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Category Archives: Euthanasia
Posted: April 1, 2020 at 3:46 am
Reader unimpressed with HSUs previous leaders
Sundays article from Rollin Richmond on the evils of drink was interesting (What research says about alcohol and you, the Times-Standard, March 29, Page A4). Carrie Nation of the Womens Christian Temperance Union would have been proud. I wish that he had exercised that same intellectual and academic prowess while leading Humboldt State University. During his tenure he hired many administrative staff while letting the number of tenured professors dwindle.He helped recruit many students from Californias urban centers while doing very little to help them adapt to a rural setting.
He was responsible for scuttling the nursing program at HSU as being too costly; you know all those labs and things.
His successor didnt fare much better. Although she did help resurrect the nursing program in partnership with College of the Redwoods, something Rolland didnt do. She was successful in eliminating the football program after allowing the coaches to recruit student-athletes in the expectation of being able to play during their academic stay at HSU. Also she pulled the plug on KHSU, the universitys popular radio station weeks after conducting one of their periodic fundraising drives. Of course no notice, no appeals to the public, just the pulling of the plug.
In education parlance I would give Rollin and Lisa A+ for their personal retirement enrichment (you know, five years and out) and an Incomplete in their leadership.
John Kulstad, McKinleyville
Most medical experts agree it will take a number of months of limited social interaction to gain control over the COVID-19 virus. But President Trump sees this cure as more of a curse. For the sake of the U.S. economy, hed like to loosen things up in several weeks just in time for Easter.
The Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas also wants the country to get back to business in weeks, not months. He says vulnerable seniors should understand we cant afford to sacrifice the countrys future because of the virus. In other words, if more seniors die its OK because the economy may not otherwise be strong enough to survive for younger generations.
I find his an interesting concept. In a sense Patrick is implying that seniors should agree to euthanasia to relieve pain, but not their own pain. Rather the pain that the economy is going through. In the U.S. today, in most states euthanasia is either illegal, or if legal, requires difficult steps to achieve. Here the Lt. Governor is approving euthanasia for all seniors a priori because he says it will benefit Americas future.
When I examine the two arguments above I find them both quite flawed. They both place the economy ahead of the health of U.S. citizens which I think is immoral by its very nature. And I also think both are examples of fake logic, which is sadly par for the course in the age of Trump.
Sherman Schapiro, Eureka
Posted: at 3:46 am
People are doing what they can to stay healthy, but what about their pets?
Dr. Phyllis Sill is a veterinarian at Roscoe Veterinary Clinic. She says if you want to keep your dogs safe, there are certain things you shouldn't do:
"Dont let your dog suddenly go on a long run or a long walk if it hasntbeen conditioned to do so," she said. "They are probably going to end up with lameness issues or injuries." She continued, "Dont get a group of dogs together, they might fight."
Sill said it is important to think about things your dog can eat or swallow, like chocolate or the sugar substitute xylitol. "Try to keep them up and away," she warned, "because if dogs get into sugar-free gum, it can kill them."
The Roscoe Veterinary Clinic is considered an essential business; therefore it remains open amid Governor J.B. Pritzker's "stay-at-home" order. But, Sill said, even though they are open, they are only admitting patients with serious conditions.
"We are looking at patients who have growths or tumors that need to be removed," she said. "We are doing dentistries where our patients have uncomfortable mouths and maybe have teeth that need to be removed in order for them to eat better and do better," she added. "We are continuing to take X-rays and diagnose things that are going on orthopedically."
Sill gave examples of services they are not providing right now:
"We're trying to not have patients come in for things like a toenail trim," she said, "or vaccines that are maybe just coming due. We're trying not to have grooming type appointments except if the dog has a history of anal gland issues and we know the dog is going to be uncomfortable."
Sill said the practice now only allows one animal at a time in the building and staff are practicing curbside service with strict social distance guidelines. "We get as much of a history over the phone as we can," she said, "before we have a technician go out to the car. Then the technician brings the animal into the building."
Sill said clients aren't allowed inside the clinic unless it's for euthanasia. "Euthanasia is an extremely, extremely important part of [our] practice," she said. "People need to know that their animals went peacefully and the animals need to know that they were loved all the way until the end."
But other than that, clients may not enter the clinic. Sill said this act of social distancing helps keep the staff, public, and animals healthy. "It's nothing personal," she said. "We can't make an exception. If one person gets sick on our staff, we have to close our clinic."
Sill said most people understand why they are not allowed inside with their pets, but some do not. "They think we are being ridiculous," she said. "And that's just the one thing people have to understand -- that we want this to go away. We want to be done with it. This is not the way we want to process long term."
Sill said there are things people can do to eliminate human contact. Rather than hand a credit card to a technician, make the payment over the phone. "Think of all the times a technician has to either glove, de-glove, or just scrub in between each transaction," she said. "I promise you there is no identity theft whatsoever. We are just trying to do a transaction without touching cash or checks." She said over-the-phone payments will also speed up the process because it means less before and after santitizing.
