Friday, May 28, 2010

Toothless Brit Law Against Assisted Suicide

The pro-death crowd in the UK has hammered away at laws criminalizing assisted suicide for the last several years.

They have been very successful.

From high-profile advocacy among activists such as Debbie Purdy, whose fight to commit assisted suicide at the Swiss death clinic Dignitas without her husband being charged in the UK; to the drumbeat of assisted suicide as a dignified and ethical way of killing; to the in-your-face “heroes” who have publicly flaunted UK law by assisting suicides in the UK, the law itself is beginning to falter.

It began after Purdy forced UK legal authorities to issue a “clarification” on laws allowing for the prosecution of those who assist in another’s suicide. The “clarification” actually muddied the waters even more and certainly left an impression that prosecution was unlikely.

This has just been reinforced by Michael Bateman, who assisted in his wife’s suicide and then went public, essentially calling the law’s bluff.

Unsurprisingly, the law faltered. After much staring at their collective legal navels, the Brit authorities have decided not to prosecute Bateman, who openly admitted breaking the law.

The message is now clear in the UK: It’s OK to kill people because the law will look the other way - not even look the other way – but to come out siding with the criminal.

From London's Evening Standard.

Husband who helped wife to die will not be prosecuted.

A devoted husband will not be prosecuted for assisting the suicide of his 62-year-old wife, Crown prosecutors announced today.

They said there was sufficient evidence to take Michael Bateman to court over his wife Margaret's death last October but a trial would not be in the public interest.

Mr Bateman helped place a plastic bag over the head of his wife who died from inhaling helium at the family home in Birstall, West Yorkshire. more

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If You Love Obamacare, You'll Hate This Story

If there’s anything at all we know about the forthcoming tsunami of Obamacare, it’s that it’s going to completely wreck the finest medical care system in the world. We’re starting to see the fallout already. Here’s just a sample:

a. The “I want therefore I deserve” class turning up at doctors’ offices the day after the law was signed looking for their “free care.”

b. CBO numbers, available but ignored before the law was signed, now trickling out to tell us that the rationale of Obamacare making things less expensive and more efficient is basically, well . . . a lie. It's actually going to be massively more expensive than the administration’s spin led us to believe.

We already know how this goes – look at the UK, where complete and utter medical incompetence captains the grand ship National Health Care.

Here’s another case that illustrates what you get in a system that focuses on bureaurocracy, union rules, and the concomitant disregard for the welfare of patients.

Five years ago in the UK, 35-year-old Cindy Corton went to a party. Drank way too much. Fell in the bathroom, landing on the upright handle of the toilet plunger. About 6 inches of the serrated plastic plunger handle snapped off in her buttocks. Friends called an ambulance.

Enter the National Health Care system. You know, the one some many Obamacare acolytes point to as how we might “improve.”

Cindy’s fairly minor injury should have ended as a stupid-drunk-tricks story with the added wink-and-nod about the site of the injury.

Instead, it was her death sentence.

The ambulance took Cindy to the Lincoln County Hospital. They were apparently none too happy at having to transport some drunk who fell in a bathroom. (I guess it's only sober people who can get hurt falling in bathrooms).

That set the ball in motion among caregivers’ attitudes towards Cindy, because none believed her story. At Lincoln, after explaining what had happened, she was “examined” and sent home with some painkillers.

Yes, you read right. Sent home with a 6-inch serrated plastic handle still inside her, but hey, at least she got something for the pain:

Husband Peter, 61, said that when his wife first attended A&E at Lincoln County Hospital she was sent home with painkillers, despite showing them the wound on her bottom. . . . "She wasn't properly examined by the doctor at Lincoln.”

Unsurprisingly, Cindy’s injury got worse, so several days later she went to a different hospital, Grantham, in the hopes that someone would take her story seriously.

They did. Kind of.

At Grantham she was actually x-rayed (imagine that!). However, the x-ray turned up nothing.

Problem solved. Home she went with her embedded plunger handle.

Fast-forward two years, to 2007.

Cindy still has the handle in her buttocks, and is finally able to convince a doctor to take a closer look.

Hey presto!! Still there!!

Now it’s more complicated: The handle has migrated and embedded itself in her pelvis.

No more funny drunk story.

Cindi undergoes two unsuccessful operations and is left in intense pain to the extent that she agrees to another risky operation in June last year.


Cindy of Sleaford, Lincs, spent more than ten hours in surgery at Nottingham's Queens Medical Centre but died from massive blood loss.

Can medical mistakes happen? Sure, no profession’s perfect.

This went way beyond mistakes. It smacks of incompetence, arrogance, and a failure to attend to duty that is, at the very least, unconscionable. Paramedics who treat drunks differently, hospitals that apparently can’t do some very basic procedures, and certainly doctors who for years didn’t even bother to investigate properly.

I can even give the doctors the benefit of the doubt (barely) for the initial admission, that Cindy in her inebriated state might have been embarrassed and made up the story.

But not even check? Or check later when she turns up sober with the same story?

I submit that the chances of this story happening in a US hospital is near zero.

At least for now.

Maybe coming soon to an Obamacare-run hospital near you.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Media Attack on the Schiavo Foundation: Let’s Make Disability Go Away

Killing defenseless people with disabilities is not very difficult. They can’t fight back and, in many instances, either they have no advocates, or those advocates are overwhelmed in the unrelenting drumbeat for death.

It’s this latter point that Terri Schiavo’s family has had to live with since her untimely and completely unnecessary legal execution in 2005.

They fought as hard as they could, and were helped by many people who knew how dangerous the situation was. There were several disability organizations as well as faith-based groups who all saw that what was happening, and then did happen to Terri.

They all knew that it was a precursor of very bad things to come.

Terri’s family did everything they could, everything they knew how, but the pro-deathers prevailed.

Since Terri’s death, her family have lived and breathed her memory in a constructive and positive way – by establishing a small foundation to spread the word and also to help others in similar predicaments.

No good deed goes unpunished, apparently.

A TV station in Florida ran a piece yesterday headed “Terri Schiavo’s Family Profiting From Foundation.”

Now, with a lead like that, which way do you think the story was going to go?


All innuendo and spin. Why would we expect anything else? Even all these years after her death, Bobby, Suzanne, and Mary spend countless hours trying to correct misleading reporting about the circumstances of Terri’s death. This is just one more media attack in a long string of animus posing as “news” and comes just a few weeks after Fox’s The Family Guy made horrible fun of Terri and her disabled condition.

Now this.

Let’s be clear – the media and others with less than unbiased interest are hammering the Foundation for one reason and one reason only: Its existence reminds them that people with disabilities are worth less than the rest of us and are easily disposed of. They’d rather not be reminded of their part in shaping this view, now widely held across the country.

At another level, they understand that it takes only a split second for any of us to be in the same state as Terri.

And that they, too, could be legally executed.

The Schiavo Foundation reminds them of their own fragile mortality.

They’d rather not have to be reminded about it.