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Assisted suicide, care rationing threaten the disabled

  New York is considering legalizing assisted suicide, but such a law would threaten the most vulnerable in society: the elderly, the terminally ill and people with disabilities. As someone who lives with a disability and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, I strongly encourage the New York Legislature to reject assisted suicide,

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The Prioritization of Life-Saving Resources in a Pandemic Surge Crisis

  The COVID-19 pandemic is shedding new light on the way patients are treated. In his recently published article, Dr. Jeffrey White discusses the prioritization of life-saving resources in a pandemic surge crisis.  We must not allow brutal utilitarian calculus to sacrifice the principles of trust and equity on the altar of crisis, fear or latent

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World Suicide Prevention Day: Here’s how to help

  Every 40 seconds, someone in the world takes their own life. That’s at least 800,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization, and the numbers are rising in some parts of the world. In the United States alone, suicide rates have increased by 35% between 1999 and 2018. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls

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Pandemic reveals unethical bias

  Michael Hickson was a 46-year-old African American resident of Texas, a quadriplegic with a brain injury. Despite these challenges, he was leading a fulfilling life with his family. Then he contracted COVID-19. Over the objections of his wife, doctors at a Texas hospital refused to treat Hickson, stating that lifesaving care wouldn’t be justified

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Ableism in Medical Care Has Life or Death Consequences

  Melissa Hickson’s husband, Michael, was a 46-year old quadriplegic suffering from COVID-19 who died after the hospital ended his treatment because of what they considered to be his low quality of life. Hickson’s experience, like mine, highlights the ableism that permeates our medical system and often results in a refusal to treat those whose

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UK bureaucrats imposed DNR orders on care homes: report

  Everyone has a right to equal quality of care. We should reject ableism in all its forms, but especially in these life and death situations. ‘Nursing homes in the UK were asked by government health managers and family doctors to place blanket “Do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders on all residents at the height of

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Should Massachusetts adopt the proposed assisted suicide bill?

    Read two views and vote AGAINST assisted suicide in the Boston Globe’s online poll…     Dr. Laura A. Petrillo Palliative care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital; Newton resident Although the United States is in the throes of the greatest health and economic crisis of our era, a bill to legalize physician-assisted death

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The optics are not good: lessons from euthanasia in Canada

  A closer look at the official figures is is disturbing.  Four years after euthanasia was legalised throughout Canada on 17 June 2016, the “first annual report” covering euthanasia deaths in 2019 was released in July 2020. As the dead bodies pile higher – 13,946 of them in three and a half years according to

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Older, ill and disabled people deserve choice-promoting services, supports

I disagree with Joan Milnes’s call for passage of the assisted suicide bill now in the legislature (“Making a final choice about quality-of-life,” July 28). Her framing of it as an individual matter of “choice” about one’s so-called “quality-of-life” is prejudicial and dangerous. Milnes’s example is her cousin Tony with cystic fibrosis who, at his

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State Covid triage policies prompt fear of discrimination

State policies for rationing health care during the coronavirus pandemic could allow doctors to cut off treatment for some of the sickest patients in hot zones and revive the specter of so-called death panels, say disabled rights groups who are rallying the Trump administration to intervene. The effort has recently gained urgency due to guidelines

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Arizona is discriminating against the vulnerable to ration care. It must stop.

Discrimination in health care has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus, as state after state has considered Crisis Standards of Care that violate the civil rights and erode the inherent human dignity of elders and people with disabilities. Battling these CSCs has been like a frantic game of whack-a-mole for advocates and the federal government

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2020 Spring Newsletter

In this issue: -Why assisted suicide laws are inherently discriminatory against people with disabilities -Michael Hickson’s story of being denied care by his doctors based on subjective  quality of life judgements -2020 Legislative State Status Update -New free downloadable California advance health care directive  

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How Deeply Ableist is Mainstream Media?

Assisted suicide laws set up an ableist two-tier system, where some people get suicide prevention and others, namely those with life-threatening disabilities, get suicide assistance. This results in death to the devalued group. Nothing could be more discriminatory. A man named Michael Hickson died on June 11, 2020. He was denied food an fluids for 6

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When telemedicine can be dangerous — even deadly

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to adapt the way we access health care, and telehealth is now widely used to overcome many hurdles related to receiving in-person attention. But there are some contexts in which relying on telemedicine can be dangerous — even deadly. Telemedicine should never be used in the context of assisted

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Kristen Hanson & Ashton Ellis Discuss Advanced Healthcare Directives on Fight Back! Podcast

  Kristen Hanson, Community Relations Advocate with the Patients Rights Action Fund, joins host Steve Poizner on the Fight Back! podcast to discuss advanced healthcare directives, an important legal document that addresses such end-of-life issues as “do not resuscitate” orders, treatment options, healthcare proxies, and more.  Ashton Ellis, who is an attorney and expert on advanced

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