Monday, January 30, 2017

Why DC Act 21-577 Must Be Rejected


By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA[1]
  • Prevent Non-voluntary Assisted Suicide
  • Prevent Non-voluntary Euthanasia
  • Prevent Legal Elder Abuse
  • Prevent Suicide Contagion, Including for Young People
  • Prevent People With Years or Decades to Live, From Throwing Away Their Lives
  • Preserve Government Transparency and Integrity
  • Don’t Let the District of Columbia Become Corrupt Like Oregon
  • Prevent National and International Security Implications
For a pdf version of this document, please click here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Compassion & Choices' Mission is to Promote Suicide

Hemlock
The push to enact DC Act 21-577  is being spearheaded by the suicide advocacy group, Compassion
& Choices.

Compassion & Choices was formed in 2004 as the result of a merger/takeover of two other organizations.[1] One of these organizations was the former Hemlock Society, originally formed by Derek Humphry.[2]

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Memorandum to Members of Congress and the President of the United States: Reject DC Act 21-577

To view a print version, click here and here.

To view the entire memo in html, click here.

• Stop Assisted Suicide;
• Stop Euthanasia;
• Prevent Legal Elder Abuse;
• Preserve Government Transparency and Integrity; &
• Don't Let the District of Columbia Become Corrupt Like Oregon.

By Maragaret Dore, Esq., MBA, January 12, 2016

I. INTRODUCTION

I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal.[1] Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to Act 21-577 (“The Act”).[2]

The Act Creates a New Path of Elder Abuse, Which Is Legal

By Margaret Dore, Esq, MBA


Elder abuse is already a problem in the District of Columbia. Failing to reject the Act will make a bad situation worse. See below.

Few States Allow Assisted Suicide

By Margaret K. Dore, Esq., MBA


"Physician-assisted suicide is no
longer legal in New Mexico."
In the last six years, five states have strengthened their laws against assisted suicide: Arizona, Louisiana, Georgia, Idaho and Ohio.[1]

Last year, the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned a decision recognizing a right to physician aid in dying, meaning physician-assisted suicide.[2] Physician-assisted suicide is no longer legal in New Mexico.

The Act Applies to People with Years or Decades to Live

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

William Toffler, MD

The Act applies to persons with a “terminal disease,” meaning those predicted to have less than six months to live.[1]  Such persons may actually have years or decades to live.  This is true for three reasons:

A. Treatment Can Lead to Recovery

In 2000, Oregonian Jeanette Hall was given a terminal diagnosis of six months to a year to live, which was based on her not being treated for cancer.[2] Hall made a settled decision to use Oregon’s law, but her doctor convinced her to be treated instead.  In a 2016 declaration, she states:
This July, it will be 16 years since my diagnosis.  If [my doctor] had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead.[3]

"Even If a Patient Struggled, Who Would Know?"

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA


The DC Act allows the death by lethal dose to occur in private without supervision.[1] The drugs used are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be administered to a restrained or sleeping person without consent.[2] Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, puts it this way:

The Oregon Experience is B.S.

Bull
The claim by assisted suicide proponents, that Oregon's law is safe, cannot be independently verified because: (1) Studies making the claim are invalid; (2) Oregon's data cannot be verified; and (3) Even law enforcement is denied access to information.

If DC Follows Oregon's Interpretation of "not a public record," the Department of Health Will Be Insulated from Review, Even by Law Enforcement

To view similar information in a pdf format, see Margaret Dore's memo opposing Act 21-577, which can be viewed here and here.

The DC Act charges the Department of Health with issuing an annual statistical report based on data collected concerning people who used the Act.[1] The Act also states:
The information collected by the Department pursuant to this act shall not be a public record and may not be made available for inspection by the public under the Freedom of Information Act of 1976, effective March 25, 1977 (D.C. Law 1-96; D.C. Official Code § 2-2-531 et seq.), or any other law. (Emphasis added).[2]
Oregon’s law has a similar provision, as follows:
Except as otherwise required by law, the information collected shall not be a public record and may not be made available for inspection by the public. (Emphasis added).[3]
In Oregon, this similar provision is interpreted to bar release of information about individual cases, including to law enforcement.

The Act Can be Read as Preventing Disclosure Under "Any Law"

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

The Act§ 17, states:

The information collected by the Department pursuant to this act . . . may not be made available for inspection . . . under the Freedom of Information Act . . ., or any other law. (Emphasis added).
If so, the Department of Health will be an agency beyond review, not only by law enforcement, but arguably by the courts and political authority. This fits the definition of “shadow government,”
A government run by an unelected bureaucracy, or a state within a state.

