03/31/16

Many Christian pastors offer bad theology about death, suffering

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When Mindy Corporon was 15 years old her friend Kyle, then 16, died in a car wreck.

“This was a devastating moment in my young life and our family,” says Corporon. “My dad, being the family doctor, pronounced him dead … I asked my pastor a few weeks later why this happened. He told me it was God’s will. I struggled for years trying to understand how God would want to have killed Kyle. As an adult, I came to learn that God gave man free will and although there are plans for us in God’s eyes, we disappoint him often with the poor choices we make. God didn’t kill Kyle. God doesn’t want babies to die of illness or starvation or gunshots.”001

Corporon, a member of a United Methodist Church, can say this now after her own son and father were murdered by a neo-Nazi white supremacist at the Jewish Community Center in suburban Kansas City on Palm Sunday of 2014. That very night, she spoke to a large community prayer vigil at which I also was a speaker, and she told the people there not to blame God for this catastrophe.

The hard truth is that Corporon’s pastor in her childhood offered her terrible theology. The harder truth is that many Christian pastors — Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and others — sometimes continue to offer bad theology about suffering, pain and death. Beyond that, those of us who are not clergy frequently contribute to the problem by mouthing theological inanities.

“God helps those who help themselves,” we tell each other, using words not found in the biblical witness. In fact, those words are almost exactly the opposite of what Christianity teaches, which is that God helps those who can’t help themselves. God has what we’ve come to call a preferential option for the poor.

As Pope Francis has been reminding the world since he was elected, God’s heart breaks and God weeps over the needy, the poor, the sick, the helpless. And what breaks God’s heart surely should break ours.

The bogus theology that Mindy Corporon got dumped on her as a teenager was a pastor’s effort to answer what theologians call the terribly difficult question of theodicy: If God is good and all powerful, why is there evil and suffering in the world?

christian deathThere is no fully satisfying, exhaustive answer to that question. In fact, the theodicy question is the open wound of religion, and all theodicies finally fail. But if the question has no thorough answer, that doesn’t mean there can be no response to it.

The Christian response can be this: I don’t know why evil and suffering exist, but I will represent Christ to those who are suffering. I will mediate the grace of God to those in pain. I will be a channel of God’s love to those for whom life has turned dark and hopeless.

Mindy Corporon has chosen to respond in exactly that way generous, loving way even though she and her family are among those grieving because of the Palm Sunday murders of her son, father and another woman (all Christians, though the shooter said he was trying to kill Jews).

Mindy has created a movement to promote love and kindness. She calls it “Seven Days: Make a Ripple, Change the World,” and again this year she and her supporters have designed a series of activities in April to promote the uplifting values needed to stand against the hate that killed three people whom the killer thought were Jews.

A friend who used to be a Lutheran pastor but now is Catholic once gave a sermon quoting a man who said the accidental death of his grandson was God’s will. But someone confronted him about that, telling him not to blame God for the devil’s work.

Whatever you believe about the devil, that’s good advice — advice Mindy Corporon understands deeply.

Complete Article HERE!

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03/30/16

FBI: Owner Of Hospice Told Nurses To Overdose Patients To Speed Death

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Frisco Hospice

The owner of a Dallas-area hospice ordered nurses to increase drug dosages for patients to speed their deaths and maximize profits, according to an FBI affidavit.

A copy of the affidavit for a search warrant obtained by KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth (http://bit.ly/1VTzfeh) alleges Brad Harris ordered higher dosages for at least four patients at Novus Health Services in Frisco. It’s unclear whether any deaths resulted from overdoses of drugs like morphine.

Harris has not been charged. The FBI on Wednesday declined to say whether an investigation is ongoing.

The warrant refers to an FBI raid on the hospice in September. It alleges Harris sent text messages to workers such as, “You need to make this patient go bye-bye.” On another occasion, Harris told administrators during a lunch meeting that he wanted to “find patients who would die within 24 hours.”

In at least one instance, an employee refused to follow orders to increase a dosage, the warrant said.

The document explains that federal reimbursements can diminish the longer a patient receives care. A provider eventually can be forced to return federal payments.

A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at Novus declined to comment. Attempts to reach Harris for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful. A working number for him could not be found; listings for a Brad Harris in the Dallas and Houston areas had either been disconnected or turned out not to be his. The Associated Press also sent a request for comment to two email addresses believed to be his.

