Would Right To Die Law Allow Doctors To Lie On Death Certificate?

After 23 years of attempts to legalize assisted suicide in California, lawmakers and lobbyists may have finally found a strategy that works: they just won’t call it suicide, writes the National Review.

Entitled the “End of Life Option Act,” California Senate Bill 128 mandates that “the cause of death listed on an individual’s death certificate who uses aid-in-dying medication shall be the underlying terminal illness,” not the lethal dose of poison that actually caused the individual’s death.

So, doctors would simply be allowed to lie on the death certificate.

Advocates of assisted suicide coined the term “aid in dying” and came up with the idea that killing oneself does not qualify as suicide if you have a life expectancy of six months or less.

However, it appears that it is not palatable enough to list the preferred misnomer, “aid in dying,” as the cause of death and that the only way lawmakers and lobbyists feel they can sell assisted suicide is to falsify public records.


The Importance Of Doing Ebola Right

KaciHickox2The U.S. has 120 times more doctors per capita than Sierra Leone – it has 240 doctors per 100,000 people compared to 2 doctors per 100,000 people in Sierra Leone.

According to the Washington Post, the hospital that treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan had to learn on the fly how to control the deadly virus, adding new layers of protective gear for workers in what became a losing battle to keep the contagion from spreading, a top official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

“They kept adding more protective equipment as the patient [Duncan] deteriorated. They had masks first, then face shields, then the positive-pressure respirator. They added a second pair of gloves,” said Pierre Rollin, a CDC epidemiologist.

Despite the infection-control efforts, a nurse, Nina Pham, 26, somehow contracted Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas while caring for Duncan. Pham was treated at the same hospital, and was later moved to Bethesda, Maryland and is now Ebola-free.

A second worker who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson, also tested positive for the virus.  She was treated in Dallas and then moved to Atlanta and has now also completely recovered.

On October 14th, CDC Director Thomas Frieden expressed regret that his agency had not done more to help the hospital control the infection. He said that, from now on, “Ebola response teams” will travel within hours to any hospital in the United States with a confirmed Ebola case. Already, one of those teams is in Texas and has put in place a site-manager system, requiring that someone monitor the use of personal protective equipment.

“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed,” he said. “That might have prevented this infection.”

There are widespread concerns about the Ebola epidemic in the United States.  In the Duncan case, the CDC sent disease detectives to help track down people who might have been exposed, but the agency largely let the hospital handle its own infection control.

At least 76 workers were potentially exposed to Duncan in the hospital before he died Oct. 8, and they were monitored daily for any signs of fever or other symptoms.

From the beginning of the Ebola crisis, disease experts and Frieden in particular have insisted that U.S. hospitals have the training and equipment to handle a highly contagious patient.

Any advanced hospital in the country has the capacity to isolate a patient, he said. “There is nothing particularly special about the isolation of an Ebola patient other than it’s really important to do it right,” he said at the time.

ThomasDuncan1The revelations in mid-October suggest that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was not fully prepared for the unfamiliar virus and had to adjust its protocols as Duncan’s illness progressed. The hospital did not respond to a request for comment by the Washington Post.

Doctor In Sierra Leone Dies of Ebola

According to ABC News, a local doctor in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola. ABC claims he was the fifth local doctor in the West African nation to die of the disease.

ABC: “The death of Dr. Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in northern Sierra Leone, was a blow to efforts to keep desperately needed health care workers safe in a country ravaged by the deadly virus.”

Sierra Leone’s small health care system has been strained by the virus, making it difficult to care for patients.

Its health care system was already fragile before the Ebola epidemic because of past conflict and a lack of resources.

The country had two doctors for every 100,000 people in 2010, compared to about 240 doctors for every 100,000 people in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

George’s overnight death was announced by Dr. Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone’s chief medical officer. George had been driven to the capital, Freetown, after reporting that he was not feeling well.

Doctors and nurses have been particularly vulnerable to contracting Ebola, as the virus is spread through bodily fluids.  WHO chief Margaret Chan has talked about the disease’s “heavy toll on frontline domestic medical staff.”