Assisted Dying 8: How long will government allow private health industry vultures and religious fundamentalists to prevail?
“He did not have a good death”: these reticent words from a grieving widow were all that she felt able to say of the prolonged intense emotional and physical suffering her husband endured before his death. She added, “I have joined Dignity in Dying”. Another acquaintance last week told the writer that her father, in similar circumstances, had asked for strychnine to be procured for him.
A condition not included in the demands of this organisation but recognised by medics and Dignitas as terminal, is dementia. Dementia is not just an enhanced state of memory loss – an inconvenience – but can adversely affect the whole personality. One who shared care of a formerly bright and independent relative with this condition for two years had to contend with extreme physical aggression, incontinence and refusal to wash.
It is the core goal of Dignitas that one day nobody in the UK or any other country needs to travel to Switzerland for a self-determined end of suffering and life anymore.
People who would opt for assisted dying when diagnosed with dementia, and who have made the declaration whilst still in good health, should be given every facility in their region. For years Scandinavian countries have had a range of acceptable provision and a few American states. Only Switzerland kindly offers this facility to foreigners. As respected journalist Simon Jenkins notes, an average of twenty people a month kill themselves ‘surreptitiously’ at home and two terminally ill people a month go to Switzerland to end their lives.
At the moment the medical and care industries – a powerful parliamentary lobby – have a vested interest in prolonging the unhappy lives of such people, profiting by payments from their families and the state.
The human right to control the circumstances of one’s own death was asserted by Dr Atul Gawande in a recent Reith lecture.
Simon Jenkins wrote that right-to-die campaigner, Debbie Purdy’s life and death by self-starvation – forced on her by parliament – should be celebrated by the Commons passing the House of Lords’ “dignity in dying” bill forthwith.
As he continues: an overwhelming majority of the public – 60-70% – wants it. The weight of legal and ethical opinion wants it. Eighty of the great and good writing to the Daily Telegraph at the weekend want it. Objection, he adds, is largely confined to religious prejudice and medical authoritarianism.
Simon Jenkins concludes that Debbie Purdy’s husband thanked the Marie Curie hospice in Bradford for helping his wife through the awful experience of self-starvation forced on her by parliament:
“How much better if he were now able to thank parliament for relieving others of having to face the same ordeal”.
- A final message from Brittany Maynard, of Portland, Oregon, who legally took medicine prescribed by a doctor when she was at home, surrounded by her loved ones: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11205450/Right-to-die-Brittany-Maynard-was-allowed-to-choose-how-she-died.-My-dad-wasnt.html
- The Cambridge Union Society – This House Would Legalise ‘Assisted Dying’. The speakers in favour of freedom of choice in “last matters” win the debate by a clear 207 to 67 votes (with 54 abstaining). When will UK politicians listen? https://www.cus.org/civicrm/event/info?id=558&reset=1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2PicFB6onE
- George Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury explains why he now supports helping some terminally ill patients to die: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689295/Carey-Ive-changed-mind-right-die-On-eve-Lords-debate-ex-Archbishop-dramatically-backs-assisted-death-law.html
Tags: Brittany Maynard, Cambridge Union Society debate, Debbie Purdy, Dementia, Dignitas, Dr Atul Gawande, former Archbishop George Carey, Oregon, parliamentary lobby, Portland, Reith Lecture., Sir Simon Jenkins, Switzerland
Megan Noble and Lawrence Woodward: “UK’s push for GM crops looks ill considered and irresponsible”.
Does Owen Paterson – described as the biotech companies’ latest PR man – know about the recent experience of GM contamination in Oregon, Switzerland, Western Australia and other regions? The fear is that GMOs cannot be contained in the field, the food chain or even in research trials.
- South Korea doesn’t grow genetically engineered crops but imports animal feed. It is finding GM plants growing wild in areas around major ports, factories, livestock farms and roads. The most commonly found GM species were maize (corn), cotton and rapeseed. The National Institute for Environmental Research reported that there has been a 33% increase in the level of detected GMO contamination cases in the wider environment since 2009.
