Alex Schadenberg

Euthanasia won’t negatively affect vulnerable groups?: balderdash!

Alex Schadenberg

Euthanasia supporter and researcher, Margaret Battin, wrote an article that was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in 2007 that suggested that there was no evidence that vulnerable groups were negatively affected by the legalization of euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. The article also suggested that there was no proof that a slippery slope exists.

The Battin article is important because the suicide lobby claims that this article definitively proves that we have nothing to fear by the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Battin examines the data from the Dutch (5 year) euthanasia reports and the annual assisted suicide reports from Oregon and concludes that people who are members of vulnerable groups are not adversely affected by the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Euthanasia without request or consent.

The concern that people are dying by euthanasia without request or consent is ignored by Battin. The 2005 Netherlands report shows that there were approximately 550 deaths without explicit request or consent. These deaths are not part of the euthanasia statistics which showed that there were approximately 2297 euthanasia deaths and 113 deaths by assisted suicide in the Netherlands in 2005.

Since the time of the Battin article new research concerning the practice of euthanasia in the Flanders region of Belgium that was published in the CMAJ in May 2010 concluded that up to 32% of all euthanasia deaths are being done without explicit request or consent.

A similar study concerning the role of nurses in the practice of euthanasia in the Flanders region of Belgium that was also published in the CMAJ in May 2010 concluded that 45% of all euthanasia deaths, by nurses, were done without explicit request or consent.

It is important to note that the researchers indicated that the time the decision to lethally inject the person, without request or consent, was made by the doctor 70.1% because the person was comatose, 21.1% the person had dementia, and 8.2% the doctor deemed the discussion to be harmful.

How can people who do not want to die by euthanasia be protected when it is done without request or consent? Choice is an illusion.

Depression people dying by euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Battin referred to the study by van der Lee, et al, that found that people who were depressed or had “feelings of hopelessness” were 4.1 times more likely to request euthanasia. This study is significant because van der Lee, who supports euthanasia, stated in her hypothesis: “their clinical impression was that requests for euthanasia were based on well-considered decisions and not depression in the Netherlands.”

In other words, van der Lee is trying to prove that there was no connection between euthanasia and depression.

Battin concludes that since the van der Lee study does not indicate whether requests for euthanasia by depressed people actually resulted in death by euthanasia, that she draws no conclusion from this data.

A study by Linda Ganzini, a co-author of the Battin article, and published in the British Medical Journal (2008) examined the prevalence of depressed people asking for assisted suicide in Oregon. Ganzini had 58 participants who had requested assisted suicide. She found that 26% of the participants were depressed or had “feelings of hopelessness”.

The Ganzini study proves that depressed people are dying by assisted suicide in Oregon. The study links the fact that depressed people who request assisted suicide in Oregon are not being referred for a psychiatric or psychological assessment. In 2007, 49 people who were reported to have died by assisted suicide in Oregon, none of them were referred for a psychiatric or psychological assessment.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide is under-reported

The 2005 Netherlands report concludes that 80.2% of all euthanasia or assisted suicide deaths are reported.

A recent study that was published in the British Medical Journal (Oct 2010) on reporting of euthanasia in the Flanders region of Belgium found that only 52.8% of the euthanasia deaths were reported.

The study indicated that euthanasia deaths that were not reported were often “unconventional.” For instance, a written request was not present, a palliative care consultation was not done, euthanasia was more often done by opioids or sedatives or both and the act was more often done by a nurse.

The most recent Belgium report indicates that the number of reported euthanasia deaths continues to increase and that concerns exist concerning the under-reporting of euthanasia deaths in the French region of Belgium.

The Slippery Slope

Battin claims that there is no evidence for a “slippery slope” effect in the Netherlands or Oregon. Battin seems to have redefined the term slippery slope.

Stephen Drake, the research analyst for the disability rights group Not Dead Yet made an excellent response to the “slippery slope” claim by Battin by stating:

“The term “slippery slope” has always included the idea that the practices of assisted suicide and euthanasia will expand beyond the original “target population.” This has happened in the Netherlands, which has given the green light to both infanticide of disabled infants and facilitation of the suicides of some people with psychiatric labels.”

