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  • Shooting the Messenger
    permitted me to visit her on some occasions a few days before her discharge This was in such a contrast to the previous week when the hospice had told me that she was well enough to return home Hospice nurse verbally abuses patient and visitor I had become increasingly concerned that my mother was being maltreated by the hospice A friend who had visited my mother one evening reported to me that she witnessed my mother being shouted at by an aggressive nurse who was also abusive towards the visitor The visitor had only asked for help as my mother was falling out of her chair The visitor even made a written complaint about this incident to the hospice She spoke of the terror and helplessness in my mother s eyes I had myself encountered some hostility from the same nurse I was worried about how my mother was being treated while she was alone But rather than reprimand the conduct of the nurse the hospice informed my visitor and myself that they had spoken to all nurses of the need to be polite But the conduct of this specific nurse was not dealt with I was concerned about my mother s decline while in isolation and her heartfelt appeals to me to take her home meant that I tried my best to respect this wish I hastily tried to make arrangements for her discharge After just over a week in isolation and without my being able to visit my mother she was dead She was sent home to me in a coma without an explanation She died six hours later I should state that the oversedation and dehydration are of most concern in my mother s case as this hastened her death The neglect and maltreatment of her by some of the nurses and the poor comfort care that she was given did not help and contributed to my mother s suffering The shocking truth But I cannot deny the truth of what happened in my mother s case even though it might be shocking and unpalatable to some others in the anti euthanasia movement who hold up hospices as an alternative to euthanasia Some might find it hard to accept the reality that hospices are not immune to the trends towards euthanasia for the vulnerable that affect the rest of the medical profession But the evidence is accumulating that hospices are no longer caring for the dying until natural death but instead are hastening the deaths of patients through euthanasia by neglect such as dehydration and such practices as terminal sedation and heavy and unnecessary administration of painkilling and sedative drugs To ignore or have a blind spot towards what is happening in our hospices will be to the detriment of the anti euthanasia movement for euthanasia should be condemned whether it is practised in hospitals or hospices The fact that patients in hospices might be terminally ill should not excuse the fact that some patients are dying not because of their illness but because of treatments which intentionally or by neglect hasten their deaths and deprive them of the precious time that they have left If this is excusable on the grounds that the terminally ill are going to die anyway isn t this the same subjective value judgment on the quality of somebody s life which the anti euthanasia movement rightly condemns doctors for making against the disabled or stroke victims Treatment in a hospice should not mean hastening death is justifiable Moreover the definition of a terminal illness is usually of somebody who can be reasonably expected to die of their illness within 12 months There is a distinction between the imminently dying who might not benefit from hydration and nutrition and the terminally ill who undoubtedly will benefit from such basic care Unfortunately hospices are increasingly justifying the withholding of hydration and nutrition from those who would benefit from them while administering sedatives without clinical need ostensibly to relieve anxiety but which would have the effect of hastening death Surely a diagnosis of a terminal illness and admission to a hospice should not be enough in itself to justify a regime of treatment which causes the premature death of a patient Towards a more critical view of hospice care Yet some in the anti euthanasia movement turn a blind eye to what is happening in our hospices so that the plight of many vulnerable patients is ignored How can this be One explanation is that within the anti euthanasia movement are individuals and organisations which have close links to hospices While good practitioners in hospices who truly wish to oppose euthanasia in all its forms should be welcomed it is important that anti euthanasia organisations do not become compromised by too close links to any health institution including hospices This will limit their ability to speak out and to criticise for fear of upsetting their colleagues or friends One example of this from my experience is an organisation in Britain which I contacted about my mother s case They were very interested and even informed me that they would like me to meet a lawyer who was sympathetic to their cause A short while later however a senior person in that anti euthanasia organisation told me that they will not take things further because a medical practitioner at the hospice I was complaining about had given lectures and helped them with their campaigns The Need for Honest Inquiry and Openness It is easy to see the benefits obtained by hospices from such close links with anti euthanasia organisations As charities they depend on the public giving donations They are happy to be seen as caring alternatives to euthanasia for the dying even if the reality is different A good image is everything and hospices depend on an uncritical and rose tinted image of the work they do They cannot tolerate criticism and in my own experience the hospice has gone to great lengths not

