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Physician Assisted Suicide

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By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2014
Del. Heather R. Mizeur promised to push for a law allowing physician-assisted suicide in Maryland if elected governor. "If terminally ill, mentally competent adults choose to end their life, they should be able to seek a life-ending dose of medicine from their physician," Mizeur said in a policy proposal released late Tuesday. Three states - Oregon, Washington, and Vermont - have similar policies, dubbed by advocates "Death with Dignity" laws. Mizeur, a Democrat from Montgomery County, outlined her call for legalization of doctor-assisted suicide along with ideas to help seniors as they retire, age, get sick and approach death.
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NEWS
October 3, 2014
Alexa Fraser's recent commentary promotes the idea of legalizing physician-assisted suicide ( "Political candidates should debate the right to die," Sept. 28). The term "physician-assisted suicide" means that a physician provides the means or information to enable a patient to perform a life-ending act, such as through a lethal prescription. The premise of Ms. Fraser's commentary is that legalization of physician-assisted suicide will eliminate other types of suicides, such as those resulting from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
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NEWS
October 3, 2014
Alexa Fraser's recent commentary promotes the idea of legalizing physician-assisted suicide ( "Political candidates should debate the right to die," Sept. 28). The term "physician-assisted suicide" means that a physician provides the means or information to enable a patient to perform a life-ending act, such as through a lethal prescription. The premise of Ms. Fraser's commentary is that legalization of physician-assisted suicide will eliminate other types of suicides, such as those resulting from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
NEWS
April 21, 2014
Del. Heather R. Mizeur's call for legalized suicide for the terminally ill ( "Mizeur backs physician-assisted suicide," April 16) demonstrates incredibly poor judgment. As a senior, I have seen healthy seniors badgered or misled by relatives or significant others into making very bad financial and other decisions. The terminally ill are particularly vulnerable to such manipulation. Greedy heirs or those who are inconvenienced by a sick person can exert tremendous overt and covert psychological pressures to coerce the sick into legal suicide.
NEWS
April 12, 1996
WITH RECENT DECISIONS from two federal appeals courts overturning state bans on physician-assisted suicide, the Supreme Court soon may be grappling with this issue. In our view, the country does not need a sweeping decision either legalizing or banning the practice. Rather, we hope the high court will recognize that the public needs time and encouragement to settle this issue through the political process.That process is already well under way, with vigorous debates taking place in many legislatures across the country.
NEWS
By Sara Engram | June 14, 1998
IN A gutsy ruling earlier this month, Attorney General Janet Reno angered some conservative members of Congress by removing legal obstacles to Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law. They promptly introduced legislation to undo her ruling.Let's hope the attorney general -- and the democratic process -- prevail.Physician-assisted suicide is one of those achingly complicated issues with true believers on each side. Like abortion, it offers competing views of rights and responsibilities, and no easy resolutions.
NEWS
By David Michael Ettlin and David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer | October 7, 1993
An article in Thursday's editions of The Sun incorrectly reported the amount paid to Derek Humphry for his appearance at a symposium in Baltimore. The speaker's fee was $5,500 plus expenses.The Sun regrets the errors.Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphry brought his right-to-die message to Baltimore yesterday, outlining for a conference of health care industry representatives his proposed law to decriminalize physician-assisted suicide.Mr. Humphry, whose how-to suicide manual "Final Exit" enjoyed a 20-week ride on the New York Times best-seller list, appealed to the medical profession -- which he said has failed to take a clear stand on the issue -- to join the widening debate on voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill.He offered both a limited tribute and harsh criticism for Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the pathologist who has aided in 18 deaths and awaits trial in Michigan on charges of violating a new law against assisting in a suicide.
NEWS
By Sara Engram | April 7, 1996
ANYONE WHO has cared for a terminally ill patient or even visited a nursing home knows that the process of dying is rarely cost-effective.And anyone familiar with the market pressures changing the landscape of American health care knows that cost-effectiveness now drives more medical decisions than we like to admit.Therein lies one of the dilemmas of physician-assisted suicide -- one not touched on in two recent decisions from federal appellate courts overturning long-standing bans on the practice.
NEWS
January 4, 1997
WHEN IS LIFE no longer worth living? That ancient question has long received a standard response: That is not for men and women to decide.What about the 94-year-old woman who is "ready to go" but finds a new lease on life after a cataract is removed? Or the cancer patient who says he "can't take it anymore" -- until he gets proper pain medication? And what about the uninsured father who faces the agonizing choice of using his meager savings for treatment or finding a way to "go quickly" and leave something for his family to live on?
