Misconceptions about I-1000

My buddy The Rooster posted a blog today about why he isn't voting for I-1000. I already figured he wouldn't based in his religious views. In his post he pointed out the reasons he didn't agree with the law, and I responded with why he's wrong!!!!!!

Since I am such an outspoken supporter of this law, I decided to post what he wrote and my responses.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - There are no penalties for doctors who fail to submit or falsify reports of participants in the Death with Dignity act. In fact, death certificates are actually required to be falsified stating the cause of death was the terminal illness, not the lethal overdose of the “drug”. This means the initiative is safeguarding itself from being reported on and identified as being taken advantage of for potentially ill motives from less than honest people. Face it, the health industry is full of people like that.

Fact - Who gives a shit what the death certificate says. It's all clearly documented (and required) in the persons medical records. If you want to see how many people died from taking the drug, it is tracked. Since our law mirrors Oregon's law, you can look these numbers up on the Oregon governments website. If you do, make note of the fact that only a little over half the people who get the pill actually take it. "During 2007, 85 prescriptions for lethal medications were written under the provisions of the DWDA compared to 65 during 2006 (Figure). Of these, 46 patients took the medications, 26 died of their underlying disease, and 13 were alive at the end of 2007. In addition, three patients with earlier prescriptions died from taking the medications, resulting in a total of 49 DWDA deaths during 2007" only 341 people have died using this since it has become law in 1997. There is absolutely no incentive for a physician to falsify records in this situation, and since so many people have to be involved, it would be pretty damn difficult to do, if not impossible. And finally, there are penalties, once again if you had actually read the law, you'd see that falsifying information is a class A felony. Here's the link you want to read the actual initiative on something other than the no to I-1000 website.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - The request form does not encompass all the limitations for witnesses as outlined in the initiative, specifically that someone who would benefit from the estate cannot be a witness. This is a legal loop hole that would allow individuals acting as a witness not be held liable if one or more of them would benefit from the death.

Fact - Out of 37 people last year, you are trying to imply that a magic percentage of them, are trying to force loved ones into killing themselves. You don't have a lot of faith in people do you? The law states that the request must be "signed and dated by the patient and witnessed by at least two individuals" it also very clearly states that one of the witnesses "shall be a person who is not a relative of the patient by blood, marriage, or adoption, a person who at the time of the request is signed would be entitled to any portion of the estate of the qualified patient upon death" It goes on but is basically saying one person has nothing to gain from the persons death.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - Statistically, only 2% of applicants for the “Death with Dignity” act from Oregon were referred to a psychiatrist even when applicants have a history of depression and/or suicide attempts. I-1000 says a doctor SHOULD refer the person to psychiatrist, but is not required to do so.

Fact - The law states "if, in the opinion of the attending physician or the counseling physician, a patient may be suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression causing impaired judgment, either physician shall refer the patient for counseling." it goes on to say that the physician can't prescribe the pill until the therapist "determines that the patient is not suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression." Have you considered that if only 2% were referred to a psychiatrist, that its possible everyone involved felt that the person was making a competent decision. Or do we have to go back to your apparent lack of faith in people?

Rooster Not Fully Studying - In Oregon, nurses assisted with a suicide of a patient without the knowledge of the doctor. The department of health protected these nurses under Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. In WA’s law, there is no mention of immunity or penalization for anyone who falsely takes action in the name of the law.

Fact - Who's ass did you pull this out of? I think what you are talking about is one case in 2007 where two nurses illegally gave one patient morphine and Phenobarbital to end her life. Both nurses were held liable and charged. This law does in fact hold liable anyone who is found to be "negligent conduct or intentional misconduct by any person" I think a lawyer could easily make the case that "any person" covers doctors, nurses, and insurance providers. And throughout the law it's clear that the prescription has to be written by the doctor. Last I checked, nurses weren't allowed to write prescriptions.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - There is no mention of what the intended drug is and there is no guarantee it will work. This can result in side effects which are far worse then the terminal disease and can cause more suffering for the patient.

