Religion in Society
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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