Euthanasia – Wikipedia

Practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering

Euthanasia (from Greek: ; "good death": , eu; "well" or "good" + , thanatos; "death") is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering.[1][2]

Different countries have different euthanasia laws. The British House of Lords select committee on medical ethics defines euthanasia as "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering".[3] In the Netherlands and Belgium, euthanasia is understood as "termination of life by a doctor at the request of a patient".[4] The Dutch law, however, does not use the term 'euthanasia' but includes the concept under the broader definition of "assisted suicide and termination of life on request".[5]

Euthanasia is categorized[by whom?] in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary:[6]

As of 2006[update] euthanasia had become the most active area of research in bioethics.[7]In some countries divisive public controversy occurs over the moral, ethical, and legal issues associated with euthanasia. Passive euthanasia (known as "pulling the plug") is legal under some circumstances in many countries. Active euthanasia, however, is legal or de facto legal in only a handful of countries (for example: Belgium, Canada and Switzerland), which limit it to specific circumstances and require the approval of counselors and doctors or other specialists. In some countries - such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan - support for active euthanasia is almost non-existent.

Like other terms borrowed from history, "euthanasia" has had different meanings depending on usage. The first apparent usage of the term "euthanasia" belongs to the historian Suetonius, who described how the Emperor Augustus, "dying quickly and without suffering in the arms of his wife, Livia, experienced the 'euthanasia' he had wished for."[8] The word "euthanasia" was first used in a medical context by Francis Bacon in the 17th century, to refer to an easy, painless, happy death, during which it was a "physician's responsibility to alleviate the 'physical sufferings' of the body." Bacon referred to an "outward euthanasia"the term "outward" he used to distinguish from a spiritual conceptthe euthanasia "which regards the preparation of the soul."[9]

In current usage, euthanasia has been defined as the "painless inducement of a quick death".[10] However, it is argued that this approach fails to properly define euthanasia, as it leaves open a number of possible actions which would meet the requirements of the definition, but would not be seen as euthanasia. In particular, these include situations where a person kills another, painlessly, but for no reason beyond that of personal gain; or accidental deaths that are quick and painless, but not intentional.[11][12]

Another approach incorporates the notion of suffering into the definition.[11] The definition offered by the Oxford English Dictionary incorporates suffering as a necessary condition, with "the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma",[13] This approach is included in Marvin Khol and Paul Kurtz's definition of it as "a mode or act of inducing or permitting death painlessly as a relief from suffering".[14] Counterexamples can be given: such definitions may encompass killing a person suffering from an incurable disease for personal gain (such as to claim an inheritance), and commentators such as Tom Beauchamp and Arnold Davidson have argued that doing so would constitute "murder simpliciter" rather than euthanasia.[11]

The third element incorporated into many definitions is that of intentionality the death must be intended, rather than being accidental, and the intent of the action must be a "merciful death".[11] Michael Wreen argued that "the principal thing that distinguishes euthanasia from intentional killing simpliciter is the agent's motive: it must be a good motive insofar as the good of the person killed is concerned."[15] Likewise, James Field argued that euthanasia entails a sense of compassion towards the patient, in contrast to the diverse non-compassionate motives of serial killers who work in health care professions.[16] Similarly, Heather Draper speaks to the importance of motive, arguing that "the motive forms a crucial part of arguments for euthanasia, because it must be in the best interests of the person on the receiving end."[12] Definitions such as that offered by the House of Lords Select committee on Medical Ethics take this path, where euthanasia is defined as "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering."[3] Beauchamp and Davidson also highlight Baruch Brody's "an act of euthanasia is one in which one person... (A) kills another person (B) for the benefit of the second person, who actually does benefit from being killed".[17]

Draper argued that any definition of euthanasia must incorporate four elements: an agent and a subject; an intention; a causal proximity, such that the actions of the agent lead to the outcome; and an outcome. Based on this, she offered a definition incorporating those elements, stating that euthanasia "must be defined as death that results from the intention of one person to kill another person, using the most gentle and painless means possible, that is motivated solely by the best interests of the person who dies."[18] Prior to Draper, Beauchamp and Davidson had also offered a definition that includes these elements. Their definition specifically discounts fetuses to distinguish between abortions and euthanasia:[19]

In summary, we have argued... that the death of a human being, A, is an instance of euthanasia if and only if (1) A's death is intended by at least one other human being, B, where B is either the cause of death or a causally relevant feature of the event resulting in death (whether by action or by omission); (2) there is either sufficient current evidence for B to believe that A is acutely suffering or irreversibly comatose, or there is sufficient current evidence related to A's present condition such that one or more known causal laws supports B's belief that A will be in a condition of acute suffering or irreversible comatoseness; (3) (a) B's primary reason for intending A's death is cessation of A's (actual or predicted future) suffering or irreversible comatoseness, where B does not intend A's death for a different primary reason, though there may be other relevant reasons, and (b) there is sufficient current evidence for either A or B that causal means to A's death will not produce any more suffering than would be produced for A if B were not to intervene; (4) the causal means to the event of A's death are chosen by A or B to be as painless as possible, unless either A or B has an overriding reason for a more painful causal means, where the reason for choosing the latter causal means does not conflict with the evidence in 3b; (5) A is a nonfetal organism.[20]

Wreen, in part responding to Beauchamp and Davidson, offered a six-part definition:

Person A committed an act of euthanasia if and only if (1) A killed B or let her die; (2) A intended to kill B; (3) the intention specified in (2) was at least partial cause of the action specified in (1); (4) the causal journey from the intention specified in (2) to the action specified in (1) is more or less in accordance with A's plan of action; (5) A's killing of B is a voluntary action; (6) the motive for the action specified in (1), the motive standing behind the intention specified in (2), is the good of the person killed.[21]

Wreen also considered a seventh requirement: "(7) The good specified in (6) is, or at least includes, the avoidance of evil", although as Wreen noted in the paper, he was not convinced that the restriction was required.[22]

In discussing his definition, Wreen noted the difficulty of justifying euthanasia when faced with the notion of the subject's "right to life". In response, Wreen argued that euthanasia has to be voluntary, and that "involuntary euthanasia is, as such, a great wrong".[22] Other commentators incorporate consent more directly into their definitions. For example, in a discussion of euthanasia presented in 2003 by the European Association of Palliative Care (EPAC) Ethics Task Force, the authors offered: "Medicalized killing of a person without the person's consent, whether nonvoluntary (where the person is unable to consent) or involuntary (against the person's will) is not euthanasia: it is murder. Hence, euthanasia can be voluntary only."[23] Although the EPAC Ethics Task Force argued that both non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia could not be included in the definition of euthanasia, there is discussion in the literature about excluding one but not the other.[22]

Euthanasia may be classified into three types, according to whether a person gives informed consent: voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary.[24][25]

There is a debate within the medical and bioethics literature about whether or not the non-voluntary (and by extension, involuntary) killing of patients can be regarded as euthanasia, irrespective of intent or the patient's circumstances. In the definitions offered by Beauchamp and Davidson and, later, by Wreen, consent on the part of the patient was not considered as one of their criteria, although it may have been required to justify euthanasia.[11][26] However, others see consent as essential.

Voluntary euthanasia is conducted with the consent of the patient. Active voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Passive voluntary euthanasia is legal throughout the US per Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health. When the patient brings about their own death with the assistance of a physician, the term assisted suicide is often used instead. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and the U.S. states of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

Non-voluntary euthanasia is conducted when the consent of the patient is unavailable. Examples include child euthanasia, which is illegal worldwide but decriminalised under certain specific circumstances in the Netherlands under the Groningen Protocol.

Involuntary euthanasia is conducted against the will of the patient.

Voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary types can be further divided into passive or active variants.[27] Passive euthanasia entails the withholding treatment necessary for the continuance of life.[3] Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces (such as administering a lethal injection), and is the more controversial. While some authors consider these terms to be misleading and unhelpful, they are nonetheless commonly used. In some cases, such as the administration of increasingly necessary, but toxic doses of painkillers, there is a debate whether or not to regard the practice as active or passive.[3]

Euthanasia was practiced in Ancient Greece and Rome: for example, hemlock was employed as a means of hastening death on the island of Kea, a technique also employed in Marseilles. Euthanasia, in the sense of the deliberate hastening of a person's death, was supported by Socrates, Plato and Seneca the Elder in the ancient world, although Hippocrates appears to have spoken against the practice, writing "I will not prescribe a deadly drug to please someone, nor give advice that may cause his death" (noting there is some debate in the literature about whether or not this was intended to encompass euthanasia).[28][29][30]

The term euthanasia in the earlier sense of supporting someone as they died, was used for the first time by Francis Bacon. In his work, Euthanasia medica, he chose this ancient Greek word and, in doing so, distinguished between euthanasia interior, the preparation of the soul for death, and euthanasia exterior, which was intended to make the end of life easier and painless, in exceptional circumstances by shortening life. That the ancient meaning of an easy death came to the fore again in the early modern period can be seen from its definition in the 18th century Zedlers Universallexikon:

Euthanasia: a very gentle and quiet death, which happens without painful convulsions. The word comes from , bene, well, and , mors, death.[31]

The concept of euthanasia in the sense of alleviating the process of death goes back to the medical historian, Karl Friedrich Heinrich Marx, who drew on Bacon's philosophical ideas. According to Marx, a doctor had a moral duty to ease the suffering of death through encouragement, support and mitigation using medication. Such an "alleviation of death" reflected the contemporary zeitgeist, but was brought into the medical canon of responsibility for the first time by Marx. Marx also stressed the distinction between the theological care of the soul of sick people from the physical care and medical treatment by doctors.[32][33]

Euthanasia in its modern sense has always been strongly opposed in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Thomas Aquinas opposed both and argued that the practice of euthanasia contradicted our natural human instincts of survival,[34] as did Francois Ranchin (15651641), a French physician and professor of medicine, and Michael Boudewijns (16011681), a physician and teacher.[29]:208[35] Other voices argued for euthanasia, such as John Donne in 1624,[36] and euthanasia continued to be practised. In 1678, the publication of Caspar Questel's De pulvinari morientibus non-subtrahend, ("On the pillow of which the dying should not be deprived"), initiated debate on the topic. Questel described various customs which were employed at the time to hasten the death of the dying, (including the sudden removal of a pillow, which was believed to accelerate death), and argued against their use, as doing so was "against the laws of God and Nature".[29]:209211 This view was shared by others who followed, including Philipp Jakob Spener, Veit Riedlin and Johann Georg Krnitz.[29]:211 Despite opposition, euthanasia continued to be practised, involving techniques such as bleeding, suffocation, and removing people from their beds to be placed on the cold ground.[29]:211214

Suicide and euthanasia became more accepted during the Age of Enlightenment.[35] Thomas More wrote of euthanasia in Utopia, although it is not clear if More was intending to endorse the practice.[29]:208209 Other cultures have taken different approaches: for example, in Japan suicide has not traditionally been viewed as a sin, as it is used in cases of honor, and accordingly, the perceptions of euthanasia are different from those in other parts of the world.[37]

In the mid-1800s, the use of morphine to treat "the pains of death" emerged, with John Warren recommending its use in 1848. A similar use of chloroform was revealed by Joseph Bullar in 1866. However, in neither case was it recommended that the use should be to hasten death. In 1870 Samuel Williams, a schoolteacher, initiated the contemporary euthanasia debate through a speech given at the Birmingham Speculative Club in England, which was subsequently published in a one-off publication entitled Essays of the Birmingham Speculative Club, the collected works of a number of members of an amateur philosophical society.[38]:794 Williams' proposal was to use chloroform to deliberately hasten the death of terminally ill patients:

That in all cases of hopeless and painful illness, it should be the recognized duty of the medical attendant, whenever so desired by the patient, to administer chloroform or such other anaesthetic as may by-and-bye supersede chloroform so as to destroy consciousness at once, and put the sufferer to a quick and painless death; all needful precautions being adopted to prevent any possible abuse of such duty; and means being taken to establish, beyond the possibility of doubt or question, that the remedy was applied at the express wish of the patient.

