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District Residents Tell Congress “Keep Hands Off D.C.”

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(Street Sense) – “Hands off DC,” chanted a group of almost a hundred District residents gathered near the U.S. Capitol Building Monday, Feb. 13. The “Hands Off D.C.” demonstration was held as the House Oversight Committee voted on whether to invalidate a D.C. law legalizing assisted suicide.

Joined by local city officials, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, they rallied in an effort to tell Congress to respect D.C.’s voters.

Even though the law passed through local D.C. government under the Home Rule Act, D.C. has to submit all of its laws to Congress for oversight. If both chambers pass a disapproval resolution and the president signs it within 30 legislative days, the legislation becomes legally null. CONTINUE

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New Mexico Assisted Suicide Bill Moves Toward Death on Demand

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(Wesley J. Smith/The Corner) – Assisted suicide pushers are–to put it kindly–disingenuous. For example, they often offer smooth assurances about “safeguards” to protect against abuse.

Yet, new legalization schemes often dilute the traditional already-as-thick-as-water limitations in place where lethally prescribing is now legal. For example, most laws require doctors to diagnose and prescribe lethally. But a bill in New Mexico would open those who can help kill to nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.

Generally a suicidal person needs to be terminally ill in US proposals (not so internationally), defined as 6 months left to live. (Some people so diagnosed never die of their condition, or live for years.) CONTINUE

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Massachusetts Woman Proves Power of Perseverance

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(Fox 25 WFXT) – More than a year ago, an Athol woman was nearly killed in a motorcycle crash while in Florida. "They said ‘if’ she is going to survive she would probably be a vegetable,” said Bonny Thomson, Shevonne Legere’s mother.

Thomson remembers the police knocking at the door and the blur of rushing to Florida. “We just looked at her and thought ‘oh my God this is really our daughter,” she said. Legere was thrown 150 feet from the back of the motorcycle. Her helmet took the biggest impact, but she still suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma for two months.

“I should be dead,” Shevonne said. Doctors told her she’d never walk again. Shevonne isn’t the type of person who backs down from a challenge. "She never gives up,” said her father. CONTINUE

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D.C. Physician-Assisted Suicide Law Goes Into Effect

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Efforts in Congress to block implementation failed to achieve floor votes

(Washington Times) - A law authorizing physicians in the nation’s capital to help end the lives of terminally ill patients who wish to die went into effect Saturday after congressional Republicans were unable to block the legislation in time. Washington, D.C., is now the 7th jurisdiction in the country to permit physician-assisted suicide.

Jessica Grennan, national director for political affairs and advocacy for Compassion & Choices, which spearheaded the effort, said the democratic process won out.

“The advocacy of D.C. residents and local officials is what won this victory,” Ms. Grennan said in a statement. “Democracy conquered the personal mindsets of paternalistic politicians whose opinions should not get in the way of people getting the medical relief they want and need.” CONTINUE

 

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Brain Injury Survivor is Focusing on the Future, After Being Hit by Drunk-Driver

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(Daily Gazette) – A woman who survived a horrific car crash is looking forward to the future three years on from the accident. Tara McIntyre, 25, nearly died after a crash in High Garrett in February 2014, when a drink-driver in a Mercedes crashed into her Ford Ka.

The driver, Ben Hagon, was travelling at 60mph on the wrong side of the 40mph road and was jailed for two years and eight months at Chelmsford Crown Court in 2015.

The former Tabor Academy student, of Vauxhall Drive, Braintree, was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, by the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance with a severed aorta, a fractured spine and a brain injury. CONTINUE

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Doctors Can End Baby’s Life 'With Only Weeks to Live', Judge Rules

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(The Guardian) – Doctors can withdraw life-support treatment from an eight-month-old baby whose heart failed to develop properly despite her parents’ objections, a high court judge has ruled.

Ms Justice Russell concluded that stopping “invasive” treatment would be in the baby’s best interests. Specialists had predicted that the little girl had weeks to live. The judge said it was entirely understandable that the girl’s parents wanted her to live for as long as possible.

She made the ruling after analysing the case at a private hearing in the family division of the high court in London earlier this month. The family involved could not be identified. CONTINUE

 

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Doctors Struggling to Cope with Assisted Death

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(Metro) – Since new legislation came into place last year, 28 people in Ottawa have ended their lives with the help of a physician. Advocates say the new legislation, which came into force last June, is taking a toll on some doctors, who are finding it difficult to help patients who want to die.

The 28 patients in Ottawa are as reported to the Ontario Coroner and include both patients who ended their lives in hospital and those who did so at home or in a care facility as of Feb. 3. Across the province, 250 people have ended their lives with physician assistance since the law came into place.

