End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

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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...


Victory in New Mexico!

Following a landmark January ruling in New Mexico’s Second District Court, a 1963 state law against assisted suicide cannot be used to prosecute physicians who prescribe medication for terminally ill patients choosing death with dignity. This ruling immediately protects the medical practice from prosecution in the state’s most populous county. If affirmed by the state’s high court, the ruling will apply across the state.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this ruling. It will reverberate in dozens of states with similar assisted-suicide laws.

With the ACLU of New Mexico, Compassion & Choices (C&C) brought the case to challenge the assisted-suicide statute of New Mexico and to establish that the medical practice of aid in dying for a mentally competent, terminally ill patient is not subject to prosecution under it. The court agreed that to do so would violate fundamental liberty and privacy protections for the people of New Mexico. It found the statute unconstitutional as applied to aid in dying. More