Fact - "Complications were reported in three patients during 2007; they all regurgitated some of the medication. One person lived 3½ days." Side effect = living 3.5 days longer than you wanted in 1 person.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - Doctors cannot be sued for malpractice if they push someone to take the drug. Sure, a very small number of doctors are quacks, but the ones that are should be convicted. However, this act protects them.

Fact - This isn't one doctors decision. The law states the patient has to be "competent in the opinion of the court or in the opinion of the patients attending physician and consulting physician" oh and not to mention the counselor or therapist, and two witnesses . Sure one doctor might be, but come on all of them. That's 4 to 5 people besides the patient.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - Governer Booth Gardner, the spokesman for this law, states this act is a “first step”. First step to what?! There are no safeguards to stop health insurance providers from pushing Death with Dignity in place of proper treatment. Historically, in Oregon, these health insurance providers have been known to recommend alternate physicians until they find one that will approve the lethal drug. Hm, makes me wonder if the insurance providers are the real people behind this proposed initiative?

Fact - Historically? Interesting that you don't link to proof of this statement. Because there is nothing in the law that says the insurance providers can't be sued if found to be in the wrong.


Rooster said…
As for your "FACT #1":
Check out this link(http://internationaltaskforce.org/orrpt6.htm) for how your so-called reports from Oregon aren't exactly reliable. Don't worry, there is another link (http://internationaltaskforce.org/sptlt2.htm)that provides references from where these statements come from, same sources you hold so dear to botched support of this law as it is written..

For your "FACT" #2:
It's not a magic percentage, and no I don't have faith in people because I have experienced ill motive in my own family where a few beneficiaries pushed for death regardless of my grandfathers wishes - which were not honored. NOT ONE BENEFICIARY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE A WITNESS!!!! I am very sympathetic to those that suffer and those that have to watch loved ones suffer because I have dealt with it myself. I will reiterate AGAIN that I do agree that people who want to "die with dignity" have the right to do so, but the law as it is written (don't worry, I read the official initiative, same one you read), has too many holes in it.

"FACT" #3:
"in the opinion of the attending physician or the counseling physician"… riiiight. The reason the doctor has to refer a patient to a psychiatric professional is because they only have an opinion on the mental health of individual. They can't diagnose a psychological disorder because that is not their M.O. A lot of people are good actors and can fake their way through by acting mentally competent. Sicknesses such as depression can be easily faked.

All you need is one good actor to slip through the cracks here and the whole therapist thing is bypassed. This is one of the many areas where I feel the law needs to be rewritten. All applicants for death with dignity should be evaluated by a mental health professional. Period.

"FACT" #4:
The only sanctions imposed by the Oregon State Board of Nursing were a two-year probation for Cain and a 30-day license suspension for Corson. Cain could continue nursing; Corson could resume practicing after the 30-day suspension. Source: http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=118367242275954900

Funny, I can't seem to find anything that references conviction by law of these nurses. So… who's ass did you pull THAT from?

The problem here is that the nurses have to be reported first. If the OSBN was known to protect this type of situation, who's to say Washington's health board won't do the same? Crazy thing here is that the victim's family was NEVER made aware of the cause of death. Hm, sounds like that death certificate sure should have had the correct cause of death written on it.

