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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

“A Place for Mom” Blog Pushes Assisted Suicide



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We have all heard the advertisements of A Place for Mom, in which former news star Joan Lunden pitches the business that helps families find assisted living facilities and other senior services.

Well, imagine my dismay to see the organization’s blog gushing over the assisted suicide advocacy group Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices–in a column ostensibly about end of life planning–but which mostly instructs family members on how to find help accessing doctor-prescribed death for the elderly. From the blog entry:

Upon request, [C & C] Client Support Volunteers are present at the time of death for their clients who elect to self-administer medication. Volunteers ensure that the medical protocol for taking the life-ending medication is followed so that family members can focus on their loved one.

The blog entry also insists that doctors who don’t want to assist suicides be complicit by providing information and referring to a death doctor:

[C&C's] Robb [Miller] asserts that medical providers, even those opposed to the option of Death with Dignity, have a professional, ethical duty to provide either basic information about Death with Dignity to their terminal patients who make inquiries about the option or refer them to someone who will.

No they don’t. The law doesn’t so require (although that is coming, I think). Moreover, I believe that doctors have an ethical duty to declare their offices “assisted suicide free zones”–at least if they believe in the professional values embodied in the Hippocratic Oath. 

The A Place for Mom blog post pushes readers into the the arms of death purveyors, and include an anti-religious tinge:

Most often, referrals to Compassion & Choices come from medical providers, such as doctors, hospice nurses and social workers who work with terminally ill patients. But, as clinics and hospices fall under the control of religiously-affiliated health care systems, more providers are being prohibited from participating in Death with Dignity.

“This forces medical providers to essentially abandon the patient in regard to this issue,” he says. “Time is precious at the end of life.” Robb adds, “If people are delayed in getting the information they need, it can have very serious consequences.”

So, one of the premier senior service for-profit enterprises leaps head-first into the culture of death.

And realize, this is aimed primarily at family members. Talk about planting ideas!

I don’t know about you. But my mother is 96. If I ever need help providing services for her the last place I will go is A Place for Mom!



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