Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Powerful Testimony" Presented by Elder Law Attorney Margaret Dore

Assisted Suicide Proponents Wilt After Tough Questioning by Committee

http://www.choiceillusion.org/2016/03/assisted-suicide-proponents-wilt-after.html From Stop Assisted Suicide Maryland


"Powerful testimony was presented
by an elder law attorney
[
Margaret Dore] who raised
 the significant potential
for elder abuse surrounding
 this legislation
Posted on February 26, 2016

(Annopolis MD) Proponents of physician-assisted suicide struggled to answer the tough questions thrown at them at yesterday’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on SB 418. The Committee met late into the night with Senators raising significant concerns with the bill and its lack of protections.
The message from proponents, led by national group Compassion & Choices, was that any protections in the law would stall a patient’s ability to get a lethal prescription from their physician. And questions surrounding these increased protections continuously baffled witnesses. There is nothing in this bill that would require a mental health screening, or ensure a physician is present at the time the lethal dose is taken. Proponents’ response to these concerns is that the Maryland healthcare system can’t support these types of mandates.  This is a weak excuse when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable populations who will be at risk if this bill is passed.
In fact, across the board proponents neglect to mention the issues in this legislation that would put our most vulnerable populations at risk. One witness in support of the bill, even referred to the disabled community’s concerns surrounding abuse and coercion of the vulnerable as irresponsible. ... This is a community that has consistently faced discrimination in healthcare laws. To not consider the threat to this community is irresponsible.
Powerful testimony was presented by an elder law attorney [Margaret Dore] who raised the significant potential for elder abuse surrounding this legislation.* She stated that in her experience, it is very common that family members are coercing elderly relatives for financial reasons. In confusing answers, proponents pushed back against protections that would disqualify witnesses who would benefit financially from a death, using the unacceptable excuse that it would leave family out of this process.
The Senate Committee brought some important questions to the table and it was clear that proponents were not prepared to answer. Maybe it’s because they know the physician assisted suicide bill in Maryland is indefensible.   

* To view Ms. Dore's written testimony, please see memo hereclick here for the appendix. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Assisters can have their own agenda.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-assisted-suicide-20141005,0,1813199.story

Bradley Williams makes a good point about the problems with legalizing assisted suicide, one of them being that people assisting a suicide may have their own agenda ("The perils of assisted suicide," Oct. 2).

Mr. Williams gives the example of a recent Montana case in which a man is accused of encouraging a teenage girl to kill herself in order to prevent her from testifying against him in a rape trial.

I am a doctor in Oregon, one of the few states in which physician-assisted suicide is legal. In this context, assisters with an agenda include our state's Medicaid program, which uses coverage incentives to steer patients to suicide.

The program will pay for a patient's suicide but will not necessarily pay for the patient's treatment to cure a disease or to extend the patient's life.

In other words, with the legalization of assisted suicide, the "treatment" of suicide is displacing desired treatments to cure or to extend life.

I first became aware of such issues in 1982, shortly before my first wife died of cancer. We had just visited her doctor. As we were leaving, he had suggested that she overdose herself on medication.
I still remember the look of horror on her face. She said, "Ken, he wants me to kill myself."

We must protect our health care system from such abuses. Citizens should tell their legislators and other public officials to say no to assisted-suicide.


Kenneth Stevens, Sherwood, Ore.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Margaret Dore published in the Baltimore Sun

The letter below, published in the Baltimore Sun, describes the positive statistical correlation between legalizing physician-assisted suicide and the significant increase in other "regular" suicides in Oregon.  This is at great financial cost to that state. 


For more detail and links to supporting documentation, please see: Letter from Margaret Dore to Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, March 4, 2014, titled:  "The High Financial Cost of (Regular) Suicide."

* * *

The published letter:  Margaret Dore," Legalizing assisted suicide is a bad idea."

Alexa Fraser's recent commentary promotes the idea of legalizing physician-assisted suicide. . . .

The term "physician-assisted suicide" means that a physician provides the means or information to enable a patient to perform a life-ending act, such as through a lethal prescription.

The premise of Ms. Fraser's commentary is that legalization of physician-assisted suicide will eliminate other types of suicides, such as those resulting from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

This premise is not, however, supported by statistics from Oregon, which is the only state in which physician-assisted suicide has been legal long enough to have valid statistics over time.

The Oregon statistics support the conclusion that, if anything, "ordinary" suicides will actually increase if physician-assisted suicide were legalized in Maryland.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Baltimore Sun: "The perils of assisted suicide"

I dispute commentator Alexa Fraser's claim that assisted suicide is legal in Montana. ("Political candidates should debate the right to die," Sept. 28),

I am president of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, and we are in litigation against the Montana Medical Examiners Board over the status of assisted suicide in our state. MAAS is also seeking to overturn Montana's Baxter case, which gives doctors who assist a suicide a potential defense to a charge of homicide.

In Montana there was a recent case in which a man was charged with "aiding or soliciting" the suicide of a 16-year-old girl. He is accused of trying to prevent her from testifying against him in another matter by getting her to kill herself.

This story illustrates a fundamental problem with legalizing assisted suicide. The assistant can have his or her own agenda to encourage someone to kill themselves.

Bradley D. Williams, Hamilton, Mont.