The essay was favourably reviewed in The Saturday Review, but an editorial against the essay appeared in The Spectator.[39] From there it proved to be influential, and other writers came out in support of such views: Lionel Tollemache wrote in favour of euthanasia, as did Annie Besant, the essayist and reformer who later became involved with the National Secular Society, considering it a duty to society to "die voluntarily and painlessly" when one reaches the point of becoming a 'burden'.[39][40] Popular Science analyzed the issue in May 1873, assessing both sides of the argument.[41] Kemp notes that at the time, medical doctors did not participate in the discussion; it was "essentially a philosophical enterprise... tied inextricably to a number of objections to the Christian doctrine of the sanctity of human life".[39]

The rise of the euthanasia movement in the United States coincided with the so-called Gilded Age, a time of social and technological change that encompassed an "individualistic conservatism that praised laissez-faire economics, scientific method, and rationalism", along with major depressions, industrialisation and conflict between corporations and labour unions.[38]:794 It was also the period in which the modern hospital system was developed, which has been seen as a factor in the emergence of the euthanasia debate.[42]

Robert Ingersoll argued for euthanasia, stating in 1894 that where someone is suffering from a terminal illness, such as terminal cancer, they should have a right to end their pain through suicide. Felix Adler offered a similar approach, although, unlike Ingersoll, Adler did not reject religion. In fact, he argued from an Ethical Culture framework. In 1891, Adler argued that those suffering from overwhelming pain should have the right to commit suicide, and, furthermore, that it should be permissible for a doctor to assist thus making Adler the first "prominent American" to argue for suicide in cases where people were suffering from chronic illness.[43] Both Ingersoll and Adler argued for voluntary euthanasia of adults suffering from terminal ailments.[43] Dowbiggin argues that by breaking down prior moral objections to euthanasia and suicide, Ingersoll and Adler enabled others to stretch the definition of euthanasia.[44]

The first attempt to legalise euthanasia took place in the United States, when Henry Hunt introduced legislation into the General Assembly of Ohio in 1906.[45]:614 Hunt did so at the behest of Anna Sophina Hall, a wealthy heiress who was a major figure in the euthanasia movement during the early 20th century in the United States. Hall had watched her mother die after an extended battle with liver cancer, and had dedicated herself to ensuring that others would not have to endure the same suffering. Towards this end she engaged in an extensive letter writing campaign, recruited Lurana Sheldon and Maud Ballington Booth, and organised a debate on euthanasia at the annual meeting of the American Humane Association in 1905 described by Jacob Appel as the first significant public debate on the topic in the 20th century.[45]:614616

Hunt's bill called for the administration of an anesthetic to bring about a patient's death, so long as the person is of lawful age and sound mind, and was suffering from a fatal injury, an irrevocable illness, or great physical pain. It also required that the case be heard by a physician, required informed consent in front of three witnesses, and required the attendance of three physicians who had to agree that the patient's recovery was impossible. A motion to reject the bill outright was voted down, but the bill failed to pass, 79 to 23.[38]:796[45]:618619

Along with the Ohio euthanasia proposal, in 1906 Assemblyman Ross Gregory introduced a proposal to permit euthanasia to the Iowa legislature. However, the Iowa legislation was broader in scope than that offered in Ohio. It allowed for the death of any person of at least ten years of age who suffered from an ailment that would prove fatal and cause extreme pain, should they be of sound mind and express a desire to artificially hasten their death. In addition, it allowed for infants to be euthanised if they were sufficiently deformed, and permitted guardians to request euthanasia on behalf of their wards. The proposed legislation also imposed penalties on physicians who refused to perform euthanasia when requested: a 612 month prison term and a fine of between $200 and $1,000. The proposal proved to be controversial.[45]:619621 It engendered considerable debate and failed to pass, having been withdrawn from consideration after being passed to the Committee on Public Health.[45]:623

After 1906 the euthanasia debate reduced in intensity, resurfacing periodically, but not returning to the same level of debate until the 1930s in the United Kingdom.[38]:796

Euthanasia opponent Ian Dowbiggin argues that the early membership of the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA) reflected how many perceived euthanasia at the time, often seeing it as a eugenics matter rather than an issue concerning individual rights.[43] Dowbiggin argues that not every eugenist joined the ESA "solely for eugenic reasons", but he postulates that there were clear ideological connections between the eugenics and euthanasia movements.[43]

The Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society was founded in 1935 by Charles Killick Millard (now called Dignity in Dying). The movement campaigned for the legalisation of euthanasia in Great Britain.

In January 1936, King George V was given a fatal dose of morphine and cocaine to hasten his death. At the time he was suffering from cardio-respiratory failure, and the decision to end his life was made by his physician, Lord Dawson.[46] Although this event was kept a secret for over 50 years, the death of George V coincided with proposed legislation in the House of Lords to legalise euthanasia.[47]

A 24 July 1939 killing of a severely disabled infant in Nazi Germany was described in a BBC "Genocide Under the Nazis Timeline" as the first "state-sponsored euthanasia".[48] Parties that consented to the killing included Hitler's office, the parents, and the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious and Congenitally Based Illnesses.[48] The Telegraph noted that the killing of the disabled infantwhose name was Gerhard Kretschmar, born blind, with missing limbs, subject to convulsions, and reportedly "an idiot" provided "the rationale for a secret Nazi decree that led to 'mercy killings' of almost 300,000 mentally and physically handicapped people".[49] While Kretchmar's killing received parental consent, most of the 5,000 to 8,000 children killed afterwards were forcibly taken from their parents.[48][49]

The "euthanasia campaign" of mass murder gathered momentum on 14 January 1940 when the "handicapped" were killed with gas vans and killing centres, eventually leading to the deaths of 70,000 adult Germans.[50] Professor Robert Jay Lifton, author of The Nazi Doctors and a leading authority on the T4 program, contrasts this program with what he considers to be a genuine euthanasia. He explains that the Nazi version of "euthanasia" was based on the work of Adolf Jost, who published The Right to Death (Das Recht auf den Tod) in 1895. Lifton writes:

Jost argued that control over the death of the individual must ultimately belong to the social organism, the state. This concept is in direct opposition to the Anglo-American concept of euthanasia, which emphasizes the individual's 'right to die' or 'right to death' or 'right to his or her own death,' as the ultimate human claim. In contrast, Jost was pointing to the state's right to kill.... Ultimately the argument was biological: 'The rights to death [are] the key to the fitness of life.' The state must own deathmust killin order to keep the social organism alive and healthy.[51]

In modern terms, the use of "euthanasia" in the context of Action T4 is seen to be a euphemism to disguise a program of genocide, in which people were killed on the grounds of "disabilities, religious beliefs, and discordant individual values".[52] Compared to the discussions of euthanasia that emerged post-war, the Nazi program may have been worded in terms that appear similar to the modern use of "euthanasia", but there was no "mercy" and the patients were not necessarily terminally ill.[52] Despite these differences, historian and euthanasia opponent Ian Dowbiggin writes that "the origins of Nazi euthanasia, like those of the American euthanasia movement, predate the Third Reich and were intertwined with the history of eugenics and Social Darwinism, and with efforts to discredit traditional morality and ethics."[43]:65

On 6 January 1949, the Euthanasia Society of America presented to the New York State Legislature a petition to legalize euthanasia, signed by 379 leading Protestant and Jewish ministers, the largest group of religious leaders ever to have taken this stance. A similar petition had been sent to the New York Legislature in 1947, signed by approximately 1,000 New York physicians. Roman Catholic religious leaders criticized the petition, saying that such a bill would "legalize a suicide-murder pact" and a "rationalization of the fifth commandment of God, 'Thou Shalt Not Kill.'"[53] The Right Reverend Robert E. McCormick stated that

The ultimate object of the Euthanasia Society is based on the Totalitarian principle that the state is supreme and that the individual does not have the right to live if his continuance in life is a burden or hindrance to the state. The Nazis followed this principle and compulsory Euthanasia was practiced as a part of their program during the recent war. We American citizens of New York State must ask ourselves this question: "Are we going to finish Hitler's job?"[53]

The petition brought tensions between the American Euthanasia Society and the Catholic Church to a head that contributed to a climate of anti-Catholic sentiment generally, regarding issues such as birth control, eugenics, and population control. However, the petition did not result in any legal changes.[43]

Historically, the euthanasia debate has tended to focus on a number of key concerns. According to euthanasia opponent Ezekiel Emanuel, proponents of euthanasia have presented four main arguments: a) that people have a right to self-determination, and thus should be allowed to choose their own fate; b) assisting a subject to die might be a better choice than requiring that they continue to suffer; c) the distinction between passive euthanasia, which is often permitted, and active euthanasia, which is not substantive (or that the underlying principlethe doctrine of double effectis unreasonable or unsound); and d) permitting euthanasia will not necessarily lead to unacceptable consequences. Pro-euthanasia activists often point to countries like the Netherlands and Belgium, and states like Oregon, where euthanasia has been legalized, to argue that it is mostly unproblematic.

