Wednesday, October 22, 2014

VA Hospital Mistakenly Places DNR Order on Roland Mayo

The Sacramento, California Veterans Affairs Medical Center has admitted to mistakenly placing a do-not-resuscitate armband on patient Roland Mayo.  (USA Today)

The patient's daughter said that he was hospitalized for a stent replacement in his carotid artery but that complications from previous cancer surgery required a second operation. After that surgery, the patient began vomiting and choking on the vomit.

The VA explained that the arm band did not contribute to a delay in the response of the code team, which attempted to resuscitate the patient within minutes of the code being called.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Barbara Mancini: Innocent of Assisted Suicide

The Hamline Health Law Institute and Compassion & Choices are pleased to host:

Barbara Mancini: Innocent of Assisted Suicide
5:30 p.m. Reception
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Presentation
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Kay Fredericks Room, Klas Center, Hamline University

As reported by 60 MINUTES this week, Nurse Barbara Mancini was arrested and prosecuted for "assisting a suicide" in Pennsylvania for simply handing her terminally-ill father his morphine. Join us to hear from a noted death with dignity activist and about her family's yearlong ordeal. Learn about end-of-life care, your rights as a patient, and your health provider's responsibility under the law.

This event is free and open to the public.  But please RSVP here. Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested.

North Dakota Personhood Amendment - Impact on End-of-Life Care

On November 4, North Dakota residents will vote on eight ballot initiatives, one of which would amend the state constitution.

If passed, the ballot initiative would add a new section to article I of the North Dakota Constitution:  "The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and defended."

Planned Parenthood observes that this language is quite "sweeping as it contains no exceptions what so ever; not life of woman, health of woman, rape or incest. This could also ban access to birth control and to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)."  Indeed, this language is so broad (requiring the protection of life "at any stage," it may also impact end-of-life care.

North Dakota Choose Life has contested the claim that the amendment will affect end of life care.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jean Davies - Successful VSED

Octogenarian Jean Davies, who is also a right-to-die campaigner, successfully used VSED to hasten her death.  

She stopped drinking water on 16 September and passed away on 1 October.  (Sunday TimesIndependentGuardian).

The former maths teacher, 86, did not have a terminal illness, but suffered a range of conditions that made her life uncomfortable including chronic back pain and fainting episodes.  

Davies received care throughout her fast from her GP, who agreed to treat her to alleviate the symptoms of starvation and dehydration after consulting his defence union.  The defence union said that if someone has capacity then it is their choice.

Unfortunately, much of the media attention paints VSED as an unfortunate and tragic choice, necessitated by the illegality of aid in dying.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

VSED Interview - Not Here by Choice with Phyllis Shacter

The End-of-Life University has an online interview series that provides valuable resources and inspiration for the end of life.  

On October 23, 2013 (1:00 ET), join Dr. Karen Wyatt and her guest Phyllis Shacter, an advocate for natural dying through voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED.) 

Phyllis will discuss the story of her husband Alan who made the choice to stop eating and drinking rather than progress into the later stages of Alzheimer's disease. 

In this interview you will learn:
  • Factors that must be considered before making a decision for VSED as a means of dying with dignity
  • The role a caregiver must play in this type of decision
  • A personal perspective on the process of dying when a choice for VSED has been made

Phyllis Shacter is an advocate for broadening the perspective about the choices available to people leading up to and during the dying process. Phyllis grew into this role through years of a long journey with her beloved husband Alan whose health declined slowly but steadily in the last six years of his life. 

Alan died in April 2013 when he decided to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED) so he did not have to live into the late stages of Alzheimer's. Phyllis draws on her experience as a consultant and public speaker as a means to spread this very important, but not widely known, message.

For more insight into what led up to Alan's decision to VSED, you can also watch Phyllis' TEDxBellingham talk which she gave in November 2013.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Brain Death" : Facilitating Family/Hospital Dialogue about Death by Neurological Criteria

The Southern California Bioethics Committee Consortium (SCBCC) in collaboration with LMU Bioethics Institute is presenting "'Brain Death' - Facilitating Family/Hospital Dialogue about Death by Neurological Criteria."

This is a half-day conference for healthcare professionals, bioethical scholars, policymakers, and the public.  It will be on January 18, 2015, from 8 am to 12 pm, at Loyola Marymount University, Ahmanson Auditorium.

8:00-8:30 am    

Registration & Breakfast
8:30-8:45 am    
Welcome and Introduction
8:45-9:15 am    
Rabbi Jason Weiner, BCC: The Jewish view of defining death and brain death
9:15-9:45 am    
Andy Lampkin, Ph.D.: Dialoguing with the African American community on the subject of death by neurological criteria
9:45-10:45 am  
Thaddeus Pope, J.D, Ph.D.: Legal duties of California healthcare providers to accommodate objections to determination of death by neurological criteria
10:45-12 pm     
Panel Discussion

Jahi McMath Family Gathering Better Evidence Refuting Death Diagnosis

In an October 8 filing with the Alameda County Superior Court, Jahi McMath's family has acknowledged Dr. Fisher's concerns and criticisms with the evidence that it presented earlier this month.  

In response, the McMath family has asked the court for four weeks time to "undertake some of the testing which Dr.Fisher says is missing."  

If the complete and proper testing confirms what the "preliminary" data suggested (i.e. that Jahi is not now dead), that is an extraordinary and remarkable result with significant implications for medical practice, law, and policy.

What If You Had To Keep PAYING Life Support Machine To Stay Alive?

In this short proof-of-concept film a woman copes with a terminal illness while a machine keeps her alive. And whenever time is up, her lover must pump more money into the machine.

Director Jason Ho and his co-writer Andrew Post are hoping to turn Into Dusk into a longer film. As it stands, though, it works as a brief fable about individuals bearing the financial burden of their medical care.