Another thing people can do is not engage in a conversation during curbside pickup. "I don't want my technician talking through a rolled down window," she said. "It offers no protection whatsoever. So please, please, please, talk to us on the phone."
Looking ahead, Sill said, "I think this will be an unusual summer. I don't think this is going to easily and quickly go away. I think we're going to be dealing with this for months on end."
Even so, she said there isn't any need to panic. "We're going to get through this. I think everybody is trying to do what they're supposed to do."
And, Sill said, the main goal for animals remains the same as it is for other family members: Stay out of the emergency room.
The rest is here:
Posted: at 3:46 am
Reading Time: 8 minutesCaring for our elderly and terminally ill is expensive. But it is also a non-negotiable, fundamental duty of government.
It can be unethical to withdraw artificial hydration and nutrition and doing so can constitute a form of euthanasia that is, when its withdrawn with a primary intention to cause death. But withdrawal is not always unethical. Just as there are situations where it is justified to turn off a ventilator, so too there can be situations where it is justified to withdraw artificial hydration and nutrition.
Australias ABC networkrecently reported a storyof an elderly South Australian woman with dementia and breast cancer, who was not mentally competent and was being given hydration and nutrition through a nasogastric tube.
The tube fell out and the Public Advocate, who was the legal guardian of the patient and decision maker for her, determined that it should not be replaced. The reasons given included that the tube was burdensome, that it was prolonging suffering, and that replacing it would be contrary to the presumed wishes of the patient which is to say, if she were able to decide for herself, she would refuse replacement.
Two of the patients daughters, a Catholic bishop and the patients Catholic priest all disagreed with the Public Advocates decision and sought to change it. The daughters argued that the patient would want to live as long as possible and that replacing the tube was consistent with her Catholic faith.
The tube was not replaced, and the patient died five weeks later.
Now, despite being a truism, a very important principle in applied ethics is that good facts are essential for good ethics. The story as reported does not provide sufficient facts to judge whether or not the cessation of artificial feeding by means of a nasogastric tube was an ethically acceptable decision.
Its worth noting that hydration wasnotwithdrawn, but was delivered by intravenous line. So a pertinent question is: what justification was there for withdrawing nutrition, but not hydration? Either both hydration and nutrition were ethically appropriate life-prolonging treatment, or neither were.
One reason for the different approach to hydration as compared with nutrition could be that delivering total parenteral nutrition is a far more invasive procedure and more burdensome for the patient than, as occurred in this case, delivering hydration by way of an intravenous drip. The hydration might also have been continued as comfort care rather than life-prolonging treatment.
I was once consulted on a comparable case.
A young woman, who was diabetic and on haemodialysis for kidney failure, had a sudden cardiac arrest. She was revived and placed on a ventilator, but several days later, when she was due for dialysis, was diagnosed as being in a deep and irreversible coma.
Her parents decided that she should not receive dialysis, but they did not want the ventilator to be removed. We complied with their wishes in order to avoid further sufferingto them, not because we believed it was necessary treatment for the young woman. We explained in the case notes that was the reason the ventilator was continued. The young woman died a natural death from renal failure, at which time the ventilator was stopped.
What often causes great emotional trauma for a patients family, as was true in the South Australian case, is the thought of starving and dehydrating the patient to death in withdrawing artificial hydration and nutrition. There is, however, research that shows the hunger and thirst mechanisms in our brains shut down when we are dying.
The reflections of the Catholic Church on medical ethics are a frequently used reference point for bioethicists around the world. Even if they reject them, bioethicists respond to its concerns. This is especially true in a case such as the one we are considering, in which the patient and her carers are of that faith.
The Catholic Church teaches that food and fluids must always be offered and supplied if the person can take these orally. Pope John Paul II (now Saint Pope John Paul II) declared in a 2004 address that the same requirement of mandatory provision applies to artificial hydration and nutrition for people in a permanent vegetative state that is, hydration and nutrition not taken orally but delivered by other means.
With great respect, I believe that this statement needs to be nuanced. In that particular document its clear that the Pope wanted to protect vulnerable patients receiving artificial hydration and nutrition who are in a stable medical condition.
There are thousands of such patients in nursing homes and they have a right to humane basic care, as the Pope says. But the Pope might not have been thinking of the acceptability of withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition fromallpatients in a permanent vegetative state.
One problem is that if we apply this criterion to all such patients, it actually supports the euthanasia movement, as I shall explain below. But let me first attempt to make some distinctions that could help us to decide when withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition is ethical and when it is not.
It depends, first, on how we classify artificial hydration and nutrition: as simply food and water, or as medical treatment for a failed alimentary system (just as a ventilator is medical treatment for a failed respiratory system). If its just food and water and basic care, then ethically itmustbe provided. If it is medical treatment, that is not always the case.
I propose that, just as there are situations where it is justified to turn off a ventilator, so too there can be situations where it is justified to withdraw artificial hydration and nutrition. Both are forms of medical life-support treatment. And what if, for instance, a PEG feeding tube is painful or has become infected? What should doctors do then?
One distinction that is sometimes made in order to determine whether a given medical treatment must be offered is whether the intervention is ordinary or extraordinary medical treatment. The Catholic moral teaching is that the former must be provided, whereas the latter need not be.