My conclusions concerning the Battin article, that is upheld by the suicide lobby as “proof” that euthanasia and assisted suicide is a “safe practice” have not only not changed but have been strengthened by recent studies that prove that Battin was wrong.

I stated when the Battin study was released and I re-iterate now:

“The way in which the study by Margaret Battin of the University of Utah, who is a strong supporter of legalizing assisted suicide was completed would leave one to question whether or not her research was done to simply prove her hypothesis. This is a study that, at best, can be referred to as propaganda.”

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Euthanasia in Canada: Letter writing campaign

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
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The Québec euthanasia Bill 52 will be voted on very soon, possibly today (June 3). 

Steven Fletcher is busy promoting his private members bills to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the Carter case on October 14. The Carter case seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

On June 2 the National Post published a page of letters, with the majority of the letters supporting euthanasia. This means that the euthanasia lobby asked their supporters to write letters.

To write a letter to the editor you need to keep your letter short and focused. Choose one topic to write about. We have provided a link to an example or to further information on that topic that you can access by clicking on the topic. Suggested topics: Euthanasia/Bill 52Euthanasia/Personal story, Euthanasia/Elder Abuse, Euthanasia/Medical Error, Euthanasia/Disability rights, Euthanasia/Palliative care, Euthanasia/Assisted suicide are not safe, Euthanasia/Belgium, Euthanasia/Netherlands, Assisted Suicide/Oregon, Assisted Suicide/Switzerland, etc.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is asking you to write letters to the editor. This following list contains most major newspapers in Canada. It is of great benefit to also write letters to other local newspapers.

National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com/contact/letters/index.html?name=Letters&subject=Letter+to+the+editor

The Globe and Mail: nhassan@globeandmail.com

The Gazette: letters@montrealgazette.com

Le Journal de Montréal: jdm.transmission@quebecormedia.com

La Presse: debats@lapresse.ca

Le Soleil: opinion@lesoleil.com

Le Journal de Québec: commentaires@journaldequebec.com

Le Devoir: redaction@ledevoir.com

Journal Metro: opinions@journalmetro.com

Halifax Chronicle Herald: letters@herald.ca

Ottawa Citizen: letters@ottawacitizen.com

Toronto Star: lettertoed@thestar.ca

Toronto Sun: http://www.torontosun.com/letter-to-editor

Hamilton Spectator: letters@thespec.com

London Free Press: letters@lfpress.com

Winnipeg Free Press: letters@freepress.mb.ca

Calgary Herald: letters@calgaryherald.com

Edmonton Journal: letters@edmontonjournal.com

Vancouver Sun: sunletters@vancouversun.com

Vancouver Province: provletters@theprovince.com

Victoria Times Colonist: letters@timescolonist.com

Resource articles for letter writing:

● Québec's euthanasia bill 52 is imprecise and open to abuse

● Euthanasia is not healthcare, it is lethal and it is not safe

● Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide is not safe.

● Belgium euthanasia deaths increase by 26.8% in 2013.

● Netherlands 2012 euthanasia report.

● Oregon's 2013 assisted suicide report.

● Disability: Assisted suicide: Full of Dangers.

● Legalizing euthanasia threatens people with disabilities.

● Physician assisted suicide: A recipe for Elder Abuse.

● Medical error, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

● Swiss group to assist the suicides of healthy elderly people.

● Palliative care leaders oppose Québec euthanasia Bill 52

● Stephen Sutton lived everyday with dignity

● Euthanasia undermines protection in law for me.

Reprinted with permission from Alex Schadenberg

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Belgian euthanasia deaths increased by 26.8% in 2013

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg

The 2013 Belgian euthanasia report indicates that the number of reported euthanasia deaths in Belgium increased by 26.8% in 2013 to 1816 reported deaths

Sign the EPC - Europe Petition demanding a moratorium on euthanasia in Belgium.

In 2012 the number of reported euthanasia deaths in Belgium increased by 25% to 1432 reported deaths

The Belgian euthanasia reports indicate that the number of reported euthanasia deaths continue to grow at a faster rate. In Belgium, there were 1133 reported euthanasia deaths in 2011 and 954 reported euthanasia deaths in 2010.

