Global Updates on Voluntary Assisted Dying

Via Jane Morris – VAD-MW News:

CANADA

January 25, 2022 – psychedpodcast, MAiD and Mental Illness with Dr Sonu Gaind, Episode 41 of a series of psychiatry podcasts by medical learners, by medical learners.

 February 2, 2022 – The Lawyer’s Daily, Amanda Jerome, Forced transfers a ‘blight’ on medical assistance in dying system, professor says.  A most informative article in which the issues of ‘forced transfers’ for patients, accessing MAiD, who reside in faith-based institutions that will not allow MAiD on their premises. University research professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine, Jocelyn Downie, states

“I don’t think it would be a breach of the Act to direct an institution to provide or allow MAiD to be provided within its walls,” she added, noting that a “reasonable conclusion is that publicly funded institutions have an obligation to allow MAiD within their walls and local health authorities, networks, or a minister of health can, in fact, issue directives against forced transfers and tell institutions that they must allow MAiD to be provided within their walls.”

January 13, 2022 – theprogressreport.ca, Chantelle Hosseiny, Defund Covenant Health until they provide healthcare for all. Since the 2016 implementation of MAID in Alberta, 109 individuals have had to undergo ‘forced transfers’. This is when those wanting to access MAID have been forced to travel by ambulance to MAID friendly facilities, because the facility in which the reside is faith-based and will not allow MAID to occur on their premises. This article refers to ‘Covenant Health’ which is the largest Catholic healthcare provider in Canada. It is stated that unless it commits to placing patient needs before religious beliefs, it should not receive any public funding. “They are failing to provide culturally competent, trauma informed, and patient centred care. This should be the minimum expectation for any publicly funded healthcare provider.”  

 

GERMANY

February 2, 2022 – dw.com, German court rejects access to euthanasia medication. Two years ago, Germany’s Constitutional Court overturned a law that strictly outlawed assisting those seeking to end their lives. Just this week a court ruled that seriously ill people do not have the right to acquire the necessary medication. Three people, suffering from serious incurable diseases, are currently requesting ‘special permission’ to access this medication.

 

INDIA

February 2, 2022 – Hindusandtimes.com, Students of medical college in Uttar Pradesh seek President's nod for euthanasia. Troubled by the lack of accreditation of 5 years of study for a medical degree, students of a medical college in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur have written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking his permission for euthanasia. It appears that these medical students wanting to end their lives because the institute won’t recognize their qualifications. Absolutely tragic.

 

IRELAND

February 4, 2022  The Irish Examiner, Ciara McDonnell, I'm giving my story, warts and all.' An upbeat Vicky Phelan shares an update. Vicky Phelan has been the amazing voice of the campaign for Assisted Dying in Ireland. Suffering from terminal cervical cancer, Vicky has selflessly shared her courageous story over the years. Last year she travelled to America for treatment and, this involved leaving her family at home. Limerick City, her adopted city, recently awarded her its highest honour.

February 4, 2022 – The Irish Examiner, Nicole Glennon, “New documentary about Vicky Phelan will show an 'exclusive and intimate journey' A documentary about Vicky’s fight to expose the truth of the CervicalCheck scandal will air at an upcoming film festival. In 2018 Vicky settled a High Court case against a US laboratory that had reported her cervical smear test to be clear of abnormalities. Three years later she was diagnosed with severe cervical cancer and the original result was found to be incorrect.

 

ITALY

February 4, 2022 – LaCiviltaCattolica, Carlo Cassolone, The Italian Parliamentary Debate on ‘Assisted Suicide’. The Italian Parliament discussed proposed legislation on “medically assisted voluntary death” in December, 2021, and the vote is scheduled for February, 2022. This article discusses the legal, social, medical and ethical complexities that parliamentary members will have to ponder when debate commences. The writer concludes by saying  

“In the current cultural and social situation, it seems to the writer that support for this PL is not in contrast with a responsible pursuit of an outcome in line with the common good.”

 

SOUTH AFRICA

February 1, 2022 – iol.co.za, Zelda Venter, Legal challenge for assisted suicide, euthanasia for terminally ill patients under spotlight. The issue of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia for the terminally ill will again be highlighted in South Africa in May. A Palliative Care doctor and her patient, both who suffer from life-threatening illnesses, will continue their legal challenge to have euthanasia legalised. “They said their right to choose this was enshrined in the Constitution, but the common law forbade them at this stage from doing so.”

 

SPAIN

January 29, 2022 – BioEdge, Michael Cook, 7 Spaniards who were euthanised last year donated their organs. On June 25, 2021, Spain legalized assisted dying and it has been revealed that up until the end of last year, approximately 50 individuals had had assisted deaths and of those, 7 had donated their organs. Cook questions why the rush when the government hasn’t released national guidelines for this procedure. He also questions how the large number of individuals, 14%, were able to be persuaded to agree to organ donation.

 

UK

January 29, 2022 – mirror.co.ukRachael Bletchley, 'Our society should break taboos and start talking properly about reality of death'. Members of the Association of Palliative Medicine claim that stories about suffering in death have been especially prevalent during the Covid pandemic leading many people to favour assisted dying. However, “the stories of pain and anguish drown out the many positive experiences of support given by hospices and home carers to ensure a peaceful passing.” Quite simply, we need to engage in more conversation around all deaths and not just focus on bad deaths.

February 2, 2022  YahooNews, Flic Everett, Dame Prue Leith reveals controversial views on dying. A UK tv cooking celebrity has spoken out in favour of assisted dying after revealing her first husband asked doctors if he could have “a bit of assistance” with death. She also refers to her brother, who had bone cancer, and refused antibiotics to expedite his death.

February 3, 2022- disabilitynewsservice.com, John Pring, Peers accused of hijacking health bill to try to force through assisted suicide. A disabled peer has accused fellow members of the House of Lords of attempting to “hijack” the health and care bill in a bid to secure a change in the law that would legalise assisted suicide.

 

US

February 2, 2022 – TheEagleTribune, Christian Wade, High court takes up physician-assisted suicide. Massachusetts highest court will hear arguments in a civil case, next month, that challenges a law that allows state prosecutors to charge doctors for prescribing life-ending medication to terminally ill patients.

February 4, 2022  The New York Times, Megan Twohey, Lawmakers Press Amazon on Sales of Chemical Used in Suicides.  A food preservative sold online by Amazon, used as a poison by people wanting to kill themselves, has been identified, by The New York Times, to be involved in the deaths of 10 people in the past 2 years. Members of Congress are now asking why the company failed to act after being notified about their product’s link to suicide.

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