Similarly, Emanuel argues that there are four major arguments presented by opponents of euthanasia: a) not all deaths are painful; b) alternatives, such as cessation of active treatment, combined with the use of effective pain relief, are available; c) the distinction between active and passive euthanasia is morally significant; and d) legalising euthanasia will place society on a slippery slope,[54] which will lead to unacceptable consequences.[38]:797-8 In fact, in Oregon, in 2013, pain wasn't one of the top five reasons people sought euthanasia. Top reasons were a loss of dignity, and a fear of burdening others.[55]

In the United States in 2013, 47% nationwide supported doctor-assisted suicide. This included 32% of Latinos, 29% of African-Americans, and almost nobody with disabilities.[55]

A 2015 Populus poll in the United Kingdom found broad public support for assisted dying. 82% of people supported the introduction of assisted dying laws, including 86% of people with disabilities.[56]

One concern is that euthanasia might undermine filial responsibility.[57] In some countries, adult children of impoverished parents are legally entitled to support payments under filial responsibility laws. Thirty out of the fifty United States[58] as well as France,[59] Germany,[60] Singapore, and Taiwan[61] have filial responsibility laws.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law states that "a 'mercy killing' or euthanasia is generally considered to be a criminal homicide"[62] and is normally used as a synonym of homicide committed at a request made by the patient.[63]

The judicial sense of the term "homicide" includes any intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, even to relieve intractable suffering.[63][64][65] Not all homicide is unlawful.[66] Two designations of homicide that carry no criminal punishment are justifiable and excusable homicide.[66] In most countries this is not the status of euthanasia. The term "euthanasia" is usually confined to the active variety; the University of Washington website states that "euthanasia generally means that the physician would act directly, for instance by giving a lethal injection, to end the patient's life".[67] Physician-assisted suicide is thus not classified as euthanasia by the US State of Oregon, where it is legal under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and despite its name, it is not legally classified as suicide either.[68] Unlike physician-assisted suicide, withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments with patient consent (voluntary) is almost unanimously considered, at least in the United States, to be legal.[69] The use of pain medication to relieve suffering, even if it hastens death, has been held as legal in several court decisions.[67]

Some governments around the world have legalized voluntary euthanasia but most commonly it is still considered to be criminal homicide. In the Netherlands and Belgium, where euthanasia has been legalized, it still remains homicide although it is not prosecuted and not punishable if the perpetrator (the doctor) meets certain legal conditions.[70][71][72][73]

In a historic judgment, the Supreme court of India legalized passive euthanasia. The apex court remarked in the judgment that the Constitution of India values liberty, dignity, autonomy, and privacy. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra delivered a unanimous judgment.[74]

A 2010 survey in the United States of more than 10,000 physicians found that 16.3% of physicians would consider halting life-sustaining therapy because the family demanded it, even if they believed that it was premature. Approximately 54.5% would not, and the remaining 29.2% responded "it depends".[75] The study also found that 45.8% of physicians agreed that physician-assisted suicide should be allowed in some cases; 40.7% did not, and the remaining 13.5% felt it depended.[75]

In the United Kingdom, the assisted dying campaign group Dignity in Dying cites research in which 54% of General Practitioners support or are neutral towards a law change on assisted dying.[76] Similarly, a 2017 Doctors.net.uk poll reported in the British Medical Journal stated that 55% of doctors believe assisted dying, in defined circumstances, should be legalised in the UK.[77]

One concern among healthcare professionals is the possibility of being asked to participate in euthanasia in a situation where they personally believe it to be wrong. In a 1996 study of 852 nurses in adult ICUs, 19% admitted to participating in euthanasia. 30% of those who admitted to it also believed that euthanasia is unethical.[78]

The Roman Catholic Church condemns euthanasia and assisted suicide as morally wrong. It states that, "intentional euthanasia, whatever its forms or motives, is murder. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator". Because of this, the practice is unacceptable within the Church.[79] The Orthodox Church in America, along with other Eastern Orthodox Churches, also opposes euthanasia stating that "euthanasia is the deliberate cessation of human life, and, as such, must be condemned as murder."[80]

Many non-Catholic churches in the United States take a stance against euthanasia. Among Protestant denominations, the Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1991 opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide stating that it is "morally wrong and unacceptable to take a human life to relieve the suffering caused by incurable illnesses."[80] Other Protestant churches which oppose euthanasia include:

The Church of England accepts passive euthanasia under some circumstances, but is strongly against active euthanasia, and has led opposition against recent attempt to legalise it.[90] The United Church of Canada accepts passive euthanasia under some circumstances, but is in general against active euthanasia, with growing acceptance now that active euthanasia has been partly legalised in Canada.[91].

Euthanasia is a complex issue in Islamic theology; however, in general it is considered contrary to Islamic law and holy texts. Among interpretations of the Koran and Hadith, the early termination of life is a crime, be it by suicide or helping one commit suicide. The various positions on the cessation of medical treatment are mixed and considered a different class of action than direct termination of life, especially if the patient is suffering. Suicide and euthanasia are both crimes in almost all Muslim majority countries.[92]

There is much debate on the topic of euthanasia in Judaic theology, ethics, and general opinion (especially in Israel and the United States). Passive euthanasia was declared legal by Israel's highest court under certain conditions and has reached some level of acceptance. Active euthanasia remains illegal, however the topic is actively under debate with no clear consensus through legal, ethical, theological and spiritual perspectives.[93]


Euthanasia - Wikipedia

Euthanasia | Definition of Euthanasia by Merriam-Webster

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: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

Euthanasia is a mass noun (or noncount noun), that is, a noun used only in the singular form.

The word comes from the Greek euthanatos, which means easy death. In English, euthanasia has been used in exactly this sense since the early seventeenth century, when Francis Bacon described the phenomenon as after the fashion and semblance of a kindly & pleasant sleepe. Nowadays, the word usually refers to the means of attaining such a death.

a physician who refuses to practice euthanasia

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'euthanasia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

1605, in the meaning defined above

Greek, easy death, from euthanatos, from eu- + thanatos death more at thanatos

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Euthanasia. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euthanasia. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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Euthanasia | Definition of Euthanasia by Merriam-Webster

Euthanasia | American Medical Association

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

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Euthanasia | American Medical Association

Legalise voluntary euthanasia, Queensland government health panel recommends – The Guardian

Queensland should legalise voluntary assisted dying for terminally ill adults, the governments health committee has found.

A year-long investigation to gauge public opinion on voluntary euthanasia has determined most Queenslanders are in favour of it. It is the first time the state has ever considered voluntary assisted dying.

Currently, theres no option to help terminally ill Queenslanders die.

The committee found that every four days in Queensland, a terminally ill person takes their own life.

This must stop, the committee chair and Labor MP Aaron Harper wrote in a report tabled in parliament on Tuesday. Suicide should never be the only option for Queenslanders suffering at end of life.

This is just one of the many reasons the majority of our committee chose to support a recommendation for more choice for people suffering from an advanced progressive or neurodegenerative condition, through access to a voluntary assisted dying scheme.

A sample bill has already been drafted by Queensland University of Technology professors Ben White and Lindy Wilmot.

Its an excellent bill, the president of Dying with Dignity Queensland, Jos Hall, said.

Advocates want to see voluntary assisted dying legislated before Octobers state election, but understand the response to the Covid-19 pandemic takes priority.

It needs to be dealt with as a matter of priority at the first available opportunity, Hall said. Knowing that over 80% of Queenslanders support voluntary assisted dying, regardless of who forms the next government, we would like to see this dealt with.

We would be pleased to work with whichever party forms government if this is not dealt [with] in this parliamentary term.

The work to draft a bill could start now, said the chief executive of Go Gentle Australia, Kiki Paul. Obviously, the worlds attention is, rightly, on the coronavirus emergency. But regardless, Covid-19 should not stand in the way of good, evidence-based law reform.

The state government must accept these recommendations and begin the necessary work to fulfil the wishes of the Queensland people.

The committee of parliamentarians recommended euthanasia be limited to Australian citizens or permanent residents in Queensland with the capacity to make decisions.

To be eligible, patients must be diagnosed with an advanced or progressively terminal chronic or neurodegenerative condition that cannot be eased. Those with a mental health illness should not be ruled out, so long as they can make decisions.

Timeframes for a persons assisted death should not be proposed, the committee recommended, in recognition of the complex, subjective and unpredictable nature of terminal illnesses.

Continued here:

Legalise voluntary euthanasia, Queensland government health panel recommends - The Guardian

Remember the Party of Terri Schiavo? – New York Magazine

Protesters demanding political intervention to keep Terri Schiavo on life support. Photo: Matt May/Getty Images

You dont have to know much political history to become deeply unsettled by the recent public muttering by selected conservative voices that the benefits of reopening the economy might justify the otherwise avoidable deaths of a lot of unproductive old and sick folk who could succumb to the coronavirus pandemic. As my colleague Sarah Jones argued compellingly:

The views expressed by [Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan] Patrick and [First Things editor Rusty] Reno and [Trump adviser Stephen] Moore separate human life into categories. In one box, there are people worth saving. In the other, there are people we ought to let die What they contemplate is not quite mass murder, but a sort of planned negligent homicide. Patrick doesnt want to build gas chambers. He just wants to let nature take its course. The fit will survive the cull.

And here history is instructive. Eugenics, as a form of human culling, was a pseudoscientific movement that gained lethal strength in the early 20th century and became official state doctrine in various regimes where murdering or starving useless eaters was regarded as essential to the public welfare or even to the health and welfare of the human species. Horror of human culling was deeply bred into the generations of Americans and Europeans who sought to identify civilization itself with the rejection of mass homicide. That this horror might be fading is disturbing enough. But that the idea is posting a comeback among American conservatives is particularly shocking, since not that very long ago that political tribe habitually accused liberals of an openness to euthanasia as a byproduct of legalized abortion.

Remember Terri Schiavo, whose cause embroiled the country during the spring of 2005? She was the severely brain-damaged Florida woman whose agonized husband became embroiled in a legal battle with her parents as he sought to terminate life support, which he felt certain she would have wished. That legal battle became intensely political as Terri Schiavo was adopted as a sort of mascot by the anti-abortion movement as evidence of its claim that the indifference to life exhibited by legalized abortion would eventually lead to euthanasia. Florida governor Jeb Bush spearheaded a state government intervention in her case in 2003 to force reinsertion of a feeding tube, and later Jebs brother signed emergency legislation, enacted during a remarkable March 2005 special session of the Republican-controlled Congress, to assert federal jurisdiction over Schiavos fate. She was finally allowed a dignified death when federal courts refused to overrule a local judges decision to let the poor woman go.

Wheres that Republican Party as some of its opinion leaders express equanimity about tolerating, if not encouraging, mass death in the cause of giving the economy a nice lift prior to the 2020 elections? Whos the Party of Death (a common epithet for Democrats among anti-abortion activists) now?

Its particularly striking that there are elements of the very anti-abortion movement that fought to keep Schiavo alive that are expressing pleasure over the net effect of the coronavirus, since it has allowed some GOP lawmakers to halt abortions as a byproduct of elective surgery bans:

Texas Republican congressional candidate Kathaleen Wall thanked Governor Greg Abbott for signing an executive order last week that deemed abortions medically unnecessary, with Wall claiming the coronavirus may now save more lives than it will take.

Wall, who advanced from the 22nd Congressional District Republican primary earlier this month, has posted several articles discussing pregnancy and coronavirus and touting President Donald Trumps ability to put partisan politics aside as he fights the COVID-19 pandemic. But Walls March 24 Facebook post claiming coronavirus will save more lives this week than it takes created exactly that type of partisan fighting between pro-choice and anti-abortion residents.

Im not calling Republicans generally eugenicists or fans of euthanasia. But it is a sign of the cult of personality into which this party and its ideological allies have succumbed that the desire to lift Trump to reelection on the wings of economic recovery is so powerful, pro-life values be damned. And conservatives who do know their history need to shout down the Evangelists of GDP ber alles with special determination.

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Remember the Party of Terri Schiavo? - New York Magazine

EuthanasiaPro and Con | The Nation

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IT SEEMS inconceivable that in a happier world of the future no provision should be made for putting out of their misery persons suffering from an excessively painful and incurable disease. We shall have to find some legal way to accord to human beings the relief we accord to animals.Ad Policy

Euthanasiaor mercy killingcan be practiced by commission, which is illegal, or by omission, which is not. A doctor cannot he punished for intentionally neglecting to administer some remedy or stimulant which might prolong life, although he may be accused of incompetence and malpractice. I shall consider here only euthanasia by commission.

