Colorado Becomes 5th State to Approve Medically Assisted Suicide


(The Pueblo Chieftain) – Colorado on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a proposition to allow terminally ill people to end their own lives, becoming the fifth state to allow medically assisted suicide.

Proposition 106 requires that a mentally competent patient have a six-month prognosis and get two doctors to approve requests for life-ending medication. It requires doctors to discuss alternatives with the patient as well as safe storage, tracking and disposal of lethal drugs, recognizing that a patient can change his or her mind.

Proponents sought a statutory law rather than a constitutional amendment on Tuesday’s ballot so lawmakers can make any necessary adjustments. They also went to the voters after legislative supporters, including Democratic Rep. Lois Court of Denver, could not muster enough Democratic or Republican votes to pass a measure.

Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California also offer medically assisted suicide. Montana’s state Supreme Court has ruled that doctors can use a patient’s request for life-ending medication as a defense against any criminal charges linked to the death. CONTINUE


What's 'Dignified' About Killing Yourself?


(One News Now) – The director of a conservative think tank in Colorado is weighing in on an "end of life" initiative the state's voters have before them on Tuesday's ballot.

Coloradoans are voting tomorrow on an initiative calling for doctor-assisted suicide. Initiative 145 would allow individuals with a terminal illness who have been given six months to live to obtain a prescription for a lethal drug and kill themselves. Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, tells OneNewsNow the initiative has serious problems.

"The bill itself ... prevents you from actually calling this 'suicide.' On the death certificate, you cannot list someone who chooses to kill themselves with doctor-prescribed medicine as suicide," he explains. "What has to be listed on the death certificate is what the actual terminal disease was." CONTINUE



The Road Back: Woman Describes Recovery From Brain Injury’s ‘Darkest Hours’


(Lexington Herald Leader) – Laura Babbage, a hospital chaplain and well-known Lexington volunteer, has always given the opening prayer at the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red For Women luncheon. She was determined this year would be no different.

Never mind that 15 weeks ago she had a bicycle accident in France that left her with a traumatic brain injury. She endured an induced coma, two airlifts, 15 days in hospitals, a tracheotomy, a ventilator, a feeding tube, four weeks of in-patient rehabilitation and eight weeks of out-patient therapy.

On Friday, she took the stage before 800 people at Lexington Center to celebrate a miraculous recovery, expressing gratitude for the medical care and outpouring of support she has received and joking about how slow her hair is growing back. CONTINUE


Quebec’s Euthanasia Deaths Three Times Higher Than Expected Under New Law


(LifeSiteNews) — Quebec’s commission on euthanasia has revealed that doctors reported killing 262 Quebecers since voluntary euthanasia was legalized in the province in December 2015 and that physicians violated the law in 21 deaths.

Health Minister Gaetan Barrette expressed surprise that three times more Quebecers were euthanized than he had foreseen. But he responded to Commission for End of Life Care’s first annual report by stating he will look into mitigating the one regulation that, according to report, doctors contravened in 18 of the 21 cases in which the laws safeguards were flouted.

That is Bill 52’s requirement for a second physician, independent of the patient, to give an objective opinion that the patient has no hope of recovery.

“In less than a year, not only have they found that the numbers are much higher than anticipated, but they are also already considering opening up the law further in order to reduce the protections in law for people in Quebec,” noted Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “They’re moving very fast.” CONTINUE


Should Ethics Committees Be Death Panels?


(By Nancy Valko, RN ALNC) – I volunteered to serve on a newly started hospital ethics committees in the 1990s. While I wanted to help analyze difficult cases and serve as a resource for hospital personnel with ethical concerns, I became increasingly alarmed when I saw cost containment and judgments based on “quality of life” brought up as decisive factors by others on the committee.

I understood more when I researched the beginnings of ethics committees. After numerous failed attempts to legalize euthanasia, the Euthanasia Society of America invented the “living will” in 1967 as a first step in gaining public acceptance of euthanasia by promoting a so-called “right to die”.

