10.31.13, 08:44 AM #1
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Belgium Considering Law To Grant Euthanasia For Children
By Associated Press,
Should children have the right to ask for their own deaths?
In Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over the age of 18, the government is considering extending it to children — something that no other country has done. The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.
Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives.
Belgium is already a euthanasia pioneer; it legalized the practice for adults in 2002. In the last decade, the number of reported cases per year has risen from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Doctors typically give patients a powerful sedative before injecting another drug to stop their heart.
Only a few countries have legalized euthanasia or anything approaching it. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal under specific circumstances and for children over the age of 12 with parental consent (there is an understanding that infants, too, can be euthanized, and that doctors will not be prosecuted if they act appropriately). Elsewhere in Europe, euthanasia is only legal in Luxembourg. Assisted suicide, where doctors help a patient to die but do not actively kill them, is allowed in Switzerland.
In the U.S., the state of Oregon also grants assisted suicide requests for residents aged 18 or over with a terminal illness.
In Belgium, the ruling Socialist party (who else? ) has proposed the bill expanding the right of euthanasia. The Christian Democratic Flemish party vowed to oppose the legislation and to challenge it in the European Court of Human Rights if it passes. A final decision must be approved by Parliament and could take months.
In the meantime, the Senate has heard testimony on both sides of the issue.
“It is strange that minors are considered legally incompetent in key areas, such as getting married, but might (be able) to decide to die,” Catholic Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard testified.
Leonard said alternatives like palliative sedation make euthanasia unnecessary — and relieves doctors of the burden of having to kill patients. In palliative sedation, patients are sedated and life-sustaining support is withdrawn so they starve to death; the process can take days.
But the debate has extended to medical ethicists and professionals far from Belgium. Charles Foster, who teaches medical law and ethics at Oxford University, believes children couldn’t possibly have the capacity to make an informed decision about euthanasia since even adults struggle with the concept.
“It often happens that when people get into the circumstances they had so feared earlier, they manage to cling on all the more,” he said. “Children, like everyone else, may not be able to anticipate how much they will value their lives if they were not killed.”
There are others, though, who argue that because Belgium has already approved euthanasia for adults, it is unjust to deny it to children.
“The principle of euthanasia for children sounds shocking at first, but it’s motivated by compassion and protection,” said John Harris, a professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester. “It’s unfair to provide euthanasia differentially to some citizens and not to others (children) if the need is equal.”
And Dr. Gerlant van Berlaer, a pediatric oncologist at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussels hospital, says the changes would legalize what is already happening informally. He said cases of euthanasia in children are rare and estimates about 10 to 100 cases in Belgium every year might qualify.
“Children have different ways of asking for things but they face the same questions as adults when they’re terminally sick,” van Berlaer said. “Sometimes it’s a sister who tells us her brother doesn’t want to go back to the hospital and is asking for a solution,” he said. “Today if these families find themselves (in that situation), we’re not able to help them, except in dark and questionable ways.”
The change in the law regarding people with dementia is also controversial.
People now can make a written declaration they wish to be euthanized if their health deteriorates, but the request is only valid for five years and they must be in an irreversible coma. The new proposal would abolish the time limit and the requirement the patient be in a coma, making it possible for someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to be put to death years later in the future.
In the Netherlands, guidelines allow doctors to euthanize dementia patients on this basis if they believe the person is experiencing “unbearable suffering,” but few are done in practice.
Dr. Patrick Cras, a neurologist at the University of Antwerp, said people with dementia often change their minds about wanting to die.
“They may turn into different people and may not have the same feelings about wanting to die as when they were fully competent,” he said. “I don’t see myself killing another person if he or she isn’t really aware of exactly what’s happening simply on the basis of a previous written request (to have euthanasia). I haven’t fully made up my mind but I think this is going too far.”
Penney Lewis, a professor and medical law expert at King’s College London, agreed that carrying out euthanasia requests on people with dementia once they start to worsen could be legally questionable.
“But if you don’t let people make decisions that will be respected in the future, including euthanasia, what you do is encourage people to take their own life while they have the capacity or to seek euthanasia much earlier,” she said.
In the past year, several cases of Belgians who weren’t terminally ill but were euthanized — including a pair of 43-year-old deaf twins who were going blind and a patient in a botched sex change operation — have raised concerns the country is becoming too willing to euthanize its citizens. The newest proposals have raised eyebrows even further.
“People elsewhere in Europe are focused on assisted dying for the terminally ill and they are running away from what’s happening in Belgium,” Lewis said. “If the Belgian statutes go ahead, this will be a key boundary that is crossed.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed."He has a swaggering retro machismo that will give hives to the Steinem cabal" -Camille Paglia on Donald Trump
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10.31.13, 12:03 PM #2
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and on the other hand you can do this
Published: 10/31/2013 -
Port Clinton unites in support of ill youth
Holidays come early for boy
BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
PORT CLINTON — If you don’t know Devin Kohlman — and there can’t be many left in this Ottawa County city of roughly 6,000 who haven’t at least heard of the 13-year-old boy — then the pageantry that unfolded at a Port Clinton park might have been mistaken for just another small-town pep rally.
