Connecticut Physician Sherwin Nuland Criticized Futile Medical Treatments for Terminally Ill
(Hartford, Conn. – March 5, 2014) Compassion & Choices praised Dr. Sherwin Nuland, the Yale surgery professor and author of an award-winning book, “How We Die,” for initiating a national dialogue about death with dignity. Nuland died from prostate cancer on Monday at age 83 at his home in Hamden, Connecticut.
“Dr. Nuland was heroic in bringing conversations about dying out of the closet. He openly acknowledged medically assisted dying exists in states like Connecticut where it is considered illegal. Our own fight is to legalize aid in dying and bring a surreptitious practice into the open, where it is safe and accessible to everyone,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, a former ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant who coauthored the nation’s first death-with-dignity law in Oregon.
With all the issues voters consider, there is never just one reason a candidate wins an election. But when someone campaigns – and wins – on end-of-life choice, it’s worth noting. That’s exactly what happened in a special election for the Connecticut State Senate this week. Gary Holder-Winfield, already a member of the State House, spoke eloquently on the campaign trail about how watching his own mother’s end-of-life suffering led him to support a death-with-dignity bill. The bill, sponsored by State Representative Betsy Ritter, would legalize the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in Connecticut.
“Going through that and watching her suffer changed my perspective,” Holder-Winfield told The New Haven Independent. “The whole time she was in pain. I’d go see her—sometimes she would cry the whole time.” He believes his mother would have wanted the choice to bring a peaceful end to her life.
The candidate Holder-Winfield defeated said he would vote against the legislation. More
Photo Credit: Peter Hvizdak — New Haven Register
According to a statewide poll commissioned by Compassion & Choices, 65 percent of state residents favor such a bill, which would permit doctors to prescribe lethal medication to medically competent patients who have less than six months to live.
The story also featured an interview with Compassion & Choices Chief Program Officer Mickey McIntyre, who met with the paper’s editorial board.
[Excerpt of article]
Gary Holder-Winfield watched his mother die a slow painful death over four years in the hospital. That helped convince him to embrace a controversial bill coming up in the state legislature—to allow physicians to help terminally ill patients take their lives.
Holder-Winfield, a state representative, reflected on his personal transformation on that issue as he trudged up the hills of Upper Westville Sunday afternoon.
He trudged carefully. The sidewalks were treacherously icy. He slipped repeatedly, nearly falling and scattering campaign brochures all over the ice-encrusted snow-white lawns on Stevenson Road. Then he resumed speaking about his mother’s death as he met a basement room full of Democrats, about how he sees his pursuit of elected office as a continuation of her legacy.
Read the entire article here.
In a strange turn of events, the End of Life Choice: Six Words portrait project, displayed at the Connecticut State Capitol has been removed for reasons that remain unclear. Compassion & Choices Connecticut went through the proper approval process to display the project and are unsure why their work was singled out. The following is CT campaign manager, Tim Appleton’s, comment in a Connecticut New Junkie article from Feb, 8th.
[Excerpt of article]
It’s unclear exactly why the photos were removed. Phone calls to Legislative Management, which manages the building, went unanswered Friday evening.
“We heard from many people in the Capitol that they really liked the display on the opening day of session,” Tim Appleton, state director of Compassion and Choices Connecticut, said Friday. “We did everything right in submitting for this. We are hoping to find a new home for it.”
The photos included quotes from supporters of the cause.
“I am concerned that the voices of our supporters are being silenced in a place meant to enhance public debate,” Appleton said. “Why aren’t these citizens allowed to be heard through this portrait display? We hope legislators will take the time to hear from the people in these portraits in an upcoming hearing.”
Read the full article here.