Harris, 34, is an accountant who founded Novus in 2012, according to KXAS, citing state records.

Novus’ website says the company offers hospice and home health care services.

The FBI investigation of Novus, which included interviewing several employees, began in 2014 and initially focused on allegations that the company sought federal reimbursements for patients recruited by Novus who didn’t qualify for services, according to KXAS.

Complete Article HERE!

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03/30/16

Humor and Hospice

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by: Kelly Krenzel

Bill_and_Karen

When you meet Bill and Karen, you instantly feel the love they have for one another. Their faces light up with joy when they sneak a glance of each other. A quick wit and robust laughter are at the heart of their relationship. They take turns teasing each other in a healthy back and forth, always with a chuckle and a smile.

Married for 14 years, the pair has experienced many adventures together, one of which was their initial meeting at a tiny café in Luck, Wisconsin, where Karen says she noticed quite the “character” joking with the waitress one morning. She didn’t make much of it at the time until the following day when she returned to the café, and Bill (the character) was there again. He approached her and asked if he could join her for breakfast. “I said I suppose. I got a free breakfast out of it, why not,” Karen said with a laugh. They continued to meet up for breakfast for the following six weeks and quickly got to know one another. “She has not paid me back for one breakfast,” Bill added with a chuckle. After about a month, they went out on an official date, and according to Karen, “The rest is history!” Bill razzes Karen, “You lucky kid, you! I couldn’t run any faster, you were running after me!”

With the same sense of humor and positivity as when they first met, the couple is facing the biggest challenge of their lives together. Bill was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago. Since then he has gone through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation with no progress, including the last session when he tried a new type of treatment. “I got sick for about a week and a half. I mean sick–in bed, and when I finally got up, I was sick for another week after that. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything, and then it was time to go back and get another shot. You get them every three weeks,” Bill explained. He and Karen talked with his doctor about discontinuing treatment. “I said as far as I am concerned, it didn’t do me any good except put me right down,” Bill said. “Isn’t this kind of a waste of my time, your time and whoever is paying for this? It cost me $1,500 each time, and that’s with Medicare and private insurance paying, too.”

After encouragement from his doctor, Bill and Karen enlisted the help of Hospice of the Red River Valley in July 2015. “You take the good with the bad. I’m not going to sit around and mope. That’s kind of silly to me. They have no cure,” Bill shared. Instead, he is focused on living the best life he can with time he has left.

Staying at home with the assistance of hospice is something Bill feels great about because he can continue to live his life and his hospice team is just a phone call away. “Hospice is a good thing to have. If we need something, it’s here,” Bill said. “They [hospice] actually do make it better, I have to admit. They give you a sense of confidence. While you’re here, they make you as comfortable as they possibly can. As far as I’m concerned, they are doing one heck of a job.”

Bill is especially fond of his hospice nurse, Kelcie, and social worker Robyn. Both make regular visits to see him. “They are just like family. That’s the only way I can explain it. They really are. If I need supplies, they bring everything I am supposed to have,” he explained. Bill jokes that he also gives Kelcie and Robyn a few pointers in their jobs because he is “quite a bit older than them.”

“Kelcie is great. With the medicine, you don’t worry about anything, and it sure cuts down on the expense. She checks on them every time she comes,” Karen said. “She has provided a lot of relief in just knowing everything is getting taken care of. Just to know that everyone is so helpful and friendly, that helps a lot,” Karen added. Kelcie also found out that the couple enjoys playing games, and right before Christmas she visited the pair with a surprise in-hand. “I’ll be darned if she didn’t come in with a game of Jenga,” Bill said with excitement. Karen notes with a giggle that Bill did not win Jenga when he played Kelcie, for the record.

“Bill and Karen have hearts of gold. It’s enjoyable to visit Bill because even if he is not feeling well, he makes jokes and asks how your day is going. At the same time, he is honest about his symptoms,” Kelcie shared. “Karen wanted to be able to keep Bill at home, and she does a fantastic job helping him and keeping track of his medications. It is nice to be able to help so Bill can continue to enjoy life and stay positive.”

