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DECEMBER 2017 POSTING

Physician-assisted suicide does not improve palliative and end-of-life care

“The Effect of Legalizing Assisted Suicide on Palliative Care and Suicide Rates: A Response to Compassion and Choices” written by Richard M. Doerflinger, M.A., associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, was published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute in March 2017.

See  https://lozierinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/The-Effect-of-Legalization-of-Assisted-Suicide.pdf

This report’s conclusions are:

  • The studies cited by C&C generally do not show what it claims, and their conclusions have been corrected or modified by other studies.
  • There is no convincing evidence that laws allowing physician-assisted suicide improve palliative and end-of-life care, and there is significant evidence that such laws can have the opposite effect – and that the laws, and the campaign promoting them, have a disturbing impact on overall suicide rates.
  • If these laws have a deleterious effect on palliative and end-of-life care, and on suicide prevention efforts, in the general population of the states enacting them, the number of people (including seriously ill people) adversely affected by them vastly exceeds the number of patients who actually make use of the “aid in dying” option.

 

AUGUST 2017 POSTING

Assisted Suicide Myths - Letters to AMA CEJA

DECEMBER 2016 POSTING

Dr. Kenneth Stevens and Dr. William Toffler had their letter published in JAMA, October 18, 2016 regarding the failure in Oregon and Washington to track data regarding assisted suicide abuses and complications. see http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2569774

We do not know the rate of abuses or complications of assisted suicide. For instance, the Oregon Health Authority Annual Reports show that in the past seven years, doctors were not present for 89% of those dying from assisted suicide, so there is not information regarding the complications that occur at that time among the majority of patients. Clearly abuses and complications exist, although the rate is unknown. The reporting system is flawed in failing to document what is happening with assisted suicides.

MARCH 2016 POSTING

ASSISTED SUICIDE ABUSES & COMPLICATIONS. The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) have chronicled some of the Oregon and Washington State assisted suicide abuses and complications. We encourage you to read their report, which is available at:  http://dredf.org/public-policy/assisted-suicide/some-oregon-assisted-suicide-abuses-and-complications/

SEPTEMBER 2015 POSTING

'A Doctor-Assisted Disaster for Medicine'.  An opinion article by Dr. William Toffler in the Wall Street Journal.

 

JUNE 2015 Posting

'All it took was a scooter.'  The true story of how a scooter replaced a desire for assisted suicide - Bill and Evelyn Skei, and Dr. Charles 'Chuck' Bentz.

http://patientsrightsaction.org/the-scooter

MAY 2015 POSTING

"She chose to die, then survived" 

(Photo: Patchbay Media)

The Daily Signal, a publication of The Heritage Foundation, recently did an article and video about Jeanette Hall, a patient of Dr. Kenneth Stevens.  They interviewed Jeanette, her son Scott and Dr. Stevens last month.  She is an amazing woman and has a wonderful story.

Daily Signal link: http://dailysign.al/1FaQGh1
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84SsQef3B7E

MARCH 2015 POSTING

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D, of The Heritage Foundation, has written an excellent article titled:"Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality"   This article is online at: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/03/always-care-never-kill-how-physician-assisted-suicide-endangers-the-weak-corrupts-medicine-compromises-the-family-and-violates-human-dignity-and-equality

DECEMBER 2014 POSTING

The Tragedy of Physician-Assisted Suicide

By Dr. Kenneth Stevens, Jr, MD,

Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Radiation Oncology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon

President, Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation, www.pccef.org

     Physician-assisted suicide has recently been in the media because of Brittany Maynard, diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year, and who came to Oregon and died of suicide from an overdose of barbiturates on November 1, 2014. The assisted suicide proponent organization, Compassion & Choices (former Hemlock Society), have orchestrated and centered a skillful media campaign on her story to promote further legalization of physician-assisted suicide. She was attractive, young, recently married, and diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Even though she was very functional and able to travel to the Grand Canyon in recent weeks, she felt without hope. She ended her life prematurely with the drug overdose. 

     My 47-year experience caring for patients with cancer in Oregon has been rich with experiences with patients. Since Oregon’s assisted suicide law was passed by voters in 1994, I have studied the law and its effects.

     Brittany Maynard’s story is currently in the news, but there are other stories regarding assisted suicide in Oregon.

