Tuesday, November 17, 2015

People With Disabilities Are a High Risk Group for Suicide; Legal Assisted Suicide Discussed as a Contributing Factor.

By Margaret Dore

Thank you Stephen Mendelsohn, of Second Thoughts Connecticut, for providing this important
Stephen Mendelsohn

The State of Connecticut Suicide Prevention Plan for 2020 includes people with disabilities and chronic health conditions as a high-risk group (similar to military veterans or the LGBT community) and discusses assisted suicide as a possible contributing factor to the problem. The Plan states:
Until recently, the [Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board] CTSAB was considering assisted suicide of the terminally ill as a separate issue from suicide prevention. The active disability community in Connecticut, however, has been vocal on the need for suicide prevention services for people with disabilities. 
The Plan goes on:
There may be unintended consequences of assisted suicide legislation on people with disabilities. Peace (2012) writes that "Many assume that disability is a fate worse than death. So we admire people with a disability who want to die, and we shake our collective heads in confusion when they want to live.” People with disabilities have a right to responsive suicide prevention services. The CTSAB intends to continue to explore the needs of the disability community for such services. (Emphasis added).
Plan, p. 44.

The Plan concludes with "Targeted Recommendations,"which push back against the idea of rational suicide for people with disabilities:
• Do not "assume" suicide is a "rational" response to disability.
• Treat mental health conditions as aggressively as with a person without disability. (Emphasis added)

German Jewry applauds defeat of liberalized assisted suicide laws


November 10, 2015 6:20am

(JTA) Assisted suicide laws will not be liberalized in Germany, a move that the country's Jewish community had vigorously opposed.

The Bundestag decided not to legalize organizations that promote or offer assisted suicide and to continue barring doctors from offering such assistance as a regular medical service.

Lawmakers instead toughened the national stance against commercialized assisted suicide. Such acts will now be punished with up to three years in jail, even if a doctor claims to have acted to relieve a patient's suffering. The bill was passed on Friday with 360 out of 602 votes, Reuters reported.

Dr. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Bayerischen Rundfunk broadcasting company that he was "relieved" at the decision on easing assisted suicide laws "after a long, serious, and sometimes emotional debate."

Euthanasia is a particularly sensitive topic in Germany, as an estimated 200,000 people, most of them mentally and physically disabled, were murdered in the Nazi "euthanasia" program, their lives considered "unworthy" by the state.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Persons Living with HIV/AIDS: Is This What You Want?

By Margaret Dore, Esq

This is an updated version of an article I wrote three years ago in response to HIV/AIDS groups that had endorsed Ballot Question 2, seeking to legalize assisted suicide in Massachusetts. The ballot question failed, but there is now a similar proposal pending in the Massachusetts legislature (H.1991). I suggest that these groups and persons living with HIV/AIDS give the new proposal a close look. 

1.  "Terminal" does not mean dying. 

H.1991 applies to persons with a "terminal illness," defined in terms of less than six months to live with or without treatment.[1] 

In the 1980's, HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. Today, we have people living with HIV/AIDS, who do well, but who are dependent on treatment to live. Some of these persons are "terminal" under H.1991, i.e., if, without treatment, they "can reasonably be expected to die within 6 months."[2] 

2.  The significance of a terminal label.

Once a person is labeled "terminal," an easy justification can be made that his or her treatment should be denied in favor of someone more deserving. In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, "terminal" patients have not only been denied treatment, they have been offered assisted suicide instead. In a 2012 affidavit, Oregon doctor Kenneth Stevens put it this way:
Under the Oregon Health Plan [Medicaid], there is . . .  a financial incentive towards suicide because the Plan will not necessarily pay for a patient’s treatment. For example, patients with cancer are denied treatment if they have a "less than [two years] median survival with treatment" and fit other criteria. . . . 
All such persons . . .  will . . . be denied treatment. Their suicides under Oregon’s assisted suicide act will be covered."[3]
He also noted that some persons denied treatment as "terminal" would, if treated, in fact have years, even decades, to live. He stated: 
Some of the patients living longer than two years will likely live far longer than two years, as much as five, ten or twenty years depending on the type of cancer. This is because there are always some people who beat the odds.[4] 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dore Professional Commentary

California's New Assisted Suicide Law: Whose Choice Will it Be?
JURIST Guest Columnist, Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA
Editor, Maria Coladonato

California has passed a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which is scheduled to go into effect during 2016. "The End of Life Option Act" was sold as giving patients choice and control at the end of life. The bill, in fact, is about ending the lives of people who are not necessarily dying anytime soon and giving other people the "option" to hurry them along. The bill is a recipe for elder abuse and family trauma. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New York Daily News: Judge Rules Against Assisted Suicide


BY , NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, October 19, 2015, 8:54 PM
A Manhattan judge has denied the dying wish of three New Yorkers who wanted their doctors off the hook if they assisted in their suicides.

Steve Goldenberg, Sara Myers and Eric Seiff, who are all terminally ill, said they want nothing more than to be able to die in peace.

But for that, they said they need a little help, and don’t want their doctors to face any flak.

But state civil judge Joan Kenney said that while she was sympathetic to their plight, their doctors would have to stay on the sidelines.

Kenney said in her ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court has already found that New York state laws prohibit assisted suicide, and the statutes are not in violation of a patients civil rights.

“In New York, as in most states, it is a crime to aid another to commit or attempt suicide,” Kenney said in her ruling. “But patients may refuse lifesaving medical treatment.”

Thursday, October 8, 2015

California Killin'

by Paul © -- with apologies to the Mamas and Papas.

Signed by Jerry Brown on an autumn day.

Silencing the lambs, slaughter on the way.

It ain't safe no more; Redding to L.A.

California killin' such a tragic day.