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Sunday’s Washington Post, looking at the future,  had commentary on the 1972 movie ‘SOYLENT GREEN’  and its predictions about the future of medical assisted dying.   Extract:

Between the food shortages, staggering inequality, oppressive temperatures and stairwells lined with sleeping homeless people, life in “Soylent Green” isn’t a picnic. Perhaps that’s why authorities in the movie have legalized assisted dying.

One scene shows widows collecting “death benefits,” implying that your family will be rewarded if you opt out. It’s a moment that catches the eye of Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson), who attends a clinic where he’s welcomed by a glamorous assistant. He’s asked to choose his favorite color and soundtrack, takes a mouthful of medicine and is placed in bed while an orderly pushes two buttons on a console.

A wall-sized TV then plays a montage of pacifying imagery (grazing stag, golden dawns, rivers) as the character exchanges a tender “I love you” with Thorn. (Robinson himself would die 12 days after shooting wrapped.)

A controversial subject at the time, assisted dying is legal today in Canada, Colombia, Australia and parts of Europe. In 2018, 142 people traveled from Germany, France and Britain to Switzerland’s Dignitas facility to make use of the country’s physician-assisted suicide policy that does not set a minimum age, diagnosis requirement or qualifying symptoms.  (end extract)

(Also, ten states in the USA have medical assisted dying laws.)

Read the whole article on SOYLENT GREEN at

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2022/01/09/soylent-green-2022-predictions/

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Choice in dying has long been progressive in Colombia, alone among South American countries.

Reuters is reporting:

Colombian Victor Escobar became the first person in the Andean country with a non-terminal illness to die by legally regulated euthanasia late on Friday, his lawyer Luis Giraldo confirmed.

“We reached the goal for patients like me, who aren’t terminal but degenerative, to win this battle, a battle that opens the doors for the other patients who come after me and who right now want a dignified death,” Escobar, 60, said in a video message sent to media by Giraldo.

On Saturday, a second Colombian, Martha Sepulveda, with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, was also euthanized.

Escobar suffered from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which greatly diminishes quality of life, as well as a number of other conditions, Giraldo told Reuters.

The procedure took place in a clinic in Cali, the capital city of Colombia’s Valle del Cauca province.

“I’m not saying goodbye, just ‘see you later,’” Escobar said.

Escobar had fought two-years for his right to euthanasia in the face of opposition from doctors, clinics and courts, even though the Constitutional Court last year recognized the procedure should be available for others besides the terminally ill.

On Saturday, Sepulveda underwent the procedure in the city of Medellin at midday, Colombian legal rights advocacy group DescLAB — who supported her case — said in a statement.

Colombia’s Constitutional Court removed penalties for euthanasia under certain circumstances in 1997 and ordered the procedure to be regulated in 2014. The first person in Colombia with a terminal illness to die under those rules was in 2015.

As of Oct. 15 last year, 178 people with terminal illnesses had been legally euthanized in Colombia since 2015, according to DescLAB.

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Interesting to observe how immediately used is the new medical aid in dying law in Catalonia:

On December 2, Catalan health general secretary, Meritxell Masó, published numbers about the people who used the Spanish euthanasia law since the Catalan government implemented this in June 2021 in this part of Spain.

Until November 30, 53 requests were made. The vast majority is coming from primary care centers. In total, 28 of them have been approved by officials, with four yet to be carried out. Currently, 14 other requests are being studied, three have been declined, and six people died before their application was reviewed. Health authorities said that 14 are cancer patients and 23 have neurodegenerative diseases.

The requests are reviewed by the Catalan Guarantee and Evaluation, a new body created after the law was passed. The committee can also facilitate information regarding the process and requests.

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Archbishop Tutu who died recently was a supporter of reform on medical assisted dying  –

but it’s not known to be the way in which his life ended.

…………

Desmond Tutu has said he would like the option of ending his life through assisted dying as he called on politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders to take action on the issue.

In an article published on his 85th birthday on Friday, and following several spells in hospital this year for recurring infections, the emeritus archbishop of Cape Town and anti-apartheid activist reiterated his support for assisted dying, first disclosed in the Guardian in 2014.

“With my life closer to its end than its beginning, I wish to help give people dignity in dying,” he wrote in the Washington Post.

“Just as I have argued firmly for compassion and fairness in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with the same compassion and fairness when it comes to their deaths,” he added.

“Dying people should have the right to choose how and when they leave Mother Earth. I believe that, alongside the wonderful palliative care that exists, their choices should include a dignified assisted death.”

From the newsletter 20 December 2121 of the American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying

The Academy’s Patient to Doctor Referral System (https://ACAMAID.us19)  inaugurated in March 2020 to link patients with aid-in-dying experienced doctors, has now reached 300 patient requests and we’ve placed 100% of them with participating doctors.

 Sadly, 25 years after Oregon became the first state with legal aid in dying, the hope that terminally ill patients considering aid in dying simply need to ask their doctor hasn’t panned out.

 Mostly, their kind and caring doctors don’t have experience or training in medical aid in dying, and they’re not comfortable providing care they’re not trained in.

 So while the Academy is doing all it can to train more and more doctors, we also started the Patient to Doctor Referral System (https://ACAMAID.us19.list-manage.com) to connect patients with doctors who are both supportive of and experienced in aid-in-dying are. Our referral system is national.