     I first became involved with assisted-suicide in 1982, shortly before my 39-year old wife died of cancer in the brain. We had just made what would be her last visit with her doctor.  As we were leaving the office, he said that he could provide her with an extra-large dose of pain medication. She said she did not need it because her pain was under control.  As I helped her to the car, she said “Ken, he wants me to kill myself.”  She had suffered a lot over the prior 18 months, but her doctor’s statement caused the most suffering to her.  It devastated her that her doctor, her trusted doctor, would suggest that she kill herself.  Two weeks later she peacefully died in our home without pain, and with dignity. We treasured all of our time together, even to the natural end of her life.

     In the year 2000, 55-year old Jeanette Hall was referred to me by her surgeon with a diagnosis of inoperable low rectal anal cancer. When I first met Ms. Hall, I informed her that I felt she had a tumor which, although it was inoperable, could be treated with radiation and chemotherapy with a good likelihood of cure. When she came to me with the inoperable diagnosis, she felt hopeless and was despairing. Following the cancer diagnosis, as she was leaving the hospital, she was asked by the hospital personnel, “are your affairs in order, do you have a funeral plot?” They didn’t have much hope for her future. She informed me that she did not want cancer treatment, she wanted assisted suicide. “I voted for the law, and that is what I want, I don’t want to go through all the problems with treatment,’ she informed me.  She was very set in her determination to die from assisted suicide.  She agreed to return and visit with me in a week.  During that week she saw her surgeon again, and he informed her that without treatment she had 6 months to 12 months to live.  In Oregon, people are eligible for assisted suicide if they have a 6 months or less life expectancy, so she qualified for the law. When I saw her the following week, she said, “Dr. Stevens, I’m here for the pills, why aren’t you giving me the pills?”  I again encouraged her to receive the cancer treatments, but she continued to have a hopeless feeling regarding her diagnosis.  She refused the cancer treatments, and was very determined to die from assisted suicide.  She did agree to return on a weekly basis.  After the 3rd or 4th visit I asked more about her family.  She had a son who was attending the police academy in Oregon.  I said, “Ms. Hall, wouldn’t you like to see him graduate, wouldn’t you like to see him get married?”  She then realized that she did have something to live for, her feeling of hopelessness and despair was replaced with hope.  She agreed to and received radiation and chemotherapy which were successful and the cancer melted away.  Five years later, I saw her in a restaurant where she was with a friend, and she came over and said, “Dr. Stevens, you saved my life.  If I had gone to a doctor who believed in assisted suicide, and agreed with my decision to have assisted \suicide instead of the treatments, I would not be here, I would be dead.”  That was 14 years ago, she continues to be very functional and joyful in her life, and frequently exclaims, “It’s great to be alive!” She has been interviewed by the media many times.  In late October 2014, she and I were interviewed in her apartment by TV crews from Nippon TV and Fuji TV of Japan.        

     There can be a financial incentive for assisted suicide.   In Oregon, the combination of legal assisted suicide and prioritized medical care based on prognosis has created a danger for patients on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid).  First, there is a financial incentive for patients to commit suicide: the Plan will cover the cost of assisted suicide.  Second, the Plan will not necessarily cover the cost of treatment.  For example, patients with cancer are denied treatment to prolong life, if they are determined to have “less than 24 months median survival with treatment”and fit other criteria. Some of these patients, if treated, would have many years to live; as much as five, ten or twenty years depending on the type of cancer. This is because there are always some people who beat the odds. The Plan will cover the cost of their suicides. The story of Barbara Wagner was publicized in Oregon in 2008.  She was informed that the Oregon Health Plan Insurance would not approve and pay for her lung cancer medication, but they would pay for Comfort Care, which included assisted suicide.  She told the TV reporters, “They will pay forme to die, but won’t pay for me to live.” See her story at: http://www.katu.com/home/video/26119539.html.

     Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has proposed that scarce medical resources should be directed to those between the ages of 15 and 55 years; and he sees no reason for himself to live more than 75 years. Legalizing assisted suicide has economic consequences.

     When a person expresses a desire to take their own life, society acts to protect that personfrom committing suicide.  However, when assisted suicide is legalized, society then acts to assist that person in committing suicide.   This is especially true for those who are seriously ill or have disabilities – they have lost society’s protection against suicide. 

     Oregon has the second highest rate of suicides (excluding assisted suicides), that is 140% of the US national rate, and it has been increasing since 2000.  Regular suicides have continued to increase in Oregon since the legalization of assisted suicide.  How can a state with assisted suicide have an effective suicide-prevention program? 

     Those with disabilities are against physician-assisted suicides. When people say they are things worse than death, they often seem to be describing those who have disabilities. Some of those with disabilities have formed the groups (Not Dead Yet, DREDF, Second Thoughts Connecticut) to assert that they choose to live; and to assert their opposition of legalization of assisted suicide.