Bishop Gregory OKellyis quotedas saying in his letter to the Office of the Public Advocate that, To deny food or drink, no matter how it is delivered, to such a person is to deny themordinary[emphasis added] means for sustaining life.
But this distinction betweenordinaryandextraordinarymedical treatment is not always clear cut. It can be that the patients quality of life is being judged and not the treatment. When a patient is in very fragile health in ICU, a certain treatment can be judged as extraordinary; but when the patient improves and is living in a nursing home, thesame treatmentfor the same personcan be characterised as ordinary.
In short, circumstances need to be taken into account. Moreover, whether a treatment is judged ordinary or extraordinary can be a very subjective and discretionary decision, which can leave it open to abuse.
Justifications for withdrawing life support treatment include that withdrawal is required to respect a patients right to refuse medical treatment, including through an advance directive that is, withdrawing treatment is required in order to respect a patients rights to inviolability (the right not to be touched without ones informed consent) and competent patients rights to autonomy.
Artificial hydration and nutrition would not be forcibly imposed on such a patient. Justifications also include: that the treatment is medically futile; that the burdens of continuing treatment outweigh any benefits; and that the treatment is prolonging dying, not living.
The Public Advocatedescribed the patient in questionas pre-terminal, which might or might not mean that she was dying, although her daughters denied that she was. With respect to the burden of the nasogastric tube, they are admittedly very uncomfortable, but its at least an open question whether the suffering involved for the patient could have justified not replacing it. Further questions include how the tube fell out (did the patient pull it out?) and whether, if the tube had not fallen out, its removal would have been justified?
To repeat, these decisions about providing or withdrawing artificial hydration and nutrition can be very difficult ones in relation to determining the right ethical path to take. Every case (and person) is different; assessments must be made on that basis and, importantly, in the light of all the relevant facts.
As I said, advocates of legalising euthanasia use cases such as the one describedin the ABC reportto promote their cause. They argue that withholding artificial hydration and nutritionis euthanasia often called slow euthanasia or passive euthanasia; therefore, we are already practising euthanasia and, if we are to be consistent, should recognise the legal right to do so by means of lethal injection.
Consequently, people who oppose the withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition when this withdrawal could be justified, and object to such a withdrawal on the grounds that it would be euthanasia, sadly help the pro-euthanasia cause.
Moreover, when members of the public think euthanasia isanyfailure to useallpossible means to prolong life and believe thatallrefusals of medical treatment that could prolong life are euthanasia, they respond positively to survey questions that ask, Do you agree with legalising euthanasia? because they want to have the right to refuse treatment. The publics responses are even more compromised when asked, If someone is in terrible pain and suffering should they be able to consent to euthanasia?
The option of saying yes to fully adequate pain and suffering management and no to euthanasia adopting a position that we must kill the pain and suffering, but not the personwiththe pain and suffering is often not possible in surveys. They tend to pose conjunctive questions (rather than two disjunctive ones)that is, do you agree with fully adequate pain and suffering managementandas a separate question, do you agree with euthanasia?.
It bears always keeping clearly in mind when discussing withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition that it can be employed unethically, when it does become a form of euthanasia that is, when its used with a primary intention to cause death.
This is most likely to occur when it is paired with an unwarranted use of palliative sedation, where the patient is unjustifiably deeply sedated until they die. Such a use is better called terminal sedation to differentiate it from the ethical use of palliative sedation, that is, when sedation is necessary and used appropriately to relieve a patients pain and suffering and not to hasten their death.
Margaret Somervilleis Professor of Bioethics in theSchool of Medicine and the Institute for Society and Ethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
This article was originally published at Mercatornet.com.
Sisters struggle reveals risk to disabled elderlyACSJC head backs aged care crackdown
Originally posted here:
Posted: February 27, 2020 at 1:01 am
LISBON, Portugal Portugals parliament voted Thursday in favor of allowing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill people.
The landmark vote left Portugal poised to become one of the few countries in the world permitting the procedures. However, the country's president could still attempt to block the legislation.
The 230-seat Republican Assembly, Portugal's parliament, approved five right-to-die bills, each by a comfortable margin. Left-of-center parties introduced the bills, which had no substantial differences.
Before lawmakers voted, hundreds of people outside parliament building protested the measures. One banner said, Euthanasia doesn't end suffering, it ends life. Some protesters chanted Sim a vida! ("Yes to life!") and others held up crucifixes and religious effigies.
Inside the parliament building, underlining the historical weight of the moment, each lawmaker was called, in alphabetical order, to state their vote on each bill, instead of voting electronically. Such a lengthy method is usually used only for landmark votes, such as a declaration of war or impeachment.
After the five bills passed, some lawmakers took photographs with their smartphone of the electronic screen on the wall announcing the results. The bills were approved by margins of between 28 and 41 votes.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who is known to be reluctant about euthanasia, could veto the new law, but parliament can override his veto by voting a second time for approval. The Portuguese president doesn't have executive powers.