Jeff Blackmer, vice-president for medical professionalism at the Canadian Medical Association, said doctors have been telling his group that they struggle with taking part in assisted-death procedures. CONTINUE

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House Committee Votes to Strike Down D.C. Law Legalizing Assisted Suicide

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(LifeNews.com) – Last night, a Congressional committee voted to strike down a new law in Washington DC that would legalize assisted suicide.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced H.J. Res. 27, the resolution disapproving the District of Columbia Council’s bill legalizing physician assisted suicide. The bill was advanced by a vote of 22-14 with 21 Republican Members and 1 Democratic Member voting to pass the resolution while 13 Democratic Members and 1 Republican voted against it.

During his opening statement, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) referenced the testimony of the Director of the DC Department of Health, LaQuandra Nesbitt, who opposed DC’s legalization of assisted suicide saying the bill “catapults the District into unchartered territories we are not yet prepared to navigate.” CONTINUE

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Study Finds Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

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(UPI) — Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that the impact of a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, in a child can have long-lasting effects years later.

There are more than 630,000 children and teens in the United States treated in emergency rooms for TBI each year. The study, presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists in Las Vegas, found that patients with mild to moderate brain injury are twice as likely to have developed attention problems when examined seven years after injury.

The research also found that children with severe TBI are five times more likely to develop secondary ADHD than children without TBI. CONTINUE

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Bioethicist: Give Self-Cutters Sterile Razors

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(Wesley J. Smith/The Corner) – How off the rails of decency and true compassion is bioethics discourse becoming? Try this. Rather than try to prevent disturbed self-cutters from harming themselves instead give them sterile razors.

So says University of Manchester Law School professor of “Social Ethics and Policy,” Patrick J. Sullivan, because, well, harm minimization and obeisance to the great modern god AUTONOMY. From his article in the Journal of Medical Ethics:

It has been argued that healthcare professionals may sometimes have good reasons to allow harm, in fact they routinely do so; allowing harm is not necessarily contrary to the professionals’ duty of care, and in fact it may be required if the benefits are significant and likely to outweigh such harm. CONTINUE

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Toddler Recovering After Snake Bites Causes Brain Injury

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(Courier Mail) – For more than six agonising minutes Giles Campbell mentally prepared to say goodbye to his son Eli. Bitten by a deadly taipan, the two-year-old had suffered cardiac arrest and Mr Campbell and his pregnant partner Brittany Cervantes could only watch helplessly as paramedics fought to revive him.


But nearly five months, several setbacks, and hundreds of hours of rehabilitation later, the Agnes Water toddler is wowing physical therapists with his remarkable recovery. Yesterday he was running, playing and chatting in his own personal language.

Mr Campbell, 43, said while Eli had recovered better than doctors had at times believed he would, he suffered a brain injury from the venom that impairs his vision, causes ongoing epileptic seizures and has damaged his fine motor skills. CONTINUE

 

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DC Assisted Suicide Bill Puts Patients at Risk, Prioritizes Costs

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(Reps. Brad Wenstrup and Phil Roe) – Do no harm.” Three short words, but to physicians they represent a sacred charge. Three short words that now hang in the balance here in the District of Columbia, after the D.C. council passed the Death with Dignity Act (Act 21-577), legalizing physician-assisted suicide in the nation’s capital.

In authorizing doctors to violate the Hippocratic oath of “do no harm,” physician-assisted suicide undermines a key safeguard that protects our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and helps to ensure our loved ones receive the best medical care when they need it most.

As doctors, we are concerned about providing care and comfort to those facing the heart-wrenching difficulty of dealing with a terminal disease. It is an issue close to our hearts. However, for patients with terminal diseases who are not seeking treatment and instead coping with the complexities of end-of-life preparations, there are already a myriad of end-of-life care options currently at a patient’s disposal. CONTINUE

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Ohio Cognitive Center Falsely Told Dozens They Had Alzheimer's, Suits Say

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(AP) — Shawn Blazsek knew a string of concussions from high school football and boxing was catching up with him. He would go days without sleeping and was forgetting how to tie his shoes. Still, at age 33, he was stunned after being told he had Alzheimer's disease.

He started planning out who would take care of his four kids if something happened to his wife, and thought about how hard it would be for them when he could no longer recognize his family. So he stuffed fistfuls of sleeping pills into a bottle and wrote himself a note, vowing to swallow all of them when he wasn't able to remember the names of his children.

That day never came. Nine months later, he learned that the memory-loss center director who diagnosed him didn't have a medical or psychology license needed to do so. Then another test confirmed he did not have Alzheimer's. CONTINUE

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Bill Would Allow Starving Mentally Ill Patients

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(Oregon Right to Life) – Some Oregon legislators and insurance lobbyists have recently devised another legal way to kill people. It is so inhumane that you would not even treat your pet dog in this way. Just as all bullies do, these legislators have singled out the weak and defenseless.