     There is also a problem with people with depression dying from assisted suicide without receiving the psychological evaluation and treatment that they deserve.  Depression is the leading cause of suicide.  See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-high-suicide-rate-among-elderly-white-men-who-may-suffer-from-depression/2014/12/05/2bad6ea0-222e-11e4-958c-268a320a60ce_story.html. Oregon researchers reported in 2008 that 25% of Oregonians requesting assisted suicide were depressed.  Yet, in the past 6 years only 2% (5 of 381) of Oregonians dying of assisted suicide had a psychiatric evaluation.

     I am concerned that the media’s reporting regarding Ms. Maynard may result in additional suicides. There is a serious problem of suicide contagion when media reporting of suicide encourages other suicides.  There are media guidelines which have not been followed in the reporting of Ms. Maynard.  The risk of suicide contagion is real and can include children.  See http://www.margaretdore.org/2014/10/the-brittany-maynard-case-illustrates.html

      The legalization of assisted suicide does not give any new rights to patients.  Its purpose is to legally protect doctors who write prescriptions for lethal drugs.  The strategies and methods of pro assisted suicide organizations are to use euphemisms.  In his 1993 book “Lawful Exit”, Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society, devoted a chapter title “Doublespeak” to the importance of language. But assisted suicide is suicide.

     People who are given a terminal diagnosis are not necessarily terminal, and are not necessarily dying.  A friend of mine learned in 2004 that he had 13 tumors in his liver, over 70 tumors in his lungs, and his doctors told him that he would be dead in one and a half months. Within 2 weeks of receiving the terminal diagnosis, he and his wife sold at garage sales or gave away an estimated $20,000 of his tools and belongings in order that his wife would be unburdened of his stuff and to help prepare her for a life without him.  They sold his things for ten cents on the dollar and made arrangements for a burial plot in another state.  They even contacted a realtor and almost sold their house.  Then he realized that in spite of all those tumors in his liver and lungs, he did not feel ill, and he questioned his terminal diagnosis.  His doctors reviewed his medical information, and found that his tumors were not malignant.  He continues to live and work 10 years later, never having received any specific cancer treatment. After the original diagnosis of terminal tumor, he and his wife made very hasty decisions that financially cost them dearly.   Since he lives in Oregon, he would have qualified for assisted suicide. Had he chosen assisted suicide before receiving the correct non-terminal diagnosis, he could have ended his life very prematurely early. See http://www.pccef.org/resources/documents/PRCUpdate_2011_4pg4-5.pdf

     There are many reported instances of patients outliving the terminal diagnosis and prognosis of their doctors.  Legalization of assisted suicide cheapens and shortens lives of vulnerable people.  I have had patients with grade 4 brain tumors live for over 20 productive working years. 

     It is sad that Ms. Maynard developed a brain tumor.   It is tragic that she ended her life prematurely and that family and friends were not able to spend more memorable time with her. Don’t we value time with our loved ones?  Why shorten that time?  Medicine does have the means of taking care of patient’s symptoms and helping them be comfortable.

     Contrast Ms. Maynard’s story with that of 19-year old Lauren Hill, a college basketball player with an inoperable brain tumor.  In spite of that diagnosis and with only months to live she is living her life to the fullest and is raising public awareness about pediatric cancer.  She is not seeking to shorten her life with assisted suicide.  She is a true hero in playing for her college basketball team in Indiana on November 2, 2014.  See http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/03/with-an-inoperable-brain-tumor-and-only-months-to-live-basketball-player-sees-a-dream-come-true-just-by-stepping-on-the-court/

     Heather Knies was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer at age 24 and given 6 months to live.  She chose to have treatment for that cancer and is now alive nearly a decade later.  She wants the public to know that there is a choice to live and not die from assisted suicide. See: http://www.azfamily.com/news/Phoenix-woman-survives-same-cancer-diagnosis-as-Brittany-Maynard-281403961.html

     We as a society should focus on hope, and not on hopelessness and despair.  Physician-assisted suicide is wrong, dangerous and tragic.

OCTOBER POSTING

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2014

The Brittany Maynard Case Illustrates Problems With Legal Assisted Suicide.

http://www.margaretdore.org/2014/10/the-brittany-maynard-case-illustrates.html

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

Brittany Maynard is a beautiful young woman with a brain tumor.  For the last two weeks, her story has been promoted by the former Hemlock Society, now known as Compassion & Choices, in an aggressive multi-media campaign.

1. There is a Risk of Suicide Contagion.

It is well known that media reporting of suicide can encourage other suicides, for example, a "copycat suicide" or a "suicide contagion." A famous example is Marilyn Monroe.  Her widely reported suicide was followed by a increase in other suicides.

