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ASSISTED SUICIDE, EUTHANASIA, AND FUTILE CARE THEORY


Catholic Doctors Criticize Nonconsensual Euthanasia of Children in Holland
Reaction of World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations
Rome. Sept. 3, 2004

(Zenit.org) The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) issued a public statement against the decision to allow Groningen University Hospital to euthanize children under 12 when their suffering is intolerable, or if they have an incurable illness.

The "decision proposes a death solution in situations which could be addressed by modern palliative care," the Catholic doctors stress.

Moreover, "the decision raises the suspicion of a financial interest of the public authorities, since it decreases the 'burden' of prolonged and expensive care in clinical conditions for which any extension of life duration is considered meaningless," the statement continues.

Worse yet, "it opens the door on a national scale to the 'mercy killing' of other mentally incompetent persons, to be eliminated without their consent for reasons based on an external appreciation of their quality of life," said the federation. more


The Vatican Reaffirms Its Total Rejection Of Euthanasia
September 2, 2004/ VATICAN CITY (AFP)

The Vatican reaffirmed its total opposition to euthanasia, in particular for children, following information that the practice could soon be used on minors in a pediatric clinic in the city of Groningue in the Netherlands.

Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, Vice President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, reiterated the position of Vatican in the newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, the official mouthpiece of the Holy See.

He made reference to an accord between Dutch judicial authorities and the university clinic at Groningue, which speaks of extending the possibilities of euthanasia to children of less than 12 years of age in the final phases of terminal illnesses.

"We must repeat with the utmost firmness that nothing and no one can give permission to kill an innocent human being, whether he be a fetus, an embryo, a child, an adult, an old person or a sick person in incurable agony," wrote Sgreccia.

"No one can claim such homicidal responsibility for himself or for another person. No authority can legitimately impose or permit it. This is a violation of divine law, an offense at the dignity of the human person, a crime against a life and an attack against humanity," the papal representative said. more


New Zealand Euthanasia Advocate Still a Community Risk, Still in Prison
August 30, 2004/ Wellington (LifeNews.com)

Euthanasia advocate Lesley Martin, a nurse, injected her mother with 60 milligrams of morphine in an effort to kill her on May 1999. She was convicted of attempted murder on March 2004 and sentenced to 15 months in prison in Arohata Womens Prison.

Her two separate requests for home detention were denied by the parole board on the ground that she continued to pose a community risk while she stood by her earlier comment to the effect that she would do the same again or help others do the same in advocating euthanasia. more


Belgian lawmakers propose euthanasia for children
Seek extension of law to allow assisted-suicide for those under age 18

Posted: June 21, 2003; © 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

Lawmaker's in Belgium have announced plans to propose an extension of the country's euthanasia law to allow the procedure for those under the age of 18, according to a report by Expatica in the Netherlands.

''Those under the age of 18 feel pain in exactly the same way as their elders,'' Flemish Liberal Senator Jeannine Le-Duc told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

Francophone politicians say they're open to the idea of a discussion about reducing the age to 16, but no less.

''Euthanasia for a seven-year-old kid – there’s no way,'' Liberal Senator Philippe Monfils told La Libre Belgique.

Last week, negotiators forming Belgium's new government called for every hospital across the country to have a team of doctors prepared to administer euthanasia to adults. The move was designed to counter opposition by some Catholic hospitals that have reportedly refused to permit assisted suicide on their premises.

Doctors will be given a protected status for performing euthanasia, which was was legalized in Belgium last year.

One lawmaker said euthanasia is the business of a doctor and a patient, and hospitals should not interfere. more


Bulgaria Imposes Ban On Euthanasia
June 2, 2004/ Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Parliament has banned the practice of euthanasia. On June 2, 2004, after a week of heated debate, 93 out of the 107 members of Parliament voted in favor of the ban.

"The duty of doctors is to save lives," explained Deputy Minister of Health Petko Salchev. Addressing State TV viewers, he added "Any ending of one's life amounts to a murder." more


Survey Reveals Dutch Doctors Prefer Terminal Sedation
May 29, 2004 (Reuters)

A Nijmegan University study of 1,500 Dutch physicians revealed that doctors now consider terminal sedation "induced unconsciousness of terminally ill patients" the best treatment to suffering. Such treatment is hoped to be the alternative to euthanasia.

But in the Netherlands, terminal sedation involves withholding all food and fluids until the patient, who has been rendered unconscious, dies. The patient actually dies of starvation and dehydration. more


Vatican Convenes on End-Of-Life Care for Vegetative Nutrition for Vegetative Necessary
Vatican, Thursday March 18, 2004:

Three hundred seventy scientists from 49 countries confer on the ethical dilemmas related to Life-sustaining treatments for the vegetative.

