Archive for the ‘Assisted Suicide’ Category

NJ Voters Support Doctor-Assisted Suicide, Poll Shows

December 9, 2012

Voters support physician-assisted suicide in New Jersey, according to a a new poll released [12/3].

The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll of 433 New Jersey voters found that 46 percent support Assemblyman John Burzichelli’s (D-Gloucester)”Death with Dignity Act,” while 38 percent oppose it.

The bill (A3328) would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients with under six months to live.

Patients would self-administer the drugs after requesting them verbally and then writing, signed by two witnesses, 15 days later.

After that, the doctor would have to offer the patient a chance to rescind the request and recommend the patient’s next of kin be notified. A second doctor would then have to certify the original doctor’s diagnosis and affirm that the patient is acting voluntarily and capable of making the decision.

Patients deemed to have impaired judgment would not be eligible, and the doctors would be required to refer them to counseling. And health care facilities would be able to prohibit their doctors from writing the prescriptions.

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NJ Voters Support Doctor-Assisted Suicide, Poll Shows

Vermont Governonr ‘Confident’ Assisted Suicide Will Pass Next Year

December 9, 2012

Despite strong opposition from pro-life forces and a recent high-profile defeat in neighboring Massachusetts, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said last week he is confident the state legislature will pass a bill legalizing assisted suicide during the next session.

Referring to assisted suicide as “death with dignity,” Shumlin laid out his agenda for 2013 in a press conference last week.

“I’m confident that regardless of who leads the various bodies in the legislature, that we can pass decriminalization of marijuana, death with dignity, and the [unionization] bill for childcare workers,” the governor said. “We’re going to get them done.”

But the Democratic governor will face strong resistance, even from within his own party.

Senate president John Campbell, also a Democrat, has consistently opposed so-called “death with dignity” legislation. He said last week that he has not changed his position on the issue and doubts whether it has enough support to pass the state legislature.

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Vermont Governor Confident Assisted Suicide Will Pass Next Year

Canton votes for assisted suicide

July 6, 2012

Churches in the Swiss canton of Vaud have condemned a move that will permit assisted suicide in nursing homes and hospitals in the canton.

On 17 June, almost two-thirds of voters (62 per cent) in the canton voted in a legally binding referendum in favour of a proposal that would oblige nursing homes and hospitals to allow assisted suicide, provided the person who wishes it is suffering from an incurable illness or injury and is of sound mind.

Local Bishop Charles Morerod of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, said the consequences of the decision were “terrible”.

The referendum was held as the Congress of the World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies met in Zurich, where speakers included author and Alzheimer’s sufferer Terry Pratchett.

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Canton votes for assisted suicide

Vermont Assisted Suicide Bill Dead

April 16, 2012

“For nearly two hours Thursday afternoon, the Vermont Senate focused on legislation that would allow people with fewer than six months to live to opt for a lethal dose of medication. From the start, it was clear the legislation wouldn’t pass – and it didn’t, failing on a procedural vote.”

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Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network:

Assisted-Suicide Advocate Takes Own Life

March 22, 2012

Peter Goodwin, a family physician who wrote and campaigned for Oregon’s right-to-die law in the 1990s, died Sunday after taking a cocktail of lethal drugs prescribed by his doctor, as allowed under the legislation he championed.

Dr. Goodwin, 83 years old, had been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder similar to Parkinson’s disease and had been given less than six months to live.

The Oregon law was the first in the nation to authorize patients to end their lives with the assistance of physicians. It doesn’t allow for doctors to administer euthanasia by injection, though it authorizes them to prescribe lethal drugs that the patient can choose to take.

The law has withstood legal challenges including a case brought by the Bush administration. In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Oregon, saying that the federal government couldn’t forbid doctors from prescribing drugs to help a patient die.

“He persuaded us of the wider picture, that we needed doctors,” said Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society, which advocated voluntary euthanasia. Mr. Humphry called the Oregon law his movement’s greatest legislative success.

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Assisted-Suicide Advocate Takes Own Life

Editorial: Legal Assisted Suicide is a Recipe for Abuse

February 28, 2012

Editor, the Tribune: I am an attorney in Washington state, where assisted suicide is legal. I am also president of Choice is an Illusion, a not-for-profit corporation opposed to assisted suicide.

I disagree with Sandy Davidson (“Missourians should have a right to die”) that assisted suicide laws should be enacted in Missouri. Washington’s assisted suicide law is similar to a law in Oregon. These laws are promoted as providing patient choice. They are instead a recipe for elder abuse.

Under both the Oregon and Washington laws, an heir, who will financially benefit from the patient’s death, is allowed to actively help the patient sign up for the lethal dose. An heir can even talk for the patient during the lethal dose request process. This situation invites patient coercion, not patient choice.

More important, once the lethal dose is issued, there is no oversight, not even a required witness at the death. This creates the opportunity for someone who will benefit from the death to administer the dose without consent.

For more information about problems with legal assisted suicide, please visit

~Margaret Dore

Charges Dropped Against MA Man Accused of Helping Father Commit Suicide

December 15, 2011

Charges against a Massachusetts man who was accused of helping his father, a prominent attorney and West Hartford resident, commit suicide were dropped [12/08/11]. Prosecutor Thomas Garcia told Judge Joan Alexander that he didn’t want to continue to pursue the charges against Bruce Brodigan, 57, of Somerville, Mass. The judge approved the request.

“I feel my client is happy that it’s over,” said Hubert Santos, Brodigan’s attorney.