"FACT" #5:
Complications found in news reports were not included in official reports:
• Patrick Matheny received his lethal prescription from Oregon Health Sciences University via Federal Express. He had difficulty when he tried to take the drugs four months later. His brother-in-law, Joe Hayes, said he had to "help" Matheny die. According to Hayes, "It doesn’t go smoothly for everyone. For Pat it was a huge problem. It would have not worked without help." [Oregonian, 1/17/99 and 3/11/99]
• Speaking to a small group at Portland Community College, pro-assisted suicide attorney Cynthia Barrett described a botched assisted suicide. "The man was at home. There was no doctor there," she said. "After he took it [the lethal dose], he began to have some physical symptoms. The symptoms were hard for his wife to handle. Well, she called 911. The guy ended up being taken by 911 to a local Portland hospital. Revived. In the middle of it. And taken to a local nursing facility. I don’t know if he went back home. He died shortly – some….period of time after that…"
• Overdoses of barbiturates are known to cause vomiting as a person begins to lose consciousness. The patient then inhales the vomit. In other cases, panic, feelings of terror and assaultive behavior can occur from the drug-induced confusion. But Barrett wouldn’t say exactly which symptoms had taken place in this instance. She has refused to discuss the case since her December 1999 revelation. [Oregonian, 3/23/00 and 3/26/00]

"FACT" #6:
We are looking at degradation in the system here, because again, 1 witness can be a beneficiary, and the therapist isn't necessarily required depending on how 1 or both physicians initially react (to my point made above). This law needs to be written so that all parties involved are ensured to be reliable and competent, and this starts with a psychological evaluation for every applicant and no beneficiaries allowed.
How about this reference:
The first known assisted-suicide death under the Oregon law was that of a woman in her mid eighties who had been battling breast cancer for twenty-two years. Initially, two doctors, including her own physician who believed that her request was due to depression, had refused to
prescribe the lethal drugs. Compassion & Choices—then operating under the name Compassion in Dying—became involved in the case and referred the woman to a doctor willing to write the prescription. Source:
Erin Hoover and Gail Hill, "Two die using suicide law; Woman on tape says she looks forward to relief,"
Oregonian, March 26, 1998; Kim Murphy, "Death Called 1st under Oregon’s New Suicide Law," Los
Angeles Times, March 26, 1998; and Diane Gianelli, "Praise, criticism follow Oregon’s first reported
assisted suicides," American Medical News, Apr. 13, 1998.

"FACT" #7:
The New York Times (12/2/07) said, “[Booth] Gardner’s campaign is a compromise; he sees it as a first step. If he can sway Washington to embrace a restrictive law, then other states will follow. And gradually, he says, the nation’s resistance will subside, the culture will shift and laws
with more latitude will be passed …”

Correct, there is nothing that says the insurance provider can't be sued if found to be in the wrong. However, this is HORRID logic because by the time this happened, someone is probably already dead because they were swayed into "death with dignity". I don't care if it's just one person. I am not willing to have "acceptable casualties" just because the initiative doesn't have official liability written into the law.
Rooster said…
I'd also like to make one additional point: You always talk down about people who are reading articles that are against what you believe.

That's quite hypocritical of your liberal point of views because A) you are trying to force your beliefs on others (which you constantly preach "don't force your beliefs on me") and B) How are others any different by reading material that supports their personal beliefs?

Just because you agree with an article doesn't mean it's correct.
CM said…
I don't force my beliefs on others, my desire to pass this law is all about my belief that we shouldn't force our beliefs on to others. And I do read stuff that's against my point of view. When I was reading up to point out the flaws in your post, I didn't just go to one site, I went to many regardless of their opinion on the subject. But I will admit that I did primarily focus on the one with actual law itself, since that's what we are talking about after all.

Your basic point is that you don't support this law because you find flaws in it. The problem with that is, this or ones like it will never meet your approval because there will always be a flaw that you can nit pick and find. No law, no matter how well written can cover 100% of the people involved 100% of the time. There has never been or will be a law on the books that is 100% perfect, no matter what the subject.

So, if you are so concerned about people committing "suicide" when they shouldn't, then you can volunteer to be that impartial 2nd witness. Oregon averages 70 people a year who ask for the pill, (only half who take it) if you care so much about the persons ability to make a good decision on the subject of their own welfare, you should be able to make time for 70 visits over one full year.
Rooster said…
That's right, there are too many flaws in it. When there are so many open pieces that are left to interpretation, that means the initiative as written is crap. This law, if passed, will be right up there with the second amendment in regards to enforcement by interpretation.

