Wesley J. Smith: Bioethics in the Age of Trump


(The Weekly Standard) – Ever since his unexpected victory, the media have been obsessing over what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for a range of important issues, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, border enforcement, the judiciary, and Obamacare repeal. But one set of crucial concerns—those that go under the general category of bioethics/biotechnology—has received woefully short shrift, both in the campaign and the national discourse.

Indeed, with the exception of abortion, these issues went wholly unaddressed during the election—and have certainly received no focus in the runup to the inauguration.

That needs to change. We are entering Brave New World territory, with potentially momentous impact on culture and the concept of family. Human cloning has, with way too little fanfare, been accomplished. Researchers are on the verge of creating sperm and eggs from skin cells.

Efforts are underway to open the door to the creation of "three-parent" embryos. Transhumanists argue in favor of "seizing control of human evolution" and creating a "post-human species." CONTINUE


Assisted Suicide: The Public is Being Duped


(Nancy Valko, RN ALNC) - It was 1969 and I was fresh out of nursing school when I was assigned to a patient I will call “Jenny” who was thirty two years old and imminently dying of cancer. She was curled up in her bed, sobbing in pain and even moaned “just kill me.” The small dose of Demerol I injected into her almost non-existent buttocks every four hours “as needed” was not helping. I reassured Jenny that I was immediately calling the doctor and we would get her more comfortable.

However, I was shocked when the doctor said no to increasing or changing her medication. He said that he didn’t want her to get addicted! I told him exactly what Jenny said and also that she was obviously very close to death so addiction would not be a problem. The doctor repeated his no and hung up on me.

I went to my head nurse and told her what happened but she told me I had to follow the doctor’s order. Eventually, I went up the chain of command to the assistant director of nursing and finally the Chief of the Medical Staff. The verdict came down and I was threatened with immediate termination if I gave the next dose of Demerol even a few minutes early. CONTINUE



Ohio Making Assisted Suicide a Felony


(The Corner) – The media is so in the tank for legalizing assisted suicide that casual observers might think the political current favoring legalization is so strong it can no longer be resisted.

I have been hearing that meme since 1994, when Oregon passed Measure 16. In the intervening 22 years, hundreds of state legislative efforts to legalize doctor-prescribed death have failed and voters rejected as many legalization schemes as they passed (by my count, 3-3).

Now, Ohio is pushing back hard by criminalizing assisted suicide. CONTINUE


Grandfather with Ten Years to Live Euthanized


Andrew Barclay took a lethal dose of barbiturates at Dignitas, and his story is now being used to push for euthanasia in the UK.

(SPUC) – A man with multiple sclerosis travelled to Dignitas last week to die by euthanasia, despite being told he could live another decade. His story is being used to push for euthanasia laws in the UK.

Andrew Barclay, 65, from Folkestone in Kent, died after taking a lethal dose of drugs in an apartment near Zurich, having travelled to Switzerland with his wife.

The story was on the front page of the Saturday edition of the Daily Mirror, with the headline "If you're reading this- I'm already dead". The former civil servant called on& UK legislators to allow euthanasia amid concerns that his wife may face a police investigation on her return to Britain for assisting him. CONTINUE


Bishop: Catholics Who Choose Euthanasia Cannot Receive Last Rites


(LifeSiteNews) — Swiss Bishop Vitus Huonder has instructed his priests to deny last rites for Catholics who choose euthanasia, explaining “in this circumstance, the prerequisites for the reception of sacraments are not given.”

His statement and explanation are part of a pastoral message for “Human Rights Day” on December 10 in which he speaks to Catholics in the Diocese of Chur in the Grisonian Rhine Valley of Switzerland.

