Voluntary euthanasia laws in Australia: are we really better off dead?

Med J Aust 2016; 205 (6): 254-255
Author: Briony J Murphy
“You would perhaps think that this experience would make me one of the fiercest advocates for voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying, but you would be mistaken. Instead, this experience left me with a profound sense of the complexities of suicide among older adults and how often and easily these can be overshadowed by the euthanasia debate.”
Find article here.

Euthanasia rising in Belgium, including more who are not terminally ill

Reuters, 15 September 2016
Author: Madeline Kennedy
“In the decade after Belgium legalized doctor-assisted death, the number of patients using it to end their lives rose nearly eight-fold, according to records of the national euthanasia control committee. The largest increases in euthanasia cases over that period was among people older than 80, those without cancer and those not expected to die in the near future.”
Find article here.

Can We Care for Aging Persons without Worsening Global Inequities?

Can We Care for Aging Persons without Worsening Global Inequities? The Case of Long-Term Care Worker Migration from the Anglophone Caribbean
Public Health Ethics published 20 July 2016, 10.1093/phe/phw031
Authors: Jeremy Snyder and Valorie A. Crooks
“The international migration of health workers, including long-term care workers (LCWs) for aging populations, contributes to a shortage of these workers in many parts of the world. …Many responses have been proposed to address the international migration of health workers generally, including making it more difficult for these workers to emigrate and increasing and improving local employment opportunities. In this article, we suggest an additional means of ethically reducing health worker migration, targeting the Anglophone Caribbean specifically.”
Find abstract here.

Doctors still provide too many dying patients with needless treatment

The Conversation, 28 June 2016
Authors: Magnolia Cardona-Morrell, Kenneth Hillman
“Many doctors are continuing to provide end-of-life patients with needless treatments that only worsen the quality of their last days, new research shows. Our review published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care found that on average, one-third of patients near the end of their life received non-beneficial treatments in hospitals around the world.”
Find article here.

When a doctor and patient disagree about care at the end of life

Washington Post, 18 April 2016
Author: Bethany Cubino
“Sometimes, doctors and patients disagree about end-of-life care. I know, because it happened with me. Not long ago, a frail-looking elderly patient appeared at my cardiac health clinic with a file full of hospitalizations stemming from a heart attack years before. I saw that a previous doctor had written “DNR” — do not resuscitate — in his chart, so I asked him to confirm his wishes. No, he said, to my surprise. He actually wanted to be a “full code” — meaning that chest compressions, shocks and intubation were to be used if necessary to keep him alive.”
Find article here.

Disabled people experience violence, elder abuse and neglect in ‘epidemic proportions’, says rights group

ABC News online, 18 March 2016
Author: Sarah Gerathy
“Horrific allegations of violence, abuse and neglect of disabled people have been detailed by a national disability rights advocacy group in a submission to a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry into elder abuse. The submission by People with a Disability Australia argues that disabled people experience violence, abuse and neglect in “epidemic proportions,” citing research that shows 75 per cent of reported cases of elder abuse involve older people with cognitive impairment.”
Find article here. Find Parliamentary inquiry page here.

GP Dr Nick Carr admits prescribing Beverley Broadbent lethal drugs

SMH, 21 February 2016
Author: Julia Medew
“A GP who prescribed an elderly woman a drug so she could take her own life says authorities have “swept it under the carpet” so they can avoid a difficult public conversation about assisted death. For two years, Dr Nick Carr feared criminal charges and the loss of his medical registration because of consultations he had with Beverley Broadbent, an 83-year-old woman who took her own life because she did not want to lose her independence.”
Find article here.

Case discussion: A family requests that their grandmother, who does not speak English, is not informed of her terminal diagnosis

‘King’s College London Student Clinical Ethics Committee case discussion: A family requests that their grandmother, who does not speak English, is not informed of her terminal diagnosis’
Clinical Ethics March 2016 vol. 11 no. 1 38-41
Authors: Carolyn Johnston, Michael Baty, and Sky Liu
“Members of the Student Clinical Ethics Committee discussed the ethical and legal issues arising in a case referred for consideration – the family of a very elderly non-English speaking Asian lady did not want her to be informed that she had incurable lymphoma. The case study summarises the reflections of the Committee and focusses on: the role of cultural norms in healthcare decision making; the extent to which the views of the family about what is best for the patient should be respected, whether the patient should have been informed of her terminal diagnosis and the role of the clinician in navigating complex family dynamics.”
Find abstract here.