lunes, 9 de octubre de 2017

Will assisted suicide always provide a quick and gentle death? | MercatorNet | October 9, 2017 | MercatorNet |

Will assisted suicide always provide a quick and gentle death?

MercatorNet |  October 9, 2017  | MercatorNet |  

Will assisted suicide always provide a quick and gentle death?

No, sorry, not always
Michael Cook | Oct 9 2017 | comment 

The gold standard for human experimentation is a randomly-assigned double-blind placebo-controlled study. Unfortunately for researchers, organising such a study to assess the effectiveness of the lethal medications used for executions in the United States and for physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has significant ethical issues. They need to rely upon historical data.
In the latest issue of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Sean Riley, an end-of-life researcher currently studying in the Netherlands, reviews the patchy record of the drugs used in executions and PAS. He summarises his findings as follows:
The pervasive belief that these, or any, noxious drugs are guaranteed to provide for a peaceful and painless death must be dispelled; modern medicine cannot yet achieve this. Certainly some, if not most, executions and suicides have been complication-free, but this notion has allowed much of the general public to write them off as humane, and turn a blind eye to any potential problems. Executions or PAS have never been as clean as they appear, even with the US’s medicalization efforts during the 1980s.
He discusses several issues:
Supplier boycotts. Under pressure from anti-death penalty activists, pharmaceutical companies refused to supply prisons with lethal medications. Efforts to circumvent this by going to shady middlemen eventually failed. Most states have ceased to import the key ingredients needed for executions.
Price gouging for PAS drugs. Because of the drought of lethal medications for executions, the price of secobarbital or pentobarbital for PAS has skyrocketed. “Before 2012, patients would pay about $500 for a sufficient lethal dose of the drug, but by 2016, prices had inflated to figures upwards of $25,000.”
Compounding pharmacies. Faced with the huge cost of assisted suicide, prisons and patients began to turn to compounding pharmacies where pharmacists create the drugs from raw materials. “As the past 3 or so years have seen a dramatic increase in the use of compounded drugs,” writes Riley. “There has been a corresponding rise in ‘botched’ executions, though the secrecy laws have neutered most attempts to link failed executions to compounded drugs.”
The drugs made in compounding pharmacies risk being too powerful, not powerful enough, or contaminated. In Massachusetts a former pharmacist is currently on trial for supplying contaminated drugs which caused a nationwide outbreak of meningitis. Prosecutors told the court that he had used expired ingredients, falsified documents, neglected cleaning, failed to properly sterilize the drugs, shipped products before they were tested and ignored mould and bacteria in manufacturing areas. So buying from small firms has its issues. 
Last-minute complications. It is difficult to define what a “botched execution” is, but the last moments of some prisoners were clearly agonising. And for complications with PAS, there is a lack of clear data. “According to data published by Oregon, 5% of patients experienced difficulties, such as regurgitation or seizures, after ingestion of the medication, since the inception of the law in 1997,” says Riley. However, in only 51% of the cases were the details reported. And “there are six reported instances where patients ingested the lethal medications, went unconscious, and awoke sometimes days later.” This is not a feature of assisted dying which supporters speak much about.
Riley concludes that “The processes of death will always, to some extent, be a mystery. For now, whether a death is peaceful and painless can only be assumed.”
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. This article was originally published in BioEdge, which he also edits. Subscribe to BioEdge!


October 9, 2017

Following an exposé by the New York Times of  his sexual predation on female employees, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been forced out of the company he co-founded. Mr Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Tinsel Town, with a number of highly-praised films to his credit, including Shakespeare in Love, The King's Speech and Pulp Fiction. The question now seems to be: who knew about this and why didn't they denounce him earlier?

Everyone is disgusted with Weinstein, now at least. But perhaps one reason why those around him kept mum was that they didn't think his sleazy antics were really a big deal. As Carolyn Moynihan points out in her feature about campus rape culture (see below), American college students live in a hook-up culture where casual sex is common and cheap. Why shouldn't their attitudes seep into the business world as well? 

Michael Cook
Can campus rape culture be cured by consent?

By Carolyn Moynihan
The price of hookups may still be too high for both women and men.

Read the full article
‘The new rule is a victory for common sense’

By Sheila Liaugminas
HHS mandate rolled back, Little Sisters exempted, government overreach revealed

Read the full article
A surprise win for the Nobel Prize in Literature

By Jen Webb
Japanese-British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is a solid choice.

Read the full article
Pope’s critics ignore Ratzinger’s rules for theological discourse

By Dawn Eden Goldsteinand Robert L. Fastiggi
Have they read the guidelines set out in Donum veritatis?

Read the full article
Sometimes it is harder to forgive oneself than to forgive others

By J. Farrell Peternal
Ethan blames himself for his friend's death.

Read the full article
Wolf! Wolf!

By Marcus Roberts
The hunting packs are making a comeback in rural France

Read the full article
‘Love Is Love’—or is it?

By Michael Cook
The slogan may be appealing, but it is meaningless and deceptive

Read the full article
Pricing babies out of the market

By Veronika Winkels
‘If you love your baby'- the marketing pitch new parents should ignore.

Read the full article
Socratic reason, free speech, and white supremacists

By Joseph Hebert
Free speech cannot be absolute.

Read the full article

MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AU | +61 2 8005 860505 8605

No hay comentarios: