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Although the Canadian law for doctor assisted dying was hotly debated in 2016, when it was originally enacted, it has won broad public acceptance since then, with polls showing strong support.

Through December of 2021, 31,664 Canadians have received assisted deaths. Of those, 224 who died last year were not terminally ill

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The New York Times for 19 Sept.22 has this article:

Is Choosing Death Too Easy in Canada?

Since the government expanded the eligibility for assisted death last year to include those with disabilities, critics have been saying there should be more checks and balances.

Canada is among 12 countries and several American states where assisted death is permitted in certain circumstances. Since last year, it has been one of at least three — including Belgium and the Netherlands — that allow an assisted death if the person is suffering from a chronic painful condition, even if that condition is not terminal.

Although the Canadian law was hotly debated in 2016, when it was originally enacted, it has won broad public acceptance since then, with polls showing strong support. Through December of 2021, 31,664 Canadians have received assisted deaths. Of those, 224 who died last year were not terminally ill, taking advantage of last year’s amendment.

Read the entire article at the N Y T for Sept. 19

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Film director Jean-Luc Godard, who spearheaded the revolutionary French New Wave of cinema, has died at 91 by assisted suicide at his home in Switzerland.

Godard burst onto the scene with 1960’s À bout de souffle (Breathless), which started a run of acclaimed releases that rewrote the rules of film and influenced directors from Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino.

“Jean-Luc Godard, the most iconoclastic of New Wave filmmakers, invented a resolutely modern, intensely free art. We have lost a national treasure, a man who had the vision of a genius.”

Godard’s legal advisor Patrick Jeanneret told the AFP news agency that the Franco-Swiss film-maker “had recourse to legal assistance in Switzerland for a voluntary departure as he was stricken with ‘multiple invalidating illnesses’, according to the medical report”.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland in some circumstances.

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It’s been three years since New Jersey enacted a Medical Aid in Dying law, but only 95 terminally ill patients have chosen that path to end their lives here, so far — and they’re mostly white. A Rutgers researcher says that mirrors national statistics — which also show most people who choose aid in dying have some college education, stating, “It raises some questions about, is this truly a preference — or is there something about the way these laws are written and enacted that might be leading to some disparities.”

Advocate Brandi Alexander cited medical racism and mistrust, noting, “Underserved communities — black and brown communities — often access care at less rates, anyway, and medical aid in dying is no different … there are so many end-of-life options that our communities aren’t taking advantage of.” Also, an end-of-life doctor claims that many hospices don’t bother to inform families about their policies.

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Growth in the number of medically assisted deaths in Canada continues in 2021

  • In 2021, there were 10,064 MAID provisions reported in Canada, accounting for 3.3% of all deaths in Canada.
  • The number of cases of MAID in 2021 represents a growth rate of 32.4% over 2020. All provinces continue to experience a steady year over year growth.
  • When all data sources are considered, the total number of medically assisted deaths reported in Canada since the Parliament of Canada passed federal legislation that allows eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying in 2016 is 31,664.

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A southern city has become the first jurisdiction in China to enact legislation allowing a terminally ill patient to refuse “excessive life-saving treatment” and die with dignity and comfort.

The new law in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, which comes into effect next January 1, follows a practice common in many countries, where those with incurable conditions and nearing the end of their lives have the right to decide how they die.

According to a revised draft of the city’s medical treatment regulation, which was passed last month, patients with terminal diseases or at the end of their lives can create advanced care directives, or living wills, that reject artificial life-support treatment such as tube feeding or cardiopulmonary resuscitation to prolong life.

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Nearly 5,400 terminally ill people in the USA have used medical aid in dying laws to obtain prescription drugs to end their lives, a first-of-its kind study led by the Rutgers School of Public Health has found.

About 70% of the people who used the law to die over the last 23 years were diagnosed with cancer. They were also overwhelmingly white (96%), typically in their mid-70s, and educated — with three out of four having attended college or graduated with at least one a degree, according to an article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society last month.

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No assisted suicide for healthy people

The Swiss Medical Association (FMH) has agreed on  revised guidelines for the “Management of Dying and Death” proposed by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS).

The guidelines will be part of the code doctors have to adhere to in the future and are as follows:

  • The physician must – other than in justified exceptional cases – conduct at least two detailed discussions with the patient separated by an interval of at least two weeks.
  • The symptoms of the illness and/or functional impairment must be unbearable, the severity of which is to be substantiated by a legitimate diagnosis and prognosis.
  • Assisted suicide for healthy persons is not medically or ethically justifiable.

Before, during, and after the assisted suicide takes place, the needs of the relatives and interprofessional care and support team must also be taken into consideration. Required support is to be given and must be documented.

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Mark Fleischman, who owned legendary New York nightclub Studio 54 in the 1980s, has died by assisted suicide in Switzerland, his former business partner has said.

Mr Fleischman, 82, took over the club in 1980 and ran it until 1986.

He first became ill in 2016 and was left unable to walk or do many things for himself, but said doctors had not been able to diagnose his condition.

He took his life at the Dignitas clinic near Zurich on Wednesday.

Daniel Fitzgerald, who co-owned the Century Club in Los Angeles with Mr Fleischman in the 1990s and 2000s, told BBC News: “I guess he was in more pain than we knew.”

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Nearly three quarters of the British public support a parliamentary inquiry into assisted dying, polling reveals today.

Research by YouGov found that 74 per cent were in favour of examining the impact of the law as it stands and potential changes to legislation.

In the poll, assisted dying was defined as a terminally ill adult of sound mind legally seeking assistance to end their life via medication, with the approval of two doctors.

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