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Welcome. The HALO Herald provides opportunities to share information about current healthcare issues, events, contributions from members, answers to prayer, and other relevant information. Please share your ideas and suggestions with us.

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I just finished reading A Natural Death in God’s Time. It’s a great little book and I learned some things about the dying process that I didn’t know before. 
– From a Catholic Priest

Education is Critical



I have been inspired by the “We are the Pro-life Generation” signs and t-shirts that I have seen at the March for Life and other pro-life events. To me, these signs, t-shirts and the chants that go with them are symbols of hope for an abortion-free future.

One afternoon last week, however, I had cause to wonder exactly how pro-life is the pro-life generation? I was working at my kitchen table when my fourteen-year old son, who is passionately pro-life on abortion, came in from school and asked me what I was working on. I responded that I was trying to come up with an idea for a printed advertisement for an upcoming event – focusing the ad on either organ donation or physician-assisted suicide.

This led to a discussion on organ donation. I explained that, in order to transplant a human heart, the transplant surgeon must take it from a living person. He responded, “So?”  Thinking that he didn’t fully understand what I’d just said, I explained further, “You would have to first kill the donor before you could take the heart.” My son responded, “I don’t know that is a bad thing. Maybe someone younger would need the heart.” Then I made it personal. I asked him if it would have been okay when Grandma was sick to take her heart and give it to someone younger. Recognizing the surgeon would have needed to kill her to make that happen, my son immediately understood what I was saying. He just hadn’t thought about it that way before.

We also discussed physician-assisted suicide. He wasn’t certain he understood how physician-assisted suicide worked. I explained that typically the patient’s doctor would send the patient home with a lethal dose of pills that they would take in their home to end their life. He responded, “Maybe that’s okay if the patient is suffering a lot.” This led us to consider whether it’s okay to play God – for humans, as opposed to God, to choose to end someone’s life. I asked him if it would be okay to send someone who was “suffering a lot” home with a gun or revolver so they could take their own life. He adamantly said “No, that would not be okay.” I asked him why that was different than giving a person drugs to commit suicide. He couldn’t really articulate why.

My point in telling this story is not to embarrass my son (who would surely be embarrassed that I am writing about him) but to illustrate that we need to make sure we are educating our young people on the value of all human beings. If we want everyone to know that every human being’s life is a precious gift, we need to start with our children.

In closing, I couldn’t agree more with Mary Kizior from the American Life League, who says, “We must educate the next generation, not only on the facts of pro-life issues, but on how to live and act in a pro-life manner. Pro-life education is key to transforming hearts and minds. It is education that forms the moral consciences of our young people—the future of the pro-life movement.”

MY PATIENT WISHED TO LIVE, BUT …




MY PATIENT WISHED TO LIVE, BUT …

By Ioana Caranica, RN, MSN

In July of 2019, I cared for a male patient with gastrointestinal bleeding for two days in a row. He was full code, alert and oriented. He had refused Do Not Resuscitate and Comfort Measures orders. He wished to live, to return to his family. However, there was no treatment initiated for his condition by the intensivist.
The patient and his family were under the impression that appropriate treatment was being provided.
The following day, the patient started to decompensate. He became short of breath, cyanotic, and hypotensive. I notified the intensivist, who came to see the patient. He stated, “The patient is very sick,” but initiated no treatment. The patient had only a peripheral intravenous access. I asked for a central line, oxygen orders, etc. I received no orders. I informed the charge nurse, but she was not concerned either. She went about doing her duties. My patient was dying and there was no sense of urgency.
I informed the charge nurse, “I am going up the chain of command.” She told the intensivist what I had said. Only after I initiated the chain of command process did the Intensivist insert a central line. A Code Blue was called within minutes. The patient was resuscitated, and treatment finally started, but too late. The patient passed away a day later.
I have witnessed many cases in which hospital physicians have decided the fate of patients they deemed to be a waste of resources or lives not worth living. Families trust doctors, but this trust is frequently betrayed. The culture of death has deeply infiltrated our healthcare system. We all must be aware of this and prepare ourselves to be advocates for the medically vulnerable.

Definitions:
Comfort Measures: a term often used to mean the administration of increasingly frequent and larger dosages of powerful pain medications while providing no life-sustaining or life-saving care and treatment.
Decompensate: the inability of an organ or system (e.g., the circulatory system) to continue to adequately function.
Cyanotic: the skin and/or mucous membranes have a blue or purple color due to a lack of oxygen.
Hypotensive: lowered blood pressure.
Intensivist: a physician who provides special care for critically ill patients.
Peripheral intravenous access: a catheter inserted in the vein that allows for safe administration of medications, fluids, etc.
Central line: a tube placed in a large vein in the neck, chest, groin, or arm to give fluids, blood, or medications or to do medical tests quickly, which is particularly important in intensive care.