SB494, if passed, would allow the starving and dehydrating to death of conscious Alzheimer’s, dementia and mentally ill patients.

These are patients who are awake, can chew and swallow and want to eat, even though in some cases they may need help in delivering food to their mouths. Current safeguards in Oregon’s law protect these patients from this type of cruelty. This bill take away these safeguards. CONTINUE

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25-Year-Old Overcomes Traumatic Brain Injury

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(KRCR News) – Chaz Baldwin, 25 of Anderson, is able to walk and talk after being told by doctors three years ago it was likely impossible. In 2014, Baldwin was involved in a head-on motorcycle crash in Napa. He sustained a traumatic brain injury with a diffused axonal injury, known as TBIDAI, along with multiple fractures to parts of his body.

He was in a coma for 64 days and treated in three different hospitals over the course of four months. "The doctors gave us no hope in the beginning," David Small, Baldwin's stepdad, said.

Baldwin's mother, Leeann Small, explained the moment when she knew Baldwin's memory was still intact. "I grabbed his face and I just knew," she said. "I ran out and I called his dad and I'm crying on the phone and he said, 'I knew he was in there,' and it was one of those moments that everything turned," she said. CONTINUE

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The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

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Bioethicists, Wesley J. Smith review’s Supreme Court Nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch's book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, at the time it was published.

(Wesley. J. Smith/First Things) – Should doctors or others be permitted to euthanize babies born with disabilities or assist the suicides of suffering people who want to die? During the first forty years of the twentieth century, fueled by the eugenics movement, the question was very much on the table. Then the Holocaust, in which euthanasia of the disabled played a central role, demonstrated the acute danger of following such a course.

Unfortunately, people have short memories. About twenty years ago, carried along by the cultural shift in the West that disdains most principled concepts of right and wrong and which views near absolute personal autonomy as the sina qua non of liberty, the euthanasia movement awakened from its hibernation. Since then, euthanasia and assisted suicide have gone¯to borrow one of my favorite Richard John Neuhuas quotations¯from the unthinkable, to the debatable, to the justifiable, on its way to the unexceptional.

In Europe, the Netherlands and Belgium have formally legalized voluntary euthanasia, and the Dutch medical practice of euthanizing disabled babies, which already occurs with little consequence, may soon receive the formal sanction of law. Switzerland openly permits lay groups to facilitate suicides. CONTINUE

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If Only the Rest of America Got Concussion Care Like NFL Players

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(The Huffington Post) – Dr. Geoffrey Manley, a California neurosurgeon, is no football fan. He isn’t planning to attend a Super Bowl party this Sunday, and he doubts he’ll even turn on the TV at home as he works on other projects.

But for the past four years, Manley been intimately involved in trying to prevent one of the NFL’s most dire problems: permanent brain damage as a result of untreated concussions.

In addition to his job as chief of neurosurgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and vice chairman of neurological surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, Manley also moonlights as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, or UNC, for the Oakland Raiders. That means he has a sideline view of every home game, and is part of a medical team that evaluates players who have taken hard hits and could be at risk for concussion. CONTINUE

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Locked-In Patients Tell Doctors They Are ‘Happy’ After Computer Reads Thoughts

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(The Telegraph) - Locked-in patients trapped inside their paralysed bodies have told doctors they are ‘happy’ using an astonishing new brain computer interface which deciphers their thoughts. In a groundbreaking experiment, four people who were incapable of even moving their eyes, were able to respond with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to spoken questions.

On seven out of 10 occasions the patients said they were happy despite their utterly debilitating condition which means they require round the clock care for all their basic needs. In one case, a family requested that the researchers ask one of the participants whether he would agree for his daughter to marry her boyfriend ‘Mario’. The answer was “No” nine times out of ten.

“The striking results overturn my own theory that people with complete locked-in syndrome are not capable of communication,” said Professor Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland. CONTINUE

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Neil Gorsuch: A Voice Against America's Euthanasia Culture

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The following is a statement from the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network regarding Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump for U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, will face appropriate congressional review in the coming weeks. Americans across the country are looking into Judge Gorsuch's record to decide for themselves whether he is fit for the highest court. In this spirit, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network is cautiously optimistic that Judge Gorsuch would be a valuable ally in the fight for the rights of all Americans, particularly the most medically vulnerable who at at-risk of euthanasia through denial-of-care.

In his 2009 book "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia," Judge Gorsuch proposed a thoughtful judicial and social approach for ensuring every American receives desired care. He was praised for his "nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization, one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate--the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong."