The present situation is utterly unfair to the individual physician who believes that the relief of suffering is one of his principal duties. Many medical practitioners undoubtedly resort to euthanasia, but since they do so secretly it is impossible to say how many. They feel compelled to commit a technical murder even though they must bear the whole responsibility. That is the unfair part. Situations like the recent one in New Hampshire must arise frequently, and why in that case the doctor reported his act is difficult to understand. (Why, too, did he inject air instead of merely giving an overdose of morphine?) Bigots and sticklers for legal technicalities will always try to prevent or punish humanitarian action by an individual physician. Since the decision rests with him alone, the doctor will rarely ask for the consent of either the patient or the relatives. The mercy killing is therefore done furtively, when it should be done candidly, serenely, and lawfully.

None of the various arguments against euthanasia have ever shaken my belief in its truly humane purpose. In the space at my disposal I can refer only to a few. One of the most frequently heard but also most superficial objections is that the Nazis practiced euthanasia. What loose thinking! The Nazis never asked the consent of patients or relatives. There was no mercy in their killings, only expediency.

The contention that a seemingly incurable condition might some day be cured by a new medical discovery hardly holds water. How can the hopeless cancer victim or the imbecile child of today benefit by a discovery of tomorrow? The laws regulating euthanasia must of course be flexible, and requirements based on present knowledge may be changed in the future.

Another objection to euthanasia stems from the possibility of fraud and abuse. But if the decision on merciful release is left to a government-appointed board of at least three personsfor instance, two medical men and one lawyer, who must be unanimous in its favorthis seems a weak argument. Surely legal experts can devise adequate safeguards.

There will always remain the opposition of those who ding to sentimental superstitions about the sacredness of life. Such an emotional attitude cannot be changed by any reasoning. But let me give an example of the sacredness of life.

A friend of mine, a professional man in his late sixties, suffered from an inoperable cancer of the liver which caused great accumulation of water in the abdominal cavity. At least once a week his abdomen had to be tapped to relieve the pressure. He suffered also from a chronic inflammation of the heart muscle, and the resulting circulatory weakness added to the complete hopelessness of the case. Bedridden in a hospital, he was kept alive by medical skill and expert nursing. Physicians and nurses did their duty. Sedatives were used, but in small doses they were often ineffective, and large doses were deemed contra-indicated.

My friend was not a man of means but had managed to save a few thousand dollars for his wife and for a handicapped child. His savings dwindled from week to week. The hospital expenses were high. The bill for oxygen alone, which he required frequently, was more than $20 a week. He was anxious to die to end his suffering and to preserve at least part of his savings. But he was a religious man and rejected any idea of suicide. He did not approve of euthanasia. He could only pray that death might come soon. When he was down to his last few dollars and had to worry how he would pay his next hospital bill and how his wife would pay the next months rent, then and only then did death come. There was not enough money left to bury him.

In this case even legalized euthanasia would have been out of the question since the religious convictions of the patient himself, and probably also of his wife, would have prevented him from making the application or giving his consent. But in innumerable cases such religious convictions do not exist.

I could have made this story a more effective argument for euthanasia by having the patient beg in vain for release, but I wanted to report a true experience. It is easy for the reader to visualize the increased suffering and the heightened tragedy when euthanasia is desired and unmercifully denied by society.

Euthanasia has been called pagan and indecent. One may well ask, which is betterpagan mercifulness, indecent compassion, or devout inhumanity?

EUTHANASIA is humane and merciful as an idea. It might be inhumane and dangerous as a practice. A progressive society should limit its power over human beings instead of expanding it. Strangely enough, many people who denounce capital punishment are in favor of euthanasia.

Legalizing euthanasia would be a disservice to the medical profession in that it would expand the power and responsibility of physicians, which are already almost unbearably great. The legal conditions proposedconsent of the patient or his family, decision by a state commissionwould create psychological and technical situations beyond human endurance.

Millions of people today live a hopeless and painful, even a socially useless, life without the benefit of an incurable disease. Should they be permitted to be candidates for euthanasia? Suffering is more easily accepted by the patient who really has a painful disease than by the neurotic person who produces his misery and pain by emotional processes. Even the incapacitated, agonized patient, in despair most of the time, may still get some joy from existence. His mood will change between longing for death and fear of death. Who would want to decide what should be done on such unsafe ground?

Last summer in Germany I witnessed a number of so-called euthanasia trials. The Nazis and their medical hangmen had murdered many thousands of mental patients, epileptics, feeble-minded, physically handicapped, asocial persons. Of course these crimes had no resemblance to the euthanasia some people want legalized. There was no consent, no indicationin most casesof unbearable suffering. However, the mass murder was justified as euthanasia, and one cannot help being deeply disturbed by the attitude of apparently honest physicians toward the orders of a perverted government and by the potential dangers of euthanasia as an instrument of public health.

Hopeless or incurable disease is an outmoded medical concept. We have seen in our lifetime a great number of incurable diseases become curable. Cancer may be curable the day after our application for euthanasia is signed.

It is also possible that undue influence would be exercised by the patients family. Suffering may seem more unbearable to the sensitive onlooker than to the sufferer himself. Chronic disease is always a social catastrophe whether death is imminent or not. Families are disrupted; their economic security is destroyed. But it is a sinister thought that economic considerations might influence the decision as to life or death. Death; in our society, has already too much taken on the character of an important financial transaction; a physician must frequently deal with patients who insist that they can afford death because of their insurance provisions, but not life with an incapacitating incurable disease. It seems clear to me that a public health insurance system should lessen the risk and the tragedy of chronic disease, but euthanasia is not a tolerable substitute for social and medical assistance.

The weapons of medicine for fighting pain and alleviating unbearable suffering have increased beyond any expectation. There is, indeed, no place for unbearable pain in modern medicine. If people die in torment it is because qualified medical or nursing care is unavailable. I have often been appalled by the undignified and careless way in which people are forced to die. Help in making birth easier is today a matter of routine, and almost no child comes into the world without expert assistance. Dying is often very difficult. It seems to me there ought to be well-trained death helpers among doctors and nurses just as there are birth helpers. But what is needed is wise guidance in the tremendous human experience of death, not the fulfillment of a more or less self-imposed death sentence by euthanasia.

Much can be done to integrate death into everybodys existence, to make our departure from human society as natural an event as our entrance. But I greatly doubt that legalized euthanasia is the best means. As a physician, I feel I would have to reject the power and responsibility of the ultimate decision.

Originally posted here:

EuthanasiaPro and Con | The Nation

Texas Lt Governor Supports Euthanasia by Virus for Gramps and Granny to Save the Economy – Patheos

Texas Lt Governor Dan Patrick. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons share alike.

So now some of the so-called pro life people in the Republican Party are pushing for indirectly euthanizing elderly people for the sake of the economy.

This isnt coming from rank and file pseudo pro life people. Its coming for the top tier of political pro lifers who got elected by singing the song of the sanctity of human life.

The Lt Governor of Texas got on national tv and went all-out backing it.Texas Lt Governor Dan Patrick went on Tucker Carlson Tonight, a program on Fox News, and suggested that we end the fight to stop the Coronavirus in order to save the economy. His logic? Not that many people are dying and most of the people his proposal would kill would be older Americans.

In the course of the interview, he made this entirely specious statement:

Tucker, no one reached out to me and said, As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And if thats the exchange, Im all in, Patrick said, later adding, My message is, lets get back to work. Lets get back to living. Lets be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, well take care of ourselves.

First of all, the claim that somehow or other this would apply to him and endanger his little life is, in plain language, bull. Hes the Lt Governor of Texas. Hes already protected. If he gets sick, hell go to the head of the line for medical care, and he knows it.

What this pro life Republican what all the pro life Republicans who are talking this talk are doing is to promote a new kind of eugenics and euthanasia by neglect of a large segment of the population. He didnt mention useless eaters, but I imagine some heavily air-brushed and refitted form of that argument is coming.

The fact that this powerful man is using a stupid-as-a-stump appeal to patriotism and love of grandchildren to propose this atrocity just makes it more disgusting.

If you truly value the sanctity of human life, you dont support euthanasia by virus for large numbers of people for money. You just dont.Killing people is wrong. Killing people for money may just be even more wrong.

Im not surprised by how crude this mans argument is. Ive known for a long time that a lot of politicians and clergy who say they are pro life dont have the first clue what that means.

Im also not surprised by the smarmy way it is being presented. Open up a phony pro-lifer, and youll find a cesspool of smarm and phony piousness.

I understand that we are standing between an enraged tiger and an attacking bear. Its the economy on one side and the virus on the other, and the future is in the middle. I know that we are in a really tough situation. But I expect a bit more from our elected officials than sanctimonious claptrap and slimy appeals to a large segment of the population to march willingly into the arms of the Baals as human sacrifices to the stock market.

We could also use some religious leadership here. Are Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr, and Fr Pavone going to jump out there and say Lets forfeit the lives of all the old people or will they stand up to this attack on the sanctity of human life?

Im not holding my breath. I learned at the Kavanaugh confirmation that our religious leaders are highly selective when it comes to how they apply moral teachings. It appears that our religious leaders view morality as grind-you-down absolute for little people and those on the wrong political side. For those in power on the right political side, its all relative and not as important as serious issues of state.

Our liar president got us into this mess by flying around the country holding rallies and claiming the Coronavirus was a Democratic hoax instead of doing his job and taking action early on.

Now he wants to throw in the towel and let the virus loose in order to save the economy. He does not have the brains to get us out of the disaster he demagogued us into. He evidently cant think of any other way to sail the ship of state except by jettisoning large numbers of its citizens. He seems perfectly willing to kill lots of Americans.

Hes got his political hacks going on the Trump media and making appeals to euthanasia-by-virus for large numbers of the American people. Their solution is to deliberately and knowingly sacrifice the lives of a lot of Americans.

All the pious nonsense about how they would give their lives are lies. None of this applies to them.

Euthanasia is wrong boys and girls. Its murder.

From Yahoo News:

As the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, forcing people to stay in their homes and causing an economic downturn, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick joined Tucker Carlson Tonight where he became a top-trending topic by suggesting we get back to our normal lives to save the economy even at great risk to the countrys senior citizens. Patrick, who turns 70 next week, believes its up to older Americans to take that risk.

Tucker, no one reached out to me and said, As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And if thats the exchange, Im all in, Patrick said, later adding, My message is, lets get back to work. Lets get back to living. Lets be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, well take care of ourselves.

Read the original post:

Texas Lt Governor Supports Euthanasia by Virus for Gramps and Granny to Save the Economy - Patheos

Margaret Somerville: Withdrawing artificial hydration and nutrition – The Catholic Weekly

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.

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Margaret Somerville: Withdrawing artificial hydration and nutrition - The Catholic Weekly

Involve the kids in euthanasia, advises Canadian doctor – BioEdge

Bedside gatherings at a Canadian euthanasia are normally an adults-only affair. But one doctor suggests that young children would benefit from becoming involved.

In a blog entry at a University of British Columbia site, Dr Susan Woolhouse, who has been involved in some 70 assisted deaths, says My past experiences during my palliative care rotations reassured me that children could benefit from bearing witness to a loved ones death. Why would MAID be any different?

She gives some tips about how to explain the process of dying to young children:

Assuming that children are given honest, compassionate and non-judgmental information about MAID, there is no reason to think that witnessing a medically assisted death cannot be integrate as a normal part of the end of life journey for their loved one. If the adults surrounding them normalize MAID, so will the children.