The head of state also could ask the Constitutional Court to review the legislation; Portugal's Constitution states that human life is "sacrosanct," though abortion has been legal in the country since 2007.
Euthanasia when a doctor directly administers fatal drugs to a patient is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In some U.S. states, medically-assisted suicide where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision is permitted.
Ana Figueiredo, a math teacher, became a supporter of euthanasia after her 70-year-old father with terminal cancer killed himself with a gun almost six years ago.
He was conscious, in deep pain and ... he went on begging his doctors to take his pain away because he was in such a terminal state, Figueiredo said. It was very sad to see him begging for a dignified death without pain.
The Catholic church in Portugal has led opposition to the procedures, which currently are illegal and carry prison sentences of up to three years. Church leaders have urged lawmakers in vain to hold a referendum on the issue.
In a similar debate two years ago, lawmakers rejected euthanasia by five votes.
Most parties allowed their lawmakers to vote their conscience, with some diverging from their party line.
Socialist lawmaker Isabel Moreira said the aim of the bills was to let people make intimate choices, without breaking the law.
In recent years, the Socialist Party has also led successful efforts to permit same-sex marriages and abortion in Portugal.
Everyone can be the architect of their own destiny, as long they dont harm others, Moreira said during the debate.
Telmo Correia, a lawmaker from the conservative Popular Party, described euthanasia as a sinister step backward for civilization. He said none of the parties presenting the legalization proposals mentioned euthanasia in their platforms for Octobers general election.
The governing Socialist Party's bill, similar to the others, covers patients over 18 years of age who are "in a situation of extreme suffering, with an untreatable injury or a fatal and incurable disease."
Two doctors, at least one of them a specialist in the relevant illness, and a psychiatrist would need to sign off on the patient's request to die. The case would then go to a Verification and Evaluation Committee, which could approve or turn down the procedure.
The process is postponed if it is legally challenged, or if the patient loses consciousness, and health practitioners can refuse to perform the procedure on moral grounds. Oversight is provided by the General-Inspectorate for Health.
To discourage people from traveling to Portugal to end their life, the bills all stipulate that patients must either be Portuguese citizens or legal residents.
The Socialist-led coalition government in Portugal's neighbor Spain has also set in motion the legislative steps needed to allow euthanasia.
AP reporter Helena Alves contributed from Lisbon.
Originally posted here:
Lap of Love veterinarians offer in-home euthanasia to give a final farewell in a place of comfort – FOX 13 Tampa Bay
Posted: at 1:00 am
Mobile vets in Bay Area offer in-home euthanasia
Walter Allen reports
LUTZ, Fla. - The worst thing about our dogs and cats is that they dont live nearly as long as wed want, wish, or hope for.There is a local organization that can step in when that time comes and make it the most peaceful and loving process all from your lap.
"I honestly wish that everyone did something that they got thanked for every day, Dr. Dani McVety told FOX 13. Very few people in this world that get thank-yous for everything that they do. Imagine if the person who bagged your groceries got a hug and a thanks.
Dr. McVety knew she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was little but it was where she found her calling was after the death of one of her dogs.
We took her to a very nice clinic, she recalled, and the euthanasia was done very well but it still wasn't what I wanted it to be. Again, even though the experience was good. It just wasn't everything it could have been.
Among other motivating factors, Dr. McVety started Lap of Loves veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia.
The team of more than 130 vets in around 30 states will come to the home and put your animal to sleep.
"Pets navigate this world by smell more than they do by sight, McVety said. More of their brain is dedicated to that. So for them to be in their own surroundings, in their own bed, with their own smells...I just believe, and from my experience, that it keeps them much more calm.
FOX 13 was with the Villarini family the day they said their final farewell to Rocky, their Jack Russell terrier.
Its an honor to do this, McVety said. We love being a part of this memory. We love offering something that we might not be able to get anywhere else. Even if you do a peaceful euthanasia in a clinic, it might be beautiful and peaceful and great. But to have it done in the home is the most peaceful experience and the most peaceful environment that anyone including our animals can have.
For McVety, her days are filled with tissues and tears, but when her head hits the pillow every night, she knows shes making a difference.
Its the most raw thing you could ever experience that you can have as a doctor to visualize that, to witness that, and you get to see every piece of their life, she said. You witness the ending of this. Youre not only losing a pet but losing a person. To me, it is the most honorable thing I could ever do as a veterinarian.
LINK: You can learn more about the Lap of Love and the veterinary services provided by heading over to the organization's website.
See the original post:
Posted: January 25, 2020 at 2:39 pm
Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 5.8
Euthanasia is the administration of a lethal agent by another person to a patient for the purpose of relieving the patients intolerable and incurable suffering.
It is understandable, though tragic, that some patients in extreme duresssuch as those suffering from a terminal, painful, debilitating illnessmay come to decide that death is preferable to life.
However, permitting physicians to engage in euthanasia would ultimately cause more harm than good.
Euthanasia is fundamentally incompatible with the physicians role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Euthanasia could readily be extended to incompetent patients and other vulnerable populations.
