End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

New Jersey News

On The Trail, The Political Becomes Personal [online poll]

[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.

End of Life Choice: Six Words portrait project removed for reasons that remain unclear

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.

Connecticut newspaper of record, the Hartford Courant, urges lawmakers to bring forward Death with Dignity legislation.

[Excerpt from editorial]

Whether such a bill, if it came to the floor, would be approved by the Connecticut legislature is an open question, as is whether Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would sign it into law. But legislators ought to give it a chance. Poll after poll shows that most Americans want end-of life decisions to be made by themselves, not by the government.

Read the full editorial here.

NY Times: Easing Terminal Patients’ Path to Death, Legally

By ERIK ECKHOLM – FEB. 7, 2014

DENVER — Helping the terminally ill end their lives, condemned for decades as immoral, is gaining traction. Banned everywhere but Oregon until 2008, it is now legal in five states. Its advocates, who have learned to shun the term “assisted suicide,” believe that as baby boomers watch frail parents suffer, support for what they call the “aid-in-dying” movement will grow further.

In January, the New Mexico Supreme Court authorized doctors to provide lethal prescriptions and declared a constitutional right for “a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying.” Last May, the Vermont Legislature passed a law permitting it, joining Montana, Oregon and Washington. This spring, advocates are strongly promoting “death with dignity” bills in Connecticut and other states.

Public support for assisted dying has grown in the past half century but depends on terminology. In a Gallup Poll conducted in May last year, for example, 70 percent of respondents agreed that when patients and their families wanted it, doctors should be allowed to “end the patient’s life by some painless means.” In 1948, that share was 37 percent, and it rose steadily for four decades but has remained roughly stable since the mid-1990s.

To read the rest of the article, follow this link to the New York Times.


For Barbara Mancini, there is no master detective … or justice

By Donald Bain, Wednesday, February 5, 2014








IN EACH of the 43 “Murder, She Wrote” novels I’ve written, based on the popular TV show of the same name, a murder is committed. Someone in the prime of life is denied many years of fulfillment and happiness. Toward the end of each book, the murderer is identified through the fictitious Jessica Fletcher’s sleuthing, and justice is served, as it should be.

But then there’s the case in Pennsylvania of Barbara Mancini, an exemplary woman, wife, mother of two teenage children, devoted daughter and nurse who is in serious legal trouble because of an overzealous state attorney general.

She is facing up to a 10-year prison sentence if she is wrongfully convicted for “assisting suicide” for allegedly handing her 93-year old father, Joseph Yourshaw – suffering debilitating pain from end-stage diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease and arthritis – his partially filled bottle of legally prescribed morphine to help ease his pain in his final days.

Read more here...