Bill points out that he cannot identify just one thing he appreciates about hospice care, rather it’s everything about the care. “You can’t pick out one thing. You really truthfully can’t, at least I can’t. Everything I’ve experienced since I’ve been in it is great. There’s no way I’d have a complaint, and I’d argue with anybody who did,” Bill shared.

Karen wholeheartedly agrees with Bill. “It’s [hospice] is the best thing that ever happen to us. Emotionally, financially, everything. Hospice is a Godsend,” she said. “That’s a nice way of putting it, actually,” Bill echoed. Initially, both Karen and Bill thought hospice was only for the last days of life. “I thought you started hospice when there was no hope of anything. That’s definitely not true,” Karen said. “We didn’t realize how completely extensive the services were that hospice offers, including the 13 months of after-death support. Hospice makes the last months or years of your life much better. It’s a super organization.”

As the days go by, Bill enjoys many of the things he always has, like trips to Sandy’s Donuts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and visits to his granddaughter’s lake cabin near Perham. “I tell Robyn when we go to the lake for a weekend, that way she calls the [hospice] team down there to let them know I’m in the area in case something would happen,” he said. The couple has also planned a large family gathering in June of this year with 60-plus friends and relatives planning to come, including their five children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. While they await the summer months, they spend each day appreciating each other and the love they share. “We’re lucky to have each other,” Bill said with a big smile.

Bill_quote_story

Complete Article HERE!

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03/29/16

Physician-assisted dying: A Jewish community perspective

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‘It may be impossible to achieve consensus on many of the issues surrounding physician-assisted dying’

By Shimon Koffler Fogel

"Surely we can all agree that every Canadian should have access to other means of alleviating suffering before contemplating a physician-assisted death," writes Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Toronto.

“Surely we can all agree that every Canadian should have access to other means of alleviating suffering before contemplating a physician-assisted death,” writes Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Toronto.

Physician-assisted dying remains a deeply personal and contentious issue among Jewish Canadians. Some in our community support physician-assisted dying, focusing on the plight of those stricken by a terminal or debilitating illness with no possibility of pain relief. Others oppose physician-assisted dying based on traditional religious grounds or due to concerns about a knock-on effect toward more broadly applied euthanasia.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada recast this vigorous debate by determining that Canadians, under certain circumstances, will have a right to physician-assisted death. The remaining question is how this decision should be implemented.

While there is a vibrant diversity of opinion among Jewish Canadians on this subject, there are also points of unity that reflect common values within broader Canadian society.

Who’s eligible?

One such point of unity comes in the form of concern over the eligibility requirements for physician-assisted dying. Many who support physician-assisted dying base their position on situations of terminal illness or advanced stages of severely debilitating and painful diseases for which there is no relief or cure. However, the Supreme Court decision did not limit physician-assisted dying to such circumstances.

Parliament must now choose between two distinct approaches to physician-assisted dying. The first views physician-assisted dying strictly as an end-of-life option, a means for those who are nearing death to choose how and when to die. This is consistent across all North American jurisdictions where physician-assisted dying is permitted, including Quebec.

The second approach, predominant in European countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, does not restrict physician-assisted dying in this way. In these jurisdictions, children and individuals with psychiatric disorders or minor medical conditions can be eligible for a hastened death — considerations that played no part in the Supreme Court determination.

Quebec’s physician-assisted dying law, which was subject to significant, thoughtful deliberation and passed with strong, cross-party consensus, could be instructive for federal legislation in this context. In Quebec, a patient seeking physician-assisted dying must be competent and fully informed, at least 18 years of age, at the end of life, suffer from an incurable illness, be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability and experience constant and unbearable suffering.

Concerns persist

Even so, significant concerns persist regarding the balance between the right to physician-assisted dying set out by the Supreme Court and the conscience rights of health-care practitioners, including physicians, pharmacists and nurses. Many have deep religious, moral and professional convictions that consider referring their patients to another, willing provider to be an unconscionable act.

Yet Parliament’s special joint committee on physician-assisted dying recommended that, at a minimum, health-care providers who object to physician-assisted dying for reasons of conscience should be required to provide a referral. This disregards the Supreme Court instruction that “the charter rights of patients and physicians will need to be reconciled in any legislative and regulatory response.”

