True Dignity Vermont is a grassroots, independent, citizen-led initiative in opposition to assisted suicide in Vermont. Vermonters deserve true dignity and compassion at the end of life, not the abandonment of assisted suicide. Killing is not compassion, and True Dignity Vermont will work to ensure our end-of-life choices respect the dignity of all Vermont citizens.
To express your disapproval of VT governor Peter Shumlin’s announced decision to sign the assisted suicide bill tomorrow at 2 pm in his office in the State House, go to:
There is a form for questions and comments after the blurb about his appearance on VT Edition tomorrow at noon.
True Dignity Vermont has launched an abuse hotline in response to the recently-passed bill that will allow Vermont physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.
Individuals who suspect patients of being unduly influenced to request or ingest lethal drugs, or of being given such drugs against their will, can report such concerns by calling 1-855-787-5455 (1-855-STP-KILL) or emailing True Dignity Vermont at ReportAbuse@TrueDignityVt.org.
A citizen-led, grassroots initiative, True Dignity Vermont worked alongside other organizations to vigorously oppose the legalization of prescription death in Vermont . That effort failed with the passage of an amended bill on May 13, but leaders say they will press forward to work to protect vulnerable Vermonters who will be at risk as a result of what they call “dangerous, poorly conceived legislation.”
“We believe our role must now expand to that of watchdog, as well as providing education and a resource clearinghouse for Vermonters who want to be sure they will be protected from coercion to end their lives,” according to True Dignity spokesperson Carolyn McMurray of Bennington.
“The bill that Governor Shumlin is signing into law is fraught with problems that will leave vulnerable patients open to abuse, and will damage patient-doctor trust,” she said, adding that True Dignity Vermont plans to develop a registry of “safe” doctors, nursing homes and other health care providers who will not participate in assisted suicide. “Vermonters need to be reassured that the end of life need not be frightening and painful, and that they will be supported properly with the very best palliative care and pain control. Enabling suicide is not a compassionate response to suffering.”
More information about True Dignity Vermont is available at http://truedignityvt.org/
Below is an article from the NY Times that comments on the rising suicide rate among middle aged Americans. One cause suggested is the disconnect between Americans and “society’s core institutions (e.g., marriage, religion) or when their economic prospects take a dive (e.g., unemployment)”. Between 1999 and 2010, suicide raised nearly 50% for men in their 50s! And 30% for Americans 35-54!
We should take note and try to reconnect people to social institutions and activities, not further alienate them with a death prescription.
All the Lonely People
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: May 18, 2013
OVER the last decade, the United States has become a less violent country in every way save one. As Americans commit fewer and fewer crimes against other people’s lives and property, they have become more likely to inflict fatal violence on themselves.
In the 1990s, the suicide rate dipped with the crime rate. But since 2000, it has risen, and jumped particularly sharply among the middle-aged. The suicide rate for Americans 35 to 54 increased nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010; for men in their 50s, it rose nearly 50 percent. More Americans now die of suicide than in car accidents, and gun suicides are almost twice as common as gun homicides.
This trend is striking without necessarily being surprising. As the University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox pointed out recently, there’s a strong link between suicide and weakened social ties: people — and especially men — become more likely to kill themselves “when they get disconnected from society’s core institutions (e.g., marriage, religion) or when their economic prospects take a dive (e.g., unemployment).” That’s exactly what we’ve seen happen lately among the middle-aged male population, whose suicide rates have climbed the fastest: a retreat from family obligations, from civic and religious participation, and from full-time paying work.
The hard question facing 21st-century America is whether this retreat from community can reverse itself, or whether an aging society dealing with structural unemployment and declining birth and marriage rates is simply destined to leave more people disconnected, anxious and alone.
Right now, the pessimistic scenario seems more plausible. In an essay for The New Republic about the consequences of loneliness for public health, Judith Shulevitz reports that one in three Americans over 45 identifies as chronically lonely, up from just one in five a decade ago. “With baby boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day,” she notes, “the number of lonely Americans will surely spike.”