These conversations can easily be had with children as young as 4, she says.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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Involve the kids in euthanasia, advises Canadian doctor - BioEdge

Trudeau moves to make Canada most permissive euthanasia regime in the world – Lifesite

OTTAWA, February 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) The Trudeau Liberal governments euthanasia bill tabled earlier this week will give Canada the most permissive euthanasia law in the world, its critics are unanimously warning.

Introduced February 24 by Justice Minister David Lametti, Bill C-7 is the Liberal response to the Quebec court decision last September striking down the requirement that a persons natural death be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for death by lethal injection.

But the federal bill expands euthanasia legal in Canada since June 2016 far beyond dispensing with the terminal illness criterion the Quebec Truchon-Gladu ruling declared unconstitutional.

Any way you look at it, its a minefield, said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The language of the bill is just simply, absolutely confusing and ridiculous. If they do pass Bill C-7, we will become the most wide-open euthanasia regime in the world.

Schadenberg is joined by Campaign Life Coalition, Canadian Physicians for Life, Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia, Living With Dignity, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others, in fiercely denouncing the bill.

Notably, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto issued a strongly worded statement the day after the bill was tabled urging Canadians to oppose it.

This is a new chapter of death on demand, he wrote.

Canada has cast aside restrictions at a far quicker pace than any other jurisdiction in the world that has legalized euthanasia. (See Cardinal Collins full statement below.)

Bill C-7 will allow lethal injection of individuals who are no longer competent to consent, such as persons with dementia, if they have issued an advance directive asking to be euthanized at a future date, Schadenberg noted in an analysis of the legislation.

This amendment to the law contravenes the Carter decision which required that a person be capable of consenting to die, he said, referring to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that struck down Canadas prohibition of euthanasia as unconstitutional.

The Trudeau government appears to be working closely with the euthanasia lobby which has the goal of amending the law to allow advanced consent for euthanasia, he observed.

Allowing euthanasia by prior consent can lead to such horrific scenarios as an elderly Dutch woman being lethally injected forcibly in 2016 as family members held her down.

In that case, the doctor was ultimately exonerated when a court ruled in September 2019 that not euthanizing the patient would have undermined the wishes she expressed four years earlier when first diagnosed with Alzheimers.

Bill C-7 specifies individuals must not be euthanized if they show they dont want to be by words, sounds or gestures, but states they can be killed if these signals are deemed involuntary.

The bill allows the medical practitioner who is killing the patient to be one of the two required witnesses which is an insane conflict of interest, noted Schadenberg.

Bill C-7 waives the current 10-day waiting period for individuals deemed terminally ill so they can be lethally injected the same day they request euthanasia.

It implements a 90-day waiting period for individuals seeking euthanasia for a non-terminal condition, creatng a two-tier law that Schadenberg predicts is open invitation for a Charter challenge.

A future court decision will likely strike down the 90-day waiting period for people who are not terminally ill because this provision represents an inequality within the law, he says.

As for the bills purported ban on euthanasia for mental illness, its a smokescreen, at best, to say that mental illness is not allowed because, in fact, it is, Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews.

When Liberals legalized euthanasia four years ago, its Bill C-14 allowed euthanasia for persons at least 18 years of age who were capable of giving consent and who suffered from a grievous and irremediable medical condition.

The 2016 bill defined the latter as a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability resulting in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability and causing enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable (emphasis added).

Bill C-7 is explicit that for the purposes of paragraph (2)(a), a mental illness is not considered to be an illness, disease or disability.

But this does not prevent euthanasia for psychological reasons, since the law specifically allows it, Schadenberg pointed out.

Moreover, with Bill C-7, the Liberals havent defined mental illness and they havent amended psychological suffering to exclude mental illness, he said.

Schadenberg argues that the Liberals should set aside Bill C-7 and concentrate on the planned June 2020 review of the current law.

David Cooke of Campaign Life Coalition also excoriated the bill as a how-to manual on killing Canadians in a detailed analysis here.

Among actions opposing the bill, Campaign Life has launched a petition to MPs against Bill C-7 here. The EPC has a petition to Justice Minister Lametti and Health Minister Patty Hadju asking the Liberals to nix the bill here.

The CCCB joined Cardinal Collins in asking Canadians to oppose the bill. To find who your MP is, go here.


Cardinal Collins full statement:

The federal government has introduced new legislation expanding the eligibility criteria for euthanasia. The inaccurate term, medical assistance in dying (MAiD), is currently used to describe what this law would allow, but this process is more accurately called euthanasia or assisted suicide. Pain medication and other resources and procedures can be used effectively to medically assist people who are dying, but that is not what MAiD means. It means giving a lethal injection to people who are not dying, so that they will die.

Those who oppose euthanasia expressed concern in 2016, when it was first legalized, that once the state legally provided death for some, it would only be a matter of time before the criteria for that would be expanded. This was dismissed as a slippery slope argument; we were told that safeguards would protect the most vulnerable. Now, less than four years later, we are far down the slope, and the criteria for euthanasia have been radically expanded.

There is no longer a requirement that the person receiving euthanasia be terminally ill. Under this legislation, any serious incurable illness, disease, or disability would render one eligible for euthanasia. Additionally, without any further study or direction from the courts, the new legislation would legalize euthanasia where consent is obtained by an advance directive. This is a new chapter of death on demand. Canada has cast aside restrictions at a far quicker pace than any other jurisdiction in the world that has legalized euthanasia.

As our legislators and country consider the legislation presented this week in Parliament, we should be mindful of the following:

In 2016, the government indicated that before any new legislation would be introduced, there would be a thorough five-year review of the impact of euthanasia in Canada no such review has taken place. Yet the government moves forward without such critical analysis, even though it is reported that since 2016 at least 13,000 people have died from lethal injection.

Where is the political will to push forward on palliative care for all Canadians? Only 30 per cent of Canadians have access to quality palliative care even though we know that pain and loneliness are among the biggest fears of those who are suffering. Palliative care can address these issues. If all Canadians had access to quality palliative care, fewer would seek lethal injection. Instead of developing an overall culture of care, we are rushing towards death on demand. The same doctors who are trying to care for their patients will now be called on to endorse euthanasia for them.

Under the proposed legislation, disabled Canadians with no terminal illness will now be eligible for lethal injection. People with disabilities already face substantial challenges relating to employment, housing, appropriate medical care and support. Their lives matter. They should never be seen as a burden to our society. We should be alarmed that those who have struggled for decades to be treated with equality may well be pressured, whether from family, friends or even their own health care professionals, to ease their burden and end their lives. These people need assisted living, not assisted death.

I invite all Canadians concerned about this legislation to contact their Member of Parliament to voice their concerns. We should also take time to be truly present to those who may feel that they are on the margins in our community. Those who feel that their life no longer has value must be assured by all of us that this is absolutely not the case there is dignity within each human life, not just when we are young, healthy and able, but even more so, when we are fragile and vulnerable.

It is up to every Canadian to foster a culture of care and love for one another. The answer is not assisted death in its many forms; it is accompanying our family, our friends and even strangers to assist them in life, recognizing the inherent dignity of every person.

Cardinal Thomas CollinsArchbishop of TorontoFebruary 25, 2020


Trudeau moves to make Canada most permissive euthanasia regime in the world - Lifesite

Euthanasia – All.org

When we talk about euthanasia, what exactly do we mean? Today, we usually hear about euthanasia in the health care context. For our purposes, euthanasia amounts to doing, or not doing, something to intentionally bring about a patients death. Because theres so much confusion surrounding the term, lets make sure we understand what euthanasia is not.

It is not euthanasia to administer medication needed to control painthats called good medical care. It is not euthanasia to stop treatment that is gravely burdensome to a patientthats called letting the patient exercise the moral option to refuse extraordinary medical means. It is not euthanasia to stop tube-feeding a patient whose diseased or injured body can no longer assimilate food and waterthats called simply accepting death.

In these circumstances, pain control, refusing extraordinary means, and stopping feeding may all allow death. Butand this is crucial to our understandingunlike euthanasia, their purpose and intent is not to bring about death.

Actually, euthanasia could be called a form of suicide, assisted suicide, or even murder, depending on the patients level of involvement and consent. To define euthanasia this way, though, seems to diminish its threat. After all, arent there laws or, at the very least, strong social taboos against suicide, assisted suicide, and murder?

Unfortunately, when it comes to the sick and disabled, this is no longer entirely true. And, the rationale and cultural forces behind the movement that brought this about threaten even more to tear down the legal and social barriers to killing.

Most of us know about Jack Kevorkian and his efforts to help ailing people commit suicide. Many of us may not realize, though, that Kevorkians maverick image masks a serious crusade that is building on emerging legal and cultural trends. Our society is poised to accept euthanasia on demandand worse. What we dont know about that could kill us.

In sum, it is vitally important to understand that everyones most basic rightthe right to lifeis in jeopardy when our law and collective morality no longer view all persons as equally worthy of life, solely on the basis of our common humanity. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is also in our own best interests to protect and cherish weak and vulnerable members of our human family.

In order to do that, we must educate ourselves and others about the growing threat of euthanasia, vigorously oppose its legalization, and pray for the wisdom and compassion to properly comfort, care for and dissuade those considering suicide.

The information on euthanasia is a PowerPoint Presentation (2007) prepared for American Life League by Julie Grimstad, Executive Director of Life is Worth Living, Inc.

Continued here:

Euthanasia - All.org

Comment Yesterdaze: An unexpected policy announcement The euthanasia debate took an unusual turn this week when – Newsroom

FEBRUARY 28, 2020 Updated February 28, 2020


The euthanasia debate took an unusual turn this week when Vision NZ, the political party associated with the Destiny Church, made an unexpected policy announcement. It appeared that Vision NZ supported voluntary euthanasia, but just for one person, co-host of TV3s The Project, Kanoa Lloyd.

The now former campaign manager of Vision NZ, Jevan Goulter, posted an ugly Facebook rant directed at Kanoa, including references to pigs and blood and a direction that she should show us what voluntary euthanasia looks like. This was in response to Kanoas objection to the rumoured inclusion of Vision NZs leader, Hannah Tamaki, as a contestant in the next series of Dancing With The Stars.

Apparently Goulter was triggered to assault his keyboard by herdescribing Hannah Tamakis xenophobic and homophobic views as properly dangerous. In fact, Goulter was so triggered he went straight for the pigs, blood and euthanasia without denying that Hannah Tamaki has xenophobic and homophobic views.

When Goulters social media rant went viral, drawing criticism from all quarters, Vision NZ acted quickly. Goulter was terminated, and given the context of euthanasia I should clarify that Im fairly confident it wasnt Devan himself, but rather his role as campaign manager for Vision NZ, that was terminated.

By the time it was all over, Jevan Goulter had lost his campaign manager role, Hannah Tamaki had lost the opportunity to show the nation what Kanoa Lloyd predicted would be a xenophobic cha cha and Brian Tamaki had lost his ability to punctuate a tweet properly.

Vision NZ and Hannah Tamaki made it very clear that it was unacceptable for Goulter to engage in such unhinged social media ranting, presumably because unhinged social media ranting is Brian Tamakis role. And its a role that (open air quotes) Bishop (close air quotes) Brian takes very seriously, as evidenced by his contribution to the issue in a since-deleted tweet decrying venomous, dirty liberal left, sexually confused, effeminate, booze drenched, antichrist, false wannabes, relationally messed up insecure people. According to Brian, the media and entertainment industries are full of them, which is patently untrue as to at least four of those characteristics.