NEWS
February 24, 1994
A year ago, the General Assembly waded into the complex issues surrounding end-of-life medical decisions and produced the Health Care Decisions Act, a thoroughly debated, well-reasoned bill that took effect Oct. 1. But issues surrounding the right to die are back again this year -- needlessly.A main thrust of the new law is to make it easier for people to express their wishes about life-prolonging medical care to avoid the painful scenes in which family members, physicians and courts are left to substitute their judgment for a patient no longer competent to make decisions.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2014
Del. Heather R. Mizeur promised to push for a law allowing physician-assisted suicide in Maryland if elected governor. "If terminally ill, mentally competent adults choose to end their life, they should be able to seek a life-ending dose of medicine from their physician," Mizeur said in a policy proposal released late Tuesday. Three states - Oregon, Washington, and Vermont - have similar policies, dubbed by advocates "Death with Dignity" laws. Mizeur, a Democrat from Montgomery County, outlined her call for legalization of doctor-assisted suicide along with ideas to help seniors as they retire, age, get sick and approach death.
NEWS
By DAVID KOHN and DAVID KOHN,SUN REPORTER | January 18, 2006
Maryland doctors who deal with end-of-life issues say that controlling patients' pain or depression often provides relief to those who ask about the possibility of physician-assisted suicide. But several doctors said very few patients raise the issue. "I don't get a lot of requests. It isn't common," said Dr. Tim Keay, who is director of palliative care at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He regularly deals with patients who have terminal illnesses and will die in a matter of months or weeks.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Paul McHugh and By Paul McHugh,Special to the Sun | December 29, 2002
A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America, by Ian Dowbiggin. Oxford University Press. 224 pages. $28. Ian Dowbiggin, a professor of history at the University of Prince Edward Island, has just written a "must read" book on the history of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide titled A Merciful End. If you wonder why "living wills" and health care "power of attorney" won support at the ballot box but physician-assisted suicide proposals mostly...
ENTERTAINMENT
By Paul McHugh and Paul McHugh,Special to the Sun | March 17, 2002
In 1991, Mary Ann Glendon, the Learned Hand Professor of Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School, wrote a discerning book, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse (The Free Press, 218 pages, $22.95) in which she noted that contemporary American discourse over such issues as property, sexual activity, abortion, social welfare and the like was deteriorating into sound bites, slogans and the strident language of "my rights." In this process our opinions were becoming hyperpolarized, exaggeratedly absolute, coarsely self-centered and remarkably silent about personal, civic and collective responsibilities.
NEWS
By Sara Engram | June 14, 1998
IN A gutsy ruling earlier this month, Attorney General Janet Reno angered some conservative members of Congress by removing legal obstacles to Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law. They promptly introduced legislation to undo her ruling.Let's hope the attorney general -- and the democratic process -- prevail.Physician-assisted suicide is one of those achingly complicated issues with true believers on each side. Like abortion, it offers competing views of rights and responsibilities, and no easy resolutions.
NEWS
By Linda Chavez | April 1, 1998
IT was a picture-perfect death -- an elderly woman, surrounded by her family, drifting peacefully into her final slumber. At least, that's how "Compassion in Dying," a Portland-based pro-euthanasia group, portrayed the first acknowledged death last week under Oregon's recently implemented physician-assisted suicide law.For a few days, the euthanasia movement could bask in some good publicity, as newspapers around the country reported the fate of the octogenarian,...
ENTERTAINMENT
By Paul McHugh and By Paul McHugh,Special to the Sun | December 29, 2002
A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America, by Ian Dowbiggin. Oxford University Press. 224 pages. $28. Ian Dowbiggin, a professor of history at the University of Prince Edward Island, has just written a "must read" book on the history of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide titled A Merciful End. If you wonder why "living wills" and health care "power of attorney" won support at the ballot box but physician-assisted suicide proposals mostly...
NEWS
By DAVID KOHN and DAVID KOHN,SUN REPORTER | January 18, 2006
Maryland doctors who deal with end-of-life issues say that controlling patients' pain or depression often provides relief to those who ask about the possibility of physician-assisted suicide. But several doctors said very few patients raise the issue. "I don't get a lot of requests. It isn't common," said Dr. Tim Keay, who is director of palliative care at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He regularly deals with patients who have terminal illnesses and will die in a matter of months or weeks.
NEWS
By Diana K. Sugg and Diana K. Sugg,SUN STAFF | June 27, 1997
Yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on physician-assisted suicide throws the issue back to the states. And Maryland is already one step ahead.Staff members at the state attorney general's office and the Johns Hopkins University Bioethics Institute are teaming up to investigate local and regional influences on the care of the dying.Through community meetings and focus groups, they will create a forum to look at physician-assisted suicide, but also at the larger, complex web of issues surrounding end-of-life care.
NEWS
By Diana K. Sugg and Diana K. Sugg,SUN STAFF | June 12, 1997
In an unusual partnership, the state attorney general's office and the Johns Hopkins University Bioethics Institute will broadly investigate why dying Marylanders get poor care -- and find ways to improve it.The project, which may last four years, will tap patient support groups, social workers, physicians and hospital managers. The team will collect as much data as they can get.It will examine hospital policies and the way health insurers pay for services, scrutinizing institutional influences, state regulations and other legal barriers to effective care for the terminally ill.National studies, including one released last week, have found that 40 to 80 percent of patients with cancer, AIDS and other diseases report their pain isn't controlled.
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