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/unpapatable_truths_of_hospice_care_daly.html (2016-02-17)
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  • dying_for_relief_.htm
    I know from experience the agony of protracted pain a pain so serious that it began to have devastating results on me spiritually and emotionally I know what toll unrelieved pain can have on the family and friends Pain changes people Organizers of the Harvard conference gave me the opportunity to discuss whatever I wanted Since the majority of Kevorkian s subjects have not had terminal conditions I thought this was the chance of a lifetime to talk about the myths and misinformation besetting non terminal pain patients In a nutshell the under treatment of all pain is a national disgrace WHO DOES CHRONIC PAIN AFFECT Pain as Albert Schweitzer once said is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself According to the National Chronic Pain Outreach Association it affects all ages races and occupations Some statistics say 1 in 10 Americans 25 million people are affected by chronic pain Chronic pain disables more people than cancer or heart disease and it costs 90 billion per year in disability payments and lost productivity Yet until recently it received little attention from medical researchers and is still one of the most misunderstood and underfunded health problems in North America Chronic pain affects husbands wives children friends employers co workers It interferes in all aspects of the person s life work relationships self esteem and emotional well being Chronic pain shatters productive lives Prolonged pain destroys the quality of life It can wear away the will to live at times driving people to suicide The physical effects are equally serious Severe persistent pain can impair sleep and appetite thereby producing fatigue and reducing the availability of nutrients to organs It may thus impede recovery from illness or injury and in the disabled or weakened or elderly patients may make the difference between life and death Analgesia means painlessness The goal of every doctor treating chronic pain patients should be to provide proper and adequate analgesics Medications used to bring about painlessness are Morphine Dilaudid Methadone Percocet and othersùall of them powerful narcotics broadly known as opioids When other means fail to provide relief from chronic debilitating pain opioids are considered the best drugs available for fighting the more severe pain By binding with neurons they stop pain messages from traveling up the spinal cord The morphine molecules target the affected nerves the receptors and bind to them dulling the discomfort No high results Patients taking opioids may experience side effects like constipation or drowsiness and they do eventually build up a tolerance for the drug but they will not become addicted to it In fact Morphine is no more addictive to a person in pain than insulin is to a diabetic DISPELLING THE MYTHS Having cancer does not mean you will have pain Some cancer patients have some discomfort but not pain Being diagnosed with cancer does not mean you will die from it More and more people are surviving and die from other causes or natural deaths without

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/dying_for_relief_.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Cheryl M. Eckstein writes about Tracy Latimer.
    the child Robert Latimer has gained sympathetic support from some Canadians only because Tracy Latimer is consistently tagged as being severely disabled Such sympathy sparked Reuter journalist Mark MacKinnon to spotlight Robert Latimer as a lightning rod in the mercy killing debate in Canada 2 Instead of outrage an epidemic of bigotry has surfaced Misinformation about Tracy unfortunately prevails Transcripts from the trial verify that Tracy Lynn Latimer was not in a terminal condition and that she was denied her right to have surgery and proper pain relieving medication by her own father A permanent replacement home was available for Tracy but her father denied her that option as well According to the court transcripts Latimer had considered overdosing her with Valium and burning her body By his act he deprived this child of life laughter and love Tracy Latimer deserves and has every right as all human beings do to justice albeit post mortem Tracy s death was ruled a homicide But if Tracy s death is not treated as a homicide because she was severely disabled why should the murder of any other child be treated as a homicide If society accepts the father s motive as loving killing her to spare her suffering and pain why then should not other children arbitrarily be likewise spared from suffering unto natural death Tracy Latimer seems to be the one on trial based on her degree of disability Exempting Robert Latimer from the punishment due him for the act of homicide based on pseudo compassion will rob Tracy of justice But before she can be robbed of her right to justice she must be arbitrarily stripped of equality and value and thus sub humanized For example the media has made a fine case of her inability to ever toilet independent of parental or caregiver assistance Tracy is consistently