Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Canada: "Justice Smith seemed skepical of Mr. Arvay's argument"

This Report is from the Farewell Foundation for the Carter Case, December 16, 2011:
Zero-Tolerance for Wrongful Death
Joe Arvay submitted that Canada's closing argument amounts to a "zero-tolerance" policy because it says Parliament can't enact a law that "might create even the 'risk' that one person might die who should not have died."  Arvay said Canada's counsel is "simply wrong" and clarified that Parliament could "leave the matter unregulated as a private matter between the physician and patient," but he hoped government would create some sort of law to regulate assisted death.
Justice Smith pointed out that Canada did not have capital punishment because of the risk that one wrongful death of an innocent person is too many.  "What do you say to that?"
Mr. Arvay answered "Let us put to rest once and for all the complete red herring of capital punishment.. Canada says capital punishment was abolished 'precisely because even the best justice system in the world makes mistakes that, if capital punishment were an option, would result in the death of innocent individuals.' . It need hardly be mentioned that we can assume that everyone on death row wants to live and is being killed involuntarily.  Involuntary death is not only not sought in this case, it is the polar opposite of what is sought in this case - the right to control one's own life and death."
Justice Smith seemed skeptical at Mr. Arvay's argument.  She pointed out that some voluntary deaths may involve people who do not really mean to die. In answer, Arvay said that the risks had to be reconciled somehow, that we don't live in a totally risk free world and that the Court should look at the risks that are already inherent in the medical system every day.  Arvay said that if Justice Smith chose to strike the law, the federal parliament had the option of crafting the best law humanely possible.
To view the entire report, go here: 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hawaii: Attorney General Opinion Attached

Per Jim Hochberg, Hawaii State Senator Joshua Green, MD, has authorized release of the Attorney General's opinion rejecting C & C's claim that assisted suicide is "already legal" in Hawaii.  The opinion states in part:

"Dear Senator Green:

Re: Hawaii law on assistance with dying

You have asked (1) whether §453-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), authorizes a physician to assist a terminally ill patient with dying when requested by or on behalf of the patient, and (2) whether any criminal laws prohibit aid in dying.

We are assuming that a physician’s assistance with dying would consist of prescribing a lethal dose of medication that a terminally ill patient could take to bring on a swifter and possibly more peaceful death than would otherwise ensue. Our analysis addresses only this method of assistance. Briefly, (1) we do not believe that §453-1 provides authority for a physician to assist with dying, and (2) a physician who provided such assistance could be charged under Hawaii’s manslaughter statute. . . ."

To view the entire opinion, click here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hawaii: Attorney General Rejects C & C Claim that Assisted Suicide is "Already Legal"

The Attorney General of Hawaii has issued a formal opinion rejecting Compassion & Choices' claim that physician-assisted suicide, termed "aid in dying," is legal in Hawaii.

A press release issued by the Alliance Defense Fund describes that Senator Josh Green, MD had requested the opinion from Attorney General David Louie.[1]  The press release states:

"[T]he attorney general's legal opinion states that state law "does not authorize physicians to assist terminally ill patients with dying" and "a physician who provided assistance with death could be charged under Hawaii's manslaughter statute."

The press release also quotes Honolulu attorney Jim Hochberg:  "[N]o one should believe the recent falsehoods that pro-death proponents have spread about [Hawaii] law."

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[1]  To view the ADF Press Release, click here 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Press Release: Mass Against Assisted Suicide


Massachusetts Assisted Suicide Initiative a Recipe for Elder Abuse

Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide, has launched a new website agianst the Massachusetts "death with dignity" initiative.  The website's name is "Mass Against Assisted Suicide." 

Margaret Dore, President of Choice is an Illusion and an elder law attorney, states: "The initiative's introduction declares that the process will be 'entirely voluntary' for the patient.  The act, as written, does not deliver on this promise.  The act is instead a recipe for elder abuse."

The proposed act has an application process to obtain a lethal dose for the purpose of causing the patient's death.  The act allows the patient's heir, who will benefit financially from the death, to actively help the patient sign up for the lethal dose.  Dore states:  "The act allows an heir to participate as one of two witnesses on the lethal dose request form.  The act also allows someone else to speak for the patient." 

"This does not meet the stink test," said Dore. "Signing away your life under the proposed act has less protection than signing a will."

Dore explained that when signing a will, similar conduct can create a presumption of fraud and undue influence.

Dore also pointed out that there is no oversight once the lethal dose of has been filled under the proposed act.

"The death is not required to be witnessed by disinterested persons," Dore said.  "Indeed, no one is required to be present." 

"Without disinterested witnesses, the opportunity is created for an heir, or someone else who will benefit from the death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent.  Who would know?"