Bishop Huonder’s letter addresses growing concerns about putting one’s life in the “hands of specialists” who become “judges of our life, especially if we are not capable of judgment and cannot decide for ourselves.” CONTINUE


Researchers Track Brain Injured Woman to Reveal Process of Recovery


(News Medical Life Sciences) – A severely brain injured woman, who recovered the ability to communicate using her left eye, restored connections and function of the areas of her brain responsible for producing expressive language and responding to human speech, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine scientists.

The study, published Dec. 7 in Science Translational Medicine, began 21 months after Margaret Worthen suffered massive strokes, and her continuing recovery was tracked for nearly three years. The research signifies the first time that scientists have captured the restoration of communication of a minimally conscious patient by measuring aspects of brain structure and function before and after communication resumed.

It also raises the question of whether other patients in chronic care facilities who appear to be minimally responsive or unresponsive may harbor organized, higher-level brain function. CONTINUE


Schiavo’s Brother: Can President-Elect Trump Save Our Nation’s Healthcare?


(The Daily Caller) – Donald Trump will soon be President Trump. In light of this, it’s worth examining the potential impact of one of his most frequent promises: the replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

I suspect average Americans were encouraged by Trump’s promise, and might expect that whatever replaces the ACA, will be more life-affirming in terms of providing better care for vulnerable patients having trouble receiving wanted treatment.

However, I’m pessimistic that any new healthcare law will substantially improve care for our nation’s most medically vulnerable. On the contrary, I expect the trend of offering approved suicide, as if it were medicine, to gain steam across the country. CONTINUE


Bioethicists Want to Purge Christian Doctors


(The Stream) – Two academic bioethicists want to bar Christians and those who hold other traditional religious beliefs from practicing medicine, and even from attending medical school. The pair fear, as the National Post summarizes, doctors might “impose their values on patients.”

Of course, it is impossible — not unlikely: impossible — for doctors not to impose their values on patients. Even using a tongue depressor on a patient presupposes certain moral values. (Presumably the doctor is doing this to aid in his goal of healing the patient, a moral value.) Since morality infuses all actions, the only real question is this: what moral values should doctors hold?

Julian Savulescu and Udo Schuklenk (I will refer to them as “the SS” hereafter), in their paper “Doctors Have No Right to Refuse Medical Assistance in Dying, Abortion or Contraception” in the journal Bioethics, argue that conscientious objectors not be allowed to train for or to practice medicine. “The problem with conscientious objection,” they write, “is that it has been freely accommodated, if not encouraged, for far too long.” CONTINUE


Death on Demand True Euthanasia Movement Goal


(The Corner) – Australia’s Philip Nitschke is the euthanasia movement’s most candid advocate. While most euthanasia/assisted suicide promoters pretend the movement is mostly about ending the suffering of those with terminal illnesses–a demonstrably fake limitation to get people to swallow the cultural hemlock of “death with dignity”– Nitschke bluntly states euthanasia should be available to all without regard to cause.

Indeed, in 2001, he told Kathryn Jean Lopez, he would like to make suicide pills available in supermarkets, including to “troubled teens:”

So all people qualify, not just those with the training, knowledge, or resources to find out how to “give away” their life. And someone needs to provide this knowledge, training, or recourse necessary to anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, [and] the troubled teen. CONTINUE


Mrs. Iowa Finds Strength as Husband Fights for His Life


(Sioux City Journal) - Rosanne Plante sits on a hospital bed at Mercy Medical Center and sorts through a stack of cards, yesterday's mail. One is postmarked Germany. Another comes from a friend she's not heard from in 20 years. "Chad, you can make it!" a writer from Anthon, Iowa, exhorts.

Later on, Rosanne will read cards to Chad, who may or may not open his eyes or squeeze her hand. He's been opening his eyes; he has been squeezing her hand at times, perhaps letting his wife know he hears her and may soon join her. "We've had a run of good luck," Rosanne says. "We've had about six days now where Chad has opened his eyes."