By the time it was all over, Jevan Goulter had lost his campaign manager role, Hannah Tamaki had lost the opportunity to show the nation what Kanoa Lloyd predicted would be a xenophobic cha cha and Brian Tamaki had lost his ability to punctuate a tweet properly. All of which was entirely avoidable if only TV execs had done the logical thing and invited Hannah Tamaki to host her own TV show Donation, Donation, Donation.

If nothing else, the whole unsavoury episode was a reminder that Vision NZ is a political party that will be contesting this years election, provided it can find a new campaign manager who can spell, punctuate and cut out references to pigs blood.

And for a party that has 'Vision'in its title, its noteworthy that, this weeks debacle aside, Vision NZ is not particularly visible in the New Zealand political landscape. If Vision NZ does, as it claims, represent the silent majority, then its going about it in a fairly silent way.

Vision NZ says its objective is for Kiwis to have access to opportunity to succeed and prosper, which shouldnt be confused with Destiny Churchs objective, which is to have the opportunity to access Kiwis in order to succeed and prosper.

For starters, Vision NZ doesnt have a website. Visionnz.co.nz belongs to an AV company that is the largest Sky and aerial installation provider in Otago and Southland, and whose corporate values are listen and understand, make it easy and Im not making this up, its right there on the website guarantee happy endings. And now you know why Sky TV has marketed itself as your happy place.Youre welcome.

If you want to find out more about Vision NZ the political party, youll have to go its Facebook page.Im assuming you probably dont want to know more about Vision NZ the political party, particularly if you live in the Deep South and have just decided to get Sky TV installed, so Ive been to Vision NZs Facebook page for you. Vision NZ says its objective is for Kiwis to have access to opportunity to succeed and prosper, which shouldnt be confused with Destiny Churchs objective, which is to have the opportunity to access Kiwis in order to succeed and prosper.

If you dig a little deeper youll find that Vision NZ has announced a few policies and indeed this week wasnt the only time the party has referenced euthanasia.Last November, Hannah Tamaki did an interview at Magic Talk, which is a radio station and also a handy description of Brians sermons. In the interview, Hannah Tamaki said that Vision NZ wascommitted to get a mandate from voters in 2020 and follow it through, achieving what NZ First bark about every election, before rolling on their back with their legs in the air like they have just been euthanised.

I think shes confusing euthanasia with tummy tickling, but theres no confusion about the fact that Vision NZ is going to target disaffected NZ First voters. Im not sure thats a sound strategy given NZ First voters tend to be fairly disaffected to start with.

In other news this week, Jacinda Ardern was in Fiji, Winston Peters was in India and youre not going to win Lottos $50m jackpot tomorrow night.

Have a peaceful weekend.

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Comment Yesterdaze: An unexpected policy announcement The euthanasia debate took an unusual turn this week when - Newsroom

If you’re a fan, the Iditarod is coming. If you’re a racer, the Iditarod is here. – Anchorage Daily News

Sled dog fans have a few more days to wait until the official start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. However, for Iditarod competitors, the race has already begun.

The food drops are done and gone. The majority of the teams have their ECG and bloodwork appointments completed. Some have done the prerace vet checks and the remainder will finish that step on Wednesday.

The race banquet and draw for the start order is Thursday. Nail-biting day is Friday. Saturday brings the ceremonial beginning of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage. Come Sunday? The teams are on the trail.

For each team that leaves the starting line, the race is the culmination of at least seven months of intense training for both musher and dogs. Endless hours and considerable funding have been spent on readying 14 special animals for 1,000-mile trek.

Which dogs have made the cut? Races are won and lost by the fully-trained dog that is left at home.

There is the occasional dog that is cut from the team by ECG results or blood abnormalities that are only detectable by the Iditarods prerace checkup. Vet checks done by a private vet or by Iditarod veterinarians may also detect another issue. Normally, nothing serious is discovered, but once in awhile the vets may spot something the musher overlooked. Most teams, but not all, have talented extras who can jump into the team without a ripple.

Thursdays banquet and draw is something few mushers look forward to. It is a necessary encumbrance. The Iditarod, like every other sporting event, is entertainment that others participate in vicariously. Without funding from fans, the race could not survive.

There are some who wish to see the Iditarod and sled dog racing in general eliminated. Every Iditarod competitor hears from those who cry dog abuse! These folks are sadly misinformed.

PETA, aka People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, is the loudest of the dog racing detractors. In 2018, PETAs animal shelter in Norfolk, Virginia, euthanized 72% of the animals they took in. Thats 1,798 animals euthanized out of the 2,512 taken in. The numbers for the rest of Virginia shelters show a euthanasia rate of 12%, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. During the course of one season, the folks who cry that dogs are abused in the Iditarod destroy more dogs than will ever die in all the dog races combined over the next hundred years.

Animal-rights activists would have you turn all dogs into couch potatoes, which is the fate of many retired sled dogs. Sled dogs are born to run. Many older dogs, no longer able to stay with the team, pace restlessly, barking and whining with frustration as younger animals leave the yard without them.

The fact that dogs do best when they have a purpose is discounted by those who have only dealt with a single pet. Those of us who run dogs will never convince those who already have their minds made up, but occasionally we can have our say.

Meanwhile, Friday is not far away. This is supposed to be a day for racers to tie up loose ends. Some of that is already done, so mostly Friday is a day to say goodbyes and answer questions from friends and family. One year, I spent the day before the ceremonial start rebuilding my wifes sled, which was stomped by a moose while doing a last-minute exercise run on the Tozier Track in midtown Anchorage.

Saturdays ceremonial start is a valuable part of the Iditarod. It gives the public an opportunity to mingle with mushers in a fairly relaxed setting. The mushers can also work out some prerace butterflies. The 12-mile run from downtown Anchorage to Campbell Airstrip is a great shakedown cruise that carries no pressure.

Most drivers will actually be able to eat something that evening. Sunday morning the day of the real start in Willow will find many competitors skipping breakfast with uneasy stomachs.

But once the hook is pulled and the team exits Willow Lake, the butterflies are gone. The trail ahead is eagerly anticipated. The challenges are met with avidity. The teams of Alaskan huskies soon settle into a steady trot and surge forward with expectancy into the primeval wilderness ahead.

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If you're a fan, the Iditarod is coming. If you're a racer, the Iditarod is here. - Anchorage Daily News

Two dogs who are best friends for life will soon need a home in Spokane – KREM.com

SPOKANE, Wash. If one thing is clear from the relationship between Bear and Bones, its that dogs have best friends, too.

The dogs were surrendered to an animal shelter in central Texas by their owner to find a new home.

Now, Bear and Bones are waiting for a new fur-ever home at the Spokane Humane Society.

The dogs were surrendered to a kill shelter, meaning they would be euthanized if they were not adopted. Nonprofit Hot-Paws pays to transport the dogs on euthanasia lists to partner shelters like the Spokane Humane Society.

On Saturday, a Hot-Paws transport of 30 dogs stopped for a bathroom break in Layton, Utah. During the stop, Bear broke free from a handler and was later hit by a car.

The Spokane Humane Society said Layton police and citizens rushed him into the clinic while the transport staff were searching for him. Staff later found out that Bear had a small bleed in his abdomen, a pin-sized hole in his lung and two teeth that were broken off.

Bear also suffered severe road rash but no broken bones. He was kept in the ICU for at least two days, the Humane Society said.

RELATED: Spokane Humane Society finds home for Dutch the dog

Transport staff later brought Bones to Bear while he was still unresponsive in the clinic. They said Bones began to cry and whine for Bear.

Bear heard Bones and slowly started to wake up.

It was obvious to everyone that they were best friends and so happy to be reunited, the Humane Society said, adding that the dogs made the remainder of their trip to Spokane together.

The Humane Society said everyone knew Bear and Bones sleep right next to each other at the Humane Society, with Bones sometimes resting his head on Bear.

As soon as Bear is healed, they will be moved to the adoption center as a bonded pair and will need a good home together.

A fundraiser for Bear's treatment has raised nearly $500 out of a $3,500 goal at last check.

The Humane Society accepts approximately 70 dogs a month from kill shelters in the southern United States from about five different transport agencies. The shelter accepted 886 dogs in 2019 alone.

RELATED: Man's best friend may also be an actual lifesaver, study suggests

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Two dogs who are best friends for life will soon need a home in Spokane - KREM.com

Provincial govt to withhold $1.5M from Canadian hospice for refusing to kill sick patients – Lifesite

LADNER, British Columbia, February 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) British Columbias NDP government is pulling $1.5 million in public funding from a palliative care hospice and threatening to seize the facility because it refuses to allow doctors to kill sick patients by lethal injection onsite through medically-assisted death, or euthanasia.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a press conference Tuesday hes instructed Fraser Health Authority to stop funding the Delta Hospice Society by February 2021.

That allows for the required 365-days notice to end the service agreement between Fraser Health and the non-profit society without cause, and thus avoid the dispute ending up in court, he said, as reported in the Vancouver Sun.

Dix also said that at the end of the year the government may seize the 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner that is now run by the Delta Hospice Society.

We may take over the existing site, which is on Fraser Health Authority land and rented for $1 a year to the society, said Dix, according to the Sun.

We may find another site. These beds will not move out of Delta.

But the government seizing the hospice building would be a scandalous appropriation of private assets, fired back Delta Hospice Society board chair Angelina Ireland.

The society built the Irene Thomas Hospice without taxpayer funds, at the cost of approximately $9,000,000, she said in a press release.

Moreover, it has operated the hospice for 10 years, providing more than 700,000 hours of volunteer labour and $30 million to the public health care system, she added.

You know, we havent been a bad partner. But for some reason, were being treated with absolute disdain, Ireland told LifeSiteNews.

Dixs decision is the latest blow to the society in a bitter long-running battle over its refusal to allow patients to be lethally injected onsite in the wake of Canadas legalization of euthanasia, or Medical assistance in dying, (MAiD), in June 2016.

The hospice society is arguing that allowing euthanasia violates its constitution, which promises not to hasten a patients death, and that palliative care and euthanasia are not compatible.

Both the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP) are backing the society.

But Dix claimed Tuesday that the hospice is violating federal law and B.C. government policy that non-denominational health care institutions that receive more than half their funding from the province must provide euthanasia, the Vancouver Sun reported.

However, the minister and the health authority have completely ignored the societys January offer to forego $750,000 in public funding in order to fall below the benchmark of 50 percent of public funding for its beds, which are now funded 94 percent by the government, Ireland said.

Indeed, Dix was dismissive when the Delta Optimist asked him if hed considered Irelands proposal.

Its not her deal to cut, he said.

Ireland said she only heard Dixs decision when the media started calling her.

She responded in a press release the next day that the society is shocked and outraged this week by the Fraser Health Authoritys blatant move to cut off all discussions.

The hospice is willing to transfer patients out for euthanasia, which is readily available in the lower mainland, while palliative care beds are becoming scarce, she told Canadian Press.

Three people at the hospice in the last three years requested euthanasia, Ireland said.

"All I can say is they were transferred out to their preferred location two went home and one went next door to the Delta Hospital, one minute away," she said.

All this makes Dixs decision not only baffling, but clearly agenda-driven, Ireland said.