depicted as hopelessly flawed and hopelessly ill The youngster suffered from severe cerebral palsy caused by brain damage at birth and was quadriplegic unable to speak feed herself or recognize her own name 2 Tracy could not walk speak or feed herself Her only forms of communication were laughing smiling and crying 3 Justice for Tracy looks bleak The courts have consistently excused parents who have murdered children with disabilities A woman in Wisconsin escaped sentencing after admittedly starving her son with cerebral palsy to death She said she was responding to family pressure and the message of a TV show on euthanasia A west coast mother recently killed her brain injured non verbal teenage daughter The judge said her actions were understandable that other parents could be expected to react in the same way He sentenced her to community service 4 Whether parents medical profession or medicine fail to relieve pain and suffering does not justify killing the child Not everyone is swayed by lies and bigotry couched in endearing terms such as mercy and compassion certainly not 11 year old Teague Johnson Teague wrote a letter to the Vancouver Sun

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/one_of_our_children_is_dead.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Commentary
    the eyes of their killers Shame on the Washington Humane Society shame on the judge signed MONIQUE BRYHER Tarzana WA Mockingbird Deaths LATimes they could not look into the eyes of their killers how familiar is that The salt of the earth Latimer sat on the back wheel of his truck with Tracy s back to him so she could not see the killer s eyes There is always some heart wrenching story about animals and people ask what did these little creatures do that justified killing them Please don t second guess I am equating Tracy s death with the Mockingbird story in the sense of value of life I was just remembering what Frankl said and grieving again the death of Tracy Latimer Hugh Gregory Gallagher author of By Trust Betrayed extensively quotes Nazi physician Dr Karl Brant saying he made no apology for his part in the Aktion T 4 and declared it to be justified out of pity for the victim and out of a desire to free the family and loved ones from a lifetime of needless sacrifice Only misguided civilization keeps such beings alive in the normal struggle for existence Nature is more charitable p257 It comes as no surprise that Robert Latimer has never once apologized for killing his own flesh and blood It is doubtful that this salt of the earth Latimer has ever apologized to the 15 year old girl he raped in his home town of Wilkie in 1973 see THE REPORT NEWSMAGAZINE February 19 LaFramboise asks Should he serve a full decade in prison before becoming eligible for parole Instead should not we be asking Did Tracy deserve the death sentence her father carried out I say shame on Robert Latimer for killing his daughter and shame on those who continue to campaign to grant him early parole from the most merciful sentence he has received Most killers get life in prison for premeditated murder Robert Latimer s sentence is the only small tad of earthly justice Tracy Latimer received for this child received absolutely no mercy from her father Indeed Robert Latimer has already received clemency Cheryl Eckstein CEO C HN September 29 2001 Have mercy on Robert Latimer By Donna Laframboise National Post Justice said Shakespeare best serves its purpose when tempered with mercy According to a recent public opinion poll 71 of Canadians believe Robert Latimer deserves such mercy I am one of them In 1981 Mr Latimer s wife Laura gave birth to a daughter who suffered brain damage during delivery They named her Tracy When this salt of the earth Saskatchewan farming couple learned the full extent of Tracy s mental and physical disabilities they could have taken the easy way out They could have done what people frequently do in these situations consign her to the care of medical professionals in an institution Had they chosen that option their lives would have been immeasurably easier Tracy who functioned at the level of a

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/commentary_rlatimer_.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Unless we explore the historical underpinnings for prohibition against mercy
    assisted suicide and euthanasia by presenting hard cases that focus on nightmarish images of unnecessary prolonged dying or on predictions of severe disability 2 Such implied impending misery fills the worried well with such trepidation that it has caused many to sign vague and dangerously worded living wills Many others show their open support for the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide without realizing that legalizing euthanasia will only protect physicians from prosecution but not protect patients from abuse At the nucleus of the argument is choice and autonomy They claim that with the institution of safeguards only a competent terminally ill patient may request and be granted physician assisted death at the time of their choosing and insist that this would be good medical practice Advocates of euthanasia purposely divert attention from the risk of being killed involuntarily For example in the Netherlands over 1 000 deaths were first reported by doctors death by natural causes but later reported to the Remmelink Committee as involuntary euthanasia This begs the question why ask for safeguards unless there is a known risk The only way to