This year in New Hampshire, a similar "death with dignity" act was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 234 to 99

Former New Hampshire State Representative Nancy Elliott said: "Assisted suicide laws empower heirs and others to pressure and abuse older people to cut short their lives.  This is especially an issue when the older person has money.  There is no assisted suicide bill that you can write to correct this huge problem."
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To view the new website, go here:  To learn more about "Choice" is an Illusion, visit:  To learn about the New Hampshire bill that failed, go here:

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Margaret Dore is President of Choice is an Illusion and an elder law attorney. Contact her at 206-389-1754 or  See also  Contact Former New Hampshire State RepresentativeNancy Elliott at  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Canada: "The idea that legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia will somehow increase patient choice . . . is a society gone mad"

Dear Editor, 

Mark Hume's article cheering on the anonymous family "forced" to kill their parents is a not-so-subtle endorsement of the current challenge to our laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia. The article is titled "A.B.C.'s family's secret: how they helped their parents die." My question is, what were the family's other "secrets"? How much did they inherit, who got the house, or were the killings done as payback for long past wrongs? Elder abuse is a terrible problem in this country and the scenario I describe is not uncommon.

Hume's article also ignores that older people are already being killed in our health care facilities via dehydration, starvation, and/or morphine overdose. For one instance, see this article in the Winnipeg Free Press, "Alleged deprivation of senior probed: Denied food, water in hospital." ( ) My own mother had a similar experience in an extended care facility in Nova Scotia. A mild stroke led to her forced starvation and dehydration. It didn't matter that she was conscious and trying to speak, or that she had indicated she wanted water.

As evidenced by the overreaching doctors described in the above article and my mother's experience, some doctors cannot be trusted with the power they already have. Legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia will give them even more power to effect patient death. The idea that legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia will somehow increase patient choice and autonomy is a society gone mad.

To read my mother's story, please click here:

Thank you,
Kate Kelly, B.A., B.Ed

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Massachusetts: MMS Physicians Reaffirm Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide

Contact: Richard P. Gulla
Phone: (781) 434-7101 Email:

Waltham, Mass. -- December 3, 2010 – The Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide association of physicians with more than 23,000 members, today voted to reaffirm its opposition to physician-assisted suicide, with its House of Delegates voting by a wide margin to maintain a policy the Society has had in effect since 1996.

Opposition to physician-assisted suicide was part of a larger policy statement that includes recognition of patient dignity at the end of life and the physician’s role in caring for terminally-ill patients. The policy was approved by more than 75 percent of the Society’s delegates.

Lynda Young, M.D., president of the Society, said that “Physicians of our Society have clearly declared that physician-assisted suicide  is inconsistent with the physician’s role as healer and health care provider. At the same time we recognize the importance of patient dignity and the critical role that physicians have in end-of-life care.”

Dr. Young said the policy goes beyond a single statement of opposition to physician-assisted suicide to include “support for patient dignity and the alleviation of pain and suffering at the end of life.” Additionally, it includes the Society’s commitment to “provide physicians treating terminally-ill patients with the ethical, medical, social, and legal education, training, and resources to enable them to contribute to the comfort and dignity of the patient and the patient’s family.”

The policy was one of several reaffirmed and adopted at the Society’s 2011 Interim Meeting, which brings hundreds of physicians from across the state to examine and consider specific resolutions on public health policy, health care delivery, and organizational administration by the Society’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body. Resolutions adopted by the delegates become policies of the organization. . . .

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 23,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information, visit,, or

Helium Hood Seller Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud,0,3503245.story

San Diego-area suicide kit seller agrees to stop sale of devices

El Cajon woman came under scrutiny when one of her products was found on a dead 29-year-old in Oregon.

Reporting from San Diego -- A former schoolteacher who sold suicide kits that she once touted as leaving people "eternally sleepy" pleaded guilty Friday to a tax evasion charge and agreed to stop encouraging people to commit suicide.

Sharlotte Hydorn mailed more than 1,300 of the so-called helium hood suicide kits to people around the world, concealing the true nature of the product by describing the boxes as "orchid humidifiers" or "beauty bonnets" or "plastic rain hoods" on U.S. customs forms, according to federal prosecutors.

The $60 kits actually contained a clear plastic bag, medical grade tubing and a how-to diagram. A customer would place the bag over his head, connect the tubing from the bag to a helium tank and turn the valve. Death would be caused by helium asphyxiation.

Hydorn, 91, who was once an elementary school science teacher, marketed the product to terminally ill people as a compassionate alternative. She admitted to federal agents, however, that she didn't verify the physical condition, age or identity of the people who ordered her product.

She drew scrutiny last year after one of her devices was found over the head of a dead 29-year-old man from Eugene, Ore. In May, federal agents raided her home in El Cajon, east of San Diego, where she assembled the kits with her son.

Investigators determined that the kits had been sold to at least 50 people in San Diego County since 2007. In 2010, four San Diego residents — none of them terminally ill — committed suicide using the kits, according to prosecutors.

Hydorn said she became interested in assisted suicide after watching her once-healthy husband die after a long battle with colon cancer
30 years ago. He died in a hospital bed, and she regrets not being able to respect his wishes to die in the comfort of his home.

Her product, Hydorn said, ends lives peacefully, leaving people "eternally sleepy."

In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal under certain conditions, lawmakers have introduced a bill that would outlaw any device sold with the intent that another person use it to commit suicide.

Hydorn had failed to file federal income tax returns since 2007 and agreed to pay about $26,000 in outstanding taxes, prosecutors said. She faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 26.