At the same time Belgium has recently extended euthanasia to children. The child euthanasia bill was passed after protests against the bill were held in Brussels and 160 Belgian Paediatricians denounced the child euthanasia bill.

Studies concerning the Belgian euthanasia law that were published in 2010, from the Flanders region of Belgium found that: 32% of all assisted deaths were done without request, 47% of all assisted deaths went unreported, and nurses were euthanizing patients even though the Belgian euthanasia law prohibits nurses from doing euthanasia. There has never been an attempted prosecution for abuses of the Belgian euthanasia law.

In Canada, the Quebec government should be very concerned about the practice of euthanasia in Belgium since they have based euthanasia Bill 52 on the Belgian euthanasia law.

In January, the Belgian media reported that a euthanasia doctor admitted to not reporting his euthanasia deaths. The article confirms that many euthanasia deaths in Belgium are not reported and the actual number of euthanasia deaths is much higher than 1816.

In February, Dr. Tom Mortier launched an official complaint against the doctor who euthanized his healthy mother who was living with depression. Mortier questioned:

"how it is possible for euthanasia to be performed on physically healthy people"

In April 2014, a 20-year-old Belgian woman, named Margot, launched a second official complaint against the same euthanasia doctor in response to the euthanasia death of her 47-year-old mother who was physically healthy but living with depression. Margot asked

"How could someone who has not even received treatment for depression, get euthanasia?"

There are also serious questions being asked concerning the purpose and effectiveness of the Belgian euthanasia control and evaluation committee. The President of this committee is the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium who also operates a euthanasia clinic with half of the membership of the committee composed of members of the euthanasia lobby.

In November 2013, I debated Dr. Jan Bernheim, one of the pioneers of the Belgian euthanasia law. During the debate in Brussels I quoted from the earlier studies showing that euthanasia deaths were occurring without request, that euthanasia deaths were not being reported and that nurses were ignoring the law and euthanizing their patients. Bernheim responded to those statements by saying:

"There are problems with the Belgian euthanasia law."

I responded by saying:

"That is cold comfort for the dead."

The safeguards and controls in the Belgian euthanasia law do not work. The Belgian government needs to establish a moratorium on its euthanasia program and re-evaluate its euthanasia law, or the number of euthanasia deaths will continue to grow exponentially.

Reprinted with permission from Alex Schadenberg's blog.

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Medical error, euthanasia and assisted suicide

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
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A power point presentation developed by Christine Koczmara RN BSc and Cathy Isman RN(CPN) (C) for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices states that it was estimated in 1999 that 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical mistakes which is almost equal to the number of combined yearly deaths from Car Accidents, Breast Cancer, and Aids (Link).

A Canadian study from 2004 found that 7.5% of patients in Canadian hospitals are harmed from their care, 37% of the adverse events were preventable and more than 9250 Canadians died every year from medical errors (Link).

The same power point presentation estimated that only 3% – 6% of all medical errors are reported (Link).

In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico (62) from Calabria Italy died at the Dignitas suicide clinic in Switzerland after receiving a wrong diagnosis. Many medical errors will lead to negative health conditions, some medical errors will lead to death, assisted suicide always leads to death (Link).

In July 2013, a Swiss regional court found Dr. Philippe Freiburghaus guilty of assisting a suicide without properly diagnosing his patient. On April 23, 2014, the Swiss court of appeal overturned the conviction of Freiburghaus (Link).

In September 2013, Nancy Verhelst asked to die by euthanasia in Belgium after experiencing a “botched” sex change operation (Link).

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Statistics from Belgium indicate that up to 32% of all assisted deaths are done without explicit request (Link) and up to 47% of all assisted deaths go unreported (Link). In the Netherlands the rate of assisted death without explicit request is lower than in Belgium and the rate of unreported assisted deaths is 23% (Link).

Since acts of assisted death cause the direct and intentional death of the person, and since the “safeguards” that are designed to protect patients, in the law, are not followed, can legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide ever be safe?

Considering the problem of medical error, the reality that human beings fail, the reality that many physicians have been taught to believe that certain human lives are not worth living (Quality of Life) and considering the regularity of medical error and the reality, can legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide ever be safe?

These facts and many more speak for themselves.

Reprinted with permission from Alex Schadenberg

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