Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I want assistance living, not dying

http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4465271-i-want-assistance-living-not-dying/

Assisted suicide

I was born with cerebral palsy and I have lived all of my life with pain. I now have scoliosis, which affects my mobility and gives me further pain. My prognosis is living with a wheelchair.

MP Steven Fletcher has introduced euthanasia bills with language that specifically focuses on people with disabilities because his bills are about him dying by euthanasia.

Fletcher seems to be saying that he does not value his life, but I value my life and the lives of others with disabilities. His "right to die" ends at the point where it affects other people. Don't take me down with your death wish.

As a member of parliament, Fletcher has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, to work toward improving social supports and living opportunities, but his euthanasia bills say that our lives are not worth living.

People with disabilities are at risk from euthanasia because they are often dependent on others who legally have the right to make decisions for them. Any legislation that lessens protections in law for people with disabilities is very concerning.

I have overcome many physical and social barriers in my life, I am busy wanting to live, but Fletcher's bill directly affects my right to live.

People with disabilities, who live with a positive mindset, show society how to overcome challenges. We see these challenges as opportunities for personal growth.

Fletcher wants your pity. People with disabilities don't want your pity and we don't want your death.

The concept of euthanasia creates great fear for me. Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide abandons me as a person. That society would rather help me die with dignity, than help me live with dignity. We will fight for the right of people with disabilities to live with equality, value and acceptance.

Steven Passmore, Hamilton                             

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This woman needed help NOT Dignitas

http://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/richard-and-judy/469987/The-tale-of-an-unwarranted-death-this-woman-needed-help-NOT-Dignitas


IN a week of disturbing stories right across the news gauntlet – Peaches, Pistorius, the political car-crash of Maria Miller – one dark and troubling tale went almost unnoticed: The death of a retired art teacher, only identified as Anne, by assisted suicide at the infamous Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. 


The truly disturbing nature of Anne’s story is this: she was not suffering from any form of terminal disease. True, at 89, she had had her health problems – diseases of the lung and heart, requiring spells in hospital (which she hated). But she wasn’t dying of cancer, or one of the nasties such as Huntington’s Chorea, or multiple organ failure.

Anne simply felt alienated from the modern world. Speaking days before she died – from a lethal dose of drugs provided by the clinic – she said she felt she faced a choice either to “adapt or die”, and announced she was not prepared to adapt to a world in which technology took precedence over humanity. She added that she had become frustrated with the trappings of modern life, such as fast-food, consumerism, and the amount of time people spend watching television.

“They say ‘adapt or die,’” she said, having already made the decision to take the latter option by drinking a deadly dose of barbiturates. “I find myself swimming against the current, and you can’t do that. If you can’t join them, get off... all the old fashioned ways of doing things have gone.”
Now you may or may not agree with Anne’s world view, but judging by her comments (and there were more in the same vein) it sounds very much to me as if the poor woman was suffering from a classic case of clinical depression – feelings of hopelessness, alienation, despair and suicidal thoughts.

Is that a condition Dignitas should be giving itself permission to treat with a lethal cocktail of drugs? I don’t think so. Its own rules state that it will only provide help in cases of “illness which will lead inevitably to death, unendurable pain or an unendurable disability”.

Anne’s niece, Linda, 54, accompanied her aunt to Zurich and was by her side when she died. She has said she “cannot think of a better death”.

Hmm. I don’t doubt her personal belief in that statement and I am sure she genuinely believes she did the right thing by her aunt. But Anne’s death raises disturbing questions. What if she’d been 10 years younger, say, 79, but held exactly the same bleak view of the world? Would she still have been offered assisted suicide?

Or what about 69? Or 59? At exactly what point does the combination of (undiagnosed) depression plus advancing years get the thumbs-up from the Dignitas doctors?

Personally I have always supported the principle of assisted suicide but Anne’s exit from this world has made me seriously wonder if it can ever be properly controlled.