Several viable options have been put forward to balance the seemingly competing rights of patients and health-care practitioners. For example, the Canadian Medical Association has proposed a “separate central information, counseling and referral service” to which objecting physicians would direct patients seeking physician-assisted death. Another possible accommodation would require an objecting physician to notify a designated administrator of their medical institution, who would then be responsible for transferring care in a timely manner.

Others have suggested a model where physicians would be required to report all requests for physician-assisted death to a government body that would have a registry of physicians to whom it could refer patients.

Pleasing all parties

Whatever the specific approach, with creativity and thoughtfulness, the rights of objecting physicians and patients can be harmonized. What’s more, such a process would likely facilitate improved access to physician-assisted dying for patients. The Canadian Medical Association estimates that 30 per cent of its members would be willing to provide physician-assisted death. However, it is unlikely that the remaining 70 per cent would know to whom they should refer a patient. A third-party agent would be well-suited to ensuring timely patient access while preventing the violation of physicians’ conscience rights.

Regardless, physician-assisted dying must not be the only, nor the default, end-of-life option available to patients. While respecting the division of jurisdictional responsibilities, the federal government should do its utmost to ensure that palliative care of the highest quality is universally accessible and that first-rate psychosocial supports are made available to all Canadians separately from physician-assisted dying. While it may be impossible to achieve consensus on many of the issues surrounding physician-assisted dying, surely we can all agree that every Canadian should have access to other means of alleviating suffering before contemplating a physician-assisted death.

Complete Article HERE!

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03/28/16

Meet Patricia, Aunt Esther’s Amazon Alter Ego

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It was only after her death that I really got to know her — through hundreds of online product reviews.

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esther-ill2

When my Aunt Esther died in the summer of 2011, we knew we’d have to deal with her apartment—specifically, the floor-to-ceiling Amazon.com boxes that filled every room.

The job of cleaning fell to my brother, who was living nearby at the time. He spent months repackaging unused items, all the while reporting back on the tragedy of all this stuff. Why did she need hundreds of pocket calculators? Or dozens of books on beating the odds at the casino?

Why, indeed?

The first Amazon review I encountered by Patricia “A Reader” was in 2007. It was an earnest, paragraphs-long piece about an old picture book. I was reading the review because that very book had just been gifted to my daughters by Aunt Esther. It took a few reads before I realized that Patricia and Aunt Esther were one and the same, but I kept my discovery to myself, filing it away as just one more strange fact about her.

It was only after her death that it became clear my quirky, shut-in aunt had been writing long-form Amazon reviews of everything from books, to pocket calculators, to ice cube trays, to boxes of sugar. And I became her most dedicated reader.

Here is the opening to a 2007 review by Patricia for a one-handed can opener—an item that has sadly long since been off the market:

I presently live in a “no-pets” building – which has its advantages and disadvantages. The “One Touch Can Opener” –- though obviously an inanimate object – can easily be a “pet-substitute”, as well as an excellent can opener! For, as it zips around your can, opening it, it makes a nice little “wiggle motion”….almost like a fish in the water!

The title of this review is:

A N D…..I T….O P E N S…..C A N S,…..T O O !,”

Certain obsessions become clear when scanning through the more than 700 reviews posted by Patricia between 2004 and 2011. Among them: Alien Nation (the TV show, “NOT the film”); coasters and mugs featuring the British royal family; books on beating roulette in the casinos by use of pocket calculators; pocket calculators; canned fish; and candy bars. It also seems Patricia was either unable or unwilling to purchase many of the items she was reviewing, as evidenced by this late-career review of the film “Lesbian Vampires”:

This movie is full of blood, gore, and lust. (Not that I have seen it…I’ve read other people’s reviews). It has only one redeeming value, in that, (by and large), it must usually keep its viewers inside either their homes or their friends homes….and OFF THE STREETS! …I have a very strong suspicion that it insults both REAL lesbians, and, (IF they exist), real vampires as well.

But Patricia’s crowning moment as a reviewer was when she stumbled across a novelty item in the form of a can of Unicorn Meat. I can only imagine she came to the item while searching Amazon for other actual canned meats. Patricia is both outraged and disgusted by this product, and does not hold back, giving it two stars out of five:

Now, I am definitely NOT a vegetarian. Yes, I am a proud and happy omnivore, (eating non-meat products as well as meat), and even eat……VEAL!