Chad Plante, though, remains in a coma, the unconscious state he's been in since being involved in a crash around 5:40 a.m. on Nov. 15. The incident took place at Business Highway 75 and Outer Belt Drive. Chad was on his way to Palmer's Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe, where he works in maintenance and engineering, and was toying with ways to fully automate his area of the plant. CONTINUE


Today, December 3rd, We Remember Terri Schindler Schiavo on Her Birthday


(Life & Hope Network) – Theresa Marie Schindler was born to Robert and Mary Schindler on December 3, 1963. She was the first of three children the Schindlers would have. Terri was a shy, but comical, child who had an affinity for music, animals, and the arts. She kept a small circle of friends and was dear to schoolmates, neighboring families, and her own extended family.

Following high school, Terri came into her own. She developed a knack for sketching and doodling. She enjoyed outings with her friends. She was an adoptive mother to the family's dog, Bucky. Terri attended Catholic School while growing up and remained close to her faith throughout her life. CONTINUE


Turning 30 and Living the Normal Life Nobody Thought She Could


(Sydney Morning Herald) – Lauren Huxley doesn't remember the spring afternoon in late 2005 when she was repeatedly and violently beaten by a stranger, soaked with petrol as her family's home burned around her. Thankfully, she's been spared the trauma of reliving the terrifying minutes of the attack and the frantic efforts that followed to save her life.

Doctors didn't think she would make it. The then 18-year-old was given a 5 per cent chance of surviving the horrific head and facial injuries that her attacker inflicted, leaving her unrecognisable. Her family was told to say their goodbyes. CONTINUE


Ethicists Condemns Hospital for Deciding Against Euthanizing Patients


(LifeSiteNews) – Two Christian hospitals in Winnipeg have decided not to euthanize their patients nor help them kill themselves, and the CBC immediately found a university ethicist to condemn them. According to one critic, the controversial state-funded broadcaster is guilty of “selective outrage” in its continued attack on hospitals and physicians that conscientiously object to Canada’s new euthanasia regime.

Concordia Hospital, which is Mennonite, and St. Boniface, which is Catholic, have both indicated they have the agreement of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to not provide “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) as euthanasia and assisted suicide are euphemistically termed. CONTINUE


Hero Cop Can Communicate… But His Wife Still Wants Him to Die


(The Sun) – A WAR hero cop left in a vegetative state whose family want to withdraw life support treatment has shown some signs of improvement, a court heard. PC Paul Briggs, 43, managed to answer yes or no questions about himself and his condition using a buzzer, the Court of Protection hearing in Manchester was told.

In July last year Pc Briggs suffered a bleed on the brain, five fractures in his spine, bruising to internal organs and several other severe injuries in a crash. His wife Lindsey has asked the court to stop the treatment which the Gulf War veteran, from Wirral, Merseyside, is receiving at the Walton Centre in Liverpool. But today specialist speech and language therapist Mary Ankers told the court there was still “potential” for the father of one to emerge from the minimally conscious state. CONTINUE


Baby Wakes From Coma After Father Fought Doctors' Attempts to End Her Life


(Daily Mail) – Doctors were ready to flick Marwa's life support machine off, until she opened her eyes to prove she was still alive. The one-year-old had been in an induced coma since September after battling a virus.

Doctors wanted to switch her machine off after growing increasingly concerned that if she did wake up that she would have severe functioning problems. However, her parents weren't ready to give up and sought court action to keep her alive for as long as possible.

And after being given a two month extension, Marwa woke up to defy all expectations. CONTINUE


Brain Injury Recovery Long Road for Former Principal


( – Former school principal Craig Hickford had everything he had ever dreamed of. A beautiful wife, two gorgeous children, a successful career and his independence. Nine months ago, on Valentine's Day, his life changed for ever when he was knocked from his bike by a ute in Dunedin. He nearly died. Ambulance staff worked on him at the scene for over a hour before he could be transported. For the next 10 days, he was on life support in Dunedin Hospital. Doctors talked about turning his life support off. They didn't and he pulled through.