There are public and private ways to manage this loneliness epidemic — through social workers, therapists, even pets. And the Internet, of course, promises endless forms of virtual community to replace or supplement the real.
But all of these alternatives seem destined to leave certain basic human yearnings unaddressed.
For many people, the strongest forms of community are still the traditional ones — the kind forged by shared genes, shared memory, shared geography. And neither Facebook nor a life coach nor a well-meaning bureaucracy is likely to compensate for these forms’ attenuation and decline.
This point is illustrated, richly, in one of the best books of the spring, Rod Dreher’s memoir, “The Little Way of Ruthie Leming,” an account of his sister’s death from cancer at the age of 42. A journalist and author, Dreher had left their small Louisiana hometown behind decades before and never imagined coming back. But watching how the rural community rallied around his sister in her crisis, and how being rooted in a specific place carried her family through its drawn-out agony, inspired him to reconsider, and return.
What makes “The Little Way” such an illuminating book, though, is that it doesn’t just uncritically celebrate the form of community that its author rediscovered in his hometown. It also explains why he left in the first place: because being a bookish kid made him a target for bullying, because his relationship with his father was oppressive, because he wasn’t as comfortable as his sister in a world of traditions, obligations, rules. Because community can imprison as well as sustain, and sometimes it needs to be escaped in order to be appreciated.
In today’s society, that escape is easier than ever before. And that’s a great gift to many people: if you don’t have much in common with your relatives and neighbors, if you’re gay or a genius (or both), if you’re simply restless and footloose, the world can feel much less lonely than it would have in the past. Our society is often kinder to differences and eccentricities than past eras, and our economy rewards extraordinary talent more richly than ever before.
The problem is that as it’s grown easier to be remarkable and unusual, it’s arguably grown harder to be ordinary. To be the kind of person who doesn’t want to write his own life script, or invent her own idiosyncratic career path. To enjoy the stability and comfort of inherited obligations and expectations, rather than constantly having to strike out on your own. To follow a “little way” rather than a path of great ambition. To be more like Ruthie Leming than her brother.
Too often, and probably increasingly, not enough Americans will have what the Lemings had — a place that knew them intimately, a community to lean on, a strong network in a time of trial.
And absent such blessings, it’s all too understandable that some people enduring suffering and loneliness would end up looking not for help or support, but for a way to end it all.
For those who discount the slippery slope, here’s a taste of the future for people with disabilities like those assisted suicide advocates call “undignified” and which are also costly in the same way providing good care as a person dies would be costly, but for a longer period. Vermont has taken a giant step towards that terrible future by enacting an assisted suicide law with fewer protections and fewer reporting requirements than any other law in the world. The people of Vermont let that happen, and things will get worse if our elected officials pay no price for their actions. This man is speaking out again because he was re-elected after previously resigning over similar remarks. He says people are telling him he is right, just as our legislators have written and said that the people of Vermont are telling them they admire their support for legalized assisted suicide. The disability rights community fought this legislation with all its strength, knowing it will threaten the very lives of its members.
There is a poll on the original article, at the link below. Please vote “Yes”, to the question “Should Colin Brewer resign?” The poll is in the middle of the article, about halfway down.
Disability Rights: Cornish Councillor Colin Brewer Compares Disabled Children To Deformed Lambs
Colin Brewer, councillor for Wadebridge East, said he is not the “ogre” he has been made out to be
The Cornish councillor who was re-elected despite saying that disabled children “should be put down because they cost too much money” has again insisted that there may be a case for killing some disabled children with high support needs.
Speaking to Disability News Service, Colin Brewer said he was not the “ogre” he had been made out to be, adding that constituents in his rural ward had shaken his hand and congratulated him, despite his controversial comments.