Bishop Sgreccia said that feeding and hydration are essential to vegetative patients -- it is "a duty" that is both ethically and medically necessary, because at present, science cannot predict who will recover.

Gianluigi Gigli, president of FIAMC and director of the Department of Neurosciences of Santa Maria de la Misericordia Hospital of Udine, Italy, "nutrition and hydration are not a form of treatment, and they are not disproportionate. This is care that is due to patients." more


Mercy Killing Bill Debated
England, March 10, 2004:

Introduced by Crossbencher Lord Joffe, the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill pushing for assisted suicide passed second reading unopposed. Further scrutiny will be conducted by the Lords select committee, which will decide on the issue.

Ministers have no plan to change the laws on euthanasia but will listen to the debates. more


European Court of Human Rights Rules for Right to Life of Disabled
EU, March 10, 2004:

European Court of Human Rights ruled that doctors who refused treatment and attempted to ease the death of David Glass, a profoundly disabled child of 12, had breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right for respect to private life and the right to physical integrity.

In 1988, David Glass was refused treatment in St. Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth when he suffered respiratory failure, on the ground that his life was not worth saving. His parents sued to prevent doctors from refusing to resuscitate him again in case of another medical emergency. The trial and appellate courts in the United Kingdom ruled in favor of the doctors on the basis of futile care theory. But six years after the attempted euthanasia, David Glass is still alive. more


Physician Charged Guilty of Unjustified Euthanasia
Netherlands: Dec. 24, 2002

A Dutch doctor helped his patient, former senator Edward Brongersma, commit suicide in 1998. Brongersma had suffered from incontinence, dizziness and immobility and said he was tired of life. Under Dutch law, a patient must face a future of intolerable suffering before he can request mercy killing. The highest court in the Netherlands ruled: "The question in this case was whether euthanasia is justified also in circumstances where a patient is tired of life." They concluded that the euthanasia law had not been intended for such situations, unless the patient is also in intolerable pain. The Dutch Medical Federation (KNMG) said there had been a great deal of debate in the Netherlands about cases in which patients were tired of life, and simply wanted to die. Their statement read, in part: "In practice, this is a gray area and in many cases it its not clear into which category a euthanasia request should be classified." They concluded that the court's decision had not clarified that point. more


USA: Forced Euthanasia?
Deaths From Cost-Effective Policies of Managed Care System
By P.J. King, R.N.

A Robert Woods Johnson Foundation study found that persons in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) were 40% more likely than those in fee-for-service plans to report trouble obtaining needed medical treatment. (Burke J. Balch, "Managed Care: The Evidence of Rationing Mounts," NRL News, 8/22/95, p. 9)

A pediatric cardiologist in Texas reported to Commissioner Gary Glenn of Boise, ID, that an HMO is using ultrasound to detect fetal heart lesions. "Parents of affected babies are reportedly offered a free abortion but told that if they choose to carry the child to term, any medical expenses related to the heart defect would not be covered by the HMO (March 7, 1997, communiqui). A similar story appeared on the front page of the April 12-14, 1996, weekend issue of USA Today. In this case an HMO refused to provide care for an unborn child with a gene for cystic fibrosis. It offered instead to pay for an abortion

An AP report on April 16, 1996, revealed the death in 1994 of a 33-year-old man who died of suffocation on the floor of his bathroom while over a period of 17 minutes his wife twice begged their HMO's physician-gatekeeper for permission to call an ambulance and was turned down.

Many are the tales of cancer deaths caused by treatment delayed while a patient parleyed with an HMO over an expensive test. One such is the story, printed in U.S. New and World Report, of Joyce Ching. Joyce developed abdominal pain and rectal bleeding shortly after giving birth to her second child. After three office visits her symptoms remained unexplained. Her husband intervened and insisted on a definitive test. A barium enema ($261) was inconclusive. After three months of office visits, her allotted funds for the year were used up. Joyce Ching died several months later of colon cancer at the age of 32. A jury determined that it was the delay of a sigmoidoscopy (which would have been diagnostic but which cost $450) and the denial of referral to a specialist which cost Joyce her life. more


Related article:
Brief On The U.S. Managed Care System

This brief tells how medical care can be easily rationed by cost-cutting strategies, and how HMO's can practically decide which patients shall be refused treatment and left to die.

