Friday, 20 July 2012

Euthanasia - All the latest updates from Care Not Killing

Just six weeks to go: First European Symposium: Euthanasia in Europe, Edinburgh, 7-8 September

Please spread the news and come to this exciting and exclusive residential conference where academics, medics, campaigners and activists will be meeting for the First European Symposium on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Day tickets are also available from £40 per day. Sign up here

No Private Member’s Bills

The good news on 20 June was that neither Richard Ottaway MP nor Gavin Barwell MP, both members of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life, tabled bills that were anything to do with assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Majority medical opinion remains opposed to assisted suicide and this vote was a victory for continuing caring and not killing. We hope that the BMA will now continue its valuable work in campaigning for high quality compassionate care for patients at the end of life. The BMA corrected Lord Falconer’s misrepresentation of its position in an article. See CNK statement here.

Lord Falconer has published a new draft bill calling for doctors to have the power to help mentally competent adults with less than one year to live to kill themselves. This follows on from his discredited‘Commission on Assisted Dying.’ CNK will not be responding to his ‘unofficial’ consultation which closes on 20 November.

The Lancet has published an article claiming that euthanasia rates have not increased in the Netherlands since legalisation in 2002. It appears that Dutch doctors have kept the euthanasia figures low simply bychoosing to end patients’ lives in ways other than administering paralysing drugs (muscle relaxants) or barbiturates. Alex Schadenberg, Chair of the International Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has published a full analysis of the Lancet review of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands.

There is an editorial in the BMJ by Raanan Gillon who reviews the case of M, a woman in minimally conscious state, who was the subject of a Court of Protection ruling last year. CNK believes people who are severely brain-damaged or suffering from dementia, but not imminently dying, should be given nutrition, hydration, symptom relief and warm human interaction until the day that they die peacefully and naturally.

Pro-euthanasia activists always assert that their proposals are modest and have ‘robust safeguards’. Yet their proposals would only be the beginning.

The euthanasia lobby has become more and more modest in their language yet at the same time they are so divided in agendas we do not know what they actually want.

A review of the sometimes controversial Liverpool Care Pathway. How should it be used and how is it being misused?

David Fieldsend from Care for Europe comments on the history of euthanasia in Europe.

The Canadian federal government will appeal a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling which struck down Canada’s ban on assisted suicide, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has said.

Amy Hasbrouck comments on the recent court ruling in British Columbia to declare Canada's law against assisted suicide unconstitutional.

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