Looking for analogies to support his view, Brewer compareddisabled children to farmers’ treatment of animals, telling the agency: “If they have a misshapen lamb, they get rid of it. They get rid of it. Bang!”
He continued: “We are just animals. He [the farmer] obviously has got a point… You can’t have lambs running around with five legs and two heads.”
Brewer said: “It [the lamb] would be put down, smashed against the wall and be dealt with.”
He said the financial “burden” of the disabled wasn’t just his own personal concern”, adding: “If you are talking about giving services to the community or services to the individual, the balance has got to be struck.”
Brewer said: “I keep as far away from health in the council as I can.”
However he sought to justify his original comments by saying that that had suffered a series of strokes before the incident, which might explain why he “flared up”. “People have said I have changed since those strokes,” he added.
Independent councillor Brewer made the comments to Theresa Court, who works for Disability Cornwall, while she was manning a stall at the County Hall in Truro in October 2011.
Despite facing calls to resign, he remained defiant over his right to remain in his councillor role and gained 335 votes in the last election, beating the Lib Dem candidate by two votes.
He wrote a letter of apology to Theresa Court and said at the time: “I have no intention of resigning. I don’t think I have done anything wrong. I have apologised.”
Theresa Court told the Huffington Post UK earlier this year it was “quite frankly an insult that he had to be told to apologise after a year and a half.”
She said the manner in which the letter arrived was like he was making a stand, with “a second class stamp and folded into no less than eight pieces.”
Disability Cornwall said after hearing the latest comments that they were “a sad indictment of our so-called ‘civilised’ society that disabled children are increasingly discussed within a context of affordability, as if they were goods on a shelf that can be picked up and discarded at will, dependent upon what’s in the public purse.”
They added in a statement: “Colin Brewer and others, it would appear, believe a disabled child has the same value as a deformed lamb and should be dealt with in the same way.”
Mr Brewer has not responded to a HuffPost UK request for comment, but Cornwall council released the following statement:
“The recently published comments which are attributed to Councillor Brewer are completely unacceptable and are contrary to the Council’s policy of supporting all people with disabilities.
“Such views have no place in local government. These remarks represent the personal views of Councillor Brewer who does not speak for the Council or the people of Cornwall.”
Attorney Margaret Dore has written a new article showing how abuse will occur and go undetected if S. 77, the bill passed by the House last night, becomes law. All those who insist it will provide choice are deluding themselves. We need to keep up the calls and letters, this time to Governor Peter Shumlin (802 828-3333, or via a message form at http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/opinion. Ask him to veto this terrible legislation, the worse assisted suicide law in the US, possibly the world. We cannot stop fighting this.
Here’s the article, which can be read online at http://www.choiceillusion.org/2013/05/vermont-senate-passes-irresponsible.html.
Vermont: House Passes Irresponsible Assisted Suicide Law
By Margaret Dore, Esq.
Yesterday, the Vermont House passed S.77, which if signed by the Governor, will create new paths of abuse and exploitation against persons who fall within its terms. This article focuses on two of those paths.
B. Abuse and Exploitation in the United States
Met Life Mature Market Institute has issued two landmark studies on elder abuse in the United States. In the first study, from 2009, the estimated annual financial loss by victims was $2.6 billion. In the second study, from 2011, the estimated annual loss was increased to $2.9 billion. Again, these are yearly figures.
The Met Life Studies also describe how financial abuse can be a catalyst for other types of abuse. These are three examples from the second report:
- Two elderly women were beaten to death with a crowbar by their trusted handyman. He took and pawned all of their valuables.
- A 74-year-old man was stomped to death during a home invasion burglary.
- A son and his two friends extracted money from his dying mother by threatening to burn down her home and throw her dog against a wall.
Abuse and exploitation are not limited to the elderly. Last year, a 46 year old lottery winner died the day after receiving his winnings. The cause of death was later found to be cyanide poisoning.
