Issues

UNDER ATTACK! Conscience Rights: Healthcare Providers’ Right to Refuse to Kill

By Ralph A. Capone, M.D. and Julie Grimstad Conscientious objection, when exercised by healthcare practitioners, is a refusal to provide a legal "medical service" (such as abortion or assisted suicide) that conflicts with their deeply held religious or moral convictions. Calls to Exclude Conscientious Objectors from Medical Practice On ...
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An Imposed Death in Hospice

Mr. Dennis Barry's wife, Lucy, age 90, was admitted to a hospice facility for a "respite" and died shortly thereafter. A little over a year after she died, Dennis called the Hospice Patients Alliance to tell her tragic story. At a hospice, Lucy Barry was given Haldol (an antipsychotic drug), ...
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The Golden Rule Revisited

By Edwin Leap, MD I wrote and published this several years ago. It first appeared in Emergency Medicine News, then in the Focus on the Family newsletter. It has been reprinted in several publications and websites. As we struggle with so many issues in medicine, I think the ...
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Quinlan: First “Right To Die” Case’s Far-Reaching Consequences

Recently, I had reason to go look through through the collection of book reviews I've written over the years, searching for one on Karen Ann Quinlan's mother's autobiography. I have resurrected that review and reprint it in this edition of the PHA Monthly for two reasons: (1) The 1976 ...
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Who will be encouraged to consider assisted suicide?

By Dr. Virginia Stark-Vance MD Physicians are under increasing pressure to not offer patients care. Sometimes this pressure comes from the hospital or medical staff, sometimes from the insurance company. One medical staff chief tried to force me to withdraw from the hospital staff because the nursing staff had complained ...
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Response to the APA on Physician Assisted Suicide

LifeNews published an article by Michael Cook, entitled "American Psychiatric Association Takes Strong Stance Against Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia" This article immediately raised red flags. Dr. Karl Benzio, MD, founder and director of Lighthouse Network, has ...
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Euthanasia documentary

From our friends at ADF International ...
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Questions And Answers Regarding Assisted Nutrition And Hydration

By Chris Kahlenborn, MD The specific question of whether to place a stomach tube in a patient who has had a stroke or has advanced dementia is one of the most difficult dilemmas for patients and/or family members who often have questions regarding the ethics of either giving or withholding ...
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A Patient Advocate’s Story: Saving A Life From Four States Away

By Allison Wiggins I was a guardian to a homeless man in Corpus Christi in 1998. This man, Stanley Nowak, was inhis late 80s, but very lucid, not an alcoholic or schizophrenic. Stanley would sit outside the Cathedral where I attended daily noon Mass. Due to his appearance, he wouldn't ...
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Considering Some Consequences of Government-Sanctioned Assisted Suicide

A 2015 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of Americans favor decriminalizing physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for painful and incurable conditions.[i] Apparently, many people are influenced by the propaganda of PAS advocates (e.g., Compassion & Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society), with the support of ...
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Drug-induced murder: If only we had known

By KM In-home hospice care is extremely common today; yet this form of end-of-life care is often dangerous and deadly. Typically, the hospice agency delivers a bed and a big package of medications. Often, the patient's family is encouraged to start administering morphine (a strong pain reliever) and Ativan (a ...
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Assisted Suicide: News & Commentary

Below are recent articles offering news and commentary on the push for assisted suicide and the concerns about and impact of these dangerous trends. The good news so far has been the success in many states to reject efforts to legalize assisted suicide. Unfortunately, Canada received a negative high court ...
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Case In Point: Treating Patients with Serious Health Issues

Below are some examples of real life experiences of patients facing serious health issues. Whether these health issues develop gradually or suddenly, reports on situations and experiences faced by others may be helpful in making critical medical decisions on issues such as: hospice care, feeding tubes, ventilators, CPR, life support, ...
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Conscientious Objection, Conscience Rights, And Workplace Discrimination

The tragic cases of Nancy Cruzan and Christine Busalacchi, young Missouri women who were alleged to be in a "persistent vegetative state," and starved and dehydrated to death, outraged those of us in Missouri Nurses for Life and we took action. Besides educating people about ...
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Conscience Rights, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, And More

A new Illinois law just signed by Governor Bruce Rauner has dire implications for pro-life healthcare providers. According to the National Catholic Register ("Illinois Law Threatens Conscience Rights, Crisis-Pregnancy Centers," August 9, 2016), this new law changes the former state Health Care Right of ...
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Just To See Him Smile