Yet Judge Gorsuch was also practical, realizing the need to support "individual patient autonomy and the refusal of unwanted medical treatment and life-sustaining care, permitting intervention only in cases where an intention to kill is present."

If Judge Gorsuch were to rule on the Supreme Court on issues relating to euthanasia in the same spirit that he weighed these issues just a few years ago, there is reason to be optimistic that American law will continue to uphold human dignity and serve the medically vulnerable.

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Kansas City Man Leaves Hospital After Brain Injury from Horrible Crash

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(KSBW8) – They didn't think he would make it. A Kansas City man, 22-year-old Jacob Rickel, was put into a coma and suffered traumatic brain injuries after a rollover crash on December 17th in Liberty, Missouri. 

Rickel's mother received a phone call at 2:03 that morning saying her son had been in a terrible accident. The only thing doctors would tell her is that he was alive and to stay "cautiously optimistic."

"His friends said he was making a death rattle," said Sherrie Rickel. "They honestly didn't think he was going to make it. He never opened his eyes. He never spoke." Reports say Jacob lost control of his truck and was ejected since he didn't have his seat belt in use. He says he doesn't remember much about the accident. CONTINUE

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Dutch Euthanasia Authorities OK Apparent Murder

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(The Corner) – Euthanasia advocates tout medicalized killing as being about autonomy. But it eventually becomes about making sure certain categories of people become dead. Thus, in the Netherlands, some patients have been euthanized who have never asked for it, a killing procedure known as “termination without request or consent.”

Here’s another case in point. A woman signed an advance directive to be killed “at the right time” due to Alzheimer’s. CONTINUE

 

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Teenager Would Have Died or Suffered Brain Damage if Not Treated by HEMS

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(Belfast Live) – A teenager injured in a road smash would have been left with brain damage if he had not been treated by an emergency team campaigners want to see taking to the skies over Northern Ireland.

Odhran McKenna sustained “horrific brain injuries” when his car left the road and hit a tree in February 2016. But he was treated within minutes by a doctor/paramedic team modelled on the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) hoped to be introduced in the region later this year.

The fact the 17-year-old, from Crumlin, Co Antrim , was treated by a doctor as well as a paramedic meant his brain injury was quickly stabilised with the use of general anaesthesia significantly reducing the damage that would have ensued if he had not been seen by a doctor until he was rushed to a specialist unit. CONTINUE

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'Broke' Father Begs to Kill His Terminally Ill Sons

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(New Vision 30) – Desperate to end their suffering, an impoverished Bangladeshi father has begged permission to kill three terminally ill members of his family, sparking a rare debate about euthanasia in a deeply conservative society.

"I have taken care of them for years. I took them to hospitals in Bangladesh and India, I sold my shop to pay for their treatment but now I'm broke," said Tofazzal Hossain as he describes his years-long struggle to cope with the costs of looking after his two sons and grandson.

"The government should decide what it wants to do with them. They are suffering and have no hope of recovery. I can't bear it any longer."

Hossain, a fruit vendor from the rural west of the country, wrote to his local district administration pleading for them to either help care for his loved ones -- who suffer from an incurable form of muscular dystrophy -- or "allow them to be put to death with medicine", he told AFP. CONTINUE

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Former NY Attorney General Opposes Plan to Reintroduce Doctor-Assisted Suicide Legislation

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(NY Daily News) – As supporters prepare to reintroduce legislation to allow physician-assisted suicide on Monday, a former state attorney general is planning to be a leading figure in the fight against it. Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester County) and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) plan to hold a press conference to announce the reintroduction of the Medical Aid in Dying Act.

But critics of assisted suicide say it devalues human life and could put the most vulnerable under pressure from family, doctors and insurance companies to take advantage of the death option.

Former Attorney General Dennis Vacco said he plans to cross the state speaking out against the bill, which is opposed by the state Catholic Conference headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, other religious groups, and disability rights organizations. CONTINUE

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Doctor Sends Six Dementia Patients to Suicide Clinics

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(Daily Mail) – A doctor who was struck off has helped six British dementia sufferers to end their lives at assisted suicide clinics in Switzerland. Psychiatrist Colin Brewer, who is no longer allowed to practise in Britain, wrote medical reports stating the patients had the mental capacity to choose to die.

None of the six – who died between 2013 and 2016, among them an eminent physicist – was suffering from a terminal illness. Last night, Brewer told The Mail on Sunday he had carried out a series of mental assessment tests on the patients before they went to Dignitas.

But campaigners against assisted dying said it is ‘hugely dangerous’ to enable people with ‘diminished mental capacity’ to end their lives. CONTINUE

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Events

Events Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, travels the country to give witness to the importance of upholding human dignity through service to the medically vulnerable. If you like to...

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