rationalize medical killing and to gain wide acceptance of euthanasia would be to mute the terms killing or murder by the use of euphemisms 3 Consider this statement made by a Dutch physician to a group of Senators studying euthanasia N o physician in my opinion performs euthanasia with the sole intent to kill his patient His intention can always be described as trying to relieve the suffering of his or her patient That by the way is exactly what infuriates Dutch physicians when they are treated as criminals or murderers after having performed euthanasia Dr J J M Van Delden Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Senate of Canada 1994 Issue No 21 12 Rhetoric plays an important role in this debate As we see from above euthanasia sounds reasonable civilized and humane since the given motive is to deliver a compassionate release from suffering and pain In order to legitimize the criminal offence of murder Dutch pro euthanasia doctors claim for euthanasia is a defence of necessity performed only in the name of compassion Furthermore the doctor must be self convinced that he or she has not deviated from the role of healer by claiming the patient was not killed but only had his or her pain relieved This reminds me of a statement made during the Nuremburg trial the chief female nurse when asked whether she considered the Russians and Poles to have been murdered answered Murder How do you want me to understand murder They died from injections But pressed further whether in her opinion that was murder she answered Yes Jay Lifton The Nazi Doctors BasicBooks 1986 101 Regarding euphemisms Butler et al says Unless the desire to use a euphemism is inspired by the necessity to soften a blow or avoid offensiveness the more factual term is to be preferred Ordinarily avoid euphemisms or change the subject 4 Another source says

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/choice_autonomy.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • New Page 3
    injury and in the disabled or weakened or elderly patients may make the difference between life and death Analgesia means painlessness The goal of every doctor treating chronic pain patients should be to provide proper and adequate analgesics Medications used to bring about painlessness are Morphine Dilaudid Methadone Percocet and others all of them powerful narcotics broadly known as opioids When other means fail to provide relief from chronic debilitating pain opioids are considered the best drugs available for fighting the more severe pain By binding with neurons they stop pain messages from traveling up the spinal cord The morphine molecules target the affected nerves the receptors and bind to them dulling the discomfort No high results Patients taking opiods may experience side effects like constipation or drowsiness and they do eventually build up a tolerance for the drug but they will not become addicted to it In fact Morphine is no more addictive to a person in pain than insulin is to a diabetic MYTHS SURROUNDING CANCER PAIN Myth 1 Having cancer does not mean you will have pain Some cancer patients have some discomfort but not pain Myth 2 Being diagnosed with cancer doesn t mean you will die from it More and more people are surviving and die from other causes or natural deaths without the cancer ever returning Still there is bad news for some A 1995 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that half of 9 000 terminally ill patients had spent their dying days in moderate or severe pain Other studies put that number at closer to 70 per cent In spite of scientific proof that opioids work in favour of the patients many of these patients died suffering needlessly because of their physician s antiquated fear that their patient would become addicted It is interesting to note that just 100 years ago the wonder drug aspirin was invented by Felix Hoffmann who simply wanted to relieve his father s pain from crippling rheumatism One hundred years ago the request to die was uncommon yet very little could be done for intractable pain and suffering the patient was enduring How strange that today when nearly 100 of even the most severest pain can be sufficiently relieved without any serious side effects some want euthanasia or physician assisted suicide It is terribly sad to know that some patients are so fearful of being doped to near unconsciousness that they don t report their pain to their doctor Many believe pain from cancer is inevitable or are afraid to admit they have pain or that it s worsening They believe more pain means the disease is getting worse If you are a chronic pain patient or someone in your family is find out all you can about the condition or disease The Internet is absolutely the best place to start if you have access to a computer If not you should be able to find the information at your local library

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/cheryl_pain.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • A
