New Tory health chief Anna Soubry slams law that forces terminally ill Brits to die abroad

NEWLY promoted UK health minister Anna Soubry said terminally ill people should be able to receive assistance in ending their lives in the UK.

DAVID CAMERON’S new health minister yesterday slated current laws on assisted ­suicide as “ridiculous”.

Newly promoted UK health minister Anna Soubry said terminally ill people should be able to receive assistance in ending their lives in the UK.

Last night, her comments were ­welcomed by independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who has fought to have assisted suicide legalised in Scotland.

MacDonald said: “These comments are very welcome. They are more realistic and in tune with public opinion than what we have heard from politicians in all parties, with one or two laudable exceptions.

“I am absolutely delighted that the wind is blowing that way.”

The Lothian MSP, who has Parkinson’s disease, has attempted to change the
law in Scotland with her End of Life ­Assistance Bill.

The bill was rejected by MSPs last year but she has vowed to reintroduce it.

She said: “I think this will help MSPs, particularly the newer ones, feel freer about supporting it and we will have a greater chance of success this time.”

Soubry called for greater “honesty” about when prosecutions would be brought for helping relatives to die.

She said: “You can’t say to a doctor or a nurse, ‘You can kill this person’.”

Soubry added: “I think it’s ridiculous and appalling that people have to go abroad to end their life instead of being able to end their life at home. The rules we have about who we don’t prosecute allow things to happen but there’s a good ­argument that we should be a bit more honest about it.”

Her comments came after locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson died a week after he lost his legal bid to end his life with a doctor’s help.

His widow Jane welcomed Soubry’s comments.

She said: “We’re pleased that she has come forward and said this. It does open the debate even more, having an MP who’s willing to stick her neck out and actually support assisted suicide.”

But anti-euthanasia group SPUC ­Pro-Life general secretary Paul Tully said: “The goodwill among the public towards people with disabilities has never been higher than at the Paralympic Games.

“Suddenly they are faced with the ­prospect that if they struggle with suicidal feelings, they will be given help to die instead of care and support.”

Complete Article HERE!

Exhibit gives cultural views on death

— Saerom Yoo

Death is universal. But the way people deal with it is not.

This fact is the basis of an exhibit that opened recently in downtown Salem.

Salem Health and the Salem Multicultural Institute partnered to put on the End of Life exhibit in the World Beat Gallery, homing in on the process of dying from a cultural perspective. The three cultures highlighted are Hispanic, Russian Old Believer and Micronesian.

Dr. Nancy Boutin is medical director of Salem Health’s Salem Cancer Institute as well as the Palliative Care Program. She said the three groups are among those the hospital staffers see most often.

In the twenty-something years Boutin has worked in Salem, the cultural diversity of patients has greatly increased. At the same time, the provider community has not.

So the exhibit was a way to educate the medical professionals on beliefs and customs around end of life. The hope is that greater awareness will help medical personnel be more sensitive to the needs of different cultures.

“I am aware now that, despite my best intentions, I’ve done things that probably have caused discomfort, if not actual pain, to families,” Boutin said. “Just because I didn’t know.”

So that’s how this exhibit was conceived, but it has the potential to start meaningful conversations for the general public, too.

Graham Morris, executive director of Salem Multicultural Institute, says death is not something people like to talk about. But families might benefit from doing so. Questions surrounding where and how you’d like to die, organ donation, cremation and burial are a few topics to think about.

The exhibit won’t provide you textbook information on where the three cultural groups land on those issues. In fact, you’ll notice that there are differing opinions within the same general group.

“We’re not looking to provide hard answers,” Morris said. “We’re here to start conversations.”

The information for the exhibit comes from interviews with people who live in the Mid-Valley, which offer a sense of authenticity.

And while the featured cultures originate in vastly different parts of the world, there are some key commonalities in the way they think about death.

Extended family members gather around food in an event prompted by death, for example. People have a desire to die with forgiveness and peace in their hearts, whether it’s in personal relationships or with a higher being. They also want to die or be buried on their home turf.

The exhibit, which is on the second floor of the Reed Opera House in downtown Salem, requires a lot of reading. The most visual aspect is an example Day of the Dead altar, which is used in Mexico to honor the deceased. The display includes colorfully decorated skulls and yellow marigold petals.

If you take the time to read through the information, you’ll learn that hospice isn’t an attractive option for people in Latino cultures, possibly because the Spanish word “hospicio” means orphan asylum.

In Ukrain, death is not accepted until all options for recovery have been tried and the person has actually died.

Those in Micronesian communities may not agree with organ donation because of beliefs that alteration or intrusion into the body could harm the soul.

I asked Boutin how she thinks the exhibit might influence the way she and her staffers serve patients. There wasn’t a straight answer — and perhaps for the better.

Cultural education offers a wider understanding of different people’s needs and beliefs. It doesn’t prescribe routine practices. Death is too personal for that.

Both Morris and Boutin agree that the exhibit, while it is about end of life, is just the beginning.

Complete Article HERE!

Meditation – Death by Helen Hunt Jackson

Death by Helen Hunt Jackson

My body, eh? Friend Death, how now?
Why all this tedious pomp of writ?
Thou hast reclaimed it sure and slow
For half a century bit by bit.

In faith thou knowest more to-day
Than I do, where it can be found!
This shrivelled lump of suffering clay,
To which I am now chained and bound,

Has not of kith or kin a trace
To the good body once I bore;
Look at this shrunken, ghastly face:
Didst ever see that face before?

Ah, well, friend Death, good friend thou art;
Thy only fault thy lagging gait,
Mistaken pity in thy heart
For timorous ones that bid thee wait.

Do quickly all thou hast to do,
Nor I nor mine will hindrance make;
I shall be free when thou art through;
I grudge thee nought that thou must take!

Stay! I have lied; I grudge thee one,
Yes, two I grudge thee at this last,–
Two members which have faithful done
My will and bidding in the past.

I grudge thee this right hand of mine;
I grudge thee this quick-beating heart;
They never gave me coward sign,
Nor played me once the traitor’s part.

I see now why in olden days
Men in barbaric love or hate
Nailed enemies’ hands at wild crossways,
Shrined leaders’ hearts in costly state:

The symbol, sign and instrument
Of each soul’s purpose, passion, strife,
Of fires in which are poured and spent
Their all of love, their all of life.

O feeble, mighty human hand!
O fragile, dauntless human heart!
The universe holds nothing planned
With such sublime, transcendent art!

Yes, Death, I own I grudge thee mine
Poor little hand, so feeble now;
Its wrinkled palm, its altered line,
Its veins so pallid and so slow —

Ah, well, friend Death, good friend thou art;
I shall be free when thou art through.
Take all there is — take hand and heart;
There must be somewhere work to do.

Hump Day Humor – 9/05/12

Woops Sorry About That

Marvin, was in the hospital on his death bed. The family called Marvin’s Preacher to be with him in his final moments. As the Preacher stood by the bed, Marvin’s condition seemed to deteriorate, and Marvin motioned for someone to quickly pass him a pen and paper. The Preacher quickly got a pen and paper and lovingly handed it to Marvin. But before he had a chance to read the note, Marvin died. The Preacher feeling that now wasn’t the right time to read it put the note in his jacket pocket. It was at the funeral while speaking that the Preacher suddenly remembered the note. Reaching deep into his pocket the Preacher said “and you know what, I suddenly remembered that right before Marvin died he handed me a note, and knowing Marvin I’m sure it was something inspiring that we can all gain from. With that introduction the Preacher ripped out the note and opened it.