Religion in Society

Compassion and Choices Should be Ashamed of Its Care

| by Wesley Smith

Compassion and Choices, the assisted suicide advocacy group, has
admitted to undermining proper hospice care. That's not how they put
it, of course. It brags that nearly 100% of Oregon assisted suicides
last year--88% with which their representatives were involved--were in hospice. From the C and C press release:

Compassion
and Choices, the nation's largest advocate for end-of-life care and
choices and steward of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, today noted
that nearly 100% of terminally ill individuals using the law in 2008
were enrolled in hospice. Hospice enrollment among those using the Act
increased to 98%, with 59 of the 60 individuals enrolled. Over the
prior 10 years of the Act's existence, 86% of patients using the Act
were enrolled in hospice, in itself a very high rate of use.

They
should be ashamed, not proud. This press release is essentially an
admission that its representatives interfere with the proper provision
of hospice care, since an essential service of hospice is suicide
prevention.

The published statistics from Oregon, for what
they are worth, state that only two of the people about which the press
release referred, were directed to a mental health consult, which is
not the same thing as treatment. In 2007 there were zero referrals.
This indicates that the patients who committed assisted suicide
received no formal intervention for suicide prevention.

How is withholding suicide prevention is any different than providing inadequate pain control? Hence, Compassion and Choices undermines and interferes with the application of full and proper hospice care. I don't see any other way of looking at it.

Read the Opposing Views debate, "Do the Terminally Ill Have the Right to Die?"

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