In the United States, Health Maintenance Organizations offer comprehensive scope of services, including hospitalization, for a fixed premium and lend themselves to control of spending by regulating the doctor's activities and patient compliance - which is called "managed care".

The rise of health insurance costs has been blamed on three factors: increasing population, increasing technological developments, and aging population. Efforts at cost control include limitation of both supply and demand. Demand control has been organized around the idea of managed care". Such management include "authoriztin" for consultations, hospital admission, laboratory tests or other diagnostic tests.

Critics rightly argue that the managed-care technique dangerously encroaches on a physician's medical judgment. The need to clear medical service with the HMO "gatekeeper" or clerk leads to grave consequences for the patient. Some HMO's make it a condition of a physician's salary that he or she not overstep the bounds of insurance costs and so jeopardize the HMO income. This raises questions of whether the physician may be tempted to limit needed services or fail to take adequate steps to establish a diagnosis; these procedures could lead to too early discharge, as patients are sent home from the hospital "sicker but quicker".

(Ref: Grolier International Encyclopedia)


Euthanasia Of Children Not New In Holland
1999/ NLRC News

Dutch euthanasia has been noted in the pediatric wards, where doctors kill babies for "quality-of-life" considerations. According to a July 1997 article in the British medical journal Lancet, approximately 8 percent of infant deaths in Holland are at the hands of doctors. Of the neonatologists surveyed, 45 percent "had administered drugs with the explicit intention of ending life," as had 31 percent of Dutch pediatricians. The study also found that most such infant killings are not reported to the authorities, a clear violation of Holland's much-vaunted "protective guidelines."

These statistics were presented by Wesley J. Smith in his critique of the pro-euthanasia book "Freedom to Die". more


Cost Containment Motive For Euthanasia
1999/ nlrc.org (By Wesley J. Smith)

Cost containment is one of the ultimate arguments for euthanasia, as exposed in the book "Freedom to Die" written by Derek Humphry, co-founder of the Hemlock Society that advocates assisted suicide, and Mary Clement, pro-euthanasia attorney.

As written in their book, "a rational argument can be made for allowing [assisted suicide] in order to offset the amount society and family spend on the ill, [...}. The hastened demise of people with only a short time left would free up resources for others. Hundreds of billions of dollars could benefit those patients who not only can be cured but who want to live.

Imagine a health care system that favors death as the best treatment for cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, or spinal injury. Imagine the money to be made if HMOs are spared the expense of caring for such patients. And imagine the potential for coercion when killing leads to the profits the authors envision. As Freedom to Die points out with approval, this means a return to the morality of the ancient practices of exposing disabled infants on the hillside and leaving the elderly and infirm to die by the trail - - or, as Humphry and Clement candidly call it, "the abandonment of the unproductive."

Not surprisingly, the book "Freedom to Die" exposes the extreme hostility of Humphry and Clement against the Catholic Church, the single most effective opponent of euthanasia and assisted suicide. more


Involuntary Euthanasia in Britain

In December 1991, Electronic Telegraph reported the evidence of an unspoken and unwritten policy to leave elderly patients to die slowly of "involuntary euthanasia" by starvation and dehydration in order to relieve pressure on the National Health Service, as reported by doctors. 60 such cases were being investigated.

Dr Michael Irwin, vice-chairman of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society and chairman of Doctors for Assisted Dying, said: "In the UK there is every indication that both involuntary euthanasia and non-voluntary euthanasia -- death brought about by an individual who has no capacity to understand what is readily involved ... -- happen much more frequently."

Nurses have reported of cases where food and water were being withdrawn from senile patients. There is also a report of an 84-year old patient dying after three weeks in the hospital due to an arthritic knee. Investigation showed that she was given 4 mg-per-hour infusions of diamorphine - a heroin-based painkiller with a specific "do not resuscitate" doctor's order on her chart.

Police, physicians, charities, and SOS NHS-Patients in Danger, a body formed by bereaved relatives of patients who were not terminally ill but died in hospital, have conducted research and investigation of particular cases. more

These cases spoke of homicide, not just malpractice nor negligence. The doctors involved intentionally caused the death of the patients, betraying the trust of the patients and their families, and betraying the noble mission of the medical profession: "To cure, if possible. Always to care." The doctors have broken away from the ethical standard set by the Hippocratic Oath: "I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect."


Suing for Right to Live
United Kingdom:

Leslie Burke, a 44-year old patient with terminal neurological disease, is suing to ensure that he will be given nourishment through feeding tube when his condition deteriorates. more


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