LIFEalerts – Euthanasia


South Africa – Dignity SA lies to Minister of Health about Euthanasia

DignitySA (DSA) is a group that advocates for physician assisted suicide on patients that seek to end their life. DSA makes their case about “intolerable suffering” which should be the reason for anyone to choose to die by euthanasia. In a petition to the Minister of Health, DSA states that “Twenty-five years of incontestable data prove that the safeguards to protect the vulnerable in Oregon have never been breached.” A recent study from Oregon however, shows that most Americans do not choose euthanasia because of pain and suffering, but rather that they choose euthanasia because they fear pain and suffering. Dr Benoit Beuselinck MD, PhD, Oncologist, from Belgium says that “We can manage All pain with palliative care, including palliative sedation where we can manage all symptoms.” The American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, The World Medical Association, all reject Doctor Assisted Suicide. There is no reason for South Africa to believe killing someone at their lowest point in life should constitute the right to die, bottom line is, pain can be managed.

Evidence suggests that in countries where euthanasia was legalized, so-called safeguards indeed were breached for example; In Canada, a wife lost a lawsuit to prevent her husband’s death by euthanasia, another incident described a psychiatrist in Oregon who determined that an elderly woman with dementia was mentally unable to consent to assisted suicide, and believed her daughter was pushing for it, but it happened anyway. In USA, Texas a disabled, 46-year old African American man named Michael Hickson, was euthanized without his consent or that of his wife. The doctor said it was better to euthanize Michael because he is paralyzed and not like “walking and talking people.” In Belgium, nurses admitted to euthanizing patients without their consent. Safeguards were breached wherever euthanasia was legalized, South Africa can expect the same result when learning from those countries who have gone before us. DignitySA, wife looses lawsuit to prevent husbands euthanasia, doctors didn’t try to save a black covid-19 patient who was paralyzed, Belgian euthanasia nurses admit to killing without consent.

UK – Over 50 palliative care doctors resist introducing assisted suicide

In a letter to media group called The Times, over fifty palliative care doctors called attention to a recent British Medical Association survey on assisted suicide which shows that 84% of doctors in palliative medicine would not be willing to perform euthanasia on a patient should the law ever change. The doctors pointed out that “Every legislature that allows ‘safeguarded’ assisted dying has seen its safeguards breached, starkly illustrating the gap between principle and practice.” In the Netherlands, for example, reports indicate that the requirement for explicit consent is frequently ignored, as is the required reporting of all instances of euthanasia. Motivations for assisted suicide as seen in countries that have already legalised the practice, are social and not medical. more

UK – Committing Suicide is reason enough to travel abroad

Britain has entered a second period of hard lockdown to avert a wave of Covid-19 patients swamping hospitals. Holiday travel overseas is banned. However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that visiting the Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas will be permitted, as an exception. This forces people who need hope not suicide to believe that life is better if we’re dead. It is heart breaking to see how governments dismiss their citizens in desperate situations by affirming their misguided beliefs of being better off dead. This is no positive solution to any problem. Read more

Canada – Assisted Suicide saves money PBO Report suggests

Since Canada’s laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide became legal in 2016, health-care costs have dropped millions of dollars, according to a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report. Although this could sound grotesquely utilitarian, it stresses that these savings should “in no way be interpreted” to suggest that assisted dying be used to reduce health-care costs. But it does, and it sends a message to the elderly and disabled, or terminally ill, that being alive any longer would mean that they are costing their families money. In Belgium, deaths rose from 0.2% of all deaths to 2.4% in 16 years. Canada expects a rise from 0.3% to 2.6% in just five years. Read more

Canada – Euthanasia in prisons slammed by ombudsman

Canada’s prison ombudsman has recommended an absolute ban on providing euthanasia inside a federal penitentiary. Ivan Zinger acknowledged there have been three known cases of doctor-assisted death in federal prisons. The first case involved a “non-violent recidivist” serving a two-year sentence. It would seem that this man ‘chose’ euthanasia not because that was his ‘wish,’ but rather because every other option had been denied, extinguished or not even contemplated. Hopelessness, despair, lack of choice and alternatives are issues magnified in prison. Seeking euthanasia in the community and providing euthanasia behind prison walls is not the same and Zinger suggests that the government should set up an expert committee to consider the ethical and practical concerns in providing euthanasia in prisons. Read more

UK – Leading Palliative Care doctor opposes euthanasia

In a letter to The Times, Dr Carol Davis, Lead Consultant of Palliative Medicine at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, criticised the conflation of assisted suicide and palliative care. She said that “most patients do ‘let go quietly’, dying peacefully of their illness. Their doctors know they have a duty of care to provide effective symptom control and care as life ends. But that’s a completely different matter from giving dying patients lethal drugs”. She emphasised that good “clinical care is a partnership between patient and doctor”, where they cannot simply impose demands on each other, adding: “Doctor-patient dialogue isn’t just another customer-supplier relationship”. Earlier this month, a survey revealed that a majority of doctors in the British Medical Association (BMA) do not want to give patients life-ending drugs. Read more