The involvement of physicians in euthanasia heightens the significance of its ethical prohibition. The physician who performs euthanasia assumes unique responsibility for the act of ending the patients life.
Instead of engaging in euthanasia, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Physicians:
(a) Should not abandon a patient once it is determined that a cure is impossible.
(b) Must respect patient autonomy.
(c) Must provide good communication and emotional support.
(d) Must provide appropriate comfort care and adequate pain control.
Code of Medical Ethics:Caring for Patients at the End of Life
Visit theEthics main pageto access additional Opinions, the Principles of Medical Ethics and more information about the Code of Medical Ethics.
Originally posted here:
Posted: at 2:39 pm
(Pixabay)In Canada, government threatens to withdraw all funding from a facility that refuses to euthanize dying patients.
Should hospice professionals be forced to assist the suicides of their patients who want to die? Not too long ago, the answer to that question would have been an emphatic Of course not! Hospice is not about making people dead. Rather, it seeks to help terminally ill patients live well through intensive medical, spiritual, psychological, and social treatments to alleviate the pain and emotional suffering that dying people and their families may experience
Dont tell that to the provincial government of British Columbia. After the Supreme Court of Canada conjured a right for anyone diagnosed with a serious medical condition that causes irremediable suffering to receive lethal-injection euthanasia, British Columbia passed a law requiring all medical facilities that receive at least 50 percent of their funding from the government to participate in what north of the 46th parallel is known euphemistically as medical assistance in dying (MAiD). When Delta Hospice Society, in Delta, British Columbia, announced that it would adhere to the hospice movements founding philosophy by banning euthanasia in its facility, the provinces minister of health threatened to cut off all provincial funding. Delta has until February 3 to yield to the euthanasia imperative or face a catastrophic financial crisis.
The power of the purse can be very persuasive, but Delta has not surrendered. Instead, searching for a compromise, it has offered to cut from its annual budget, of $3 million (Canadian dollars), $750,000 of the $1.4 million that it currently receives from the province. That would reduce the portion of its budget that comes from public funding to a point below the 50 percent legal threshold, allowing Delta to continue serving dying patients while maintaining its philosophical integrity. As of this writing, the authorities have not responded to Deltas offer.
On the face of it, the governments heavy-handedness makes no logical sense. Everyone acknowledges that Delta provides a very valuable service to the community. And its not as if the small hospice, with a mere ten beds, has the power to materially impede access to euthanasia in British Columbia, a province of nearly 5 million people. Indeed, since euthanasia was legalized in 2016, only three Delta patients have asked to be killed and they were able to obtain their desired end by simply returning home or transferring to a hospital directly next door to the hospice. So, what gives?
Angeline Ireland, president of Delta, perceives a direct connection to socialism. When I asked her in an email interview why she thought the government was trying to force the hospices participation, she replied, I would only be speculating, but primarily, I think it is ideological and agenda driven. Our provincial government is currently run by socialists. The Left has never valued human life. In socialized medicine the state controls and is all powerful. She also believes there is a connection to the costs of health care. I also wonder how much of it is driven by economics. HPC [hospice palliative care] is far more expensive than euthanasia.
Delta is a secular facility, so what are its bases for refusing to kill? The administrators merely want the freedom to operate the facility according to the precepts of hospice moral philosophy. HPC and Euthanasia are diametrically opposed, Ireland tells me. Our health-care discipline has been practiced for 40 years in Canada and in that time has excelled in providing pain- and symptom-management to people. A patient can be stabilized to live out their life the best way possible. We have seen that people offered Hospice Palliative Care tend not to want euthanasia.
I asked how Deltas patients would be affected if the province agreed to cut its support of the hospice by $750,000. She told me that other programs, such as bereavement services for survivors and a layer of administration, would have to be cut until new sources of private or philanthropic funding could be found. But she was adamant that dying patients would not be affected, as Delta will focus exclusively on our hospice.
And if the government refuses Deltas compromise and terminates all financial support? Ireland identified a bitter irony. Over the last 20 years, we have subsidized the government healthcare system by raising $30 million and giving 750,000 voluntary labor hours directly into community healthcare, she notes. But she remains adamant: We will not provide euthanasia. If the government withdraws all its funding, we will try to operate on a privately funded downsized version. We will look for other partners to help us carry on our work.
Will Delta go to court in that circumstance? Yes. We have not done anything wrong, Ireland says. We have not defaulted on our contract. There is nothing in our contract which obliges us to perform euthanasia or have it provided on our premises. However, seeking justice is expensive. We could be on the right side of the law and the right side of history, but it will take $400 an hour to hire a lawyer to seek our remedy. Most not-for-profit organizations dont have the luxury of standing up against Big Government, who have at their disposal seemingly unlimited legal resources.
And what if all efforts at obtaining relief fail? While Ireland didnt say it, one presumes that Delta would close the hospice rather than yield to the governments orders to kill. Notably, the minister of health seems fine with that prospect.
Of course, this controversy isnt really about Delta. British Columbia is sending a clarion message to all health-care providers: resistance to the euthanasia imperative is futile. Ireland understands the stakes. We believe the nation is looking at our situation and [that it] will have a profound impact on other hospices. If the government can coerce us into killing our patients, they can force any hospice into doing it.