By Margaret Pole We generally accept the fact that meaningful ventures such as pursuing a vocation, sustaining a marriage, raising a family, getting an education, starting a business, entering a profession, and so forth will entail a great deal of time, effort, money, sacrifice, or suffering. We ...
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The Apnea Test

THE APNEA TEST: USED TO DETERMINE "BRAIN DEATH," IT CAN CAUSE DEATH By Paul A. Byrne, M.D. The Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) states that a person who has sustained "irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem," is dead. While these words are ...
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A Trisomy 18 Story

Katie and Ryan Paul Buck, residents of Des Moines, Iowa, are the parents of two sons, two-year-old Daniel and six-month-old Alexander. Alexander has a chromosomal abnormality, trisomy-18 (t-18), where an extra 18th chromosome exists in a person's genetic makeup, causing severe birth defects. The physician who delivered the news of ...
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Premature Brain Death Diagnosis

Below are recent articles covering cases of premature declaration of "brain death" that force relatives to face serious challenges in their attempts to give the patients more time to show signs of recovery. Hospitals are Quick to Declare Patients Brain Dead to Harvest Their Organs. Here’s Why 6/16/16 by ...
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Brain Death Run Amok

Here is another dangerous medical futility trend that originates in California. First there was Jahi McMath, who is still alive over two years later, after barely escaping from a California hospital where she was declared "brain dead" and called a corpse. Now Israel Stinson has faced the same ...
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When Going To Die Becomes Supposed To Die

By Jennifer Warner Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is often touted as essential for patient autonomy. However, apart from the immorality of helping to end a life, not enough attention is given to how PAS might also be misused by people with selfish aims. In 2014, shortly before the End of Life ...
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Life Is Always Worth Living

By Adam Crouch I was deeply saddened to hear that Brittany Maynard decided to accept the laws in Oregon, USA (where euthanasia is legal) and ended her life in November 2014, after a battle with brain cancer. I am a victim of brain cancer myself. I was diagnosed with a ...
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Misdiagnosed And Overdosed, Grandmother Rescued From Hospice

Family members often feel powerless and hopeless when they realize that a loved one in hospice care has been put on the pathway to a speedy death. This is a story of one family’s vigilance and timely action, which saved Mrs. Jackie McGiboney’s life. “My grandmother has been alive for ...
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Euphemistically called Aid in Dying, but really Permission to Kill

New Hampshire: Testimony Opposing SB426 (Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia Commission) Euphemistically called Aid in Dying, but is really Permission to Kill. Note: Dr. Benzio’s testimony has been condensed for this newsletter. Hello. My name is Karl Benzio. I am the Pennsylvania Director for the American Academy of Medical Ethics, and the ...
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Hastened Death in Hospice Facility

3/10/2016 To Whom It May Concern, Today is my mother's Birthday! Our family is not able to celebrate with her, however we are blessed to know she is in Heaven. Uncomfortable as it is to write this and bring it to public awareness, I know in my heart that, for ...
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Organ Donation Q & A

Organ donation refusal may save your life The human body, alive or dead, may never be treated as property or a commodity. This moral principle applies equally to persons who donate organs and to governments, organizations and individuals who encourage organ donation for the benefit of the sick. Though the ...
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Unexpected Recoveries

Some patients are prematurely declared dead or too far gone to benefit from medical treatment. Also, many patients are diagnosed to be permanently unconscious when, in fact, such diagnoses are sometimes mistaken. These patients actually may have a condition called locked-in syndrome, which means a person is aware of what ...
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Texas, a State Where Patients’ Wishes Don’t Matter

Texas, a State Where Patients' Wishes Don't Matter by Texas Right to Life Two days before Christmas, forty-six-year-old Chris Dunn died at Houston Methodist Hospital. Chris was a loving son, brother, and friend. He served his local and national communities as an EMT, police dispatcher, and employee at the Department ...
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Palliative Care: A Physician’s Perspective Informed by Christian Faith and Traditional Professionalism

Palliative care is both a new medical specialty and an approach to patient care that is much discussed today. It is an elusive and provocative topic for patients and health care professionals alike, because its meaning is determined by which of two broad perspectives is under consideration. One view of ...
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Background on Advance Directives

Alternatives for Life-Affirming Advance Directives Background on Advance Directives Based on the passage of the Patient Self-Determination Act in the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, the advance directive has been established by law. As of December 1, 1991, every adult patient entering any health care facility ...
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Pushing POLST Beyond Voluntary

Jim is 79 years old and resides in a county nursing home in Pennsylvania. He has needed a wheelchair for over two decades due to advanced MS, with a history of severe decubitus ulcers, recurrent respiratory infections and severe urinary tract infections (UTI). A stalwart pro-lifer and deeply committed Catholic, ...
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POLST: What is it and why does the PHA oppose it?