But Wednesday’s assembly had a bigger purpose.
The mayor, the red-suited cheerleaders, the crowd of several hundred reflected in the silver horns played by the Port Clinton High School marching band — they came for the boy whose battle with brain cancer has rallied and united this town.
They came for Devin.
They brought their dogs and their youngsters; they wore black motorcycle leather and the bright red of Port Clinton’s school colors; they shared more smiles than tears. And when the band launched into the fight song, everyone clapped along.
This one was for Devin.
Scores of his eighth-grade classmates roared hello when Mayor Vincent Leone held up a cell phone so Devin could hear and see the crowd gathered in his honor. Devin listened on the other end of the line from his home, his round face visible on the small phone screen as the mayor swung it around, showing him the scene, the support, the love.
Later, chants of “Here we go, Devin, here we go” filled the park, as cheerleaders from his class led the crowd and his football teammates in cheer after cheer. “We are team Devin,” they chanted. “I believe that Devin will win,” they shouted.
This entire week, Port Clinton has shown its support for the eighth-grader diagnosed in August, 2012, with metastatic medulloblastoma.
He’s exhausted the treatment options, said his grandmother, Bobbie Araguz of Port Clinton, and the boy wanted to come home. Sunday, Devin’s plane landed at the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport near State Rt. 53, bringing him back from a stay at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Snow created from ice chips and ‘welcome home’ signs outside Devin Kohlman’s apartment are signs of support shown by the Port Clinton community. Snow created from ice chips and ‘welcome home’ signs outside Devin Kohlman’s apartment are signs of support shown by the Port Clinton community.
“He wanted to spend some of his last days with his friends and his family in his hometown,” said Mayor Leone, who presided over the pep rally and proclaimed today “Devin Kohlman Day” in Port Clinton.
The town’s done its best to make every day special since his homecoming.
Police and firefighters escorted Devin home from the airport. Volunteers festooned Adams Street Park with Christmas decorations and a sign wishing him a Merry Christmas. The mayor contributed a roughly 30-foot tree cut from his property, and it was strung with lights and positioned to be visible from windows in the Kohlmans’ nearby home.
Others followed suit, decorating storefronts with red-ribboned wreaths and front yards with holiday ornaments.
They even made it snow. Volunteers rescued ice chippings from a Fremont ice rink and trucked the white stuff to Port Clinton. The special delivery was made complete when a truck with a lift loaded up the snow and let it fall in front of the family’s windows. Volunteers packed chunks of snow against the window screen, the mayor said.
The public is invited to a party — the plan is to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all once — from 2 p.m. to closing time today at Lock, Dock & Barrel in Port Clinton. Proceeds from meals and a silent auction will benefit the family, said friend and local disc jockey Alejandro Zapata, who is helping to organize the event.
Devin’s mother Alexis Kohlman said Christmas is her son’s favorite holiday. The family planned to put up a Christmas tree in their house, but she had no idea the entire town would celebrate early, too.
Devin Kohlman's grandmother, Bobbie Araguz, says the boy has exhausted all of his treatment options. Devin Kohlman's grandmother, Bobbie Araguz, says the boy has exhausted all of his treatment options.
She called the outpouring of community support “amazing” and said it’s made the family excited and happy. Amid the crush of concern and love, it’s important to remember who Devin is and why he’s sparked so much support, she said.
“It’s about ... what a wonderful kid he is and how everybody loves him so much, and they’re ... rooting for him because he ... is such an awesome person. And he has cancer but it’s not who he is,” his mother said.
Seeing his friends makes her son smile. The family lets classmates troop up the steps to see him after school, but they keep a watchful eye on how tired Devin is. He’s also surrounded by his father, Kevin, and sister, Leigha, 12.
Family friend Shannon Rusincovitch of Port Clinton, who also has a child in Devin’s grade, said the pep rally came together in just a few hours after she learned the boy wanted to hear the school fight song.
Another wish come true by a town that loves a boy.
“It’s meant a lot because we’re all a family, basically. We’re just one big family, and we love being together and especially for Devin,” said Morgan Wojciechowski, a 13-year-old cheerleader and friend of Devin. “It’s tough for all of us, but we’re coming together ... to make it the best it can be.”
Darkness began to fall after the final notes from the clarinets and horns, when the cheerleaders stopped tumbling and kicking, as the crowd dispersed. About a block away, the Christmas tree sparkled in Adams Street Park.
Around the corner, two children played in the unseasonable snowbank under Devin’s second-story window, where behind a drawn shade a light shined through.
A light for Devin
Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/Medical/2...G5XWMvPJQdq.99
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