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A QUALITY VIDEO DEBATING EUTHANASIA AND ASSISTED DYING

For over 20 years, Canadian citizens and courts have been engaged in a profound and divisive debate surrounding one of the most important moments in an individual’s life – the moment that it ends.

In The Trouble with Dying, each side of the argument over the right to choose the time and manner of one’s death weigh in on both the dangers and benefits of medically assisted dying, and the many ethical considerations that the concept entails. Produced and released by Toronto’s Holgate Production House and narrated by iconic Canadian Christopher Plummer, the program offers an independent and thought-provoking take on an issue that has only begun to unfold on the national stage.

Among the participants is Dr. Richard MacDonald, of the Final Exit Network USA, who says that he has been present at some 200 deaths of dying people who chose to accelerate their ends. www.finalexitnetwork.org

To view this 45-minute video, which was aired on Canada TV on Monday, go to

http://www.visiontv.ca/shows/the-trouble-with-dying/

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Press Release by the Final Exit Network 03.21.14

ST. PAUL, Minnesota – A Minnesota law that prohibits “advising, encouraging, or assisting” in a “suicide” is unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, the Supreme Court of Minnesota has ruled.

In a 27-page opinion handed down on Wednesday, March 19, the Supreme Court struck the words “advising” and “encouraging” out of the Minnesota statute, leaving only the word “assisting.” The decision means the Exit Guides of Final Exit Network may not be convicted of a crime for providing information, education, and emotional support to suffering Network members, but may be convicted only if they provide actual assistance in self-deliverance – something the Network does not do.

Though the Network and two of its Exit Guides are being prosecuted in Dakota County, Minnesota for “advising, encouraging, or assisting” in a “suicide,” the Supreme Court decision was not directly a ruling in the Network’s case.

The Supreme Court ruling came in the case of William Frances Melchert-Dinkel, a nurse who was convicted of “advising, encouraging, or assisting” in the deaths of a suicidally depressed young man in England and a young woman in Canada.

After Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in the small town of Faribault, he appealed to the intermediate Court of Appeals of Minnesota, which ruled that the Minnesota statute was constitutional in its entirety. While that case was pending, the Network and two of its exit guides were charged Continue Reading »

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A 2014 appraisal of self-directed dying
by Derek Humphry
This September, as part of the world euthanasia conference in Chicago, we shall be making a fresh appraisal of non-doctor ways in which a terminal or hopelessly ill person can choose to end their life.

This review will be by NuTech (New Technology in Self-Deliverance) in an all-day session of international experts and experienced guides. Crucially, the meeting will be looking for persons with new backgrounds and ideas on choice in dying. NuTech is an informal group started in 1997 by John Hofsess, Dr. Philip Nitschke and myself to find ways in which a competent adult could safely exit which were lawful and did not involve doctors. It has no finances or constitution. NuTech’s leaders today are Faye Girsh and myself.

Its first born was the helium hood technique for ending life using a party balloon kit, an oven plastic bag and vinyl tubing. The technique – often called ‘exit bags’ — became widely known in 2002 in the 3rd edition of Final Exit. It has since been used for self-deliverance by several hundred people, even in the Netherlands at times when legal physician-assisted suicide is not available. Absent lethal drugs, it is the system recommended by the Final Exit Network — successor to the Hemlock Society.

Since NuTech’s beginnings, the growth of the internet has been enormous, giving rise to huge sales of all types of drugs from international destinations, notably Mexico, Russia and China. Unfortunately, some sources which supply lethal drugs have involved fraud, dubious quality and rampant over-charging. The fraud is not confined to Nembutal and Seconal which are widely used in right to die cases -– hospitals worldwide are finding that many types of commonly-used drugs are counterfeit, low toxicity or even blank. Sometimes the label is counterfeit.

NuTech needs to nail down which sources are reliable for lethal barbiturates like Continue Reading »

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A judge has dismissed the assisted-suicide charge against Barbara Mancini, the 58-year-old Philadelphia nurse who was arrested last February after handing her 93-year-old terminally ill father a bottle of morphine.

