patients who were dying. Now she’s one of them

by Jessica Long, Stuff, 30 March 2018

She says talking about her journey through Mary Potter Hospice is a final service to her community. Without palliative care, she expects she would have been “completely lost”.

“To me, hospice care is about very holistic care. It’s not a number or person in front of you that gets diagnosed. It’s an entire family and their community. 

“I felt very ready to cope with things because of that [support]. To accept death and dying as a part of life.

“It’s really uplifting.”

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‘Glimpse from heaven’: Nurses reveal what people say before they die

The New Zealand Herald, 20 March 2018

Lead author Kurt Gray said: “When we imagine our emotions as we approach death, we think mostly of sadness and terror.

“But it turns out, dying is less sad and terrifying – and happier – than you think.

“In our imagination, dying is lonely and meaningless, but the final blog posts of terminally ill patients and the last words of death row inmates are filled with love, social connection and meaning.”

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Old age alone shouldn’t be considered a justification for physician-assisted death

by Tom Koch, The Globe and Mail, 09 April 2018

“Good treatment addresses our fears, it does not embrace them. It helps people through and past crisis points. That won’t happen when age is considered a terminal diagnosis, however, when physician-assisted death is the go-to answer.”

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Tom Koch is a Toronto-based consultant in gerontology and chronic care. He has written extensively about aging, disability, elder care and medical ethics.

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Positive and Negative Medical Developments

by Professor Michael Kennedy, Australian Medical Association, 14 March 2018

Frequently, patients suffering from neuromuscular degenerative diseases appear in the media supporting euthanasia. The eminent neurologists John Walton and Roger Bannister were among the strongest public and at committee level opponents of euthanasia legislation. There are many drugs now in the clinical trial stage that may considerably improve the outlook of these patients. When penicillin was first used in a patient with terminal sepsis it was described by the administering doctors as a ‘miracle’.

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Calling a spade a soil relocation aid

by Jonathan Hatfield, The New Zealand Herald, 27 March 2018

Assisted dying is a vague term and could mean no more than the important service of rearranging the pillows for a dying person. 

The End of Life Choice Bill talks of assisted dying but with no indication of how this is to happen until the last major paragraph of the extensive explanatory notes. There, as part of a much longer sentence, the bill finally says,’ the medical practitioner must administer it,” and so, in six words it defines assisted dying as euthanasia in the present meaning of the word.

If we are to debate and reach conclusions about this important subject, we must have a clear idea about what we are debating. Clarity is therefore important.

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Landmark Canadian court case proves euthanasia safeguards aren’t there

20 March 2018

“The current landmark court case in Canada again reinforces the fact that laws legalising euthanasia cannot provide safeguards that work,” says Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary.

Roger Foley has cerebellar ataxia, a terminal and incurable severe brain disorder that limits movement and leaves him unable to perform basic tasks independently. He wants to be able to live at home, but has instead been offered only two options: a forced discharge from hospital or medically assisted death. Because of this, Mr Foley is suing the hospital, several health agencies, and the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada.

“The Canadians haven’t had their law for very long and yet already we can see that the idea of choice is a myth – real choices are not available for patients to be assisted to live,” says Dr Thirkell. “This is happening in the same country that David Seymour calls “advanced” with a law that he points to as an example to be followed.”

“Mr Foley’s case highlights the substantial dangers that people with disability and serious chronic and life-limiting medical conditions will face if Mr Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is passed.”

Under the End of Life Choice Bill, it is not necessary for a patient to have their basic needs met before seeking euthanasia, and there is no obligation to ensure real alternatives are explored; the patient must simply be “aware” of them.

“The Bill targets people who may have complex health needs, and who rely on our health system for care. We should be providing the highest standard of care and support to live, which meets those needs.”

“True patient-centred care enables the best living possible, personalised to the patient where appropriate medical expertise and care is properly provided. That’s what palliative and hospice care does and that’s why palliative and hospice care should be invested in.”

“Mr Foley wants to live and the irony is that it is the availability of legal euthanasia and assisted suicide that marks for him the end of any choice for life.”

The Care Alliance stands in solidarity with Mr Foley in his action to be assisted to live to, as he says, “build my circle of care that works with me”.

END

Published at Scoop NZ.

For all media enquires please contact Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary

secretary@carealliance.org.nz

027 563-5086

 

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Kylee Black: End of Life Choice Bill alarmingly ambiguous for disabled people

by Natalie Akoorie, The New Zealand Herald, 7 March 2018

She pointed out that the bill in its current form does not address whether a doctor is allowed to raise euthanasia with a patient. And that a doctor is not permitted to dissuade a patient from euthanasia if they are eligible.

“What happens if I, as a young person with an irremediable condition, wheel into a doctors and say, ‘I’m suicidal, my life has suffering. I want euthanasia’, and a person without a health condition goes in and asks for the same thing?

“For people not eligible for euthanasia, support to live is given. Does that mean healthy people get access to suicide support, but those with an incurable disability do not?”

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Should people with ‘addictions’ be euthanased?

by Mark Powell, The Spectator, 7 March 2018.

The range of medical conditions for which patients can request euthanasia has expanded over time. It now includes not just terminal or degenerative illnesses but any condition that, in the patient’s view, produces unrelieved, intolerable suffering. The grounds for euthanasia in these countries have been taken recently to include intractable depression, chronic forms of addiction, autism and personality disorders and people who do not claim to have any disorder but are simply ‘tired of living’ and want to die.

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