1. Patients may have years to live
S.77 legalizes physician-assisted suicide, which means that a doctor writes a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of a patient’s committing suicide. Under S.77, the patient is required to have a “terminal condition,” defined as having a medical prediction of less that six months to live. Such patients are not necessarily dying and can have years to live. This is because doctor predictions of life expectancy can be wrong and because the requirement of six months to live is based on the patient’ s not being treated.
2. How S.77 works
Under S.77, there is a formal application process to obtain a lethal dose. S.77 also requires that in 2016 that this formal process be replaced with a streamlined procedure with these five requirements:
(1) the physician determines that the patient is capable and does not have impaired judgment;
(2) the physician informs the patient of all feasible end-of-life services, including palliative care, comfort care, hospice care, and pain control;
(3) the physician prescribes a dose of medication that may be lethal to the patient;
(4) the physician advises the patient of all foreseeable risks related to the prescription; and
(5) the patient makes an independent decision to self-administer a lethal dose of the medication.
When applying for the lethal dose, patients may be requesting it “just in case” they want to use it later, i.e., without a definite intent to take it.
Once the lethal dose is picked up at the pharmacy, there is no oversight. The death is not required to be witnessed. Indeed, no one is required to be present.
D. New Paths of Abuse
1. No witnesses at the death
As noted above, S.77 does not require witnesses at the death. Without disinterested witnesses, the opportunity is created for the patient’s heir, or for another person who will benefit financially from the patient’s death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent. Even if he struggled, who would know?
2. An expansion of scope
Under the streamlined procedure scheduled to come into effect in 2016, the scope of S.77 will be expanded to patients who have no intention of engaging in assisted suicide. As described below, patients prescribed medication for the purpose of cure or treatment will be at risk of being killed under S.77.
Consider this scenario in which all five requirements of the streamlined procedure are met:
The patient is a competent woman with cancer. Without surgery, she is terminal as defined in S.77 (she is expected to die in less than six months). But, with surgery, her prospects are good. As part of informed consent, the doctor informs her about the risks of the surgery and end of life services including palliative care, comfort care, hospice care, and pain control.
With the stress of her situation, the woman has been experiencing insomnia, for which the doctor prescribes Pentobarbital (nembutal). If taken in excess, Pentobarbitol may be lethal.. He prescribes a month’s supply and advises the woman of the foreseeable risks. She obtains the prescription but doesn’t take any. The bottle with the unused prescription is in her home. She is scheduled for surgery in a few days. She has no intention of killing herself. The doctor has no intention of her killing herself.
A family member, interested in an inheritance, tricks the woman into drinking the pentobarbital mixed with water by saying that it’s another medication – say for sinus congestion.
He leaves. She dies.
The situation looks like a suicide..
If it comes out later that the family member was present when the woman “self-administered” the drug, he’s immune from liability. This is because S.77 states:
“[N]o person shall be subject to civil or criminal liability solely for being present when a patient with a terminal condition self-administers a lethal dose of medication or for not acting to prevent the patient from self-administering a lethal dose of medication.”
So the woman was not in control of her fate. She is legally murdered by her heir.
S.77, as passed by the Senate for the Governor’s signature, is a dangerous and irresponsible bill, in which there is no oversight over administration of the lethal dose such that it can be administered without the patient’s consent. Once the streamlined procedure goes into effect, patients engaged in drug treatments will also be unwittingly under its scope. Their doctors and the medical profession will also be compromised. Even if you are for assisted suicide, not this bill.
 The MetLife Study: “Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances, ” 2009, available at https://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/mmi-study-broken-trust-elders-family-finances.pdf
 “The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse: Crimes of Occasion, Desperation, and Predation Against America’s Elders,” 2011, available athttps://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2011/mmi-elder-financial-abuse.pdf
 Id., page 17.