    allowing some form of assisted suicide will have for persons with physical disabilities Respecting the consent of those who wish to commit suicide may necessarily imply running the risk that the consent will have been obtained improperly Rodriguez v attorney Gen of Can 107 D L R 4th at 376 Lamer C J C dissenting In closing we agree with Dutch physician Dr Gunning who said Either human life is inviolable or it is destructible We can t have it both ways If we decide that human life is inviolable then everybody s life must be protected by law In 1981 the Honourable Jean Chrétien imparted a message of hope saying We have the occasion to build for our children and the children of our children a better Canada a Canada which will protect the weakest in society a Canada which will be an example to the world Ladies and gentlemen we believe the present law justifies the prohibition on assisted death since the protective function of the law serves to protect the primary beneficiaries those being the vulnerable and weakest in our society REGARDING THE USE OF THE TERMS KILLING OR MURDER While browsing through one of my guides to writing I came across this summary of euphemism Unless the desire to use a euphemism is inspired by the necessity to soften a blow or avoid offensiveness the more factual term is to be preferred Ordinarily avoid euphemisms or change the subject Another writers guide says euphemisms are used to distract us from the realities is at best misleading and at worst dishonest and dangerous if the terms make us forget reality Use euphemism when tact and genuine respect for the feelings of your audience warrants it Do not use it to deceive NOTES See also The Legacy of Sue Rodriguez When interviewed by Chris Wood Cheryl Eckstein President of CHN stated We do not see killing as a solution to illness and suffering Woods said In a view endorsed by Hamilton s Latimer and many other specialists in palliative care Eckstein insisted that few terminally ill people request assistance in dying if their medical treatment is adequate True Compassion Eckstein asserts literally means to suffer along with In response to the above Art Schilder an HIV infected activist says he takes a consumer perspective on issues of death What Eckstein calls killing Schilder considers to be a health care choice that is essentially therapeutic MACLEAN S FEBRUARY 28 1994 p 24 Cameron McWhirter Uncovering secrets that mask suicide Chicago Tribune December 19 1993 page 1 and 12 Suicide rate for ages 15 24 year olds have risen from 5 percent in 1960 to 13 1 percent in 1990 Dr David Clark the Chicago director of one of the few medical groups in the country studying why people take their own lives says he hopes his myth shattering research will put people like Kevorkian out of business Clark also said that even if suicidal terminally ill patients are treated

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/anti_euthanasia_activist.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • CHN Digest Online: Vol. 1 No.3 January 11, 1996
    miscarriage of justice Sincerely signed Sharon Sharon Carstairs COMMENTARY in response to Senator Sharon Carstairs by editor CHN Ms Carstairs opinion is just that subjective Ms Carstairs erroneously claims After it became clear she was dying of starvation she lost a significant portion of her body weight in just a few weeks because no one was willing to spend the amount of time the Latimer s did in feeding her they took her back home First according to trial transcripts Autopsy reports concluded Tracy had no life threatening disease at time of death pages 173 350 354 Secondly Tracy was not dying of starvation as Carstairs would have the public believe In fact There seems to be some confusion surrounding the discussion about Tracy s weight loss but the exact amount of weight lost was never established For example in defence lawyer Brayford s questioning of Dr Snyder Brayford s question only alludes to some child s weight saying When you see a child that was perhaps 45 pounds and over a short period of time by say a couple months was to drop from say 45 pounds to 38 pounds be a very serious health concern 259 When Brayford examined Laura he asked her What was the sort of maximum body weight that she ever attained in her life Laura answers I think the most I ever saw was 44 5 pounds That was done just a few weeks before she died During the last summer she weighed 38 pounds or close to 40 pounds 341 See TRACY LYNN LATIMER BETTER OFF DEAD A BREACH OF COMPASSION Written compiled by Cheryl Eckstein from the INFORMATION SERIES In Euthanasia Round Table Third I question Ms Carstairs opening comment does she really understands what she has said Carstairs said she believes it is impossible for anyone other then Robert Latimer himself to know his inner thoughts That is exactly why we need the homicide laws to remain in tact In fact regarding creating a lesser offence for mercy killing the British House of Lords rejected any move to create a new offence of mercy killing which would carry a lesser penalty They concluded their study stating To distinguish between murder and mercy killing would be to cross the line which prohibits any intentional killing a line which we think it essential to preserve Nor do we believe that mercy killing could be adequately defined since it would involve determining precisely what constituted a compassionate motive For these reasons we do not recommend the creation of a new offence REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON MEDICAL ETHICS Vol I p 53 Lastly Senator Carstairs neglects to recommend just how Latimer should be punished and states that Vulnerable people must be protected How is it possible to protect future victims especially the vulnerable and weakest in our society when the law would justify the actions and agree with the murderer which strongly implies the person they have killed is better off dead Ms

    Original URL path: http://www.chninternational.com/chn1-3.htm (2016-02-17)
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