Debate: The Fiction of an Interest in Death? Justice for Charlie Gard

JME Blog, 26 April 2017
Author: Julian Savulescu
“A judge ruled last week that baby Charlie Gard will have his treatment withdrawn, against the wishes of his parents. His doctors argued that the rare mitochondrial disease (MDDS) he was born with was causing him unbearable suffering. His parents had raised funds to take him to the US for experimental treatment and they wanted the chance to try the treatment. His doctors argued that such treatment could only prolong his suffering. It was their belief that it was in his best interests for treatment to be withdrawn, and for his life to end, a belief which the trial judge endorsed.”
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Euthanasia debate: is there such a thing as “good” suicide?

MJA, 24 April 2017
Author: Nicole Mackee
“Continuing debate about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in Australia and around the world needs to take heed of the evidence around the use of these interventions, and the role that psychological distress plays in patients looking to these options, a leading US bioethicist says. For example, in the Netherlands, where euthanasia and PAS have been permitted and not prosecuted since the 1980s, and legal since 2002, dying patients only requested euthanasia in about 6.7% of all deaths. Only 45% of those requests were granted.”
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GSK must pay $3 million in generic Paxil suicide lawsuit: U.S. jury

Reuters, 20 April 2017
Authors: Nate Raymond, Barbara Grzincic
“GlaxoSmithKline(GSK.L) must pay $3 million to a woman who sued the drug company over the death of her husband, a lawyer who committed suicide after taking a generic version of the antidepressant Paxil, a U.S. jury said on Thursday. A federal judge allowed the victim’s wife to proceed against GSK because it controlled the drug’s design and label, which applied to both the brand-name and generic versions of the drug.”
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Assisted Dying & Disability

Bioethics. 2017, doi:10.1111/bioe.12353
Author: Riddle, C. A.
“This article explores at least two dominant critiques of assisted dying from a disability rights perspective. In spite of these critiques, I conclude that assisted dying ought to be permissible. I arrive at the conclusion that if we respect and value people with disabilities, we ought to permit assisted dying.”
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Terminally ill former lecturer wins right to fight assisted dying ban

The Guardian, 12 April 2017
Author: Owen Bowcott
“A terminally ill former lecturer has won the right to challenge the legal ban on assisted dying in the hope that he can end his life at home surrounded by his family. Assisted dying is prohibited by section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 and voluntary euthanasia is considered murder under English and Welsh law. The chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the law denied terminally ill people the choice and control they deserved at the end of their lives.”
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Inconsistent state laws may complicate medical decision-making

EurekAlert, 12 April 2017
Source: University of Chicago Medical Center
“A patchwork of state laws creates a labyrinth that can make it confusing to navigate incapacitated patients’ medical wishes. Without clear national standards, the problem may worsen as the nation’s 75 million baby boomers continue to age, according to medical ethics research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. On average, 40 percent of hospitalized adults can’t make their own medical decisions. In some intensive care units, that figure skyrockets to 90 percent.”
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Doctor tells U.S. court drug not suitable for Arkansas executions

Reuters, 12 April 2017
Author: Steve Barnes
“A surgeon told a federal court in Arkansas on Wednesday that a sedative the state plans to use in its lethal injection mix is not suitable for surgery and should be prohibited when Arkansas holds an unprecedented series of executions later this month. Lawyers for Arkansas have told the court that the drug in question, midazolam, has been used in executions in other states and its lethal injection protocols pass constitutional muster. Major pharmaceutical companies have banned sales of powerful sedative to states for executions.”
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Right-to-die case: Shrewsbury’s Noel Conway loses court bid

BBC, 30 March 2017
Source: BBC News
“A man with terminal motor neurone disease has lost a High Court bid to challenge the law on assisted dying. Mr Conway was seeking a declaration that the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which relates to respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which enables protection from discrimination. He had hoped to bring a judicial review that could result in terminally ill adults who meet strict criteria, making their own decisions about ending their lives.”
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Suicide rate among defence veterans far higher than for those currently serving

The Guardian, 30 March 2017
Author: Gareth Hutchens
“The rate of suicide among current serving Australian defence force (ADF) members is much lower than the general population, but higher for those who have left the force, particularly if under 30 years of age. The National Mental Health Commission says the reason for this phenomenon needs to be better understood, requiring further investigation. The Commission says more needs to be done to ensure suicide and self-harm is prevented among current and former ADF personnel.”
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