He is imposing his view by fiat on B.C. taxpayers, 90 percent of whom want access to palliative care, and only two percent of whom want access to euthanasia, she told LifeSiteNews.

Euthanasia is a separate public health care stream, distinct and apart from palliative care, she stressed.

If the government wants to open MAiD facilities thats their option, but they must not be allowed to download it onto the backs of private palliative care facilities, added Ireland.

And its all about dollars. It is easier and cheaper for the government to provide euthanasia rather than continue with palliative care. Basically, they are saying that no palliative care facility in B.C. has a right to exist unless it also provides euthanasia.

The hospice received support from Delta South Liberal MLA Ian Paton, who criticized the NDP for being heavy-handed, reported the CBC.

What I see is government literally stealing assets of the people of Delta that worked so hard for so many years to raise $8.5 million for this facility, said Paton, who did not say where he stood on euthanasia.

Ireland, who was elected chair in a turbulent meeting in December during which the new board reversed the former boards week-old decision to allow euthanasia at the hospice, told LifeSite she is looking at legal and other options.

Dix pulling $1.5 million would be essentially closing down the society, because thats not the kind of budget you could possibly fundraise, she said.

However, the battle is far from over, added Ireland, who began volunteering with the society after using its programs when diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

I'm a cancer survivor. Ive fought the war, she told LifeSiteNews.

And Im not afraid of Minister Dix because Ive already been against the biggest threat that I could have faced in my lifetime I will be there to challenge him every step of the way.

A noon rally on April 4 at the Victoria legislature to support the hospice will feature Margaret Cottle, Dr. Will Johnston, MP Tamara Jansen and Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition as speakers.

Contact information:

Adrian Dix, BC Minister of HealthRoom 337 Parliament BuildingsVictoria, BC V8V 1X4Email: [emailprotected]Phone: (250) 953-3547

Ian Paton, MLA[emailprotected]Phone: (604) 940-7930

Contact BC MLAs here.

Sign the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition petition to Minister Dix and Fraser Health Authority CEO Dr. Victoria Lee here.

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Provincial govt to withhold $1.5M from Canadian hospice for refusing to kill sick patients - Lifesite

The eugenics debate isn’t over but we should be wary of people who claim it can fix social problems – The Conversation UK

Andrew Sabisky, a UK government adviser, recently resigned over comments supporting eugenics. Around the same time, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins best known for his book The Selfish Gene provoked controversy when tweeting that, while eugenics is morally deplorable, it would work.

Eugenics can be described as the science and practice of improving the human race through the selection of good hereditary traits. Eugenics inevitably brings to mind the atrocities committed by the Nazis, who used eugenic ideology as the rationale for large-scale forced sterilisation, involuntary euthanasia and the Holocaust. Given this sinister history, its bound to be alarming when government officials endorse eugenic ideas.

The eugenics movement of the past has been thoroughly discredited on both moral and scientific grounds. But questions about the ethics of genetically improving humans remain relevant.

The emergence of new genetic technologies often prompts renewed debate. Can eugenic ideas about improving the human race be divorced from the evils of the past and pursued through benign means? Or is there something inherently morally problematic about the idea of genetically improving humans?

A new, morally responsible eugenics may well be defensible, and new genetic technologies must be assessed on their own terms. But we also need to consider the broader political context. If the betterment of individual traits were to be presented as a key strategy to improve human welfare, this would look very much like the individualisation of social problems that was such a central feature of the old eugenics.

The father of the eugenics movement was the English explorer and scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911). Influenced by his cousin Charles Darwins work The Origin of Species, Galton was interested in ideas about the heritability of different traits. He was particularly interested in the heritability of intelligence and how to increase societys diminished stock of talent and character. He also believed that social problems such as poverty, vagrancy and crime were ultimately caused by the inheritance of degenerate traits from parent to child.

Galton embarked on an ambitious research programme with the explicit goal to improve human stock through selective human breeding. In 1883 he named this research programme eugenics, meaning good in birth.

Galtons ideas quickly became influential and were widely embraced, first in Britain but subsequently in many other countries, including the US, Germany, Brazil and Scandinavia. At a time coloured by widespread concerns about the state of the nation, lack of social progress and the degeneration of the population, Galtons ideas inspired a popular movement for social reform through selective human reproduction.

The first half of the 20th century saw the enactment of a variety of eugenic policies. Positive eugenics focused on encouraging those of good stock to reproduce, such as through the fitter family contests put on across the US. Negative eugenics involved discouraging or preventing reproduction among those deemed unfit, such as the poor, criminals or the feeble-minded, predominantly by coercive means.

Eugenics is often equated with Nazi atrocities, but many other brutal acts were committed in its name, usually targeting disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, such as the poor, disabled and ill. As part of the negative eugenic effort, forced sterilisation was conducted on a large scale, not only in Nazi Germany but also in the Scandinavian countries (in Sweden, this practice continued until the 1970s) and in the US (where it was revealed that involuntary sterilisation of female prisoners occurred as late as 2010). The US combined eugenic ideology with ideas about racial hierarchy and applied eugenic thinking to immigration. This led to the passing of the 1924 Immigration Restriction Act in order to curb the entry of inferior ethnic groups.

After the second world war and the exposure of the Nazi regimes atrocities, eugenics fell out of favour. But worries about eugenics often resurface with the introduction of new genetic technologies that allow us to improve humans in some way, most notably gene editing, such as CRISPR-Cas9, and reproductive technologies, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Reproductive technologies mainly help prospective parents to have children free from genetically based disabilities and disorders, but as our knowledge of the human genome advances, the range of traits we may be able to select away or select for will probably increase, prompting fears of designer babies.

Such technologies are sometimes labelled eugenic by sceptics as a means to discredit them. Arguments then ensue about whether these technologies represent a form of old eugenics and are therefore unethical, or whether they represent a new, benign form of eugenics. Questions about the ethics of genetic technologies and the new eugenics are far from settled.

But even if our ethical analysis should deem such new genetic technologies permissible, it would be disingenuous to present these technological advances as solutions to complex problems such as poverty, unemployment, or poor physical or mental health. We should be wary of biological determinist narratives that blame various forms of disadvantage on individual traits, without acknowledging the importance of social and political factors. This kind of thinking is very much in line with the old eugenics.

We are right to be worried when government officials endorse eugenic ideas. It is reassuring that Sabiskys comments provoked such outrage and that he was forced to resign. But in some respects, in the current age of austerity policies, the individualisation of social problems is an all too familiar theme.

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The eugenics debate isn't over but we should be wary of people who claim it can fix social problems - The Conversation UK

Why Asheville animal lovers are outraged over Brother Wolf’s euthanasia rate | OPINION – Citizen Times

Joelle Warren, GUEST COLUMNIST Published 6:00 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2020 | Updated 9:37 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2020

Need more cuteness in your life? Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is seeking foster support for kittens in the Asheville area.

Dogs and cats are being euthanized at Brother Wolf at an alarming rate and the community is outraged. The new leadership is using terms like warehousing and aggression as a fear tactic in an attempt to justify their actions in the public eye. Animal rescue professionals, like myself, have heard these excuses before.

The term warehousing was first noted in the late 90's when a couple of 'rescues' were busted with hundreds of dogs living in filth, stacked upon one another, with neither physical nor behavioral needs met. That realization became the fuel to reform animal sheltering. California even passed law during this time period, deeming it illegal for any shelter to euthanize a pet that had a rescue group willing to save them. Leaders in the movement created the path for transparency and accountability. Dogs and cats housed in shelter and rescue facilities were to be given the fivefreedoms:

Freedom from hunger and thirst; Freedom from discomfort; Freedom from pain, injury or disease ; Freedom to express normal behavior; Freedom from fear and distress.

BWAR was created with these concepts in mind.

Background: We know change at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is hard. Here's why it's necessary

In 2008 in Hendersonville, a group called All Creatures Great and Small, was busted for warehousing pets. Animals were being co-housed with little to no medical care, fighting, breeding, and some even died. It was sad and disgusting. Many area rescue groups, including BWAR, pulled animals from this facility when it was shut down by the state and helped several animals escape the horror.

I do not believe animals at Brother Wolf are being warehoused. Warehousing pets is when you have given up on providing enrichment for them. It is not simply determined by length of stay. Warehousing is when you have given up hope. Its a term to hide behind when youve run out of creative solutions to save pets and you no longer possess the experience or resources to advocate for them.


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During my eight years as the Director of Operations at BWAR, animals were given every chance at life. We had a behaviorist on staff, sometimes more than one, that trained a team of dedicated volunteers. We provided the most at-risk dogs with their own enrichment team. These volunteers trained, walked, hiked, played with and took the dogs on appropriate outings. This is how we kept the dogs from experiencing kennel stress or going kennel crazy." We also had highly trained adoption counselors that knew what to look for in potential adopters.

They counseled them on ways to set up their newly adopted pets for success and discussed management strategies to overcome behavior challenges. We also provided post-adoption behavioral support from our behaviorists for dogs with various issues, including bite histories. In my time at BWAR, there was not a single time that any liability issues arose regarding the marginal dogs that were adopted.

I will acknowledge that this strategic programming did not completely eliminate the fact that some animals could not be rehabilitated. Some dogs could not handle shelter life, and didnt have rescue or sanctuary opportunities. Some had aggressive tendencies that made them unsafe to be handled by staff or other experienced people.I had to make this decision only three times in eight years.Seventeen dogs have been killed at Brother Wolf in less than a year.

Opinion: This is why Brother Wolf made a tough decision for 2 Asheville dogs

More: Brother Wolf signals mission change, shift away from animals with history of aggression

You must remember, BWAR is a limited intake, private facility, built and supported by our community. With this comes the luxury of time and space. The animals entering their care were promised every chance at a live outcome. I do not feel that the 90% No Kill statistic applies to limited intake facilities. They have the ability to select which animals enter their system and choosing to euthanize healthy dogs for manageable behavior issues is like scoffing at the 1,979 open intake, no-kill municipal shelters which have fought tooth and nail to save over 90% of the lives entering their system.

Katarina Brown, right, poses with Zurich.(Photo: Courtesy photo)

In January alone, eight Brother Wolf dogs have been killed. For weeks prior to these recent deaths, the animal rescue community rallied together to see if we could save some of the dogs that were in danger. I asked to take Zurich, who had an adopter, a former staff member, whom Zurich loved. I asked for my rescue, Mountain Pet Rescue Asheville, to assume full liability of Zurich. I offered to hire a behaviorist to work with the adopter and said I would be her mentor, helping with any back up care needed. I was refused. I pled to personally adopt him and work him in with my pack, two of which are BWAR dogs with similar behavior issues. Again, no. We asked for the evaluations from the alleged multiple certified behaviorists, who supposedly deemed these dogs un-adoptable and were never provided this information. Another dog, Piper, had a previous employee of the BWAR behavior team that wanted to adopt her, but her plea was declined.

This is not conscious sheltering. This is unnecessary killing. This is turning your back on the community that built and supported you. People understand the need for behavioral euthanasia when there are no other options. Adopting out dangerous dogs into the public is not a tenet of no-kill, and that is not what we are asking for. We want answers. We want a chance. And we keep getting denied and ignored as animals are being killed. This dismissive behavior, is why the community is so upset.