The group achieved much success by publicly promoting “living wills” as a patient rights document that would give people and/or their families choice and control at the end of life or, especially after the 1976 Karen Quinlan case, if their quality of life was considered too poor. CONTINUE



Colorado, D.C. Poised to Approve Doctor-Assisted Suicide


(Washington Examiner) – The group pushing to legalize assisted suicide around the country is poised to win a big battle on its home turf.

Compassion and Choices is headquartered in Colorado, where voters next week will consider a ballot measure allowing terminally ill patients to obtain lethal medications from doctors to end their lives. If the measure passes, Colorado would become the sixth state in the U.S. where physician-assisted suicide is allowed.

Compassion and Choices, which was a major force in getting assisted suicide legalized in California this year, has poured money into the effort, supplying 79 percent of the $5.7 million spent in support of the Colorado initiative. CONTINUE


Boy Dies After Hospital Left Him So Dehydrated, Parents Found Him Sucking Wet Wipes


( – British health officials recently found a children’s hospital guilty of negligence in the case of a 4-year-old boy who died after his parents found him so severely dehydrated that he was sucking on wet wipes.

The Bristol Post reports nine experts found the University Hospital Bristol Foundation guilty of “service failure” to the boy and maladministration for not giving his parents all the facts about his condition. In total, the experts found the hospital guilty of 22 failures in the child’s care.

The disturbing case occurred in 2012 when 4-year-old Sean Turner had heart surgery at the Bristol Children’s Hospital. According to the Independent, Sean died six weeks after the surgery after experiencing a catastrophic brain hemorrhage.

The deadly brain bleed appeared to have been linked to the hospital giving Sean anti-clotting medicine for three days, rather than the recommended six hours, according to the report. In addition, investigators said nurses did not monitor the medicine’s effect on the 4-year-old. CONTINUE


Teen Makes Miraculous Recovery After Crash Causes Serious Brain Damage


(Global News) – A teenager from Lacombe, Alta. is overcoming the odds after a car crash nearly ended her life. In August 2015, Amanda Burt was 16 years old when her car was crushed by a truck doing highway speed on a country road – or at least that’s what people tell her. She has zero memory of the crash.

Her two friends suffered serious physical injuries but would both live. Amanda’s injuries were more internal. The whiplash from the crash was so severe, it caused brain damage. “I hurt my brain stem, which is the part that’s there to help you do all the things you don’t think about – like breathing,” she explained.

From the time first responders arrived on scene, Amanda was unconscious. She was flown by STARS air ambulance to Calgary, where she remained in a coma for weeks. CONTINUE


Woman’s Heroic Recovery From Brain Injury Which Took Her Sight and Speech


(Barnet & Whetsone) – A Potters Bar woman who suffered a brain injury that left her blind and unable speak is one of just three people from across the UK who have been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Lucy Thurlow, 44, suffered the injury from a series of epileptic seizures more than five years ago. She was also left wheelchair bound and was so traumatized she would spend the whole day screaming.

But after making huge progress towards recovery, including recovering speech and walking her own mini version of the London Marathon, she has now been shortlisted for an achievement award which will be presented by double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell at the national annual brain injury awards ceremony. CONTINUE


Texas Futile Care Law Scorned by State AG


(The Corner) – I have long believed that Texas’s futile care law is unconstitutional. Specifically, the law permits a hospital bioethics committee to kick a patient out of wanted life-sustaining treatment that is working–e.g.., keeping the patient alive–based on the subjective values of doctors and the members of the hospital administration-appointed committee.

A lawsuit (Kelly v Houston Methodist Hospital) sues HMH for its attempt to force a now deceased patient out of the ICU. Now, Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, argues that the law upon which the hospital’s decision was based is unconstitutional. CONTINUE


Netherlands Considers Removing Restrictions on Assisted Death


(LifeSiteNews) — Legalizing assisted suicide for people who are not suffering from terminal illness is under discussion in the Netherlands. Last week, Netherlands Health Minister Edith Schippers sent a letter to parliament asking legislators to draft a law that would open the possibility of assisted suicide to people who feel they have lived a “complete life.”