21 other states have tried to propose this same initiative, using Oregon's DWD as the model, and have failed. Why? Because the model is sorely flawed.

Maybe it is impossible to write a law that is 100% solid, but that doesn't mean we should settle with crap. Make it the best we can. It's really bad someone like me, not being in the judicial system of any sort, can call out holes in an inititative. That is just not acceptable.

As for the impartial witness comment, that would be pointless because I personally refuse to be a part of sending someone to their death before their natural time. Those 70 people wouldn't want me because I will not sign that paper.

If others want to make that decision, that's their business, but I'm not going to place my vote on something that allows so many loopholes that can negatively affect people's lives and their families well-being.
CM said…
That's right you wouldn't sign it, and why it won't matter what the law says. You don't support the concept of death with dignity, period. And not supporting the idea means nitpicking reasons to not support the law.
Rooster said…
Holy shit, are you serious?! You apparently missed the whole part about the fact that I would vote yes if the law was actually written decently, with more solid safeguards. Hell yes, I will nitpick it, as I will with every law and so should you.

The fact is, if this law is passed and even one person dies because one of the many loopholes, I will know full well that their blood is NOT on my hands. Laws should be passed to save lives, be humane and fair to ALL, and NOT have loopholes that can result in lives unjustly lost.

If you don’t “nitpick” politics, you end up with Presidents like George W. Bush, Governors like Christine Gregoire, Senators like Larry Craig… We end up in war with Iraq and we end up in a financial crisis. With all your bitching and moaning about politics, I thought you’d know better.
CM said…
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CM said…
No, I got the point just fine. I think what's really happening here is you are trying to imply, or think, you are more open minded then you really are on this subject. Just admit it, your religious beliefs conflict with the notion of death with dignity. It's ok, Christians are all about suffering before death, look at what happened to Jesus. It's built into your psyche.

And I feel fully confident that we won't have any one die due to your perceived loop holes. In the end, it's the persons choice to takes the pill. If the person makes the choice, it's their choice and no one else's.

It's election day, so lets just wait and see if it passes or not. Besides, we need to stop talking about this because we aren't going to agree, and I'm tired of posting responses on two blogs.
Rooster said…
No, you obviously don't get the point. Also, you're the one who chose to post this on two blogs, so if you are tired of it, then that's your issue.

I have made it VERY CLEAR that my views on this bullshit initiative is based on how it is written, not based on my religious views. My religious views determine that I personally would not choose suicide. Me. No one else. If others want to make that decision, that's up to them. Again, I have made it clear that if the law was written like someone who actually knew how to write a law and showed compassion for all people, I would vote yes.

Persecute Christianity all you want. You are sorely mistaken on how the true basis of Christianity is founded and should be maintained according to the Word. Christianity is based on love and compassion. "It's ok, Christians are all about suffering before death, look at what happened to Jesus. It's built into your psyche." What a stupid comment. If you knew anything about Christianity, you would know that's not how it is.

You are fully confident that no one will die due to the loopholes because you choose to be ignorant. You're response to this law is no better than George Bush's argument that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq back in 2003. You are ignoring the holes so that you can achieve a personal goal, disregarding those who might get hurt in the way.
CM said…
Oh I have studied religion, probably more than you, since I don’t limit my source to the regurgitated words on the local pastor. Religion is full of hypocrisy, bullshit, and scare tactics. Just like your views on I-1000. Hypocrisy saying you would support a different version when we both know you wouldn’t. Bullshit as seen in your flawed statements about it. And finally scare tactics, “if we do this, then these terrible things will happen.”

And in regards to my person goals. Yeah, it’s pretty selfish of me to want to allow people to make choice on how to live and end there own lives. Oh and since the majority of Washington voters are a little more open minded then you, when you are on your cancer ridden smokers death bed, and you decide to take the pill, don’t worry, I won’t say I told you so.