 Associated Press, “Urooj Khan Update: Widow, siblings of poisoned Chicago lottery winner battle over estate, documents say,” available at http://www.cbsnews.com/2102-504083_162-57563293.html
 Cf. AMA Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 2.211, available at http ://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion2211.page
 A copy of S.77, “An act relating to patient choice and control at end of life,” as passed by the Senate, can be viewed here: http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/s-77-senate-version-as-of-05-08-13.pdf The definition of “terminal condition” is in § 5281(a)(10)(“Terminal condition” means an incurable and irreversible disease which would, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within six months).
 See Nina Shapiro, Terminal Uncertainty Washington’s new ‘Death with Dignity’ law allows doctors to help people commit suicide once they’ve determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they’re wrong?, Seattle Weekly, January 14, 2009, available at www.seattleweekly.com/2009-01-14/news/terminal-uncertainty. See also Affidavit of Kenneth Stevens, MD, September 18, 2012, available at http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/signed-ken-stevens-affidavit_001.pdf ; and Affidavit of John Norton (when he was eighteen years old, he was told that he would die of ALS and paralysis in three to five years; he is now 75 years old). Available at http://www.massagainstassistedsuicide.org/2012/09/john-norton-cautionary-tale.html
 In S.77, the formal application process is contained in § 5283, Requirements for Prescription and Documentation, available at http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/s-77-senate-version-as-of-05-08-13.pdf
 S.77, Sec. 2, Repeal (stating that 5283 will be repealed on July 1, 2016). See also S.77, Sec. 3 (providing that § § 5289 and 5290 will take effect on July 1, 2016)
 I have had two cases in which my clients’ parents signed up for the lethal dose. In both cases, the parents did not have a set wish to take the lethal dose.
 See S.77 in its entirety, at http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/s-77-senate-version-as-of-05-08-13.pdf
 See http://www.drugs.com/mtm/pentobarbital.html
 Pentobarbital is water and alcohol soluble so that it could be put in a cold medicine solution. See http://www.drugs.com/pro/nembutal.html
It’s all over for now. The board of True Dignity Vermont is thankful from the bottom of our hearts to all who fought this dangerous bill : the legislators who tried behind the scenes and on the floor to make their colleagues listen to reason, the witnesses who did the same in the hearings, bringing experience in addition to reason to the debate, and most of all the citizens of Vermont, including people with disabilities, doctors, nurses, people who work with the poor, the young and the old, people of all religious beliefs and none, who wrote and called their legislators, sometimes several times. We can take satisfaction in knowing we fought this good fight to the very end.
We will be taking a rest for now, but expect us to be back later as a watchdog over this extremely dangerous law as it is implemented and as a resource for Vermonters who want to die well, naturally.
We have included the excellent comments to this article.
May 10, 2013 | posted by Stephen Drake
Vermont Assisted Suicide Bill Allows a Third Party to Speak for an Elder or Disabled Person
S. 77, the assisted suicide bill passed by the Vermont State Senate on Wednesday, endangers disabled people, elderly people and ill people. The Vermont House should reconsider its earlier support of the legislation and work to protect the vulnerable citizens of Vermont.
Like the laws in Oregon and Washington, S. 77 provides no protection from an heir or other interested person misrepresenting an applicant’s wishes.
“Capable” means that a patient has the ability to make and communicate health care decisions to a physician, including communication through persons familiar with the patient’s manner of communication if those persons are available.**[§5281 (a)(2)]
And yet a person “familiar with the patient’s manner of communication” could be an heir or other interested person. And that person could be pressuring the person to choose assisted suicide.
Washington elder law attorney Margaret Dore details how the bill, like the Oregon and Washington laws it is modeled on, invites fraud and abuse. Because no witness is required at the death, “the opportunity is created for the patient’s heir, or for another person who will benefit financially from the death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent.” No matter what happened, charges of homicide would be difficult or impossible to bring in the face of the statute’s ironclad immunity.
Senator Peter Galbraith, whose vote switch got the bill through the Senate, said, “I understand and sympathize with the desire for people to have a say, to have some control, at the end of their lives.” Unfortunately, neither he nor many other legislators have sympathy for people who are already threatened with loss of control.