The Delta coercion has ramifications far beyond the hospice sector. Canada is in the process of expanding health categories that qualify for doctor-administered death. Quebec just opened the door to allowing those with mental illness that is deemed incurable to receive euthanasia. The country also seems on the verge of requiring that a person diagnosed with progressive dementia be able to sign a legally binding written directive that she be killed when she becomes incapacitated. Also being seriously debated is the legalization of pediatric euthanasia, perhaps without parental permission in the case of mature children. Meanwhile, euthanasia and organ-harvesting have already been conjoined in the country a utilitarian plum to society, celebrated and promoted in the media. If Delta can be compelled to board the euthanasia train, so too can psychiatric institutions, pediatric hospitals, nursing homes, memory-support facilities, and organ-transplant centers.
And it isnt just medical facilities that are feeling the heat. In Ontario, an ethics rule of the provincial medical association requires doctors to participate in euthanasia, by either doing the deed or finding a doctor who will. A court of appeals has ruled that the requirement is binding, even if it violates a doctors religious beliefs. If doctors dont want to be complicit in euthanasia, the court sniffed, they should either find another career or restrict their practices to such fields as podiatry, in which they wont be asked to administer death.
What can the United States learn from all this? First, single-payer health care socialized medicine allows the government to control the medical profession with an iron fist and harness the sector into advancing controversial social policies. Second, euthanasia is an aggressive social pathogen that brooks no dissent. Once a society widely accepts the underlying premise that killing is an acceptable answer to suffering, access to euthanasia eventually becomes a right that the government must guarantee at the expense of the freedom of conscience of medical practitioners. Finally, access to euthanasia comes to matter more than the ability to assure quality treatment, with the authorities willing to accept a brain drain from the health-care sector rather than allow conscientious objection.
Canada is our closest cultural cousin: We had better be careful, or the same thing could happen here. If we dont want that, we should reject assisted suicide and focus our national energies on caring instead of killing.
Read the original:
Posted: at 2:39 pm
EDMONTON --The bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories are calling on Catholics to mobilize and oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide even as the federal government looks to make it easier to qualify for a medically-induced death.
We are absolutely opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide and we disagree vehemently with its very existence in the country, said Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith.
Naturally, we would be opposed to its expansion. The longer that something is in law, the longer people can think that, because its legal, its also morally permissible. Thats a stance that we cant allow to stand unchallenged.
We have a number of things in our country that might be allowed legally, that doesnt mean that they are morally permitted.
A pastoral letter signed by Smith and the bishops of Calgary, St. Paul, Grouard-McLennan, McKenzie-Fort Smith and the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton, was shared at Masses on the Jan. 18-19 weekend.
The letter calls on all Canadians, and Catholics in particular, to press members of parliament to vote against any expansion of assisted suicide and euthanasia. It also calls on the federal government to expand palliative care and on health professionals to assert their right to refuse to participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Canadians are being asked to weigh in on coming changes to the law as Ottawa seeks to amend the Criminal Code to permit greater access to a medical death. Survey responses are being accepted until Jan. 27. Approximately 200,000 people had responded to the governments online survey as of Jan. 20, according to the justice ministry.
The Liberal governments move to amend the law is in response to a September Quebec court decision that declared parts of the federal and Quebec laws on assisted dying unconstitutional. The court ruled that a requirement limiting assisted suicide to patients facing a reasonably foreseeable death violated their Charter rights.
If no new legislation is passed by March 11, the reasonably foreseeable provision in the law will be suspended in Quebec. But even without that court ruling, the law was facing review this year.
The federal government reports more than 6,700 Canadians have died by a medically-induced death since assisted suicide became legal in 2016.
Current eligibility requirements say candidates must be 18 or older, able to make health decisions for themselves and in grievous and irremediable medical condition to qualify.
The government is seeking input on such questions as whether people should be able to make an advance request for assisted suicide while they are healthy, and if it should be granted to people under 18 years old and people with psychiatric conditions.
The survey itself is disingenuous, says Dr. Thomas Fung, a Catholic physician in Calgary. He noted the survey is steered towards removing the reasonably foreseeable death criteria from the law while not explicitly asking whether Canadians favour removal at all.
It basically was kind of like a foregone conclusion that this was going to happen, Fung said. It really opens the doorway for suicide on demand essentially At some point, human suffering is a subjective experience, so its really hard to objectify who should qualify for MAiD when the near-death criteria is removed.
Smith said the bishops issued their pastoral letter because of a cultural trend that not only normalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide but now favours expansion.
It had always been up until now, a rock-solid conviction that medicine is dedicated to the preservation of life and to doing no harm, he said. Well, now we have medicine being used actually prematurely to end life, which turns the medical profession on its head.
Fung said the conscience rights of physicians who object to participating in the death of patients are also under fire.
Really were seeing discrimination at every level, Fung said.
Despite Canadian Medical Association code of ethics and other provincial association guidelines to protect conscientious objectors, there is really nothing legal that is helping us to advance our case in court. Were losing every time we go to court, and I think were seeing a pattern here.
