By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA
Choice is an Illusion, President
Below and finally, a comprehensive article in a major paper describing what a lot of us know already, that non-consenting, non-dying people are being killed with morphine and other drugs under the guise of hospice/palliative care. The article, excerpted below from the Washington Post, describes cases in the US. There are similar cases in Canada and the UK (e.g, the former "Liverpool Pathway").
There are a myriad of reasons why these cases occur, including mistakes and negligence, which is described in the Post article. The wishes of heirs interested in a speedy inheritance and/or to get dad out of the way before he changes his will, can also be at play. For a particularly egregious example, see William Dotinga, "Grim Complaint Against Kaiser Hospital," at http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/06/43641.htm
With hospice, eligibility is determined by a prediction of less than six months to live. This is the same eligibility cutoff used for legal assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington State. This is, however, just a prediction and there are many people deemed eligible who live longer than that and/or who are not dying. See, e.g., the Washington Post article excerpted below and this article from the Seattle Weekly: "Terminal Uncertainty." See also this affidavit from Oregon doctor Kenneth Stevens, MD and this affidavit from John Norton.
This hospice/palliative care abuse issue is important for itself, as well, as for its implications in the larger debate over assisted suicide/euthanasia legalization. Consider, for example, the letter below from Washington State. The author, the owner of a care facility, describes how since passage of Washington's assisted suicide law, doctors more readily resort to morphine, sometimes without consent. He states:
Since [Washington's assisted suicide law] passed, we have . . . noticed that some members of the medical profession are quick to bring out the morphine to begin comfort care without considering treatment. Sometimes they do this on their own without telling the client and/or the family member in charge of the client's care. http://www.choiceillusion.org/2013/12/it-wasnt-father-saying-that-he-wanted.htmlHe also describes a general devaluation of older people, as follows:
Since our [assisted suicide] law was passed, I have also observed that some medical professionals are quick to write off older people as having no quality of life whereas in years past, most of the professionals we dealt with found joy in caring for them. Our clients reciprocated that joy and respect. (Id.).He concludes by asking readers to not make Washington's mistake of legalizing assisted suicide. He states:
Someday, we too will be old. I, personally, want to be cared for and have my choices respected. I, for one, am quite uncomfortable with these developments. Don't make our mistake. (Id.).* * *
Below, the excerpt from the Washington Post article.
As More Hospices Enroll Patients who Aren't Dying, Questions About Lethal Doses Arise
By Peter Whoriskey at firstname.lastname@example.org