 

 

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Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization (ERGO)

Contacting ERGO and Derek Humphry —

Email:  ergo@finalexit.org

Web:  https://www.finalexit.org

Bookstore:  https://www.finalexit.org/ergo-store

BLOG:  www.assisted-dying.org

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/user/TheFinalExit

Donations:  https://www.finalexit.org/ergo-store (see contribute icon)

Or mail to  ERGO, 24829 Norris Lane, Junction City, Oregon 97448 USA

 

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Katie Engelhart’s new book “The Inevitable” was discussed on the radio recently. This is an extract:

BROOKE GLADSTONE This is On the Media on WNYC Radio New on WNYC Radio New York  on 3 December 2021:

BROOKE GLADSTONE What do you think about books like ‘Final Exit: The   of Self Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying’  by Derek Humphry. There’s also another one A ‘Chosen Death: The Dying Confront Assisted Suicide’  by Lonny Shavelson. These authors can’t be charged with assisting in suicide, can they?

KATIE ENGELHART Well, people are really fearful of dying badly. They want to know that something will work quickly and that it won’t leave a mess for family members to find afterwards. And that’s what these manuals help people with. The book Final Exit was a surprise New York Times bestseller, I think, in the 90s.

I contacted the author, and all these years later, he still sells a couple of copies a day, and he still gets calls from people all over the world who want to ask very specific questions about some say, cardiac medication they’ve been hoarding.

As to the question of whether someone can get in trouble for sharing this information, that’s actually pretty interesting. To commit suicide in the United States is legal, but to assist someone else in the legal act of committing suicide is illegal. And that brings us to the question of what constitutes assistance, which is complicated and vary state by state.

So I did interview a lawyer who’s involved in a group that helps provide people with information, and he’d done this big survey. And he basically found that in most places, when we say ‘assisting a suicide,’ the courts mean physical assistance. You handed someone medication, you injected someone with a drug, but in a few places, the definition is fuzzier and perhaps will allow for someone to be charged with assistance just for providing information or means. And this lawyer,

Robert Rivas, said to me, if that interpretation is correct, it could be that in some states, someone could ask a librarian for a copy of this New York Times bestselling book Final Exit, have the librarian hand over the copy and later have the librarian be charged if that person goes home, reads the book and uses it to end his life.

 Read the entire radio interview  at WNYC New York.  The book is on Amazon.

 

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Choices in dying.  Donation ?

A modest donation to ERGO (nonprofit) would help with our research and our support of inquirers.

See the 9th icon (‘How you can contribute…..’) at our web site:

          https/::www.finalexit.org/ergo-store

Or mail to

ERGO, 24829 Norris Lane, Junction City, OR 97448

                            Thank you  — Derek Humphry

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A fascinating article in the Guardian 21 Nov. about a terminally ill UK person traveling to Switzerland to get a medically assisted death contains this bleak outlook for law reform in England:

Assisted death is legal in Switzerland, as well as in several other countries including Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium. (plus 10 USA states). Although the details differ, the success of each system is grounded in tight regulation and documentation.

In the UK, however, anyone who does anything that could be construed as “encouraging or assisting” another person to die, such as buying their plane ticket, pushing their wheelchair through an airport, or even talking about how it might happen, may be committing an offence that carries a potential prison sentence of up to 14 years.

The British Medical Association recently dropped its opposition to assisted dying but, despite widespread support from the public and half of doctors surveyed personally believing there should be a change in the law to permit them to prescribe life-ending drugs, little has changed.

A bill that would allow some people with a terminal illness to end their life at a time of their choosing is progressing through parliament, but is not expected to become law. “It’s unlikely to pass unless it gets taken up by MPs in the Commons and the government gives it time for debate,” says Trevor Moore, chair of the campaign group My Death, My Decision, which is calling for a public inquiry into the law. “There are some supportive MPs, but it takes up parliamentary time, and there are a lot of other things going on.”

Worth reading the whole article in the Guardian at –

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/nov/20/a-trip-to-switzerland-in-search-of-a-good-death-all-this-instead-of-just-doing-it-in-brighton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Economist of 8 November has a long article surveying the benefits and problems of medical assisted dying worldwide.

Death on demand
In the West, assisted dying is rapidly becoming legal and accepted

It is raising hard questions and changing how people think about death

Extract :

Change has been rapid. Assisted dying is now legal or decriminalised in at least a dozen countries, with legislation or court challenges pending in many others. On November 5th Portugal’s parliament approved a revised bill which would allow those with “grave, incurable and irreversible” conditions to receive help to end their lives (the constitutional court had in March blocked an earlier version as being too imprecise).

Other largely Catholic countries such as Chile, Ireland, Italy and Uruguay are also moving towards enshrining a right to die. In Belgium, Colombia and the Netherlands governments have broadened assisted dying laws to include terminally ill children.

After years of struggle, activists and politicians have found ways through or around reluctant legislators. The right to die has been ticked through American ballot boxes, squeezed through Australian legislatures, and gavelled through Canadian and European courts. Proponents are using public consultations, campaigns and petitions to demonstrate public support. And growing evidence from countries with assisted-dying laws has undermined fears it will become easy to “kill granny”. The changes are snowballing as advocates in one country learn from their counterparts elsewhere.

Assisted dying remains uncommon. Most cases are cancer-related, and the number of deaths is tiny. But they are nonetheless changing how people think about dying. In some countries assisted dying has been extended to those with mental disorders and dementia, and even to old people who feel tired of life. A clandestine network of baby-boomers who share methods to kill themselves has sprung up on the internet. Even some proponents are beginning to worry about a slippery slope.  (end extract)

Read entire article at

https://www.economist.com/international/

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