“A jury may not receive a case where it must rely on conjecture to reach
a verdict,” Judge Jacqueline Russell said in her 47-page opinion.

The case “would not warrant submission to a jury due to the lack of
competent evidence,” she continued, adding that “the commonwealth’s
reliance on speculation” served “as an inappropriate means to prove its
case.”

The dismissal comes more than a year after Mancini’s Feb. 7 arrest.

“I’m very relieved and elated that Judge Russell ruled the way she did,”
Mancini said Tuesday night. “It’s a long opinion. She really took them
to task,” she said, referring to the state Attorney General’s Office,
which prosecuted the case.

Mancini’s father, Joseph Yourshaw, was terminally ill, in extreme pain,
and under hospice care when his daughter handed him his legally
prescribed morphine, and he drank it.

A hospice nurse then arrived at his home in Pottsville, saw him
unconscious, talked with his daughter, and then called police – against
Mancini’s wishes, according to testimony. Yourshaw had repeatedly said
he wanted to die, and die at home. He had completed a living will, and
had designated his daughter as his medical decision-maker.

Yourshaw was taken to a hospital, revived, and died there four days
later. He knew his daughter had been arrested, and according to his
son-in-law, his last words were “Don’t hurt Barbara.”

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Re today’s New York Times lead article “Assisted suicide now legal in 5 states”

This article, while welcome, has two shortcomings in my view:
It fails to point out that there are four groups in the USA campaigning (in different ways) for the right to choose how to die when at life’s end.

True, Compassion & Choices is the largest because it absorbed the Hemlock Society in 2003, but there is also the Death With Dignity National Center, the Final Exit Network, and Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO)
Each group is doing vital work in this important field.

In my view the article was blemished by the last two paragraphs referring to the very worst ways in which a person could end life
when the reporter wrote : “may resort to what some call a “chemical suicide,” mixing household chemicals to produce a deadly cloud of hydrogen sulfide gas and leaving behind a toxic mess. He is also pondering a heroin overdose.”
It’s against such dangerous ways of dying that the four groups are fighting.

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Have a look at this short video about the German situation.
Quite illuminating. A gutsy guy.
Copy and paste in your browser:

http://www.dw.de/the-question-of-euthanasia/av-17383986

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In New Mexico on January 13, 2014, a trial-court-level judge rendered a decision that a physician could not be prosecuted on a charge of assisting in a suicide because the right of a terminally ill patient to his or her doctor’s assistance in death is a fundamental right with which the state cannot interfere.

But the New Mexico decision is law, at this time, only in the judicial district surrounding Albuquerque. It is likely to be appealed, thus it remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court of New Mexico will approve the Morris decision and apply it statewide.

The court decision does not determine exactly what conditions have to prevail in order for the doctor to be protected from criminal prosecution. Under the Death With Dignity laws of Oregon, Washington and Vermont, the rules are explicit and clear and ensure the doctor cannot be prosecuted, disciplined or sued.

Because doctors in Montana and New Mexico do not have the protections of a DWD law like that of Oregon, Washington, and Vermont, few doctors will participate in assisted dying. Nonetheless, the decision is a valuable step in moving our society in the right direction. It might help move the New Mexico legislature toward enacting a DWD law.

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From Faye Girsh:
Sharlotte Hydorn died yesterday in her San Diego home, with hospice care, at age 94. Though I don’t know all the details, I wanted to pay her this tribute since she did so much to give people around the world the comfort and reassurance of a peaceful death by making and distributing her GLADD exit bags. GLADD = Good Life and Dignified Death.

They were sturdy, transparent, and comfortable and were equipped with the correct tubing and T-connection to be used with two tanks. People were happy to send her their $60 and receive a bag, discretely wrapped, in the mail. It is a comfort to me to have one in my closet.

Sharlotte was not the first to make these bags. As I recall they were first made in Canada (by another one of our heroes, Evelyn Martens, then by a Hemlock couple in Montana. I think Sharlotte got into the business about 5 years ago.