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Posted: at 2:39 pm
The life of a Christian was never meant to be easy. Even when Christ was walking among his disciples, He warned that whoever wished to follow Him would have to deny himself and take up his cross.
Yet it is often the uncertainty as to which choices He wishes for us to make and not the weight we carry which is most overwhelming. Having been directed to both beat our swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4) and our ploughshares into swords (Joel 3:10), its unsurprising that we sometimes find ourselves holding a different implement than ourfellow neighbour in the pew.
Many undoubtedly felt such a conflict when the government asked Canadians to offer their opinion on future amendments to section 241.2 of the Criminal Code. The existing code provisions were only adopted in 2016, legalizing what the government euphemistically termed Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID).
Removing the political gloss and engaging Websters dictionary, we can colloquially refer to the legislative scheme as euthanasia. The very fact that the law resides in the Criminal Code is itself a clear indictment of our shifting cultural values: an action which was up until recently the subject of criminal sanction is now being portrayed as medical assistance.
The amendments to the Criminal Codes euthanasia provisions which are currently being explored arise as the consequence of a 2019 Quebec Superior Court decision which held that it was unconstitutional to restrict the availability of MAID to only those persons whose natural death has become reasonably foreseeable.
At first glance, it may seem that a consultation process should be welcomed by the many who are seriously concerned by the governments intention to expand the reach of the existing legislative framework. After all, theCompendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church reminds us that participation in community life is one of the pillars of all democratic orders and one of the major guarantees of the permanence of the democratic system.
As the Catholic Churchs teaching on the sacredness of life and how we ought to care for those whose lives are diminished or weakened is clear, wouldnt this seem like a circumstance where the need to participate is obvious? Perhaps, had the federal government indicated any willingness to retain and defend the legislation which it drafted, introduced, supported and passed.
However, while in 2016 Justin Trudeaus Minister of Justice had described the Criminal Code amendments as deliberately and carefully crafted (Hansard June 16, 2016), the federal government is now willing to see key provisions struck down and has indicated that it will decline its right to appeal the decision of the Quebec Superior Court.
Furthermore, while the presently impugned legislation was proposed after a Special Joint Committee met 16 times, heard from 61 witnesses (and) received more than 100 briefs before presenting a report to Parliament (Hansard May 2, 2016), the federal government is now only permitting a two-week online public consultation in relation to the current changes.
Even if the federal government were expressing a genuine desire to consider the views of Canadians, whether we ought to participate as faithful Catholics would still be unclear.
During the initial consultations preceding the current Criminal Code provisions, a marked difference of opinion arose between two prominent Catholic bioethicists, Sister Nuala Kenny and Moira McQueen. Both had been asked to sit on panels which were developing guidelines regarding physician-assisted death and each provided a dramatically different response.
Sr. Dr.Nuala Kenny, a Sister of Charity and professor emeritus of bioethics at Dalhousie University, decided to join the panel, stating: I decided to participate because I did not believe I had any other moral option.
My position is, its clearly that of minimizing harm, Kenny was reported as saying in an article published byThe Catholic Register. The harm has been done. After the Feb. 6, 2015 Supreme Court decision, assisted death, both physician-assisted suicide and physician-performed euthanasia are now legal.
Dr. Moira McQueen, director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, took a dramatically different approach: When something is really seriously wrong in the first place Catholic teaching would call it intrinsically wrong how can you mitigate the harm? Its so wrong, no matter what follows from it is also wrong. I would call it formal co-operation.
So which of the two is right? Armed with a mere intellectual ploughshare, I feel ill-equipped to cut through the arguments. But I do feel that are there is a lesson that can be are more easily discerned from this morbid chapter in Canadas political history, one that weve been taught throughout salvific history and haveforgotten time and time again: once we permit an evil to enter, whether it be into our lives or our laws, we will have more difficulty in driving it out than we would have encountered had we resisted it in the beginning.
In 2015, Catholics across the country knew that revisions to the Criminal Code were being debated, yet euthanasia scarcely registered as a prominent issue for voters. That election was the moment when Catholics were called to speak out and voice their objections, yet too few did. The amendments being proposed by our Liberal government were predictable to those acquainted with the legal factors at play and will continue to stain our future as a tragic legacy of our political apathy.
Catholics will always struggle to weigh preferences and personal opinions regarding how to best structure our economy, systems of taxation and the various operations of government. There is much societal good which democratically elected representatives can pursue, with multiple approaches and strategies to obtain them.
Therein lies the challenge of casting a single ballot with the hope of best reflecting the entirety of Gospel values and the deposit of faith. However, if we determine our vote in a manner which compromises objective truths, then were handing a sword to the enemy and hoping we can defend ourselves with a ploughshare.
-Theodoric Nowak is the director ofsocial justice and outreach ministrieswith the Diocese of Calgary.
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Posted: at 2:39 pm
Camille and Brooklyn are Pam Peacock's "girls."
Both are pittie (pit bull) mixes that she adopted from the Baldwin County Animal Shelter.