This encouragement phenomenon can also occur when the inspiring death is not a suicide.  An example is the televised hanging of Saddam Hussein, which led to suicide deaths of children worldwide.  An NBC News article begins:

     The boys' deaths - scattered in the United States, in Yemen, in Turkey and elsewhere in seemingly isolated horror - had one thing in common:  They hanged themselves after watching televised images of Saddam Husseins' execution.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/16624940/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/copycat-hangings-follow-saddam-execution/#.VDr5AfldWSo

Groups such as the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization have developed guidelines for reporting suicide. Important points include that the risk of additional suicides increases "when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage."  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/recommendations-for-reporting-on-suicide.shtml See also: http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/resource_media.pdf

The media campaign by the suicide advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, to promote the death of Ms. Maynard, by "aid in dying," a euphemism for legal assisted suicide in Oregon, violates all of these guidelines.  We are told of the planned method, when and where it will take place and who will be there.  There is repeated extensive coverage in multiple media.

With this situation, the risk of suicide contagion associated with Compassion & Choices' media campaign is real.  The persons at risk include children.

2. Family Members who Witness an Assisted Suicide Can be Traumatized.

According to media reports, Ms. Maynard's plan is to have her family present when she goes, and that with this situation, she hopes to spare them emotional pain.[1]  If so, she may want to reconsider her plan.  A Swiss study of family members and friends who witnessed legal assisted-suicides in Switzerland found that 20% had “severe mental health problems at 14 to 24 months post-loss.”

Here's a link to an article about the study: http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/family-members-traumatized-eur-psych-2012.pdf   Here's the conclusion: [T]he findings suggest that witnessing death by assisted-suicide impacts the mental health of family members and friends.  About 20% of our respondents had full or partial PTSD and 16% had symptoms of depression after about 19 months after the death. Witnessing the unnatural death of a significant person thus seems to have a strong impact on the bereaved, which may lead to severe mental health problems at 14 to 24 months post-loss.  Id.

3.  Legal Assisted Suicide Encourages People with Years to Live, to Throw Away Their Lives.

In Oregon, assisted suicide is legal for persons with a “terminal disease,” which is defined in terms of a prediction of less than six months to live.[2]

According to media reports, Ms. Maynard has a brain tumor, which is end stage and death is “certain.”  On the other hand, doctors can be wrong.  Consider this article from Washington State, describing the case of Maryanne Clayton: She . . . had Stage IV lung cancer, the most advanced form there is. Her tumor had metastasized up her spine. . . . The doctor gave [her] two to four months to live. . . .

That was almost four years ago.[3]

Legal assisted suicide encourages people with years to live, to throw away their lives.

4. Assisting Persons, including Institutions and Organizations, can have their own Agendas.

The recent Melchert-Dinkel case shows a reality that people tend to forget, that with legal or illegal assisted suicide, the assisting person can have an agenda.  For Melchert-Dinkel, his agenda was to get other people to hang themselves in front of his webcam.  He told police that he did it for the "thrill of the chase"  See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/suicideobsessed-us-nurse-convicted-of-helping-coventry-man-kill-himself-9722534.html

Meanwhile, in Oregon, that state's Medicaid program has a well-documented agenda to steer patients to suicide via coverage incentives.  See https://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/bradley-c-c-missoulian-as-published.pdf   Similarly, the former Hemlock Society, Compassion & Choices, has an agenda for a public policy change, to reduce patient access to cures.  Id.

Compassion & Choices also has an agenda to ensure that its assisted suicides succeed.  They are nearly always present during Oregon assisted suicides.  They also encourage family members to be present, which as noted above, is reportedly contemplated by Ms. Maynard.  With this situation, the event is similar to a wedding, in which everyone is there and watching. There can be social pressure to go forward.

* * *
Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  She is a former Law Clerk to the Washington State Supreme Court.  She is President of Choice is an Illusion, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation.  Choice is an Illusion welcomes everyone opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia regardless of your views on other issues.  Seewww.margaretdore.com  www.choiceillusion.org

[1] See https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/29-year-old-woman_-why-im-taking-my-own-life.pdf (regarding Ms. Maynard's intention to have her family present, with one of her goals being “to put myself through less physical and emotional pain and my family as well”). (Emphasis added). 
[2] ORS 127.800 s.1.01(12).
[3]Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty," Washington's new "Death with Dignity" law allows doctors to help people commit suicide - once they've determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they're wrong? The Seattle Weekly, January 14, 2009. For un-formatted online version, go here: http://www.seattleweekly.com/2009-01-14/news/terminal-uncertainty   For pdf, go here:  https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/terminal-uncertainty.pdf

FEBRUARY POSTING

February 22, 2011

Dr. Kenneth Stevens writes an article in response to the Doctor-Assisted Suicide Annual Report released by the Oregon Public Health Division.  He voices his concern about the incomplete and unknown information in the report.  Please read his article, Doctor-assisted suicide: Annual report raises more questions than answers.

