Thursday, March 31, 2016

Crime Blog: Hospice owner urged nurses to overdose patients so they would die quicker, FBI says

Jamie Knodel Email
Published: March 29, 2016 10:29 pm


The owner of a Frisco medical company regularly directed nurses to overdose hospice patients with drugs such as morphine to speed up their deaths and maximize profits and sent text messages like, “You need to make this patient go bye-bye,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit for a search warrant obtained by NBC 5.

The executive, Brad Harris, founded the company, Novus Health Care Services Inc., in July 2012, according to state records.

Novus’ office is on Dallas Parkway in Frisco.

No charges have been filed against Novus or Harris. Harris, 34, did not return messages left with a receptionist and at his Frisco home.

Harris, an accountant, told a nurse to overdose three patients and directed another employee to increase a patient’s medication to four times the maximum allowed, the FBI said.

In the first case, the employee refused to follow the alleged instructions, the agent wrote in the affidavit. The document does not say whether the other three patients were actually harmed.

Harris also told other health care executives over a lunch meeting that he wanted to “find patients who would die within 24 hours,” and made comments like, “if this f— would just die,” an FBI agent wrote in the warrant.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the investigation.

Novus’ website says the company offers hospice and home health care services.

“We have a saying at Novus, be fast and treat people the way we would want to be treated,” the website says. “This encourages us to go the extra mile to make patients feel comfortable and secure about their special needs and requests.”

Monday, March 28, 2016

New Hampshire: No on Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia Commission (SB 426)

Members of the House:

I am a lawyer in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  I urge you to oppose SB 426, which establishes a commission to study "end-of-life choices," a euphemism for assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who are not necessarily dying anytime soon.  Bills legalizing these practices, in the fine print, do not assure choice; they are uniformly stacked against the patient.  "Eligible" patients may have years, even decades, to live. (not end of life).

Specific Objections to SB 426:

1.  The New Hampshire House has already extensively studied assisted suicide/euthanasia, and rejected it. 

2.  Given the bill's deceptive language, the proposed commission will promote assisted suicide and euthanasia without being clear as to what's being discussed, and for whom it's being discussed (non-dying people).  The deceptiveness alone is bad public policy.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rhode Island, Providence Journal Article
"This bill encourages people to throw away their lives"

By Jennifer Bogdan, Journal State House Bureau

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Susanna Brown couldn't make it to the State House Wednesday night to testify against a bill that could allow her to end her own life. 

The 75-year-old North Scituate resident has breast cancer that has spread to her bones, and she's struggling with her latest chemotherapy treatment. So she sent her daughter, Julie Lamin, to tell lawmakers this:

"She insisted that I come and speak on her behalf because this bill insults the dignity of her life," Lamin said. "She wanted to tell you that her life is valuable until that last breath and that this bill really scares her ... because someone could say, 'Well you're going to be suffering, and we don't want you to suffer. You can end it early.'"

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rhode Island: Press Release

Dore:   The bill is sold as assuring patient choice and control.  The bill is instead stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse.” 

Contact: Margaret Dore

(206) 697-1217

Providence, RI
– Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide/euthanasia legalization efforts in many states and now Rhode Island, made the following statement in connection with tomorrow's legislative hearing on a bill seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in that state.  (H 7659, hearing Wednesday, 3/23/16, Rise of the House).

"There is a bill pending before the Rhode Island House of Representatives, which seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined," said Dore.  "The bill describes these practices as 'hastening death,' but there is no requirement that a person be near death.  Indeed, ‘eligible’ persons may have years, even decades, to live.”

Dore said, "The bill is sold as assuring patient choice and control.  The bill is instead stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse.”  Dore elaborated, “The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient's death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose.  After that, no doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death.  Even if the patient struggled, who would know?”  Dore concluded, “The bill creates the perfect crime.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Minnesota Senator Withdraws Bill

This afternoon, Senator Chris Eaton withdrew SF 1880, which had sought to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Minnesota.

Senator Eaton did not have the votes to pass the bill out of committee.

To view a legal/policy memo analyzing the bill, click here.  To view the memo's attachments, click here.

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

Monday, March 14, 2016

Minnesota: Dore Memo Opposing Assisted-Suicide/Euthanasia Bill

Intro Re Minnesota Bill SF 1880:

The proposed bill seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined. The bill calls these practices, “aid in dying.” The bill does not, however, require that a patient be dying. Indeed, “eligible” patients may have years or even decades to live.

The bill also legalizes undue influence as that term is traditionally defined. The bill is otherwise stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse. I urge you to vote “No” on SF 1880. Don’t be fooled.

To view the full memo, click here.  To view the attachments, click here.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Assisted Suicide Proponents Wilt After Tough Questioning by Committee

From Stop Assisted Suicide Maryland
Margaret Dore, Esq.
Posted on February 26, 2016

(Annopolis MD) Proponents of physician-assisted suicide struggled to answer the tough questions thrown at them at yesterday’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on SB 418. The Committee met late into the night with Senators raising significant concerns with the bill and its lack of protections.
The message from proponents, led by national group Compassion & Choices, was that any protections in the law would stall a patient’s ability to get a lethal prescription from their physician. And questions surrounding these increased protections continuously baffled witnesses. There is nothing in this bill that would require a mental health screening, or ensure a physician is present at the time the lethal dose is taken. Proponents’ response to these concerns is that the Maryland healthcare system can’t support these types of mandates.  This is a weak excuse when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable populations who will be at risk if this bill is passed.
In fact, across the board proponents neglect to mention the issues in this legislation that would put our most vulnerable populations at risk. One witness in support of the bill, even referred to the disabled community’s concerns surrounding abuse and coercion of the vulnerable as irresponsible. ... This is a community that has consistently faced discrimination in healthcare laws. To not consider the threat to this community is irresponsible.
Powerful testimony was presented by an elder law attorney [Margaret Dore] who raised the significant potential for elder abuse surrounding this legislation.* She stated that in her experience, it is very common that family members are coercing elderly relatives for financial reasons. In confusing answers, proponents pushed back against protections that would disqualify witnesses who would benefit financially from a death, using the unacceptable excuse that it would leave family out of this process.
The Senate Committee brought some important questions to the table and it was clear that proponents were not prepared to answer. Maybe it’s because they know the physician assisted suicide bill in Maryland is indefensible.   

* To view Ms. Dore's written testimony, please see memo hereclick here for the appendix. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Maryland senator withdraws assisted suicide/euthanasia bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland senator has withdrawn a measure to allow terminally ill residents to legally end their lives with drugs prescribed by a doctor.

[The bill, SB 418, would have legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined]*

Sen. Ron Young, a Frederick County Democrat, said he withdrew the bill Thursday, when it became clear the measure did not have the votes in committee....

The bill stalled last year, but supporters hoped adding some safeguards would help.

Young says he doubts he will try again next year, because he says committee opponents are “just totally inflexible on it.” Opponents cited concerns that vulnerable people like the developmentally disabled could be pressured to end their lives.

*  See memo, pp. 1, 8-10; click here for the appendix. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Breaking News: Nebraska Bill Voted Down!

A Nebraska Senator just wrote me:
Dear Ms. Dore,
Thank you for sharing your concerns with LB1056. The Judiciary Committee voted against letting this bill out of committee this afternoon.