POLST: What is it and why does the PHA oppose it? The POLST (Physician's Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form is a standard document that, when signed by a designated healthcare professional, dictates whether to withhold or administer certain treatments and/or care, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), antibiotics, nutrition and ...
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POLST: Not As Advertised

POLST: Not As Advertised This month's Case in Point illustrates some of the most serious problems with POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment).[i] POLST is advertised as a way to enhance patient autonomy and ensure a patient's medical treatment wishes are respected and followed. In actuality, POLST limits a patient's ...
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Activist promotes assisted suicide based on her decision to force her mother to continue medical treatment

Activist promotes assisted suicide based on her decision to force her mother to continue medical treatment by Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director and International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Posted Friday, April 10, 2015, http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com Reprinted with permission. An assisted suicide campaigner in California says that she is supporting the California ...
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Impacts of “Futile Care Theory” in Texas

The Texas Advance Directives Law was amended in 1999 to allow physicians to refuse to provide life-sustaining treatment (including nutrition and hydration) which patients or their authorized decision-makers (agents) have requested. In a dispute, the hospital ethics committee makes the final decision. The usual outcome is that this hospital-appointed committee ...
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Statement of Opposition to POLST

The POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form, a document that is already being widely used in state healthcare systems throughout the USA, can encourage premature withdrawal of life sustaining treatment and care. POLST is known by different acronyms in various states (POLST, MOST, MOLST, POST—some states have their ...
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Nancy Valko Blog

A Nurse's Perspective on Life, Healthcare and Ethics ...
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May We Donate Our Organs?

OCTOBER 29, 2014 BY DRS. JAY BOYD AND PAUL A. BYRNE It is likely that most Catholics consider the question of the morality of organ donation to be a settled matter, and to view it as a noble and generous gesture on the part of donors. After all, the Catechism ...
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Witness to Hastened Death

My name is Daniela. I am 46 years old and live in Oregon. I believe my grandmother was killed in a hospital on June 24, 2014. She was in the emergency room for three hours and was given morphine after we had refused it and clearly asked for her right ...
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Tips on bedside care

Learning how to care for your loved one without straining is important. There are many challenges to come in caring for your loved one. Mobilizing all the assistance you can get will be very important in helping you provide the very best care possible. There will be times when it ...
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It’s just common sense: Treat the sick and infirm

Patients who want treatment should not be denied it even when there is only a faint hope of curing or extending life. Many people feel overwhelmed or frightened by medical decision-making when they or loved ones are seriously ill or near death. However, not every such situation involves wrestling with ...
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Persistent Vegetative State

A person's inability to satisfy our longing for response does not justify abandonment or imposed death Human beings are not "vegetables." The dehumanizing term "persistent vegetative state" (PVS), crafted in 1972, became more familiar in the 1980s as "right to die" activists, courts, state legislatures, physicians and bioethicists[1] began to ...
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Patient advocates put compassion into action

A patient may need someone he trusts by the bedside in order to feel secure enough to go to sleep. Visiting the sick is a work of mercy. Mercy is similar to compassion, which means "to suffer with" another, but it is more challenging than mere compassion. Mercy is putting ...
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Patient advocates help provide essential care to patients

Who are near death, seriously or chronically ill, profoundly injured or disabled A seriously ill or profoundly physically or mentally impaired person should never be left alone in a hospital or nursing home setting. A patient advocate can recruit relatives, friends and volunteers; train them; and schedule their visits ...
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Principles for making moral medical decisions

1. No matter what life-sustaining procedure/medical treatment is in question, when in doubt, err on the side of life. You can always try an intervention with the option of stopping it if it proves ineffective or excessively burdensome for the patient. 2. It is the physician’s obligation to truthfully and ...
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Questions and Answers: Critical Medical Decisions

Whether serious health issues develop gradually or suddenly, facing critical medical decisions creates the need for information on many unfamiliar topics such as: hospice care, feeding tubes, ventilators, CPR, life support, brain death, organ donation, pain control, futile care, palliative care, advance directives, living wills, durable power of attorney for ...
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Helping a Person Face Infirmity

"It is easier to be than to watch..." By LaRee Pickup I have earned a Ph.D. in grief at the school of life. There is a special torment experienced by those who watch a loved one suffer. To see disease rack their bodies and souls increases the sum total ...
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Creating a home instead of a hospice