The 44-year-old is now home from Wakari Hospital's Isis unit, which treats people with serious brain injuries. The recovery is painstakingly slow. It's a pretty frustrating thing to have happen to you," Hickford says. "I've got a traumatic brain injury. It's meant I've started from zero again. That's been a real mission. It's just been a battle." CONTINUE


Anorexic Woman Allowed to Starve Herself to Death


(The Corner) – We have reached the point that indisputably mentally ill people are being allowed to commit suicide or to die from their terrible psychiatric afflictions. In Belgium, a chronic self-harmer was voluntarily euthanized and organ harvested.

In California, a regulation permits the involuntarily institutionalized mentally ill dying to be released for the purpose committing assisted suicide. And now, a court has ordered that a woman with anorexia not be kept alive through forced feeding even though it means she will starve herself to death. CONTINUE


Toddler Dies After Hospital Tried to Remove Her Life Support Despite Parents’ Objections


( – A Virginia toddler whose family fought to keep her on life support after she choked on a piece of popcorn died earlier this month. A VCU Medical Center spokesperson told WTVR News 6 that Mirranda Grace Lawson, 2, died on Nov. 1 after her kidneys failed. The toddler had been on life support since May.

Her parents, Patrick and Alison Lawson of Fauquier County, Virginia, began a legal battle to keep their daughter on life support earlier this year after doctors said Mirranda likely was brain dead. WTVR News 6 reports Mirranda choked on a piece of popcorn on May 11, suffered cardiac arrest and was placed on a ventilator. Doctors at VCU Medical Center said the toddler met the criteria for brain death, and they wanted to do a test to confirm it. CONTINUE


Mother Critically Injured in Crash Defies the Odds


(News & Star) – Natalli Fisher, 35, was critically injured in a road accident which killed her best friend Audrey Tunstall. She was left in a coma with devastating brain, pelvis, arm and chest injuries which saw her undergo 19 hours of surgery at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after the accident on the A596 outside Dunmail park near Workington on October 22.

Now, after regaining consciousness, she has been transferred to a specialist brain injury rehabilitation unit at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. Her sister 33-year-old Caroline Forber spoke of Natalli's courage and described her as a "marvel." "Natalli is amazing. She has defied all the odds to cheat death," she said. CONTINUE


D.C. Approves Doctor Prescribed Suicide


(Washington Times) – The D.C. Council gave final approval on Tuesday to a bill that would authorize doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live, sending the legislation to the desk of Mayor Muriel Bowser for her signature.

Sponsored by council member Mary Cheh, the Death With Dignity Act cleared the council in an 11-2 vote, enough to override a veto from the mayor’s office. Ms. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, said there is an “urgent need” in the District for “terminally ill residents to have the end-of-life care option of medical aid in dying.”

“This law is designed to keep the government from taking away people’s freedom and liberty to make these fundamentally personal decisions in consultation with their family, physician and spiritual advisors,” she said in a statement. A spokesperson for the mayor said Ms. Bowser expects the bill to become law, after which it will go to Congress for review. CONTINUE


Nursing Home Euthanizes Woman Who Only Had a Bladder Infection


( – I received an email from a person, whose Aunt died by euthanasia, even though she might only have a bladder infection. This email letter proves out that the supposed safeguards in Canada’s euthanasia law are ineffective and ignored by euthanasia doctors who are deciding who lives and who dies. The letter is edited for privacy:

My Aunt … was just Euthanized today Nov 9, 2016 by Lethal injection at … Retirement Home … in BC. We were called to a meeting at … Hospice on Nov 7, 2016 to be told for the first time that our … Aunt had requested to be Euthanized. We were told it would take at least 10 days. My sister and I argued that our Aunt appears to only have a severe Bladder infection.

