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Dear Supporter of ERGO,
I know that you are being bombarded with appeals for financial support — some every day and currently also the usual end-of-year pleas.

ERGO (Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization) makes this one appeal a year. Founded in l993, we are tax-deductible 501c3.

What does this small group do? We issue several times a week this digest of world news concerning issues of choices in dying. (There are more than 3,000 subscribers.) We have an internet bookstore supplying quality literature and a blog. Thousands of newcomers consult our literature daily.

Because of the fame of our books (notably Final Exit and Jean’s Way) we receive phone calls and emails every day from people needing advice with end-of-life problems of their own or family.
We have no office and no staff, except volunteers. But there are expenses – utilities, postage, internet fees, outsourcing of some tasks such as technical support, printing, book-keeping and legal.

Right from when we were the Hemlock Society starting in l980, we have always had two missions: (1) fight for medical aid-in-dying laws; (2) provide factual and moral support for persons who have a compassionate reason to end their lives but no helpful law.

Please consider giving ERGO what help you can. Details in the box at the bottom of this email. Thank you.
Derek Humphry, president, ERGO (based in Oregon)
ergo@finalexitorg. www.finalexit.org
END-OF-YEAR CONTRIBUTION
Snailmail to ERGO, 24829 Norris Lane, Junction City, OR 97448

To donate to nonprofit ERGO via internet:
http://www.finalexit.org/ergo-store/contribute-to-ergo-c-68/contribute-to-ergo-p-192.html

Broad Support for Medical Aid in Dying in MN Poll Results

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (Sept. 2016)

A new survey among likely voters in Minnesota finds broad and deep support for medical aid in dying. In principle, Minnesotans believe medical aid in dying should be a legal option for terminally ill individuals by a margin of 53 points, 73 percent – 20 percent, including 55 percent who strongly believe so.

A similar share of the electorate – 73 percent (49 percent strongly) – supports legislation that would make that option available for people who are over the age of 18, terminally ill and deemed mentally capable by medical experts.

The breadth of the support for this legislation is striking. There is bi-partisan support for this legislation and support across generations, geography and religious faiths.

Finally, the survey also found that 61 percent of voters would be more likely to support a candidate who supports legislation providing a legal option for medical aid in dying while just 21 percent would oppose a candidate who does. Much like support for a legal option itself, support for candidates with this position extends across demographic, religious and partisan lines.
……
Derek Humphry comments: This astounding public opinion in a state where the Final Exit Network was fined $30,000 earlier this year for giving help to a dying woman!!! (Appeal is pending.)

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Colorado passed a medical aid in dying measure 11/08/16 that will allow
adults suffering from terminal illness to take life-ending,
doctor-prescribed sleeping medication.

The ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly, by a two-thirds, one-third
split, according to unofficial returns. Supporters claimed victory an
hour after polls closed in Colorado.

There are now five states which have passed similar legislation: OR, WA, VT, CA, CO. Montana’s Supreme Court has ruled that doctors helping the dying should not be prosecuted. Montana’s legislature has declined to pass or reject such a law.

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Washington D.C. Council on Tuesday gave initial approval to legislation that would allow physicians to prescribe fatal drugs to terminally ill residents in the city, making the District the sixth jurisdiction nationwide to allow the practice.

It is the first predominantly black community to legalize so-called “death with dignity,” overcoming objections from some African American residents.

A spokesman for Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) declined to say whether the mayor would approve or veto the legislation, although he said Bowser “expects the bill to become law.” The council approved the bill by a vote of 11 to 2. Council members Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) and Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) cast the dissenting votes.

The council still must hold a final vote on the bill, possibly as early as Nov. 15.

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If you are interested in knowing more about how assisted dying is
conducted in the Netherlands, go to this site web site of Royal Dutch
Medical Association:

Viewpoints and guidelines euthanasia (in English):

+KNMG position paper: The role of the physician in the voluntary
termination of life
+Guidelines for the Practice of Euthanasia and Physician Assisted
Suicide
+Guidelines for the Practice of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted
Suicide – print
+KNMG infographic euthanasie – mei 2016
+Factsheet: Euthanasia in the Netherlands – february 2012

https://www.knmg.nl/advies-richtlijnen/dossiers/euthanasie/viewpoints-and-guidelines-euthanasia.htm

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This email reached ERGO today:

Thank you very much for your message and resources.

My dad was tremendously suffering (ALS, Leukemia, Diabetes, Arthritis,
and other health issues) and due to no physician-assisted suicide in
Minnesota, he shared that he needed to take things into his own hands
before he got so weak and incapacitated that he didn’t have any options…

Again, he was not depressed…and had so much meaning in his life and
quality intimate relationships. As you know, with ALS things ONLY get
worse…never plateau

He died yesterday by a self-inflicted gun shot to the head.