LORETO ON THE PLAINS: The Home that Faith Built “We know what we have here and want to share it with others.” – Ed Weber Hartley, population 400, sits smack dab in the heart of the upper panhandle of Texas. There on the plains sits a beautiful home, a safe ...
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Futile-Care Theory in Practice

Futile-Care Theory in Practice A Look at the Law in Texas by Ralph A. Capone, MD, and Julie Grimstad Abstract. Examination of the bioethical concept of futile-care theory reveals its deleterious effects on patients when put into practice. Futile-care policies and laws unilaterally locate health care decision making in persons ...
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The Rise of Stealth Euthanasia

The Rise of Stealth Euthanasia Imposed Death Disguised as Pain Relief by Ralph A. Capone, MD, FACP, Kenneth R. Stevens Jr., MD, FACR, Julie Grimstad, and Ron Panzer, LPN Medications used to manage pain and other symptoms—opiates, sedatives and barbiturates—can be misused to cause death. The intention to kill a ...
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Peter’s Story

When I was 19 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound of my baby revealed markers for a condition called trisomy 18. We were offered amniocentesis, which we refused because we didn't want to risk hurting our baby. We were told we would have more choices if we knew for sure. We said ...
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Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia: an act, omission, or both, to end the life of an individual so that suffering may be eliminated. Euthanasia can be an action such as a lethal injection, drug overdose, smothering or shooting — sometimes called "mercy killing." Euthanasia can be an omission such as withholding or withdrawal of ...
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Confusing Language Masks Deadly Agenda

Does medical decision making confuse or intimidate you? If so, you are not alone. This is partly so because, for many people, medical language is a foreign language. However, much of the confusion has been deliberately sown by the "right to die" movement which is determined to make euthanasia and ...
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The Dark Heart of Euthanasia: Selling Death

“Eleanor” (not her real name) was larger than life even when she became ill with cancer in her 50s. Spirited and feisty with a wicked sense of humor, Eleanor regaled us doctors and nurses with her tales about her event-filled life. But as her cancer treatments failed to cure her, ...
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Organ Donation: Crossing the Line

Linking the "right to die" with organ donation has opened a terrible Pandora's Box In the US, whether we are renewing our drivers’ licenses, watching the TV news or just picking up a newspaper, it’s impossible to miss the campaign to persuade us to sign an organ donation card. We ...
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A Personal Story of Death by Dehydration in the United States

Note from Alex Schadenberg, Exec. Dir. of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition: Yesterday the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition received this email from a woman who had contacted us through the internet. She wrote us concerning the dehydration death of her husband and how his death was an abuse of the use of ...
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Then and Now: The Descent of Ethics

I feel blessed to have grown up and become a nurse in the era of TV programs like Marcus Welby, MD, Ben Casey, and Medical Center. I couldn’t wait to be part of such a noble profession and I proudly recited the “Florence Nightingale Pledge,” the nursing equivalent of the ...
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Stealth Euthanasia: Health Care Tyranny in America

Stealth Euthanasia: Health Care Tyranny in America (Hospice, Palliative Care and Health Care Reform) By Ron Panzer Copyright © Ron Panzer October, 2011 HTML/web version Published by Hospice Patients Alliance, Inc. www.hospicepatients.org 4680 Shank Street, NE Rockford, MI 49341 For more information: Tel. 616-866-9127 This book is also available in ...
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Whatever Happened to Common Sense at the End of Life?

Withdrawal of treatment, “living wills”, terminal sedation, assisted suicide, organ donation, etc. Currently, it’s virtually impossible to escape all the death talk in the media and elsewhere. For example, if you are admitted to a hospital for almost any reason, you or your relatives will be asked if you have ...
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Futility Policies and the Duty to Die

When I first saw "Jack" last September, he was lying unconscious in an ICU with a ventilator to help him breathe. It had been two weeks since a truck struck the 60 year-old and his injuries were devastating -- including broken bones, blunt-force trauma and a severe head injury. When ...
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Katie’s Story

Author's note: The following was published in the November, 2001 issue of the New York State Nurses for Life's newsletter. Eileen Doyle, RN, president of New York Nurses, is one of my favorite people as well as a tremendous resource for me. I had called her about reprinting the pamphlet ...
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Statement Opposing Brain Death Criteria

Below is a position statement, signed by over 120 people from 19 nations, including physicans, philosophers, and theologians, opposing brain death criteria for human death. It has been released through the auspices of Earl Appelby, Jr. of Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia (cureltd@ix.netcom.com; he would have the most updated list of ...
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