However, I draw the line at Unicorn meat! These rare and beautiful creatures, if they indeed do exist, should NOT be killed and /or eaten! At least, not till we have a good, authenticated herd of 1,000 or so unicorns around! And if this is only a toy, it is still teaching children, (and adults), a very bad lesson.

There is considerable debate in the three pages of comments on this particular review as to whether Patricia is writing a “spoof” review. Patricia baffles her detractors, and in the end she pulls rank on them all.

you can’t write over 600 reviews for Amazon, and over three thousand musical pieces — all, alas, presently unpublished — without being sensitive”

The tone of Patricia’s reviews is always hopeful, and thoughtful. For me, this is a window into Aunt Esther’s world, one that I was rarely privy to in our brief personal interactions. In her first review, Patricia discusses her sometimes fraught relationship with her more worldly sister, my mother, by celebrating their shared love for a book on class and status. Elsewhere, she discusses her childhood, her loneliness, and her desire to be useful, to be needed.

Yes, she was searching the endless options available on Amazon.com for the perfect pocket calculator. But I think she was searching also for the sake of sharing her discoveries with her adoring readers, even if that group was only just me.

In the months after she died, I read and reread each of Patricia’s reviews. Only then was I able to do the thing I wished I had known to do when she was alive. “Was this review helpful to you?” Amazon asked me at the end. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Complete Article HERE!

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03/27/16

Pet Peace of Mind

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Keeping hospice patients and their beloved pets together.

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If you’re a pet owner, you know that a dog, cat or other ‘furry friend’ can truly become a part of your family, a part of your world.

So it’s no surprise that those diagnosed with a debilitating or terminal illness sometimes worry more about their four-legged friends than themselves. What happens if they can no longer care for their pets? Where will those animals live once their owners are gone?   Pet Peace of Mind is a nationwide program that helps hospice patients like Donna Sarner keep their pets near them during their end of life journey.  The program also helps place the pet after the patient dies.

Here is Donna’s story as told by Kristine Murtz, Volunteer Services Manager and Pet Peace of Mind Program Coordinator at Cornerstone Hospice:

PetPeaceMind1_0

In particular, Pet Peace of Mind demonstrates the holistic approach that is at the heart of hospice . The emotional connection that people have with their pets is one to be respected and nurtured.

Donna Sarner is 68 years old and lives in a small, rural town in Central Florida. She was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of unknown origin, a cancer which causes her a great deal of pain throughout her back, abdomen and legs.  She has no caregiver, no nearby family, and limited financial resources. Despite the challenges, Donna maintains a positive yet realistic attitude and wants to enjoy the time she has left with her dogs as well as the cats, vultures, raccoons and bears she feeds outside.

Donna was admitted to Cornerstone Hospice services in October of 2015 and is supported by a dedicated team who go beyond the call of duty.  The many programs we offer are about helping patients and families feel like things are going to be “ok”.

In particular, Pet Peace of Mind demonstrates the holistic approach that is at the heart of hospice . The emotional connection that people have with their pets is one to be respected and nurtured.

Donna has taken better care of her pets—including the buzzards outside—than she has herself. She wants to have her dogs with her as long as possible, “until the very end.”

Donna’s Social Worker, Renee, had to wait several months before approaching advance directives and funeral plans with Donna, but PPoM visit opened the door to this by discussing how her “babies” will be cared for when she no longer can.

Donna spoke with pride about each of her dogs: Ozzie, a 6-year old Australian Shepherd/St. Bernard mix (I know, right?!); Roxy, a 5-year old Chow mix; Bertie, a 4 year-old Catahoula mix; and her beloved old guy “Highknee,” who is a 15-year old poodle mix. He’s only about ‘knee-high’, hence the name. Along with caring for the dogs, our program arranged to have the stray cats she feeds spayed, neutered, and vaccinated. We haven’t really considered what the buzzards might need!

Pet Peace of Mind volunteer Karen Sanders transported each of the dogs to one of our partner veterinarians to get them vaccinated and any necessary medications; she continues to deliver dog and cat food to Donna. We’re providing little Highknee with some medication for his congestive heart failure, and I’ve promised Donna I would personally care for him after she cannot. She also understands that it may not be realistic to have the three large dogs with her until the end, and we are already looking for loving homes for Ozzie, Roxy, and Bertie.