Bill Peace writes at the Bad Cripple Blog that while he has much respect for Vermonters’ sense of strong community, “I would speculate Vermonters have embraced a type of individualism that does not permit them to think about vulnerable populations and the risks they can encounter.”
He recounts the story of Vermonter Amanda Baggs, a leading disability rights activist who is autistic. But when she recently needed the insertion of a feeding tube to save her life, she was barraged by hostile hospital staff with urgings to consider “the alternative” – which could only be interpreted as doing nothing and dying. Peace also links to his own harrowing story of being encouraged to give up and die during a hospitalization.
This is the discrimination at the heart of assisted suicide legislation. When disabled people come into contact with medical professionals, they judge our quality of life to be so poor that death may be preferable. When some members of society consider the possibility of acquiring disabling conditions, they believe that it might be better to “choose” death. Amy Hasbrouck of Not Dead Yet Canada expressed this perfectly in her recent piece, Suicide Celebration Instead of Suicide Prevention.
Peter Galbraith based his initial opposition to legalized assisted suicide on the problem of involving the state in the practice. In February, he said on the Senate floor that he wanted to “leave it to the doctor and the patient.” He said that “opponents were concerned about a state-prescribed process for suicide. The medical profession is concerned about a profession that is about prolonging life being involved in a process to end life. The disabled community expressed concern to me that having a state-sponsored process would in some way diminish them in society. These are sincerely held convictions.”
In my own conversation with Galbraith, I emphasized that any state run program would discriminate against people with disabilities by commending certain disability-related reasons as sufficient for suicide. As demonstrated out in Oregon, these include losing certain physical abilities, “feeling like a burden”, and “loss of control of bodily functions.”
Vermont doctors, whose organization strongly opposed the legislation, will be made into gatekeepers of death, judging some reasons (e.g., embarrassment over incontinence) as rational reasons for suicide, but (presumably) rejecting others (e.g., being told by Martians to commit suicide) as not rational. Disabled people’s concern is that these disability related reasons are the products of a complex array of social conditioning, stigma and failings in public policy, and should never be used to justify providing suicide assistance rather than suicide prevention. — John Kelly, Second Thoughts Massachusetts
3 comments on “Vermont Assisted Suicide Bill Allows a Third Party to Speak for an Elder or Disabled Person”
sanda aronson says:
Terror is the word that fits, for those of us who
are severely disabled, and/or old and with any
cognitive difficulty (as a 73 year old disabled by
CFS/ME chronic fatigue syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis,
age 73), I “fit”, depending on who is defining. I would
not exclude landlords who want rent controlled and
rent stabilized (translation: rent regulated) in NYC.
Think it’s a stretch? Many older people, especially
women, have gone into the hospital for short term illness,
including pneumonia, recovered and shipped to rehab,
(subdivisions of nursing homes but the less threatening,
and perhaps qualifying for more gov’t funding as rehab,
but in the same building as the nursing home) and never
see their rent regulated (against gouging by landlords
who can go to “market”-luxury rents as soon as the
apartment is vacated and they fix it up a little) apartments
again. I have two neighbors who keep bouncing back and
forth, but they have relatives still in their respective
sanda aronson says:
#2: Some examples of what I pointed to in first
-My neighbor, L., a man, my neighbor, in his 60s,
had raised his daughters in his apartment, was
living alone. He was friendly, often around
the lobby, chatting. My husband and I liked
him. He had a limp from a car crash. One day
he was gone. “Where’s L?” I asked another
neighbor, and got the rumor distortion: “He
was always drunk, so he was put into a nursing
home.”. His apartment was going luxury.
-My aunt provides several examples. My miserable
cousin lived nearer to her and I agreed that he
was more available in case of emergency than my
husband, caring for me and working full time.
