Monday, March 30, 2015

Tell Your Legislators to Vote "Yes" on HB 477!

HB 477 will reverse Baxter and send a clear message that medical killings are prohibited and against public policy.  Individuals will be protected from the medical establishment, individual doctors and family members with something to gain.

A.  Involuntary Medical Killings.

Throughout the US, there are increasing reports of involuntary medical killings.[1] Consider a 2012 case against Kaiser Healthcare. Doctors killed the patient, a wealthy older man, through a “terminal extubation.” His daughters had allegedly urged this result in order to obtain large inheritances.[2]  In Montana, examples include Dr. James Mungas, who was killed under the guise of hospice/palliative care.  His widow, Carol Mungas, states:
It is traumatic, still, to realize his last communications were attempts to get help.[3]
B.  Likely Problems

Baxter has created confusion in the law and has emboldened some doctors and family members to publicly admit participation in assisted suicides.  If HB 477 is not enacted, this situation will likely lead to defacto legality and the following problems:

    1.  New paths of elder abuse, especially for people with money.

Legal assisted suicide creates new paths of elder abuse. Consider, for example, the Thomas Middleton case, where legal physician-assisted suicide in Oregon was part of a financial elder abuse fraud.

    2.  Steerage to suicide.

It is well documented that Oregon's Medicaid program steers patients to suicide (suicide is covered in lieu of treatments for cure or to extend life).  Private health plans and providers have this same ability. To learn more, see this affidavit by Oregon doctor, Kenneth Stevens, MD.

    3.  Pressure on patients. 

See this letter by Marlene Deakins, RN, describing the pressure put on her brother after he merely asked a question about assisted suicide in Washington State.

    4.  More conventional suicides, including violent suicides.

In Oregon, conventional suicides, including violent suicides, have substantially increased with legalization of assisted suicide. This is consistent with a suicide contagion.  The financial cost of these suicides is "enormous."  For more information, click here.

    5.  Pressure to expand to non-terminal people.

In Washington state, there have been "trial balloon" proposals to expand its law to non-terminal people, including those who have simply fallen on hard times. See e.g., this column in the Seattle Times, suggesting euthanasia for people without money for their old age.  

C.  Contact Your Legislators.

Contact your legislators and urge them to vote "YES" on HB 477.

* * *
[1]  Peter Whoriskey, "As More Hospices Enroll Patients who Aren't Dying, Questions About Lethal Doses Arise," The Washington Post, August 21, 2014. 
[2] William Dotinga, “Grim Complaint Against Kaiser Hospital,” Feb. 6, 2012.
[3] Carol Mungas, at http://www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/2013/03/i-support-house-bill-505-which-clearly.html 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HB 477 PASSES the House

Yesterday, HB 477, which overrules Montana's Baxter decision by clarifying that physician-assisted suicide is against public policy and prohibited, passed the House of Representatives.

Many thanks to our sponsor, Representative Jerry Bennett, for making this happen.

The next step is the Senate.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bill Clarifying that Assisted suicide is a Crime, Passes House

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/12/bill-makes-physician-assisted-suicide-crime/70228080/

The Montana House of Representatives endorsed a bill by one vote Thursday that would make it illegal for doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients who ask for it.
The House endorsed the bill 51-49 on second reading. If it passes third reading, the measure will head to the Senate for consideration.

“We do talk in this chamber about personal liberty, but with liberty comes with responsibility,” bill sponsor Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, said. “Suicide is a contagion. This creates a difficult situation for a state that has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.”

Republican Rep. Keith Regier of Kalispell added that House Bill 477 in his estimation is a suicide-prevention bill.

Under the measure, physician-assisted suicide would become a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both.

Montana one step closer to reversing Baxter.

Today, the Montana House of Representatives voted to pass HB 477, which clarifies that "physician-assisted suicide" is prohibited and against public policy in Montana.  

To view HB 477, please click here.