Schippers and her co-author, Justice Minister Ard van der Steurand, argued in the letter that individuals who have “a well-considered opinion that their life is complete, must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them.”

In 2002, the Netherlands was the first country to legalize euthanasia for patients suffering unbearable pain who have no chance of a cure. The “Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide” (Review Procedures) Act states that physicians who assist a suicide are not punishable if they act in accordance with the criteria for due care in the given case. CONTINUE


Assisted Suicide Up 250% in Switzerland Since 2009


(The Corner) – We are in the midst of an attempt to normalize suicide as a way of dying. Think, the celebration over Brittany Maynard’s death. Think media swooning over suicide parties. Think the increasing numbers of suicides/euthanasia deaths in locales where it is legal.

Switzerland exemplifies the trend. Assisted suicide rates are up 250% since 2009, and 26% in one year. From the Le News story:

In 2014, 742 people in Switzerland were helped to end their lives. This represents 1.2% of deaths for the year. 94% were over 55, and the vast majority were suffering from a serious terminal illness… The most common reason behind assisted suicides was cancer, which accounted for 42% of the total. Cancer was followed by neurodegenerative (14%), cardiovascular (11%) and musculoskeletal (10%) diseases… The number ending their lives without assistance in 2014 was stable at 1,028. CONTINUE



Insurance Denied Her Chemo Treatment, But Covered Drugs for Suicide


(CNA/EWTN News) - Stephanie Packer cherishes every moment with her husband and four children. Living with a terminal illness in Orange, California, her goal is “to do everything I can to have one more second with my kids.” When assisted suicide legislation was officially passed in California in 2016, Packer experienced the ultimate slap in the face: her insurance company denied the coverage of critical chemotherapy treatment that her doctors recommended for her condition.

Her insurance would, however, cover end-of-life drugs for just $1.20.

“It was like someone had just hit me in the gut,” said Packer, who shared her story in the new documentary, Compassion and Choice Denied. Produced by the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, the documentary details Packer’s experience of living with a terminal illness in an age where assisted suicide is cheaper than the fight for life. CONTINUE


Colorado Residents Will Vote on Physician-Assisted Suicide


(CBN) – Colorado residents will have the opportunity to either strike down or legalize physician-assisted suicide in the November elections.

If passed, the Colorado End of Life Options Act, also known as Prop 106, will give doctors the ability to prescribe legal drugs to patients who have been diagnosed with terminal illness and have six months or less to live. The legislation comes after two failed attempts to pass a similar bill in the state's legislature. Now voters will decide.

Supporters believe a "yes" vote on Nov. 8 is a vote for "compassion," while critics argue that beyond being morally wrong, the law is fundamentally flawed and opens the door to abuse. CONTINUE


New Ultrasound Technique Could Wake Coma Patients


The ultrasound treatment brought a 25-year-old brain injury patient back to full consciousness.

( – A new study out of UCLA has shown promise with ultrasound techniques that use sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the brain’s central core for processing information, known as the thalamus. The procedure, known as low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation, has potential as a therapy to help coma patients awake from comas and recover from serious brain trauma.

The researchers created a device about the size of a tea cup saucer that can create a small sphere of acoustic energy targetting different regions of the brain to stimulate brain tissue. In their latest study, the device was used to help a 25-year-old patient recover from a traumatic brain injury. Researchers say that the technique could eventually be transitioned into a portable device like a helmet to provide a cost effective treatment that could be used to “wake up” patients into a more conscious state. CONTINUE


Wesley J. Smith: Euthanizing Children


(First Things) - The death of a terminally ill seventeen-year-old boy made headlines recently, as Belgium’s first case of child euthanasia. I don’t understand the sudden fuss. The Netherlands has long allowed minors to request and receive euthanasia: Dutch children down to age sixteen can receive euthanasia without their parents’ consent, and children can be killed by doctors with parental consent starting at age twelve.