PRESS RELEASE

January 27, 2011

Physician-Assisted Suicides in Oregon in 2010 – Even More Unknown Information

PRESS RELEASE

April 9, 2010

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition & Montana State Senator Greg Hinkle: Physician-assisted suicide is not “legal” in Montana; doctors and others participate at their peril.

MARCH POSTING

March 10, 2010

Dr. Kenneth Stevens of PCCEF writes an Opinion Editorial for the Oregonian Online in regards to the latest statistics on physician-assisted suicide in Oregon. Please read his article, "Cornering the market on physician-assisted suicide".

PRESS RELEASE - March 5, 2010

Physician Assisted Suicide in Washington State, 2009 DOH Release of Information

PRESS RELEASE - March 4, 2010

2009 Annual Physician Assisted Suicide Report: “More Conspiracy and Control”

FEBRUARY POSTING

See this new brochure that outlines many of the issues involved in assisted
suicide. Please feel free to copy and distribute.

January 31, 2010

JANUARY POSTING

The article, Compassion not at core of euthanasia debate, discusses the varying views currently going on in Canada among both physicians and society.

October 30, 2009

OCTOBER NEWS

PCCEF-WA Board Member, Dr. Linda Seaman, is honored by University of Kentucky College of Medicince for her contributions to and leadership in the field of medicine. 

Read about Dr. Seaman's honors and accomplishments and the other awards receipients at this University of Kentucky site.

October 8, 2009

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

An article from the Telegraph in the U.K.  Assisted suicide: the judges are playing a dangerous game, Telegraph View:  It is not the role of the judiciary to change the law in this fashion.

September 4, 2009

SEPTEMBER POSTING

Margaret Dore, J.D., M.B.A., an attorney in Seattle,WA, writes an article for the Washington State Bar News.  In the article, "Death with Dignity: What do we tell our clients?" she discusses some of the problems of Washington's new Death with Dignity Act that lawyers should be aware of when adivising clients.  It is an excellent article as it reveals many of the flaws and dangers of the Act.

PRESS RELEASE - September 2, 2009

Physicians Warn of Dangers of Physician Assistance of Patient Suicides

August 14, 2009

AUGUST POSTING

Dr. William L. Toffler and Dr. Frank S. Rosenbloom write an excellent 'Opposing view' response to the USA TODAY's pro physician-assisted suicide editorial.  In the article they discuss how the Oregon law strips the dignity of patients and assisted suicide undermines trust in the patient-physician relationship.

July 29, 2009

JULY POSTING

The Second-International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide was a great success.  The presenations and dialogues among participants was excellent .  The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is currently making DVD's and a Synopsis of these informative talks and they will be available for purchase, please click Symposium for further information from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

June 22, 2009

JUNE POSTING

Margaret Dore, J.D., M.B.A., an attorney in Seattle,WA, composed and presented a memorandum at the International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.  Please read her work,'"Choice" is a Lie.'

May 14, 2009

MAY POSTING

PCCEF has filed an Amicus Curiae Brief in the case before the Supreme Court of Montana about Assisted Suicide.  Please see Amicus Curiae Brief for a copy of the document.

March 13, 2009

MARCH POSTING

PCCEF has concerns about the 2008 Oregon Assisted Suicide Report, please see comments by Dr. Ken Stevens, Vice President PCCEF.

PRESS RELEASE - March 4, 2009

2008 Annual PAS Report Press Release

November 24, 2008

NOVEMBER POSTING

A message from PCCEF President, Dr. Charles J. Bentz MD, FACP. 

URGENT NEED:  It is very important to voice your opinion about the Washington debate about physician assisted suicide.  For the most recent updates, please visit the site www.noassistedsuicide.com.

October 23, 2008

OCTOBER POSTING

Jean Echlin, the past vice president of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and a palliative care pioneer in Canada has written an excellent article entitled: "Death With Dignity or Obscenity". This article was specifically written with the hope that it is read by voters in Washington State. (Published 10/21/08)

 

September 25, 2008

Dr. Kenneth Stevens’ and Dr. William Toffler’s Opinion Article “Assisted Suicide: Conspiracy and Control” was posted on The Oregonian’s online editorial section “The Stump” on 9/24/2008.  They comment on The Oregonian editorial of 9/20/2008 : “Washington state’s assisted suicide measure: Don’t go there”.

