Doctor Prescribed Suicide does not give patients the right to die; it gives doctors the right to kill
By Dr. Mark Rollo, Board of Directors, MCFL
Giving doctors the right to kill is dangerous.
Take Kate Cheney for instance. She was an eighty five year old Oregonian with terminal cancer. Her daughter, Erika, brought Kate to her physician to ask about assisted suicide. However, Kate had mild dementia and her physician refused to prescribe suicide pills because he felt she lacked the capacity to understand the process.
Erika then engaged in "doctor shopping." She took her mother to see a psychiatrist who rejected the request for assisted suicide on the same grounds as the former doctor, saying that Kate lacked the ability to weigh options about assisted suicide. The psychiatrist noted that Erika seemed coercive.
Undeterred, Erika continued to shop and took her mother to an “ethicist” at the HMO who determined that Kate was cognitively able to request suicide pills. Thus, poison was prescribed despite the obvious conflict of interest. You see, Kate would no longer be an expense for the HMO if she were dead. After initial reluctance, Kate consumed the suicide cocktail. She had just spent a week in a nursing home, alone.
Kate is one of many people in Oregon who have been steered toward suicide. This has been documented in the New England Journal of Medicine where patients doctor-shopped for suicide until they got what they wanted . . . . or what their family wanted for them.
It is estimated that about 10% of the elderly in Massachusetts are subject to abuse. Doctor prescribed suicide is the perfect recipe for carrying out that abuse while simultaneously saving money for the health insurance carrier and providing the lure of a quick inheritance to family members.
All patients have the right to refuse care and take advantage of palliative care or hospice. Doctor prescribed suicide is different. This act corrupts medicine by making the doctor, who should be committed to healing, complicit in killing.
Doctor prescribed suicide is dangerous indeed.
Who would be the first Kate Cheney of Massachusetts to die at the hands of a “healer?”
Bills that are before the Massachusetts joint committee on public health, S.1208 and H. 1926; “An act relative to end of life options,” would fuel elder abuse in Massachusetts and must be defeated.
Mark J Rollo, MD
By Anne Fox
When we worked so hard against The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), we opposed it for four reasons. One of those reasons was its in-built rationing.
According to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an Obamacare provision penalized hospitals for readmitting Medicare patients within a month of being discharged and led to increased mortality rates among adults who experienced pneumonia and heart failure. The provision imposed financial penalties on hospitals with too-high readmission rates for patients with heart failure, heart attacks or pneumonia starting in 2012. It was supposed to encourage better care. But it has encouraged something else: Medicare has levied approximately $2 billion in penalties on hospitals since 2012.Read more
By Nancy Valko
When the Trump administration announced a new department of Conscience and Religious Freedom, the pushback from abortion and assisted suicide proponents like Planned Parenthood and Compassion and Choices was immediate and accompanied by apocalyptic predictions of harm to patients.
Now the term “conscientious objection” is increasingly being used rather than “conscience rights” when it comes to health care professionals. I believe this is not accidental. The term “conscience rights” is a powerful and accepted term about individual rights while “conscientious objection” is associated with the traditional definition of “A person who refuses to serve in the military due to religious or strong philosophical views against war or killing” and who “may be required to perform some nonviolent work like driving an ambulance.” (Emphasis added)Read more
By Anne Fox, President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life
Betsy McCaughey is the expert on medical care. You must read her article, "Do you have a DNR? It may kill you." If you have a DNR (do not resuscitate order) on your hospital file, they will essentially deprive you of mach needed care.
DNR means if your heart stops or you can’t breathe, medical staff will let you die naturally, instead of rushing to give you cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Correctly interpreted, a DNR bars just that one procedure, resuscitation. But scientists are discovering that many doctors and nurses take DNR to mean you want end-of-life care only. They misconstrue DNR as Dying Not Recovering.
In other words, the existence of a DNR order in your file creates mindset in doctors and nurses that you should receive less healthcare, that you’re going to die. For example, a survey at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that patients with a DNR were twice as likely to die in the hospital than those who didn’t have one. And it wasn’t just for those who were already mortally ill. For those patients who were the healthiest, their likelihood increased by five times.