Perhaps Belgium’s euthanasia law has received this recent media attention because it has no age limits, instead requiring that a minor demonstrate a capacity to make autonomous decisions before receiving assisted suicide. Think about this: Children who can’t enter into legal contracts, get tattooed, or be licensed to drive a car may request—and receive—death.

The healthcare system doesn’t dole out death only to teens and preteens. In the Netherlands, doctors commit infanticide against babies born with serious disabilities or terminal illnesses with impunity, even though the practice remains technically illegal. Indeed, doctors at the Groningen University Medical Center felt so safe committing infanticide that they published the Groningen Protocol, a bureaucratic checklist to help determine whether a baby is killable. CONTINUE



Some Patients in a “Vegetative State” Can Still Communicate


(aeon) – John Smith, a 34-year-old father of two, was driving his car to bowling when he was involved in an accident. His skull sustained a severe trauma and he was admitted to the intensive care unit. John was in a coma, at serious risk of death. Luckily, critical-care nurses and physicians managed to save his life. However, when John opened his eyes and emerged from the coma, he showed no behavioural reactions to stimuli but mere reflexes. He couldn’t answer questions, localise painful stimuli on his skin, follow commands, or fixate objects in a sustained way. For these reasons, he was diagnosed as being in a vegetative state.

The common view about these patients is that, for them, ‘It’s all dark inside.’ According to this view, the light of consciousness is snuffed out. What remains is a hollow, empty body, a mere husk, with no mind or consciousness inside. This view induces us not to spend resources, such as time and money, on the rehabilitation of these patients, not to give them painkillers, and even to treat them as if they were less than human. But this is not right. CONTINUE

Click here to watch video of Terri responding to neurologist ...


Safe Havens for Patients at Risk of Imposed Death


(Judie Brown/ — How would you feel if a loved one needed help, but you were powerless to do anything? For quite some time experts in the field of treating those with conditions that some describe as brain death have grappled with the accuracy of that diagnosis.

Bill Beckman recently wrote of cases involving living children with severe injuries who were falsely diagnosed as brain dead. Jahi McMath, for example, is alive today, two years after she was wrongly diagnosed and called a “corpse” by her caregivers!

Israel Stinson, another child who was diagnosed as “brain dead,” was airlifted out of the hospital that wanted to end his life and transferred to a hospital in a different country where he was treated for a time. But then, sadly, he was brought back to the United States and died “because of the heartless action by a hospital in the midst of an appeal, according to his loved ones and his lawyers.” CONTINUE


Jahi McMath Breathing on Own?


(The Corner) – Readers may recall Jahi McMath–the teenager declared brain dead in California. Her family–assisted by the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Foundation and the Life Legal Defense Foundation–fought the determination in court.

A settlement led to Jahi being declared dead by California as the family was permitted to take her to New Jersey, where she remains. Now, a few years later, her body has not deteriorated as usually happens in brain death, and indeed, her family claims she is slowly improving. California courts have ruled that the family may attempt to prove in court that she is not actually dead.

Her family has now released a video, in which a breathing measuring machine is seen, with her mother urging Jahi to take breaths without mechanical assistance. CONTINUE


Treat Hippocratic Doctors Like Draft Dodgers


(The Corner) – Not only does the culture of death brook no dissent, but it seeks to force medical dissenters to kill. That is tyranny. Now that euthanasia is becoming more widely practiced, the groundwork is being laid to force doctors to kill legally qualified patients and conduct abortions.

A bit ago in this space, I discussed a “consensus statement” issued by ten notable bioethicists, published in Practical Ethics, published by Oxford University.