In September 2010, Brodigan, allegedly helped his father, George, take his own life through an overdose of drugs and alcohol. George Brodigan, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, died at home with a half-filled bottle of Mount Gay rum and a copy of Derek Humphry’s “Final Exit,” a guide to ending one’s life, at his bedside.

According to police, Bruce Brodigan said his father wanted to take his own life before he became incapacitated. He told police that his father’s condition had declined and that there was talk about whether he could remain at his home without additional care.

“He loves his father and just wanted to relieve him of his pain,” Santos said Thursday [11/8].

It is illegal in Connecticut to assist in another’s suicide, and Brodigan was charged in January with second-degree manslaughter, tampering with or fabricating evidence and providing a false statement.

Garcia said he decided to drop the charges after Judge David Gold, who was recently transferred to another Connecticut courtroom, told him he would not grant Brodigan a special form of probation, which would have allowed allow him to clear his record upon successful completion.

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Charges Dropped Thursday Against Man Accused Of Helping Father Commit Suicide

Assisted Suicide – A Recipe for Elder Abuse

November 11, 2011

Next November, Massachusetts voters will decide via ballot initiative whether to allow physician-assisted suicide. The Death with Dignity Act is modeled closely on an initiative passed by Washington State voters in 2008. In states that have taken up these laws, pro-life groups, religious groups, and advocates for the disabled have fought them. Massachusetts is a heavily Catholic state, and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston called the act “a corruption of the medical profession that violates the Hippocratic Oath.”

National Right to Life calls the proposed Massachusetts act “a recipe for elder abuse.” Key provisions of the act include that an heir, who will benefit financially from a patient’s death, is allowed to actively help sign the patient up for the lethal dose.

In the United States, assisted suicide is legal only in Washington and Oregon. In both states, the law was enacted through a ballot initiative. In 2010, the Montana Supreme Court’s Baxter decision did not legalize assisted suicide but gave physicians, if prosecuted, a potential defense. A law that would have allowed assisted suicide in Montana went down to defeat in February.

In addition to Massachusetts, pro-euthanasia activists are currently mobilizing in Hawaii and Vermont.

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Assisted Suicide – A Recipe for Elder Abuse

‘Pulling the Plug’

September 2, 2011

It is mind blogging how some people are so ready to suggest the plug should be pulled on others. What if the pluggee doesn’t want the plug pulled? Pull it anyway?

There you go. One more down. Who else can we get rid of?

The thought brings to mind a picture of an eager face with a vile grin and some drool running down the chin for good measure. “Oh look, that little old lady in Aisle 4 doesn’t have quality of life. I wouldn’t want to live that way, walking with a limp. Let’s get her. Boy, this legal murder is empowering. Look at me! I have power over life and death. Why didn’t we start doing this before now? Oh, good another one back by the frozen foods. Such a good day for plug pulling.”

Think it can’t ever happen?

Who would have thought we would ever be where we are today? Who would have thought we would be so ready to say that helpless people “aren’t in there”, and thus believe it is simply okay to starve and dehydrate them to death? Who would have thought, but that is where society has arrived at. Society is killing off the weakest without thought to those who have fallen victim to illness, injury, disability or age. It is outrageous at how cold and cruel our society has become.

It is easy to say someone has no hope, when no therapy or attempt has been made to help the person get better. It’s causing the problem and then having the problem be our supportive argument as to why not to take any positive actions.

[P]eople can’t always get better without the tools and treatment being made available to them.

They can’t wheel themselves down the hallway, if they don’t have a wheel chair to wheel.

They can’t do physical therapy if none is offered, nor anyone to tell them how.

They can’t take the necessary medications to cure their illness, if no medication is made available.

They can’t eat or drink if no food or water is provided.

They can’t look out the window if there is no window to look out of.

Simply put, people can’t get better if they aren’t allowed to get better, because all things that will (or might) make them better is denied them.

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Pulling the Plug

MN: State Law Has Huge Gap in Punishing Elder Neglect

August 25, 2011

For years, prosecutors and advocates for the elderly have tried to provide vulnerable adults legal protection similar to children in Minnesota. But those efforts have been opposed by some influential health care providers and lawmakers concerned that workers or family caregivers would be unfairly punished.

Iris Freeman, associate director at the Center for Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell College of Law, said it’s difficult to find common ground on the issue. But she said it’s important to provide justice “for vulnerable adults that have been victimized by this kind of very serious neglect.”

The Star Tribune reviewed about 50 cases filed statewide since 2004 in which someone was convicted of misdemeanor charges for neglecting a vulnerable adult. In six cases, the victim died. Other victims were locked in hot cars while their caregivers went shopping or they ended up in the hospital because of maltreatment. Last year, doctors had to amputate the leg of a disabled man after his mother failed to get him treatment for a badly infected foot.

“We’re missing crime here,” said Amy Sweasy, an assistant Hennepin County attorney who specializes in elder rights cases. “There’s conduct that’s worse than misdemeanor conduct that we don’t have the statute to use.”

Some opponents fear a tougher law would create criminals out of well-intentioned workers in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and other regulated settings.

“Our members, they would not have any problem if you exempted people that work in facilities and applied it out in the community, where people are much more at risk where you don’t have the kinds of checks and balances and eyes and ears,” said Darrell Shreve, vice president of health policy with Aging Services of Minnesota, a trade group that represents nursing homes and other senior housing providers.

Shreve noted that doctors and other caregivers who make mistakes are already subject to punishment, both by regulators and the civil courts.

“If a physician commits malpractice you don’t put the doc in jail. They get sued,” Shreve said. “Why would this be any different?”

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State Law Has Huge Gap in Punishing Elder Neglect