They comment on the following two realities:  first, the group controlling assisted suicide in Oregon is also the group controlling what the public is told; second, the claim that Oregon is a leader in improved end-of-life care because of assisted suicide is inaccurate.” 

September 25, 2008

Further documentation for Dr. Stevens' and Dr. Toffler's Opinion Article "Assisted Suicide: Conspiracy and Control"

September 16, 2008

SEPTEMBER POSTING

You can now go online and “Take the Pledge”

August 25, 2008

AUGUST POSTING

Dr. Kenneth Stevens comments on two ways physician assisted suicide adversely affects the health of our society.  Here is a summary of how the issue of pain control is being used as a scare tactic by pro-suicide groups.  Here are notes by Dr. Stevens on how the issue of inequality in healthcare needs to shape the way we think about assisted suicide. 

Pain and Physician-Assisted Suicide – What is Going On?

Inequality in Society and Physician Assisted Suicide

EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY

Resurrection Catholic Parish - Health and Wellness Ministry presents,

"Comfort Care in the Final Stages of Life"

at Resurrection Catholic Parish on October 25, 2008  8:30 am - 3:30 pm

cost: $35 includes lunch

Please respond to Resurrection Catholic Parish

21060 SW Stafford Road

Tualatin, OR 97062

contact Kim Kiely or Mariam Schneider at parishrn@gmail.com

Click here for further information.

July 24, 2008

JULY POSTING

PCCEF physicians in Oregon reflect on the local attitudes about physician-assisted suicide. 

June 10, 2008

JUNE POSTING

Oregon Rationing Cancer Treatment but Offering Assisted Suicide to Cancer Patients Paying to Die but not to Live

Imagine your health insurance company will not pay for the expense of beneficial cancer treatment, but will pay for the expense of physician-assisted suicide.  Read Dr. Kenneth Stevens' article about two patients who face this dilemma.

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL OREGON PHYSICIANS

OMA TO OFFER CME ON PAIN MANAGEMENT

Education Must Be Completed Before Jan. 2, 2009

To help members comply with this new requirement, the OMA will offer comprehensive workshops around the state, including some videoconferencing dates, to assist physicians in fulfilling this requirement before the deadline. Workshop details and locations will be available soon.

As a reminder, ALL licensees of the Oregon Medical Board, except lapsed, telemedicine and teleradiology licensees, MUST COMPLETE a two-part mandatory continuing medical education in the subjects of pain management and/or the treatment of terminally ill and dying patients as follows before Jan. 2, 2009:

  • A one-hour pain management course specific to Oregon provided by the Pain Management Commission of the Department of Human Services (course available at http://whalespoken.org/DHS/pain/training.shtml); and
  • A minimum of six CME credit hours in the subjects of pain management and/or the treatment of terminally ill and dying patients.  Any combination of CME coursework focusing on pain management and/or treatment of terminally ill and dying patients may be used to fulfill this requirement.

For more information on this requirement and a set of Frequently Asked Questions, visit www.oregon.gov/OMB/topics.shtml#RULES_PAIN_MANAGEMENT. For further questions on the requirements, contact Paul Frisch, JD at paul@theoma.org or (503) 619-8000.  To be placed on a mailing list with dates and times of OMA’s program, email Jenn Webster at jenn@theoma.org.

 

May 16, 2008

MAY POSTING

PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE IN OREGON: A MEDICAL PERSPECTIVE

by Herbert Hendin and Kathleen Foley

This Article, published in the Michigan Law Review, examines the Oregon
Death with Dignity Act from a medical perspective. Drawing on case
studies and information provided by doctors, families, and other care
givers, it finds that the seemingly reasonable safeguards for the care
and protection of terminally ill patients written into the Oregon law
are being circumvented. The problem lies primarily with the Oregon
Public Health Division (OPHD), which is charged with monitoring the law.
OPHD does not collect the information it would need to effectively
monitor the law and in its actions and publications acts as the defender
of the law rather than as the protector of the welfare of terminally ill
patients. This paper makes explicit suggestions and is a very thoughtful
review of the Oregon Experience. 

April 23, 2008

APRIL POSTING

It is a tragedy that none of the 49 physician-assisted suicide patients in Oregon in 2007 received a psychiatric evaluation. 