These notables proclaimed from their ivory tower that doctors must euthanize, and if they have conscientious objections, they should be subjected to tribunals, community service requirements, and reeducation efforts. CONTINUE


As Doctors Prepare to Remove Life Support, Woman Wiggles Toe


( – Sam Hemming’s family already had said their good-byes to her and doctors were about to turn off her life support when the 22-year-old accident victim gave them a sign that she was still alive. Newser reports the UK woman wiggled her big toe just in time to save her life.

According to the report, Hemming and her boyfriend were driving home from college in July when they were involved in a vehicle accident. The young woman suffered severe head injuries, and doctors put her in a medically induced coma, according to the report. CONTINUE


Former Hockey Player Talks About His Brain Injury Recovery


(KMSP) - Duke Pieper was just 15, a freshman at Hill-Murray School playing on the varsity hockey team, when he developed a bleeding blood clot on his brain stem. Now seven years later, he is testament to survival.

"Something just didn't feel right," said Pieper. "The doctors at the time actually told me that I had about a five percent chance of living through the surgery because it was that rare." In fact, he had 15 surgeries. An infection on his spinal cord temporarily paralyzed him.

"He was in the hospital for nine months, most of that time was spent in ICU,” said Liz Pieper, Duke’s mother. CONTINUE



Abort, Euthanize, or Get Out of Medicine


(The Corner) – Bioethics discourse aims to change the practice of medicine and the thrust of public policy — usually not for the better.

As I have been noting, the field is increasingly targeting the right of doctors to refuse to perform an abortion, euthanize patients, and perform other procedures or issue prescriptions that violate their religious beliefs. A bit ago, I discussed a “consensus statement” on this issue in Practical Ethics, published by Oxford.

Now, two internationally influential bioethicists — Jualian Savulescu and Udo Schuklenk — join forces to advocate that society legally coerce doctors to kill. First, they deconstruct medical professionalism itself by reducing the practice of medicine to the status of mere technocratic order takers. From, “Doctors Have No Right to Refuse Medical Assistance in Dying, Abortion or Contraception:” CONTINUE


Stuntman on the Long Road to Recovery After Horror Crash


(Gold Coast Bulletin) – Sheena Mingay was not at all concerned when told husband Matt had just rolled his Super Truck mid-race. The 32-year-old partner of the veteran Gold Coast stuntman was trackside at the next corner to take his photo when she heard he’d tipped.

No big deal. It had happened plenty of times. The high-flying 600-horsepower crowd-pleasers are designed to get aerial. When cornering they do so with a wheel off the ground, sometimes two. Despite being able to jump six metres high and travel 30 metres through the air, the worst injury in Super Trucks’ three-year history has been a broken collarbone.

“I wasn’t worried,” Mrs Mingay tells Coast Weekend. “Those trucks roll over, it happens all the time. Matt rolls them over, the best guys roll them over. Usually you just push it back up. “They are designed to roll over.” But when no one would tell the Super Trucks official standing beside her what was going on, she admits she became a little anxious.

“No one would talk to this guy and let him know Matt was OK. He said ‘Quick, jump in the buggy and I will take you over’. “It wasn’t until we got there the panic kind of kicked in,” she says. “I asked if he was OK, if he was awake.” The pain from the memory of what came next was etched in her face: “This guy just looked at the ground and then looked back at me ... and shook his head. “He said ‘No – it’s not good’.” CONTINUE


First Child Dies After Belgium Approves Measure Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Children


( – The first child has died under a new law in Belgium allowing doctors to euthanize children. In 2014, Belgium voted to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.

The law allows minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. No age limit would be set, but the children who are euthanized would have “to possess the capacity of discernment.” Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002 but has, since its enactment, been prohibited for patients under 18. While euthanasia is legal in a handful of countries in Europe, Belgium is the first country in the world to lift all age restrictions on the practice.

Professor Wim Distelmans, the head of Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, issued a statement confirming that the first physician induced death of a minor was reported to the committee by a doctor last week. CONTINUE