Rochester, NY (PRWEB) October 28, 201
Not Dead Yet, a national disability organization that opposes legalization of assisted suicide, applauds the
Proponents of doctor-prescribed suicide recently (Oct. 6) held a pep rally at the Pavilion Auditorium as part of their ongoing effort to pressure legislators into taking up their cause when the Legislature returns in 2012. Reporter Dirk Van Susteren covered the event for Vt Digger and described it as a pep rally without much pep, and went on to note that the rally was attended by a mere 20 gray-haired supporters.
I hope the Legislature ignores the demands of so few and focuses instead on the huge financial and personal losses caused by Tropical Storm Irene, the need to repair our infrastructure, create jobs and answer legitimate concerns about the new healthcare law.
Legislative leaders would do well to avoid a repeat of the 2007 House debate over a doctor-prescribed suicide bill that ended in its defeat — but only after a drawn-out, emotionally divisive debate. Now is the time for Vermonters to work together and get our state back on track.
Link to a previous article - assisted suicide bill unlikely to pass in Vermont.
Brenda Pepin Montpelier
Earlier this month, Hawaii Death With Dignity, a group which promotes doctor-prescribed death, held a meeting at their state capital announcing Hawaii was the 4th state to legalize assisted suicide. This is flat-out incorrect on several grounds.
First, assisted suicide has been specifically legalized in only two states – Oregon and Washington. In addition, due to a 2010 court decision in Montana, a physician there who aided in a suicide would, at a criminal or civil trial, be allowed to try to claim that the victim consented.
Second, despite well over one hundred legislative efforts, pro-assisted suicide forces have yet to be successful in any state legislature. They have come close to victory many times, even in Hawaii, but have thus far only been successful using two ballot initiative campaigns. So why would Hawaii Death With Dignity announce the state had suddenly legalized doctor prescribed death?
Sir - In an age when we hear endless calls for a “right to die”, you reveal that in many hospitals the obligation to die is being imposed on elderly patients without their knowledge, and without the consent of their relatives, by doctors writing “do not resuscitate” in their notes (report, October 16).
Let us beware campaigns for “assisted suicide”, sugar-coated with reassurances that no one would dream of imposing it on vulnerable patients, backed up by pledges of “strict safeguards”.
Ann FarmerThis letter reminds me of the hollow call by the Quebec College of Physicians and Surgeons stating that we need to legalize euthanasia because it is happening already. The fact is, that if it is happening already it is because physicians are abusing the proper use of medical techniques.
Woodford Green, Essex
“The decision granting our organization standing will enable us to represent our constituency of people with disabilities, seniors, healthcare practitioners and members of different cultural and religious backgrounds in order meet our mandate to preserve and enforce social, legal and medical safeguards prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide and promoting compassionate healthcare respectful of the lives, dignity and autonomy of vulnerable people.”
Schadenberg notes that:
“This issue was debated last year in the Canadian Parliament and consistent with earlier Senate Committee reports, Parliament rejected Bill C-384 overwhelmingly a bill which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in
Will the Vermont Legislature take up the issue next year? It doesn’t seem any more likely than this year, when the bill never surfaced because of a lack of support in the Senate. House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown, on Monday reiterated, “We’re not going to move the bill of there’s not support in the House and Senate. It’s not clear that there’s support in the Senate.”
Smith said he and Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor, have not had any new conversations about reviving the bill next year.
Campbell indicated Monday nothing has changed from last session. He said though he personally opposes the legislation, he wouldn’t block it from coming up if others in the Senate wanted to. That’s not likely to happen.
"If you say it enough, people will believe you."Margaret Dore, the incredible legal researcher and Washington State elder law attorney has written a response to Coombs Lee that definitively proves that assisted suicide is not legal in Hawaii.
|Governor Peter Shumlin|
On a recent trip to Sacramento, I was introduced first-hand to the rising need among the frail elderly to have access to safe places where they can escape abusive situations. Leo McFarland, Volunteers of America's chief executive in the region, showed me their new Senior Safe House -- a residential home providing shelter and support for abused seniors who previously had been showing up at homeless shelters.King introduces us to Beverly, a retired army nurse, who was abused by her daughter. He states:
as shocking as these stories is the fact that the Sacramento Senior Safe House is one of only a handful of places nationwide established specifically to help older people escaping abusive situations.King then tells the readers about the problem of elder abuse.
While we all would agree that elder abuse is dreadful and should be stopped, we have failed to dedicate the necessary resources to actually combat it in an effective way. In March 2010, Congress passed the first comprehensive federal elder abuse prevention law. This was an important victory for those of us advocating on behalf of seniors, but more than a year later, the law is now pointless because no money has been dedicated to enforce it.King then explains how the growing demographic of elderly citizens will effect the care and attitude towards seniors. King writes:
To this day, elder abuse remains the only form of family violence for which the federal government provides virtually no resources. What resources are dedicated come from cash-strapped cities and states. Abused dogs and cats in our society receive more attention and money.
By many measures, elder abuse in this country is getting worse. According to a recent National Institute of Justice study, almost 11 percent of people ages 60 and older (5.7 million Americans) faced some sort of elder abuse in the past year. A 2009 study estimated that 14.1 percent of non-institutionalized older adults nationwide had experienced some form of abuse in the previous year. A 2009 report by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse estimates that seniors lose a minimum of $2.5 billion each year from financial exploitation.