In May of 2011 29-year-old Nick Klonoski was found in his room with a GLADD bag over his head, connected to two tanks of helium. Klonoski suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for years and was often depressed, his brother said. BUT — his mother is a federal judge in Oregon. The situation escalated till the Oregon legislature proposed a law making it a felony to sell “any substance or objects to another person knowing” that person plans to use it to kill themselves.

The investigation led to Sharlotte. A week later, at 7:30 AM, she was visited by several armed FBI agents who proceeded to spend the day at her modest home confiscating her files, with the names of the people she had sent Exit Bags to, checks that were laying around, her sewing machine, and, later, to the Post Office where they confiscated the small white boxes with a butterfly on them, waiting to be delivered to people who had sent her a check.

Later many of these people were visited by the FBI and local police in their cities and their countries, for “wellness checks” to make sure they were not suicidal. Many of these “authorities” got an earful about how these outspoken “victims” were in good health now and why they were so grateful to have their bag — in case things got bad and they wanted to make a graceful exit. Later some of these people got a letter saying they were entitled to “Victim Compensation!

The Final Exit Network found a good local lawyer for her and helped pay her legal fees, as did ERGO. In May 2012 she was sentenced in federal court for failing to submit tax returns and was fined $1000 and put on five years probation. I still don’t know what “crime” she committed. She gave a wonderful, articulate, courageous press conference outside of the court house.

Ironically, the next day Junior Seau, a beloved San Diego football hero, shot himself to death. If he had died a peaceful, rather than a violent death, there would have been great outrage, as there was in young Klonoski’s death. Instead, there was a sensible investigation into the causes of Seau’s death which led to examining brain injuries in football players.

Last year, as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Hemlock Society of San Diego, Sharlotte was given an award for her humanitarian and courageous work in the fight for death with dignity. She is holding her certificate in the picture, looking more radiant and defiant than ever. She received a standing ovation from our members. At that time her health was not good. Since then it had declined and, to make matters worse, her adopted son who helped her in the GLADD business, died of cancer. She has been receiving hospice care at home for the past few months.

Let us hope that she died peacefully and with dignity — the way she wanted it for so many people around the world. Sharlotte, we salute you!
Faye Girsh, Hemlock of San Diego CA

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AN APPEAL

This is the time of year – once only – when ERGO (Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization) asks its supporters if they can make a tax-deductible donation towards expenses.

ERGO is an all-volunteer nonprofit group, operating since 1993 to provide quality information about issues of the right-to-choose-to-die. ERGO has no rented offices, but all utilities have to be paid for the modest donated space.

ERGO’s biggest expense is maintaining a free news list (www.lists.opn.org/mailman/listinfo/right-to-die_lists.opn.org), two web sites (www.finalexit.org & www.assistedsuicide.org), an internet bookstore (www.finalexit.org/ergo-store) and a blog (www.assisted-dying.org). Updates, fees and tech support are a considerable ongoing expense.

ERGO has sponsored NuTech (New Technology for Self-Deliverance) since 2000. This group invented and developed the helium hood technique and continues research for other methods of choices in ending life.

Following next year’s world right-to-die conference in Chicago, NuTech will sponsor an all-day additional session exploring new ideas for self-deliverance and refining old ones. ERGO has already begun financial commitments for this.

Your contribution towards NuTech’s success would be most valuable.

Contributions can be submitted to ERGO via:
www.finalexit.org/ergo-store/contribute-to-ergo-p-192.html

Or in the mail to:
ERGO
24829 Norris Lane
Junction City, OR
97448

ERGO is 501(c)(3) of the IRS tax code with a tax ID number of 93-1118314.

Grateful for your contribution and support. Thank you.

Derek Humphry
president, ERGO
ergo@finalexit.org

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In the listing of the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990–1999, according the American Library Association, this ultimate how-to book is 29th:

Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance And Assisted Suicide for the Dying – By Derek Humphry

Now in its 22nd year of publication, it still sells daily around the world. Third edition, 2010, paperback or ebook at www.finalexit.org/ergo-store

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