This disturbing story could be the thin end of a very unpleasant wedge.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Late actor Mickey Rooney was a strong voice against elder abuse

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/actor-mickey-rooney-voice-against-elder-abuse-170443794.html
By  | Daily Brew
As the details of Mickey Rooney's death will make headlines today — he disinherited his eight surviving children and his estranged wife just weeks before his death, leaving his meager $18,000 estate to his stepson and caregiver Mark Rooney — so do claims that the Hollywood legend was a victim of elder abuse.
According to the Associated Press, Rooney said he lost most of his fortune because of elder abuse and financial mismanagement by another of his stepsons, Christopher Aber.
He cut his children out of his will because they were better off financially than he was.
Rooney's lawyer, Michael Augustine, said that an agreement was in place for millions to be repaid to the 93-year-old actor, but it was unlikely the estate will ever collect on it.
Almost three years ago, Rooney appeared before a U.S. Senate committee that was considering legislation that would crack down on elder abuse.
In March of 2011, then-90-year-old Rooney told the Senate Special Committee on Aging that he had been "stripped of the ability to make even the most basic decisions about my life" and financially exploited by his stepson, Aber, and didn't seek help because he was "overwhelmed" with fear, anger and disbelief.
"But above all, when a man feels helpless, it's terrible," Rooney testified.
Engaging in a war of he said/he said, Aber told the Daily Mail that his younger brother, Mark, and his wife were the real abusers, not him.
"They were keeping him from access to a phone, they kept him hostage," he claimed, making the horrific accusation that Rooney died of choking on his own food with no one there "to pat him on the back."
News outlets have reported only that Rooneydied of natural causes, including complications related to diabetes. Read Aber's messy allegations here.
Elder abuse has been making headlines in Canada this month.
Toronto woman Norma Marshall, 94, was victimized by her housekeeper and her family who systematically spent Marshall's life savings and sold her belongings without her knowledge, confining Marshall to a small room in her own home.
A delivery man for a local pharmacy determined something wasn't right when he dropped off her medications and alerted authorities.
Seniors are particularly susceptible to elder abuse and frauds, and regrettably, there is a great reluctance to disclose these types of incidents. —  Patricia Fleischmann, Toronto police vulnerable-persons coordinator
And earlier this week, we shared Bert Matthews' story.
Matthews claims he was tackled and restrained at a Vancouver Island hospital after he tried to leave. He went to the hospital fearing signs of a heart attack or stroke and was admitted, instead, to a psychiatric ward.
According to a poll commissioned by Bayshore HealthCare earlier this year, one in five Canadians visit their elderly loved ones just twice a year at most, citing distance and busyness as reasons for staying away.
With reports of elder abuse and neglect increasing across the nation, last month, British Columbia became the first Canadian province to appoint a seniors' advocate. Isobel Mackenzie vows to represent seniors, not the government, in her new role.   (Photo courtesy Reuters)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Become a Member of Choice is an Illusion!

Who we are

Choice is an Illusion is a non-profit human rights group opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia. 

Our work

We educate the public, legislatures and the courts about problems with legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.  We do this though our websites, our publications and other means including public interest litigation.  For example, we are currently providing funding and litigation support to Montanans Against Assisted Suicide (MAAS), which has an appeal pending in the Supreme Court of Montana. We hope to intervene and/or file amicus briefs in other cases.

This year in Connecticut, a legal/policy analysis written by our president and attorney, Margaret Dore, was instrumental in defeating a proposed assisted-suicide bill. The analysis, which can be viewed hereraised issues regarding duress and a lack of protection for patients against criminal perpetrators.  These same issues were cited as reasons for the bill's defeat in an article by the Associated Press, which states:
[There were] outstanding issues with the bill, such as determining a patient's competency, whether they're under any duress, and how they can be protected from people with criminal intentions.
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A donation of $20.00 or more allows you to become a member and gives you a subscription to our newsletter.  Please also consider a larger donation to support our ongoing work.

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Choice is an Illusion