Mandatory Review of "Each Death" by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Is a Sham

To view similar information in a pdf format, see Margaret Dore's memo opposing Act 21-577, which can be viewed here and here.

The Act provides for review of “each death” under the Act by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The Act, states:
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shall review each death involving a qualified patient who ingests a covered medication [lethal drug] and, if warranted by the review, may conduct an investigation.  (Emphasis added).
The Act, § 6(i)(1) .

The Act, however, has no mechanism for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to know when a death under the Act has occurred:

Death Certificate Requirements Protect Perpetrators

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

Act 21-577, § 6(h), says:
The cause of death listed on a death certificate shall identify the qualified patient’s underlying medical condition . . . . (Emphasis added).
The significance of requiring a medical condition to be listed as the cause of death is that it creates a legal inability to prosecute: The official legal cause of death is a medical condition (not murder) as a matter of law.

The Act also mandates that the manner of death (a lethal drug) not be disclosed on the death certificate.  The Act § 6(h), says::
The cause of death listed on a death certificate shall identify the qualified patient’s underlying medical condition consistent with the International Classification of Diseases without reference to the fact that the qualified patient ingested a covered medication. (Emphasis added).
The significance is an official legal cover up.

The Act's death certificate requirements protect perpetrators.

How the Act Works

By Margaret K. Dore, Esq., MBA

The Act has an application process to obtain the lethal drug, which includes a lethal drug request form with two required witnesses.[1] One of the witnesses is allowed to be the patient’s heir who will financially benefit from the patient’s death.[2] 

The Act features patient protections such as a second doctor and a requirement that the patient be capable. These protections, however, are trumped by death certificate requirements and otherwise unenforceable or illusory.

Once the lethal drug is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight.  No doctor or witness is required to be present at the death.  Even if the patient struggled, who would know?

Footnotes:

1.  The form can be viewed in the Act at §3(c), attached here at pages A-7 & A-8.
2.  Id., at page A-8.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

In Oregon, Other Suicides Have Increased with Legalization of Assisted Suicide. The Financial and Emotional Cost is "Enormous"

The cost is "enormous."
By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

A pdf version can be viewed here and here.

If not rejected, Act 21-577 will legalize physician-assisted suicide in the District of Columbia. The Act is based on a similar law in Oregon, which was enacted in 1997.[1] Since then, there has been a significant increase in other (conventional) suicides in Oregon. This is consistent with a suicide contagion in which the legalization and promotion of assisted suicide has led to an increase in other suicides. A government report from Oregon, which is a smaller population state, says:
The cost of [conventional] suicide is enormous. In 201[2] alone, self-inflicted injury hospitalization charges... exceeded $54 million; and the estimate of total lifetime cost of suicide in Oregon was over $677 million.[2]

Friday, January 20, 2017

"Even if a patient struggled, who would know?"

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA


The DC Act allows the death by lethal dose to occur in private without supervision.[1] The drugs used are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be administered to a restrained or sleeping person without consent.[2] Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, puts it this way:

Physician-Assisted Suicide Traumatic for Family Members

By Margaret Dore, Esq.

In 2012, a European research study addressed trauma suffered by persons who witnessed legal assisted suicide in Switzerland.[1] The study found that one out of five family members or friends present at an assisted suicide was traumatized. These people,
experienced full or sub-threshold PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide.[2]

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Act Creates a New Path of Elder Abuse, Which Is Legal

By Margaret Dore, Esq, MBA

Elder abuse is already a problem in the District of Columbia. Failing to reject the Act will make a bad situation worse. See below.

"If Dr. Stevens had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead"

Jeanette Hall and her son, Scott, in November 2000
By Jeanette Hall

I live in Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. Our law passed in 1997 by a ballot measure that I voted for.

In 2000, I was diagnosed with cancer and told that I had 6 months to a year to live.  I knew that our law had passed, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about doing it. I tried to ask my doctor, Kenneth Stevens MD, but he didn’t really answer me. In hindsight, he was stalling me.

Washington’s ‘Death with Dignity’ law imperils the poor

http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/9122

Last week’s article by an assisted suicide/euthanasia advocate struck me as a bizarre article for Real Change, which advocates for the dignity and self-determination of the poor. (“Terminally ill patients face shortage of right-to-die drug amid controversy over capital punishment,” Real Change, June 18, 2014.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

In Oregon, Other Suicides Have Increased with Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

PDF versions are available for viewing here and here.

Since the passage of Oregon’s law allowing physician-assisted suicide, other suicides in Oregon have steadily increased. This is consistent with a suicide contagion in which the legalization of physician-assisted suicides has encouraged other suicides.