Please read the whole article and let everyone else know about the danger of DNRs.
Usually we are working for others. This is important for others and for you!
By Nancy Valko
When abortion was legalized in the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, we were told that abortion should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor.
Now there is a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union to force the state of Maine to allow abortions by non-physicians such as nurses and midwives.
Why? Although Planned Parenthood and the ACLU claim that this is about the safety of first-trimester abortion and the lack of enough accessible abortion clinics as well as “threats of violence”, the truth is that it is getting harder and harder to find doctors willing to do abortions.
This new expansion of abortion is part of a larger movement to remove restrictions on abortion. According to the liberal Public Leadership Institute, already “California, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont allow trained and licensed APCs (advance practice clinicians like nurses and physician assistants) to perform aspiration abortions.”
The Institute even provides model legislation for states called the “Qualified Providers of Abortion Act” and cites the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as recommending “expanding the pool of non-obstetrician/gynecologist abortion providers by training advanced-practice clinicians (APCs)—nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants—to perform aspiration (aka suction or vacuum) abortions.”Read more
By Nancy Valko
As a nurse threatened with termination for refusing to participate in an unethical health care decision years ago, I have a special interest in conscience rights for health care professionals.
Over the past several decades, new threats to conscience rights have widened from refusing to participate in abortions to other deliberate death decisions like withdrawal of feedings from people with serious brain injuries, VSED (voluntary stopping of eating and drinking), terminal sedation and physician-assisted suicide.Read more
By Nancy Valko
In her February 2018 article”Prenatal Testing and Denial of Care”, Bridget Mora exposes another dark side of prenatal testing: refusal to treat. Ms. Mora is the community education and communications coordinator for Be Not Afraid, a nonprofit that supports parents experiencing a prenatal diagnosis and carrying to term.
While most people have heard of amniocentesis (using a needle to extract and analyze the fluid surrounding an unborn baby in the second trimester), many people are unaware of the screening blood tests that have now become virtually routine for all pregnant women.
The difference is that blood screening tests may indicate a probability or risk score that a baby has a chromosomal anomaly, but a definitive diagnosis can only be made through amniocentesis or CVS (Chorionic villus sampling) using a needle to take a sample of tissue from an unborn baby’s placenta for analysis in the first trimester. Tragically, some parents make a decision to abort based on just a blood screening test.Read more
By Nancy Valko
A few weeks ago, a 95-year-old friend with chronic congestive heart failure was recovering from a hip fracture and blood clot when she developed a very serious pneumonia. I was with her in the ER when the doctor asked her son and me about how aggressive to be if her heart or breathing worsened. I said, “Ask her!” and the doc was stunned when she vehemently said “Yes!”, even after he explained the potential problems with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and ventilators. My friend has a durable power of attorney naming her daughter as her health decision maker, but the doctor wrongly assumed my friend was unconscious and that we were her decision makers.
My friend astonished the doctors by recovering with antibiotics and temporary BiPap (a face mask machine to support her breathing). After a stint in rehab, my friend was able to go home last week.
It was because of mistaken but potentially fatal situations like this that I wrote my 2015 blog “Living with ‘Living Wills” about the history, uses, problems and pitfalls with living wills and other end-of-life documents known as advance directives.Read more
By Nancy Valko
When I first started out as a nurse in the late 1960s, I saw several patients admitted to determine why they had “mental status changes”, such as confusion. One of my first duties on admission was to make a list of medications the patient was taking.
I was alarmed to find some of these patients, usually elderly, were taking a large number of medications and some were similar and/or had potential interactions with other medications. When I first brought this to the attention of a doctor, he was skeptical until he read one of the patients’ lists.
The result was that he reevaluated every medication and temporarily stopped all medications that were not crucial. When the patient rapidly improved and went home with a much reduced list of medications, he and I shared this with other doctors and many other such patients then rapidly improved.
However, according to a December 12, 2017 article from Kaiser Health News titled “An Overlooked Epidemic: Older Americans Taking Too Many Unneeded Drugs”, such problems with medications continue to exist in our fast-paced health care system and older people continue to be especially at risk.Read more