Today's elderly also come some a generation that values quiet dignity and would rather "remain calm and carry on" than complain. Because of this, many victims of abuse suffer in silence rather than seek help. Since they're not complaining -- and because our society over the past generation has adopted an out of sight, out of mind mentality toward care for the elderly -- this problem doesn't register in the minds of most people. It certainly wasn't on my radar until recently.I share the concerns of King and I agree that seniors, and other vulnerable people need "Safe Havens" and other types of societal protections. I also recognize how societal attitudes that lead to the scourge of elder abuse will also, if legalized, lead to people being killed by euthanasia or assisted suicide, under the guise of "choice".
We need places like the Sacramento Senior Safe House in every community in the United States." ...
The number of seniors in abusive, and even life-threatening, situations will only get worse as our population ages. The time is now to build the infrastructure to support their needs and provide a safe place for them to call home.
Professional and public anxieties about the effects of morphine continue to hinder adequate prescribing of this vital painkiller for genuine pain relief, claims a Comment in this week's edition of The Lancet.
Nigel Sykes, of St Christopher's Hospice, London, UK, says that the notorious Dr Harold Shipman's* use of morphine as a murder weapon has further increased disquiet among UK medical professionals.It is important that we always maintain that the proper use of opioids does not cause death and should not be confused with acts of euthanasia, which do intentionally cause death. It is not necessary to legalize euthanasia but it is necessary to increase the level of training and support for good palliative care practices.
Dr Sykes claims that the best known fact about morphine among the public and physicians is that it can be addictive, when in fact less than one in 10 000 patients prescribed the drug as part of treatment becomes addicted.
He adds: "For physicians, the second best-known fact is that morphine can precipitate respiratory depression. As a consequence, if offered enough confidentiality, clinicians can be readily found who will confess to having shortened the life of their patients to achieve pain control."
The Comment goes on to say that it is hardly surprising in light of these points that the media view everyday medical practice for severe pain control as increasing the dosage of morphine until the patient dies.
Dr Sykes welcomes the recent study from the US National Hospice Outcomes Project, which studies morphine/opioid use and survival at the end of life - as it provides facts with which to explode the myths about morphine.
The study assessed 725 patients with end-stage cancer, lung disease or heart disease, and found that length of survival was not linked to either absolute or percentage change in dose of morphine or other opioids.
No combination of factors was capable of explaining a variation of more than 8% in survival time, which points to an overwhelming influence of the individual's disease severity.
Only patients who have no experience of opioid treatment are at significant risk of respiratory depression.
Dr Sykes says: "A patient with moderate-to-severe chronic pain, malignant in origin or not, who is given the incremental dose-titration practised in pain and palliative care centres is not at such risk. A physician who truly is killing his or her patient in the name of pain relief is not merciful, just incompetent."
He adds: "This problem matters because underprescribing of opioids remains a major barrier to effective pain control."
Dr Sykes also expresses his concerns for pain relief in developing countries, saying: "If ineffective pain management is still an issue in high-income countries, it is nearly universal in low-income countries where access to morphine is limited or absent, but where most people dying from cancer or AIDS reside."
|Wesley J Smith|
The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence phone survey estimates that 7.6% of people over 60 have experienced elder abuse, neglect or financial exploitation in the past year. A nationwide study using a similar random digit dialing methodology found a one year prevalence rate of about 10 percent for abuse and neglect. The human toll these numbers represent is vast: 3.35 to 4.41 million of phone-answering, community dwelling Americans who passed a basic capacity screen have experienced some form of abuse, neglect or exploitation in the last year.The situation is even bleaker for seniors with dementia:
People with dementia suffer staggering rates of mistreatment. A 2010 study by University of California, Irvine researchers found that 47% of people with dementia who were cared for at home by family members were mistreated. These findings are echoed in several other studies. Many of these studies find high rates of verbal, psychological or emotional abuse. Although physical abuse would seem to be more detrimental than verbal abuse, a 2010 Howard University study found that verbal abuse took an even worse toll on the mental health of women age 50 – 79 than physical abuse, indicating that we should take it just as seriously as other types of mistreatment. The phone surveys also do not include the approximately 2.5 million people who live in facilities, and the prevalence of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in these settings is especially difficult to ascertain.
With 77 million baby boomers aging, dementia on the rise, and caregiver shortages looming, experts agree that “the growing crisis of elder abuse” has significant implications for the health, well-being and economic security of millions of Americans. Elder abuse is not just an aging issue. It’s a baby boomer issue too, for the millions of people struggling to promote the safety and well being of both their parents and their children. By not meaningfully acknowledging, let alone addressing elder abuse, we are sending an insidious message that suffering in old age is somehow less worthy of our best effort.This is all very sobering. Anyone who would legalize assisted suicide in the face of the these hard truths believes in Euthanasialand. But the rest of us, who live in Realityland, should heed this warning and reject legalizing assisted suicide out of hand. Even if it could work in theory–which I reject–in the here and how, assisted suicide would just become another way of abusing seniors. The Myrna Lebov assisted suicide–facilitated by her husband, George Delury to put her out of his misery– serves as an apt example of how easy it is to hide abuse behind a false mask of “compassion.”