Both had been abused. Both had been hit by a car. Both have the scars to prove it. Both were in a horrible situation.
Camille had a peg leg because a broken bone was allowed to heal incorrectly. Brooklyn had been a part of a puppy mill.
Peacock, one of the founders of Paws4Change-Baldwin a non-profit formed in 2018 by a group of animal advocates, said, "adopting Camille really opened my eyes to what's out there. My son saw her on the (shelter) Facebook page and she was getting toward euthanasia really close.
"He said, 'Mom, did you see this Camille?'
"I said, Yessss and I'm not going to let them put that dog down. I'm going to get her. She has the most soulful eyes."
Brooklyn was adopted by Peacock a year later.
"I can't imagine my world without those two," Peacock said. "People say not every one of them can be rehabilitated, and that's true some can't. But for the most part, they can. I'm going to tell you, I'm a big advocate for pit bulls. It just takes someone with experience and someone who knows the breed."
This past year brought a big breakthrough for Peacock and Judy Veal Lawrence, as well as other members of Paws4Change-Baldwin.
By writing letters to the editor, lobbying members of the county commission during the public comment period of the meetings, face-to-face talks with county officials, volunteering and fundraising, the group helped bring about many changes.
(bullet) The old county jail was repurposed into a new animal shelter. At the dedication in December, Baldwin County Manager Carlos Tobar said it is "the equivalent of a $1.5 million shelter" even though "it only cost $220,000."
(bullet) The commissioners approved changes to the animal control ordinances, including the prohibition of chaining and tethering of dogs to a stationary point.
(bullet) Another new ordinance reads: Cruelty (to animals) is prohibited. As a result, at least two Baldwin County residents had warrants issued for cruelty to animals in late December and early January.
(bullet) In most cases, a panel of three must decide which animals will be euthanized. It used to be at the sole discretion of one person.
VISION OF CHANGE
Paws4Change-Baldwin started with "kind of a vision that I had," Peacock said.
It's a 501(c) non-profit, "which means we are an IRS approved charity, and all donations to us are tax deductible," Peacock said. "We have 100 percent accountability in everything we do."
It's all volunteer. Nobody is paid.
Paws4Change-Baldwin is funded by donations and through special fundraisers, such as bake sales.
The funds are used to provide needs at the shelter that are not provided by the county, such as vaccines and supplies, according the Paws4Change-Baldwin mission statement. The organization also provides support to the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and to the Baldwin County Jail Dog Program.
For example, there were a couple of cruelty cases that the shelter had, and they reached out to Paws4Change-Baldwin to do a fundraiser because both dogs needed leg amputations.
"Local fundraisers are a way for people to give back," Peacock said.
"They might not be able to volunteer, but they can help with their money," Lawrence said. "And we get good responses. There are a lot of people in Baldwin County who donate."
Their biggest focus now is on spaying and neutering for dogs and cats to prevent overpopulation and shelter overcrowding.
They are joining with Saving Animals from Euthanasia (SAFE), a reduced-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic, to help lower the unwanted litters of dogs and cats.
"We see the need to keep the animals out of the shelter, and the only way to do that is spay and neuter," Peacock said.
"We have to stop reproduction because nothing is going to change as long as there are so many animals being born," Lawrence said.
Two clinics have been held and plans are for the mobile clinic from Macon to be here quarterly.
Peacock and Lawrence have a plan to make sure every person who signs up pays their non-refundable desposit and that they show up. Paws4Change-Baldwin helps discount the fee.
"It's very limited availability," Peacock said. "We have 26 appointments. That's really a lot in one day."
So why do Peacock and Lawrence spend so much time, and frequently their own money, to help animals?
Peacock got started as a foster for dogs more than a decade ago. The adoption coordinators would want to get an animal out of the shelter and into a foster home until it was ready to go to its permanent family.
The first time she fostered a dog for only a weekend. Now, she has one who will be with her for several months until he is heartworm negative. Klaus, a white, American Bulldog mix, is deaf.
"He overcompensates" with his other senses, Peacock said. "Sometime he just stares at the floor, waiting for something to fall."
Lawrence has four dogs Buddy, Chet, Dixie and Pup who were adopted as strays. Her husband, Jay, says four dogs are too many, "but Dixie is the love of his life," Lawrence said. "One of us cooks breakfast for them every morning."
Peacock's husband, Terry, "loves animals. He's got a soft heart."
Long-time dog lovers, certainly, Peacock and Lawrence have a bond that grew stronger as they volunteered together at the old county animal shelter.
"Seeing how bad it was out there, seeing how bad it was for the animals," Peacock said. "Some people said they couldn't even go in that place."
They knew they had to take action.
Lawrence jokes that Peacock is the "brains" and that she is the "charmer, the clean-up crew."
Peacock and Lawrence both laughed.
"We don't have a life," Lawrence said.
No, we don't," Peacock said.
Above all, Peacock and Lawrence were a team in facilitating change.
Those two are the "best ladies in the world," said Charlotte Perrin, the manager of PetSmart and a member of the Paws4Change-Baldwin board.
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