Monday, March 30, 2015

Montana: Vote "Yes" on HB 477!

HB 477 will reverse Baxter and send a clear message that medical killings are prohibited and against public policy.  Individuals will be protected from the medical establishment, individual doctors and family members with something to gain.

A.  Involuntary Medical Killings.

Throughout the US, there are increasing reports of involuntary medical killings.[1] Consider a 2012 case against Kaiser Healthcare. Doctors killed the patient, a wealthy older man, through a “terminal extubation.” His daughters had allegedly urged this result in order to obtain large inheritances.[2]  In Montana, examples include Dr. James Mungas, who was killed under the guise of hospice/palliative care.  His widow, Carol Mungas, states:
It is traumatic, still, to realize his last communications were attempts to get help.[3]
B.  Likely Problems

Baxter has created confusion in the law and has emboldened some doctors and family members to publicly admit participation in assisted suicides.  If HB 477 is not enacted, this situation will likely lead to defacto legality and the following problems:

    1.  New paths of elder abuse, especially for people with money.

Legal assisted suicide creates new paths of elder abuse. Consider, for example, the Thomas Middleton case, where legal physician-assisted suicide in Oregon was part of a financial elder abuse fraud.

    2.  Steerage to suicide.

It is well documented that Oregon's Medicaid program steers patients to suicide (suicide is covered in lieu of treatments for cure or to extend life).  Private health plans and providers have this same ability. To learn more, see this affidavit by Oregon doctor, Kenneth Stevens, MD.

    3.  Pressure on patients. 

See this letter by Marlene Deakins, RN, describing the pressure put on her brother after he merely asked a question about assisted suicide in Washington State. 

    4.  More conventional suicides, including violent suicides.

In Oregon, conventional suicides, including violent suicides, have substantially increased with legalization of assisted suicide. This is consistent with a suicide contagion.  The financial cost of these suicides is "enormous."  For more information, click here.

    5.  Pressure to expand to non-terminal people.

In Washington state, there have been "trial balloon" proposals to expand its law to non-terminal people, including those who have simply fallen on hard times. See e.g., this column in the Seattle Times, suggesting euthanasia for people without money for their old age.  

C.  Contact Your Legislators.

Contact your legislators and urge them to vote "YES" on HB 477.

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[1]  Peter Whoriskey, "As More Hospices Enroll Patients who Aren't Dying, Questions About Lethal Doses Arise," The Washington Post, August 21, 2014. 
[2] William Dotinga, “Grim Complaint Against Kaiser Hospital,” Feb. 6, 2012.
[3] Carol Mungas, at 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Montana: HB 477 PASSES the House!

Yesterday, HB 477, which overrules Montana/s Baxter decision by clarifying that physician-assisted suicide is against public policy and prohibited, passed Montana's House of Representatives.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Elderly Murder-Suicide: Should We Praise Old Men Who Kill Their Wives and Themselves?

"A man who murders his sick, innocent, helpless wife is no hero."

By Elizabeth Marquardt
On Thursday, March 29, the bodies of Adrienne and Charles Snelling were found. Police believe Charles killed Adrienne -- her exact cause of death is still pending -- and then shot himself. Only last December, Charles Snelling published in the New York Times a poignant and widely-circulated piece about loving and caring for his wife with Alzheimer's disease. (Columnist David Brooks, whose query for life stories initiated Snelling's piece, wrote in his column yesterday about this case.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Montana one step closer to reversing Baxter.

Today, the Montana House of Representatives voted to pass HB 477, which clarifies that "physician-assisted suicide" is prohibited and against public policy in Montana.  

To view HB 477, please click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Washington State: SB 5919 passes Senate!

SB 5919, clarifying that patients who request assisted suicide have the right to be told about options for cure or to extend life, has PASSED the Senate!  The vote was a bipartisan, 34-14, with one member excused.  To see the vote breakdown, click here .

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Utah: Problems with H.B. 391

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

H.B. 391 seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Utah.  I am a lawyer in Washington State where we have a similar law.  Our law is based on a law in Oregon.

Problems include:

1.  HB 391, if enacted, will encourage people with years to live to throw away their lives.

HB 391 seeks to legalize assisted suicide for persons with a "terminal disease," which is defined as having less than six months to live.  In Oregon's law, which uses the same definition, young adults with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, are "eligible" for assisted suicide.  Such persons can have years, even decades, to live.  See   "Eligible" patients can also have years to live because doctors can be wrong.  See and

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Massachusetts: High School Student Charged with Manslaughter for Encouraging Suicide

BY JIM HAND SUN CHRONICLE STAFF | Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 1:00 am
PLAINVILLE  A King Philip Regional High School senior has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter, allegedly for urging a friend to commit suicide. She then raised money for mental illness in the name of her friend.
Michelle Carter, 18, of Plainville was indicted as a “youthful offender” by a Bristol County grand jury, and was arraigned in New Bedford Juvenile Court.
She is accused of urging Conrad Roy III, 18, of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett to kill himself, which he did while idling a truck last July in the parking lot of a Fairhaven Kmart. Authorities said he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Washington State: SB 5919 on the move!

Last night, SB 5919, which clarifies that a person considering assisted suicide has the right to be told of options for cure or to extend life, has passed out of the Law & Justice Committee.

The vote was bipartisan.  The seven member committee voted as follows:  6 "do pass" and 1 "without recommendation."  See here

Marlene Deakins, RN, Supporting SB 5919

"I hope that  with the proposed bill, doctors will get the message that they need to back off , to make sure that patients are freely choosing what’s best for them, as chosen by them."

* * * 

Dear Senator Padden, Members of the Law and Justice Committee and Senator Angel:

I am a Registered Nurse.  I am writing this letter in support of SB 5919, which would make it clear that persons asking about assisted suicide remain eligible to be told about options for cure or to extend life.  I hope that this law will provide protection for people like my brother, Wes Olfert, who died a few years ago (2011) in Washington State.

When he was first admitted to the hospital, he made the mistake of asking about assisted suicide.  I say a mistake, because this set off a chain of events that interfered with his care and caused him unnecessary stress in what turned out to be the last months of his life.

By asking the question, he was given a "palliative care" consult by a doctor who heavily and continually pressured him to give up on treatment before he was ready to do so.  It got so bad that Wes became fearful of this doctor and asked me and a friend to not leave him alone with her.

I hope that  with the proposed bill, doctors will get the message that they need to back off, to make sure that patients are freely choosing what’s best for them, as chosen by them.

Please vote “yes” on SB 5919

Marlene Deakins, RN
Tuscon Arizona