The Hospice Doctor said he would look into having her urine tested for this before they proceed with Euthanasia. The same day we were sent over to our Aunts apartment to witness the doctor (that is going to give our Aunt the Lethal injection) having our Aunt sign the document to give her the permission to do the euthanasia. CONTINUE



Lawsuit Seeks to Euthanize Definition of Suicide


(The Corner) – Here we go again. Having failed to convince Massachusetts voters to legalize assisted suicide in 2012, and having repeatedly failed to get such legislation passed, the Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices is bringing a lawsuit to declare that assisted suicide is a right because it isn’t suicide. From the WCBV story:

Two Cape Cod doctors are asking a Massachusetts court to rule that it’s not a criminal act for physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication to mentally competent patients with terminal illnesses.

A lawsuit was filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court by Dr. Roger Kligler, who has terminal cancer, and Dr. Alan Steinbach, with the help of Compassion & Choices, a Denver-based nonprofit that works on end-of-life choices. It also asks the court for an injunction to prevent criminal prosecution of what it calls “medical aid in dying,” which the group says is not the same as assisted suicide. CONTINUE


Assisted Suicide Movement Set to Spread: HALF the Country to Consider Euthanasia in 2017


(Daily Mail) – Assisted suicide has been legalized in Colorado. Voters overwhelmingly back Proposition 106 on Tuesday night, meaning patients with six months to live can now be prescribed lethal medicine to end their own lives.

It is the fifth state to approve a 'right to die' bill since Oregon passed the first Death With Dignity Act in 1997. And pro-euthanasia lobbyists claim the 'yes' vote has now opened the floodgates for at least seven more states - including New Jersey and New York - to follow suit.

'Colorado demonstrates what we have been saying: Voters want medical aid-in-dying laws because they want to have all possible options at the end of life,' acting director of advocacy at Compassion & Choices, Toni Broaddus, said on Wednesday. CONTINUE


A Right to Assisted Suicide for the Institutionalized Mentally Ill


(Wesley J. Smith / First Things) – Assisted suicide proponents always promise that facilitated death will be offered solely and strictly to the mentally competent. But once a society accepts the premise of euthanasia—that it is acceptable to eliminate suffering by eliminating the sufferer—there is no way to restrict the putative “right to die” to the mentally healthy.

Mental illness often causes greater anguish than any physical disease and, indeed, for a far longer time. Thus, no one should be surprised that euthanasia of the mentally ill is a growing phenomenon in the Netherlands, where the practice has even been boosted by psychiatric journals, and in Belgium. In the latter country, doctors now condone the medicalized killing of mentally ill people with consensual organ harvesting!

Whenever I warn that the same progression will eventually happen here if assisted suicide becomes normalized, supporters of doctor-facilitated death sniff that America is different. But that assurance has already proved empty. CONTINUE


Professor Suffers Brain Injury After Assault, Faces Long Recovery


(Reno-Gazette-Journal) – Ivy Antonowitsch played one of her longtime boyfriend’s favorite movies in his hospital room, but she wasn’t expecting much of a reaction from him. For her, the biggest miracle was her boyfriend laughing at the funny parts in "Galaxy Quest" – something that shows her that he’s still there.

After being in a coma for 15 days, 68-year-old Truckee Meadows Community College English professor Henry “Hank” Sosnowski had a long recovery time ahead of him.

According to Reno police, Sosnowski and Antonowitsch were walking downtown on South Virginia Street around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 1 when they saw 26-year-old Juan Rodriguez tagging graffiti. Sosnowski asked Rodriguez to stop, the two argued and Rodriguez allegedly struck Sosnowski, causing him to fall and hit his head, police said.

Sosnowski suffered massive brain damage, and had to have part of his skull removed due to the swelling. “He’s got a long, long journey,” Antonowitsch said. “I tell people he’s climbing Mt. Everest and he’s only gone 40 paces. Not everybody gets to the top, and there’s certainly no shame in that. At this point, it’s just so early and the brain is such a mysterious thing.” CONTINUE