March 20, 2008

MARCH POSTING

Commentary on recent article published about physician-assisted suicide in Oregon

UPCOMING SPECIAL GUEST LECTURE

Speaker: O. Carter Snead IV, JD

Topic:  Healthcare Providers: Conscience and Coercion

Two opportunities to attend in Portland Oregon: April 3 and April 4, 2008

CME Credit available

March 18, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

Limited Information Regarding Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon for 2007

February 22, 2008

FEBRUARY POSTING

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International calls for action on euthanasia movement in Luxembourg

January 24, 2008

JANUARY POSTING

PCCEF announces a "Take the Pledge" campaign

December 27, 2007

DECEMBER POSTING

Five Oregonians to Remember: Five Oregonians for whom the tragedy of doctor-assisted suicide was all too real

November 20, 2007

NOVEMBER POSTING

PCCEF has serious concerns about the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) Board of Director's recent position statement regarding "Physician-Assisted Death."

October 31, 2007

OCTOBER POSTING

10-years of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon - commentary by Dr. Kenneth Stevens.

September 10, 2007

SEPTEMBER POSTING

PCCEF Concerned About Oregon

August 9, 2007

AUGUST POSTING

Assisted suicide legalization is failing:  Three major failures of the assisted suicide movement in 2007Assisted suicide in Oregon remains an anomaly.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The International Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide:

Current Issues Future Directions is November 30th - December 1st, 2007 in Toronto, Canada.  Plan now to attend this important event. (link to flyer information) (link to website)

July 10, 2007

PRESS RELEASE

Nursing board becomes part of the shroud of secrecy enveloping assisted suicide in Oregon.

June 11, 2007

JUNE POSTING

A review of the final report on the 2006 Winston Churchill Fellowship experience of end of life care and assisted suicide in the Pacific Northwest.  Please see the PCCEF summary and the original report: "Physician-Assisted Suicide vs. Palliative Care: A Tale of Two Cities" by Dr. David Jeffrey FRCPE.

 

June 6, 2007

Update on "Dr. Death"-  See recent editorial by Rita Marker and Wes Smith about the parole Dr. Kevorkian.

For more information about Dr. Kevorkian (link to website)

May 14, 2007

MAY POSTING

An article written by Chris Weinkopf , the LA Daily News' editorial-page editor regarding the persistant efforts of California legislator Levine to pass a physician-assisted suicide bill in California.

April 30, 2007

APRIL POSTING

A letter by Dr. William Petty recently  submitted to the editor of NEJM in response to a recent article (Curlin et al.) about physician conscience and controversial clinical practices.

March 8, 2007

PRESS RELEASE

Physician-assisted suicide in Oregon has become an unspeakable act: comments on the DHS annual report  

February 5, 2007

FEBRUARY POSTING

Letter of testimony to the Hawaiian Legislature. 
Dr. Bentz submits a letter of testimony to the State of Hawaii's Legislature, specifically the House Health Committee hearing on the Physician-Assisted Suicide bill (HB 675)

January 29, 2007

JANUARY POSTING

A letter to the California State Legislature by Rabbi Feldman regarding inconsistency in State Assemblyman’s support of physician-assisted suicide while advocating a Holocaust Memorial Week.

December 5, 2006

DECEMBER POSTING

Dr. Charles Bentz, MD, FACP, president of PCCEF, recently submitted this letter to the editor of the Oregonian.

November 2006

In an effort to educate the physicians in Oregon regarding the dangers of participating in physician-assisted suicide, PCCEF recently sent abstracts of these two articles to all physicians in Oregon.

October 23, 2006

OCTOBER POSTING

Last week the Oregon Department of Human Services reported the they will no longer use "physician assisted suicide" to reference Oregonians who have killed themselves under the Death with Dignity Act.

PCCEF is very concerned regarding the influence that proponents of physician-assisted suicide have on the Oregon State Department of Human Services.  Read more on our response...

Here are two short articles which PCCEF agrees with in response to this decision.

Oregon Department of Human Services Against Assisted Suicide!

Changing names, changing perceptions.

September 21, 2006

PRESS RELEASE

Physicians for Compassionate Care applauds Senate Bill 3788: The Assisted Suicide Prevention Act of 2006

Senator Brownback's introduction letter

Assisted Suicide Prevention Act 2006 S.3788 - a copy of the bill

Click here to view a template for a letter to your Senator

August 30, 2006

AUGUST POSTING

Physician-Assisted Suicide - Oregon - an anomaly; not a harbinger

An editorial paper written by Drs. Stevens, Toffler and Bentz discussing the recent defeat of physician-assisted suicide bills.