- GM canola (oilseed rape) is being spilled as it passes through the Rhine port of Basel and along Switzerland’s railway system. Bernard Nicod, a member of the executive committee of the Swiss Farmers’ Association said, “It would be hard to separate the cycle of production and distribution of conventional agriculture from that of transgenic agriculture. We are not sure we can cope with the extra costs of that kind of separation.”
- Genetically modified (GM) wheat growing in Oregon led to Japan and South Korea banning imports of US white winter wheat. The discovery was made by the University of Oregon and forwarded on to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Neither Monsanto or the USDA has explained how the contamination occurred. See the Guardian this week.
- Currently beset by fracking-related problems, earlier this month a local paper reported tests on genetically modified wheat in North Dakota. These are being conducted by Monsanto – following the discovery of contamination in neighbouring Oregon – under a ‘cloak of secrecy’, a local farmer said Monsanto, which owns a wheat development company based in the nearby city of Bozeman, didn’t respond to a request for comment last week. In 2010, Nature reported GM canola growing wild in the region.
- Legal proceedings are still under way after an organic farm in Kojonup Western Australia was contaminated, in 2010, with genetically modified canola contamination. The WA government revoked Steven Marsh’s organic certification.
Lesley Docksey, in Global Research, writes:
“This constant dishonest pressure on the public from people like Paterson to accept something they do not want must stop. It is dishonest because their ‘facts’ are at the least unproven, and at worst, untrue. Nor do they really care about feeding the world. If they did they’d stop the waste of so much food and ensure people had equal access to what the earth can provide. This is all about giving the biotech companies control over the world’s food”.
Noble & Woodward conclude: “Until a solution to prevent contamination is found the answer is to stop transporting these genetically engineered crops across the world; stop feeding them to animals; and even to stop growing them”.
Assisted Dying 5: Is government colluding with industry to ensure that maximum profit is extracted from the cradle to the grave?
Are frail or elderly Britons kept alive, against their will, to boost industry profits?
Like most people polled in Britain, BBC Online reports that Anna Soubry, newly appointed Under-Secretary of State for Health, thinks that the law needs to “evolve” to allow people to die at home – self-assisted dying not medical euthanasia.
Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, who was also appointed as a health minister in the reshuffle, said there was a case “for looking at reform”: “I certainly think that we should debate it.”
Is beneficial reform being delayed due to the corporate lobbying of the huge and influential ‘health’ industry which needs the frail & elderly – and their families – to live and pay as long as possible?
Assisted dying and/or euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Columbia and three American states: Oregon, Washington, and Montana.
This corporate political nexus pervades every corner and stage of our lives
Evidence of this is regularly published on this website. The most recent example reported today is the thousands of pounds donations from a major shareholder in America’s Domino’s Pizza company given to Education Secretary Michael Gove’s constituency party. Channel 4’s Dispatches identified a disturbing new trend for fast food chains like Domino’s to open premises close to schools.
Time for change!
Tags: American Domino'Pizza company, Belgium, Channel 4 Dispatches, Columbia, Luxembourg, Montana, MP Anna Soubry Under-Secretary of State for Health, MP Norman Lamb health minister, Oregon, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Washington
Tried and tested
Assisted-suicide and/or euthanasia is legal in Columbia, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and three American states: Oregon, Washington, and Montana.
Tony Nicklinson, who was paralysed from the neck down following a stroke in 2005, died peacefully today of natural causes.
He wanted the right to die yet was unable to take his own life or take a cocktail of lethal drugs prepared for him.
High Court judges ruled the issue was for Parliament to decide; knowing that, why did they admit the case?
Mr Nicklinson said he was “devastated” by the decision – in an article he wrote for the BBC, he had described his life as “a living nightmare”.