Joelle Warren(Photo: Courtesy Photo)

The main tenets of the no-kill philosophy are transparency, open dialogue, honest and genuine communication, with consideration given to partnering rescues and those with experience.

Terms can be discussed, expectations addressed, along with follow-up and support. Additionally, foster and volunteer programs, pet retention resources, and spay/neuter education is what is needed to explore every option for a viable, live outcome. This is how responsible animal rescue is done.

Joelle Warren co-founded Brother Wold Animal Rescueand is a native of Asheville.Warren left the organizationin 2015 andwenton to co-found Mountain Pet Rescue Asheville.

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Why Asheville animal lovers are outraged over Brother Wolf's euthanasia rate | OPINION - Citizen Times

Belgium Acquits Three Doctors in Landmark Euthanasia Case – The New York Times

A Belgian court on Friday acquitted three doctors who had been charged with manslaughter by poisoning, in a landmark case that for the first time charged health professionals criminally under Belgiums euthanasia law.

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002. It also is legal in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, but has long been debated in European countries. While certain forms of assisted suicide are practiced in France and Switzerland, the Belgian law goes further.

Belgium allows euthanasia if an individual who is incurably ill and encounters unbearable physical or psychological pain, makes a voluntary, well-considered and repeated request, without external pressure. Since 2014, minors can also request euthanasia under certain conditions.

The three doctors were facing life-imprisonment sentences over accusations that they had unlawfully poisoned a 38-year-old woman in 2010.

The woman, Tine Nys, requested euthanasia under the law in 2009, according to Joris Van Cauter, the lawyer for Sophie Nys, one of her two sisters, who said Tine Nys had suffered from depression and heroin addiction and had tried to commit suicide several times. A few months later, the lawyer said, she was diagnosed with autism by a psychiatrist.

She received a lethal injection on April 27, 2010, in the company of her parents and her two sisters.

But Sophie Nys later argued that Tine Nys had not received sufficient advice, and that doctors had not tried to treat her mental illness. She filed a complaint, saying Tine Nys had not been incurably ill, as the Belgian euthanasia law requires.

A minority of euthanasia requests are granted in Belgium when the patient has psychological issues. Sophie Nyss complaint was initially rejected by a court but later permitted on appeal.

It makes you wonder about medicine and how you make life or death decisions, the lawyer, Mr. Van Cauter, said about the three doctors who were standing trial. My client asked, How can you say that you tried to treat her?

Mr. Van Cauter added that his client and her family had not wanted the doctors to go to prison; instead, they wanted an official acknowledgment that euthanasia should not have been administered under the circumstances.

Its a bit disappointing, the lawyer said of the decision, adding that the way Tine Nys was treated was very sad.

After a two-week trial and eight hours of final debate, a 12-person jury in the criminal court of Ghent, in northwestern Belgium, cleared the three practitioners the doctor who made the lethal injection, the general practitioner and a psychiatrist.

Walter Van Steenbrugge, the lawyer of one of the doctors, Joris Van Hove, said a conviction would have established a dangerous precedent for professionals practicing euthanasia. He said he and his peers had received dozens of letters from worried doctors who said they had halted euthanasia procedures for fear of legal consequences.

My client is very relieved, Mr. Van Steenbrugge said. There was a lot at stake, not only for Belgium but for Europe in general.

More than 2,350 people were permitted euthanasia in Belgium in 2018, according to the latest public figures.

In the Netherlands, a doctor was acquitted in September after having been accused of failing to secure proper consent from a 74-year-old patient who suffered from Alzheimers and had been administered euthanasia by the doctor.

In France, a 42-year-old nurse who had been in a vegetative state for more than a decade died in July, after doctors had stopped feeding him artificially, following years of legal battles.

The case that received the most attention in recent years in Belgium was 40-year-old Paralympian champion Marieke Vervoort, who was suffering from an incurable degenerative muscle disease, and who died last October, 11 years after having signed the papers paving the way to her death.

In Tine Nyss case, Mr. Van Steenbrugge said the acquittal had sent a strong, reassuring message to doctors. It was not manslaughter, it wasnt a crime, he said. It was euthanasia.

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Belgium Acquits Three Doctors in Landmark Euthanasia Case - The New York Times

Why legal euthanasia results in sick, elderly being pressured to die – Lifesite

February 3, 2020 (El Debate de Hoy) Jeanne Delpierre requested euthanasia. She did not have advanced cancer, nor any other serious and incurable disease, a requirement required by Belgian law. Her incurable disease was old age (88 years) and the multiple pathologies associated with it: osteoarthritis, loss of sight and hearing

Jeanne Delpierre was killed.

In Holland, Senator Brongersma was killed in a case that received significant media coverage in 1998 because he had been one of the first to request euthanasia for psychological suffering. In his case, it was loneliness: No one is left alive that interests me.

In Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembrug), a beacon of euthanasic progress, there are more and more people who ask for and obtain death to avoid simple emotional disorders, or to prevent future suffering (for example, people who are diagnosed with cancer or Alzheimers disease but are still in the early stages).

In our aging societies, the number of elderly people facing physical and mental decline, depression, and loneliness will grow rapidly: the generation that started during the family-sexual revolution in the 60s is reaching old age, with its sequelae of divorces and low birth rates. Many Baby-Boomers have had no children, or have had very few: a very sad old age awaits them in hospices or empty homes. The burden they represent to the economic and health care systems is grave, indeed.

Lets say it bluntly: there is a definite risk, more or less subtle, that more and more of the elderly will be pushed toward euthanasia. It will be enough to convince them that the final stretch of life, with all of its difficulties, is lebensunwert, unworthy of being lived (yes, it is the term that Nazi legislation used to justify the extermination of the deficient in the Aktion T4 program). They will also be pressured with the idea that they are a drag on young people. When the notion that the dignified choice is not to impose ones own decay on others is incorporated into the cultural environment, the burden of proof will fall on the one who wishes to continue living beyond a certain age.

Our progressive government is willing to embark society on this formidable advance. Of course, it will say euthanasia is going to be allowed only in extreme cases of incurable and unbearable suffering... This is what the government has already done with abortion. Experience shows that, once the principle of inviolability of life is demolished, public opinion and jurisprudential drift lead to an increasingly lax interpretation of legal requirements. Inevitably, it leads to a reform of the law, to accommodate the permissive praxis that is a fait accompli. The slippery slope is confirmed time and again in bioethical matters.

The Netherlands has already served as a laboratory for euthanasia for 40 years (tolerated by the courts since the 70s and regulated since 2001), and Belgium for 20 years (regulated in 2002). The evolution in both countries is the one synthesized by Herbert Hendin in Seduced by Death: From euthanizing terminally ill patients they have progressed to euthanizing those with chronic illnesses; from accepting euthanasia for physical illnesses they have evolved to euthanizing people with psychological illnesses; from allowing euthanasia only for voluntary cases, it is now accepted practice to euthanize people without their express permission. Therefore, the number of cases shoots upward like an arrow: in Belgium, from about 200 annually at the beginning to about 2,500 today. In the Netherlands, it has been estimated that 15% of deaths are already caused by euthanasia. The control is ex post facto: doctors must inform the Control Commission...when the patient has already been passported. In addition, the commission consists mostly of supporters of euthanasia.

The alternative to euthanasia is not horrible agony. We live in a time when almost all sufferings can be attenuated by legitimate medicine. Supporters of euthanasia try to muddle everything, confusing it with palliative care within the blurry concept of a dignified death. But palliative care seeks not to cause death, but to improve the quality of life in the final phase of a painful disease. Nor should terminal sedation be confused with euthanasia: it seeks not to cause death, but to lessen the agony of death.

But palliative care is very expensive. In Spain, which is a pioneer in this field, investment in palliative care has been frozen for decades. Although the Bologna Plan provided for European universities to develop palliative care as another specialty of medical studies, only 6 of 43 Spanish medical schools teach it on a mandatory basis. There is a national palliative care strategy that has clearly been given up for dead since the commission has not met for three years, and the national plan has not been created. In Spain alone, some 75,000 patients are in need of palliative care and cannot receive it.

The culture of death, with its 100,000 abortions a year and the substitution of family stability for a libertine lifestyle, has led us to senile societies, with an inverted demographic pyramid. Every aging society must decide whether to invest in palliative care and health care for the elderly or euthanasia. Our socialist-communist government seems to have decided that the progressive way is the second. In the Happy World of Aldous Huxley, there is no old age.

Editors note: Francisco Jos Contreras is a lecturer in legal philosophy at the University of Seville and is a representative in the Spanish congress from the conservative VOX party.

This article was first published at El debate de hoy. It is republished here by permission.

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Why legal euthanasia results in sick, elderly being pressured to die - Lifesite

Vet Shares What Pets Experience When Facing the End of Life Alone – Our Community Now at Maryland

Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

When it comes to facing the end of life for a furry friend, most people will report that it's a heartbreaking process. For some pet owners,it's one of those deeply impactful experiences that stay with them forever, just as the grief of losing a human family member will. Butthe grief of owners is just one part of the picture. What's often not talked about is what our four-legged family member experiences in their last moments.

Holding an aged, sick, and dying pet in your arms, watching the vet approach with the needles, calming them as they express their fear and pain, and ushering them into peaceful rest while tears flow freely, this is the experience many pet parents know. This is not the experience all pets have, however. Some are left to face those final moments in a vet's office, with people they do not know.

In a blog post shared by Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital & 24-hour Emergency Service in South Africa, a local vet shared the heart-wrenching loneliness of pets who face euthanasia without the loving arms, faces, scents, and voices of their two-legged family nearby. The post has been shared over 130,000 times and explains that oftentimes when making the transition from life into death, pets will search for their ownerssometimes, frantically, as they near the end of life.The veterinarian explains that they search every face inthe room for their lovedone, not understanding why they have been left behind.

As the post says, these animals need the comfort of their owners, just as we seek the comfort of our loved ones.Though losing a pet may be hardand watching as they become still and pass on is scary, sobering, and full of sadnessthey, too, need comfort, especially in those last few moments.

The American Animal Hospital Association(AAHA) has some tips and guidance for pet owners facing the death of a pet. Euthanasia can be a final act of love and often is the only way to end a pets suffering. Humane euthanasia is a peaceful process and can help pet owners with grief, as they help and watch their pet stop suffering.

Veterinarian Jennifer Coates of Pet MD weighed in about whether or not pets know they're going to die. While her article was not able to answer that specific question, it did point out that helping them through those final moments with love and grace is the ultimate act of love.

Well probably never be able to definitively answer the question of whether pets know when they are going to die. What is vital, however, is that owners and veterinarians recognize when the end is near so that we can provide all the love and care necessary to make their last days as good as they possibly can be.

When a pet dies, we often wonder what we could have done to give them a better life, and as the vet who wrote this post reminds us, simply being with them to the very end means more than any new toy, bone, or chew. When that unfortunate time comes, they will look to us for the final okay to go. Most areas have veterinarians who will come to the home to perform the procedure, allowing the pet to be in their own space and not anxiously being placed on a table or vet office floor.

This one pulled on the heartstrings and reminded us of all the fur babies we have loved and lost. We want to hear from you on this subject. How have you faced the inevitable situation of when a pet is ready to pass on? Let us know in the comments, and share any pictures of your beloved pets with us.

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Vet Shares What Pets Experience When Facing the End of Life Alone - Our Community Now at Maryland