My aunt was a widow without children. My
cousin was in the hospital himself and I got a
call from a Brooklyn hospital asking me to give
permission, as her available third party, to have
my aunt transferred from the hospital to an isolation
ward/unit in a nursing home because she had a staph
infection. I said, “NO! You gave her the infection
so you get rid of it in the hospital.” My husband
visited my aunt; she was capable of making her own
decisions. And she’d gone to the emergency room with
a pain in her shoulder (badly done surgery resulted in
pain, and she was admitted for something else, a
problem she’d not complained of; while there, she got
a staph infection in the hospital).
On an earlier occasion, I was able to visit her
when she’d had the shoulder surgery, in a hospital
near where I live. I was in her room, low because
I was in my wheelchair, whch use due CFS/ME, and
a nurse came in, asked my husband to OK sending
my aunt to a rehab place, he should pick one. He
said his wife, me, was the relative and the nurse
noted that the chart had said, “No relatives” but
took my word and asked me to pick a rehab place
for my aunt, who was full of pain drugs.
I had brought my aunt her favorite ice cream and
was feeding it to her, noting she knew who I was but
not speaking. I had said to the nurse, “It’s not
worth my life, wait until my aunt can tell y9ou where
she wants to go.”. I refused to chose a place to send
my aunt. The surgeon came in, stopped when he saw
me in the aisle next to her bed, and I said, “I
haven’t seen anyone this stoned since the 1960s.”
Her pain dosage was reduced. She picked a place near
her apartment for rehab and then went to her apartment.
Around that time, I got a call from a NYC agency,
asking me if my aunt was competent; I questioned the
caller until I got the story: my aunt lived in a co-op
apartment near the Atlantic Ocean in Brooklyn, modest
place. The Board of the building was claiming she
was incompetent and the city would take over her
finances and the co-op Board could resell her apartment.
I said the truth: my aunt is fully competent, I don’t
know why you are calling me.” My aunt could have had
her property and bank accounts seized by the city,
who would pay her bills, taking off administrative
costs (there’s been scandals every couple of decades
about the lucrative business of giving such administrative
rights to judges or other persons chosen).
-Finally, I know of a frequent on the air caller to WBAI,
a community radio station in NYC. She lives in another
Borough, the Bronx (as opposed to Manhattan or Brooklyn).
She was deemed incompetent after a complaint from her
landlord, put into a mental institution and her
apartment seized, her belongings put into the street.
She was able to get out, fight and get a different
apartment in her building. Yes, her apartment had been
Carol Eblen says:
Yes! The problem of third parties who have a special interest in the death of the patient is ignored. The Vermont Assisted Suicide law is such that abuse and fraud would be possible and probably never discovered because the patient is dead and the matter is moot. Unfortunately, the third- party perpetrators are both enabled and protected by flawed law. .
We can see that third parties such as physicians/hospitals are NOW extrapolating DNR Code Status into the medical charts of patients (primarily the elderly/disabled) to shorten their lives, often unilaterally and without informed consent, when they know that any further treatment will not be reimbursed by Medicare/Medicaid and the private insurers under existing reimbursement protocols. (See article “Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders: Why They Have Failed and How to Fix Them” published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine on the Internet in Feb 2011)
The flawed and imprecise law of the 1991 Patient Self-Determination Act passed by the Congress at the request of the financial arm of Medicare –and which did not include for-profit physicians and clinics under its mandate —has evolved to enable physicians/clinics to OVER TREAT elderly/disabled patients for profit and UNDER TREAT (shorten life) of those SAME patients sometimes covertly when Medicare/Medicaid refuses to further reimburse them for non-beneficial treatments.
The slippery slope of euthanasia of the elderly/disabled to save dollars for the public good is further enabled by Assisted Suicide Laws when government itself, in partnership with the for-profit sector as in Medicare, becomes an interested third party who encourages the shortening of life of the elderly and disabled to preserve profits and save $$$$$.