I know this is exactly what he wanted (obviously he wanted to go a more
dignified way…but there are not options)

Thank you for the wonderful work you folks are doing……Julia

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The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported 17 September 2016:

Waiting for ‘the die medicine’

By Tracy Seipel, Bay Area News Group

For 78-year-old Judy Dale, this wasn’t the way California’s new aid-in-dying law was supposed to work.

The San Francisco grandmother, her body riddled with cancer, had hoped to die on her own terms when the time came by ingesting lethal medications prescribed by a physician. But the panic-filled weeks she spent this summer trying to find a doctor — any doctor — willing to participate in the state’s End of Life Option Act were running out.

By the time she located one, it was too late, and when Dale drew her final breath Tuesday morning, it was not the kind of death she — or her family — had envisioned.

“She did not want to die that way, too confused to say goodbye,” said daughter Catherine Dale, crying over the memory of her bedridden mother begging daily to know how much longer she would have to wait for “the die medicine.”

It’s a scene being played out throughout California, as scores of terminally ill patients are learning to their dismay — and outrage — that the state’s new aid-in-dying law comes with no guarantee of finding a doctor.

“What does this law mean in California?” asked Catherine Dale, still seething over the circumstances at UC San Francisco that left her mother scrambling at the last minute to find a physician.

“The law, to me, means you still need to go to Oregon.”

That’s where the nation’s first aid-in-dying law, the Death with Dignity Act, was enacted in 1997. And almost 20 years later, a network of doctors openly willing to help the terminally ill die has grown there over the years. Ultimately, that could happen here.

Similar legislation has been passed in Washington, Montana* and Vermont, with the help of Compassion & Choices, the same nonprofit group that supported California’s version of the law, signed last October by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Three months after it took effect on June 9, however, there are still “challenges getting everyone up to speed,” said the group’s spokesman, Sean Crowley.

The state Department of Public Health, which will track the number of Californians who request prescriptions and those who use the drugs, is not releasing figures until next July, when the law will have been in place for about a year. So far, at least 50 Californians have received prescriptions Continue Reading »

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Medscape reported 20 September 2016 on a Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium (PCOS) 2016

SAN FRANCISCO ― Oregon was the first state in the United States to enact a physician aid in dying law, known as Death With Dignity Act (DWD). Now, almost 20 years later, there is little evidence that it has been abused.

Since the passage of the law in 1997, a total of 1545 people have been written prescriptions under the DWD in Oregon, and 991 patients have died from ingesting the lethal medications.

A majority of the patients had cancer, said Charles Blanke, MD, professor of medicine, Knight Cancer Institute, at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.

“Users are predominantly elderly, white, and well educated,” he added.

“Almost all patients are in hospice, and almost all take the medications at home after telling loved ones of their decision,” said Dr Blanke, who provided an update on Oregon’s experience here at the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium (PCOS) 2016.

It is relatively rare for patients to use DWD because they were suffering from inadequate pain palliation, he explained. The most common reasons were related to quality of life, autonomy, and dignity.

DOSAGE QUESTIONS

The majority of patients took the medication at home (94%), with a “smattering doing it in a nursing home or equivalent (5%).

“Only one single patient was admitted to a hospital at the time of medication administration,” he pointed out.

As for the drugs used, pure pentabarbitol was at one time the drug of choice, but opposition to capital punishment by European suppliers adversely affected access, and secobarbitol has now taken its place.

The problem with secobarbitol is that it is expensive, costing about $3500 to $7000. “Insurance coverage is mixed,” Dr Blanke told Medscape Medical News. “Some patients have to pay the complete cost out of pocket.”

Use of secobarbitol is also complicated. About 100 capsules have to be opened and mixed with liquid, and many patients lack the dexterity to accomplish that. “As an alternative, a triple cocktail of morphine, chloral hydrate, and phenobarbital may be compounded,” he pointed out. “It is cheaper — about $400 — but it is acidic and, anecdotally, it takes longer for the patient to die.”

Only about two thirds of patients actually take the prescribed drugs once they fill the prescription. “It could be that just knowing that they have the option is enough,” said Dr Blanke. “It’s there if they need it, and it may relieve their fear of loss of control.”

The efficacy of the lethal medication is 99.4%, although, curiously, six patients have regained consciousness after taking it.

A full report on this conference is at
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/869023

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A terminally-ill 17-year-old has become the first minor to be
helped to die in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia requests
were removed two years ago, officials say.

The head of the federal euthanasia commission said the teenager was
“suffering unbearable physical pain”.

Belgium is the only country that allows minors of any age to choose
euthanasia.

They must have rational decision-making capacity and be in the final
stages of a terminal illness. The parents of the under-18 year olds
must also give their consent.

Euthanasia commission head Wim Distelmans said the teenager was “nearly
18”. He said doctors used “palliative sedation”, which involves bringing
patients into an induced coma, as part of the process,

“Fortunately there are very few children who are considered [for
euthanasia] but that does not mean we should refuse them the right to a
dignified death,” he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.

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