July 17, 2006

Dr. William Toffler and Dr. Kenneth Stevens response to the article entitled "The final choice" (Hospital Doctor, 1 June 2006) by Ms. Ann Jackson, Executive Director of the Oregon Hospice Association.

July 12, 2006

MORE ON THE DEFEAT OF CALIFORNIA ASSISTED SUICIDE MEASURE

The recent defeat of the California Assisted Suicide Measure (AB 651) was due to many factors, most notably the efforts of courageous men and women from all corners of Californian society.  Many testified before the legislature, and we have included a link to the testimony of Wesley J. Smith, JD, an articulate advocate in opposition to assisted suicide.

June 30, 2006

PRESS RELEASE

Vermont Wins A Major Victory in the Battle Against Physician-Assisted Suicide

June 30, 2006

PRESS RELEASE

Another Defeat for the Pro-Suicide Movement in California

May 17, 2006
Dr. Miles Edwards, late PCCEF board member, recently published article- Opiods and Benzodiazepines Appear Paradoxically to Delay Inevitable Death After Ventilator Withdrawal.
This article, published in the Journal of Palliative Care, (Vol 21:4/2005, pages 299-302) is one of the first trials showing that appropriate use of morphine in critically ill patients can prolong life as well as provide palliation and is an important contribution to the medical literature

May 16, 2006

PRESS RELEASE
Congratulations to the United Kingdom


May 9, 2006
MAY POSTING
For an excellent discussion of the discrepancy between the official reporting and what is actually happening in Oregon, please see the Report by the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

May 8, 2006
"First do no harm" a clear line in law and medical ethics
An excellent article on Assisted Suicide in the United Kingdom by Professor Ilora Finalay, President Elect of the Royal Society of Medicine. Reprinted from JR Soc Med 2006 99:214-215

May 5 - 7, 2006
HEADLINE - UPCOMING CONFERENCE
The Central California Guild of the Catholic Medical Association announces its inaugural event, End of Life Care: A Christian Perspective. Brochure...

April 10 , 2006
Emotional and Psychological Effects of Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia on Participating Physicians. This article, published in Issues in Law & Medicine, Vol 21, pages 187-200, Spring 2006, is a review and evaluation of medical and public literature regarding the reported emotional and psychological effects of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia on the involved physicians.

March 27, 2006
MARCH POSTING
The board and members of Physicians for Compassionate Care celebrate the life of Miles J. Edwards, MD (1930 - 2006)   More...

March 9, 2006

PRESS RELEASE
Oregon's Assited Suicide Law: The "Medical Killing" of Vulnerable Patients Continues

January 23, 2006
JANUARY POSTING
Physicians for Compassionate Care responds to Supreme Court decision     More...

October 11, 2005
The Consequences of Physician-Assisted Suicide an oral and written presentation of Dr. Stevens at a Community Conversation Panel at the the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon on October 11, 2005

October 5, 2005
Why is Oregon Special?, by Kenneth R. Stevens, M.D., regarding the Oregon issue before the U.S. Supreme Court, as published in USA TODAY, October 5, 2005

June 27, 2005
N. Gregory Hamilton and Catherine A. Hamilton,
Competing Paradigms of Response to Assisted Suicide Requests in Oregon, Am. J. Psychiatry, Jun 2005; 162: 1060 - 1065.

June 14, 2005
A written copy of an invited presentation given by Dr. Kenneth R. Stevens, Jr., M.D. to the British House of Lords on June 14, 2005.

June 11, 2005
An amicus brief was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation entitled Gonzales v. Oregon, U.S. No. 04-623 (2004):363-364

April 25, 2005
Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) physicians have corrected a previously reported erroneous claim that the rate of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon is lower than in other states. Drs. Stevens and Toffler have set the record straight...

April 14, 2005
A written copy of the oral testimony presented by Dr. Kenneth Stevens, M.D., on April 14. 2005, to the Vermont House Human Services Committee Hearing on H-168, a proposal to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Vermont.

February 11, 2005
Testimony of Dr. Kenneth Stevens, M.D. to the Joint Hearing of the California Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-term Care and the Assembly Judiciary Committee on February 4, 2005.

February 5, 2005
A written copy of the oral testimony presented by Dr. William Petty, M.D., on February 5, 2005, to the Hawaii House of Representatives Committee on Health Hearing on HB 1454.

February 5, 2005
An expanded written copy of the oral testimony presented by Dr. Kenneth Stevens, M.D., on February 5, 2005, to the Hawaii House of Representatives Committee on Health Hearing on HB 1454.

 

 

 

 
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