See the flyers below to learn about each dog.

Learn more about Pet Peace of Mind by visiting their website.

Bertie

 

Ozzie

 

Roxy
Complete Article HERE!

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03/26/16

Drug Company Jacks Up Cost Of Aid-In-Dying Medication

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By April Dembosky

Valeant Pharmaceuticals

When California’s aid-in-dying law takes effect this June, terminally ill patients who decide to end their lives could be faced with a hefty bill for the lethal medication. It retails for more than $3,000.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes the drug most commonly used in physician-assisted suicide, doubled the drug’s price last year, one month after California lawmakers proposed legalizing the practice.

“It’s just pharmaceutical company greed,” said David Grube, a family doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted death has been legal for 20 years.

The drug is Seconal, or secobarbital, its generic name. Originally developed in the 1930s as a sleeping pill, it fell out of favor when people died from taking too much, or from taking it in combination with alcohol. But when intended as a lethal medication to hasten the death of someone suffering from a terminal disease, Seconal is the drug of choice.

“It works very quickly and very gently,” Grube says. “People fall asleep with no complications. It’s a very gentle passing.”

In 2009, Grube remembers the price of a lethal dose of Seconal — 100 capsules — was less than $200. Over the next six years, it shot up to $1,500, according to drug price databases Medi-Span and First Databank. Then Valeant bought Seconal last February and immediately doubled the price to $3,000.

Most drug companies justify such hikes by pointing to high research costs. But Grube says that’s not the case with Seconal. It’s been around for 80 years.

“It’s not a complicated thing to make, there’s no research being done on it, there’s no development,” he says. “That to me is unconscionable.”

Valeant bought several other drugs at the same time it bought Seconal, raising some of those prices as much as 500 percent. That sparked a congressional investigation into its pricing practices. (The CEO resigned Monday amid an accounting controversy).

“Valeant sets prices for drugs based on a number of factors,” the company said in a statement, including the cost of developing or acquiring the drug, the availability of generics and the benefits of the drug compared with costly alternative treatments. “When possible, we offer patient assistance programs to mitigate the effects of price adjustments and keep out-of-pocket costs affordable for patients.”

The most likely explanation for raising the price of Seconal is the lack of generics, says Mick Kolassa, founding partner of Medical Marketing Economics, a firm that advises drug companies on how to price and market their drugs.

Seconal went off patent in the early 1990s. There were some generics for a while, but then demand shrank and manufacturers abandoned them.

“So that meant when the current company bought it, they didn’t have any generic competition, simply because the market got so small that it left,” Kolassa said. “So in situations like that, a company can acquire it and raise the price.”

Kolassa says it’s also possible that the demand for even the brand-name drug is so low that it’s hard to recoup the costs of making and selling it.

“Here’s a company that said, well, we can raise the price, keep it on the market and make some money with it,” he said. “Or we can walk away and the product goes away.”

Whatever the explanation, what cancer patients like Elizabeth Wallner see is a drug company taking advantage. She has one word to describe the pharmaceutical executive who decided to double the price of Seconal: “Scumbag.”

Wallner, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer five years ago. It spread to her liver and lungs. She always thought that if her suffering became too unbearable, she would consider ending her life. But she never thought about the price tag of the lethal drug.

“You’re going to make money off my death,” she said.

She’s most worried about her son.

“You are literally, at that point, taking the money from children,” said Wallner, who is 52. “Everything I have, if I’m going to die tomorrow, everything I have will be left to my son who will be 20 years old and almost 100 percent on his own.”

Under the California aid-in-dying law, it is optional for health insurance companies to cover the costs of the practice. Most private insurers plan to do so, according to the California Association of Health Plans. So does the state’s Medicaid program.

But for patients who aren’t covered, there is a cheaper alternative: a three-part drug cocktail that can be mixed by a compounding pharmacy for about $400.

Grube says the cocktail works just as well, but doctors usually don’t prescribe it because of the hassle some patients have to go through to get it. Seconal, on the other hand, is a ready-made pill, routinely available at most retail drugstores.

He says advocacy groups like Compassion & Choices are working on campaigns to reduce drug costs and to educate doctors and patients about the law.

“My dream is that any Californian who will choose aid in dying would have few burdens or barriers to jump through,” Grube said.

Complete Article HERE!

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