What Your Teens Don’t Know Can Hurt Them ….and You






What Your Teens Don’t Know Can Hurt Them
….and You

By Catherine Daub




A couple years ago, my 80-year-old father underwent an emergency surgery for a ruptured abdominal aneurysm where he had a less than 6% chance of survival. We all breathed a sigh of relief when he beat the odds and made it, but little did we know that, even in the comfort of a top-notch hospital with a “caring” staff, there would be a night that would forever change how we view healthcare.
A few days after surgery, without warning, his airways closed. Thankfully my sister and I had decided to stay with him and sent my mom home to rest. They had just given him an injection of a new medicine, and we thought he was going into anaphylactic shock. The staff on call disagreed. The healthcare professionals in the room argued while my father was suffocating. They debated calling his doctor. All the while I made my opinions very well known and demanded they “do something.” I asked, “Could epinephrine hurt?” A very annoyed respiratory therapist looked at me and said, “I told them to do that. . . . They never listen.” They left the room to talk privately, and my sister and I stood next to my dad in sheer terror. We talked to him, trying to get him to breathe slowly. He was tearing at the bed rails, gasping for each breath, his eyes rolling back in his head. Then came the on-call doctor—a resident.
“Who has his power of attorney?” he asked very abruptly.
“Why?”
“I need to know if we should intubate him if he stops breathing.”
I jumped in and said, “That’s considered ordinary care, and besides he has it in his file to use extraordinary means if necessary. Of course you should intubate him.”
 He insisted intubation was considered a “heroic measure,” which he said was the proper term, according to the hospital.
“Call it whatever you want. He has a directive that says to keep him alive!” I was completely shocked that they were even asking the question.
So I continued, agitated, “We’re talking about a ventilator, correct? I’m pretty sure that’s not heroic or extraordinary or whatever you want to call it, but I don’t have his power of attorney. You’ll need to call my mom.” So they did. They woke her up close to midnight and scared her half to death. But she made sure they knew my dad should be intubated if necessary.
It all turned out okay. They ended up giving him epinephrine and several breathing treatments. No intubation was needed. They calmed him down, and after a while he began to breathe normally again.
The following morning one of the doctors reprimanded my sister and me for “working up the patient” by asking so many questions in front of him. Funny enough, to this day he has no recollection of the entire incident, so I’m still unsure why they were so upset, except that I challenged their authority.
When it was over, I asked the resident why they didn’t just refer to my dad’s medical records. I know it’s in his file to use “heroic” or “extraordinary” care. His response: “Sometimes in the heat of the moment families change their minds.”
I’m still floored by the exchange. I will never know if we saved my dad’s life by just being there and asking the right questions. And I’ll never know if they would have just let him suffocate to death had we not been there.
On the plane ride home, I wondered about my own teens. They know the basics of euthanasia. They know that it’s okay to question doctors. They know we are living in a culture of death. But, really,  would they know what questions to ask if my husband or I were in the same situation one day? Are they up to date on the ever-changing culture of death lingo that supports rushing death along in cases like my father’s? Do they know the difference between ordinary and extraordinary care? Do they know that not all doctors abide by the Hippocratic Oath? The answer was no. Now it is yes. Or it’s getting there. The conversation has been had and will continue to be had as they move through high school. I broke open our new study, Without Mercy, which was still in draft form, and we opened the door for regular communication about what is going on in the world. It’s a topic we’ve covered before, but it has to be repeated—over and over and over—just like every other important thing I need to have sealed in their growing brains.
It made me think about conversations I’ve had with both friends and acquaintances. Good kids from good families are swayed by the culture in certain instances. They have questions that deserve well thought out and accurate answers to help them navigate the murky waters they live in. How many confused teens thought Alfie Evans’ parents needed to just “let him go”? How many think it’s a good thing for Iceland to “eradicate Down syndrome” without stopping to think about what that means or how it would be accomplished? How many shy away from discussions on emotional topics like physician-assisted suicide? How many think it’s better to allow someone to die than to watch him suffer? And even if they fall on the right side of every one of these questions, can they back them up? Can they debate the truth? Our kids cannot be left to figure these things out on their own. The Internet is a dangerous place to go searching unguided for the answers to life’s questions.
Recently we heard from a teen who was searching for the truth about abortion on the Internet: “I used to consider myself pro-life, but now that I’ve researched the depth of this issue I cannot decide which side I am on.”
And then we received this from a pro-life teen in Virginia: “Euthanasia or mercy killing: To me it is not that bad if someone is old and suffering and they want to die. I don’t see that as bad. What is bad is when they don’t want to die and you do it anyway.”


Catherine Daub is the director and co-founder of The Culture of Life Studies Program which is an educational initiative that gives educators the tools they need to teach about pro-life topics and the sanctity of every human being’s life in every subject and at every grade level from preschool through high school.

The Culture of Life Studies Program has many life-affirming resources. We recommend the following for helping your teens understand the truth about suffering, euthanasia, and other threats to the medically vulnerable.
Without Mercy
Without Mercy: An Introduction to Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Other Threats to the Medically Vulnerable examines the complex topics of euthanasia and assisted suicide and teaches students the reality behind what the culture of death advocates regarding end-of-life issues.

Get it now
Conversation Starter
An easy to use download, taken from Without Mercy, that will help you start conversations with your teens about physician assisted suicide.

Get it now


ASSISTED SUICIDE UPDATE


The American Medical Association’s definition of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is “a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act.” [The AMA Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 5.7, in the appendix, at p. A-34] Whether the assisting person is a physician or not, the general term assisted-suicide is used to describe the act of facilitating another person’s suicide. Euthanasia is the administration of a lethal agent by another person. [AMA Opinion 5.8, "Euthanasia," attached in the appendix at page A-35.6] (Euthanasia can also be committed by an omission which causes death, but this distinction is not relevant to the bills and court rulings listed herein.)
The American Medical Association and most states reject assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Current PAS Bills
Note: This may not be a complete list.
  • Indiana: “End of Life Options” (HB 1020)
  • New Hampshire: “Death With Dignity Act” (HB 1659) 
  • New York: “Medical Aid in Dying Act” (A 2694 and S 3947
Any bill that would permit PAS, in effect, also would permit euthanasia, both voluntary and non-voluntary. A very good explanation of this fact is provided by Margaret Dore, Esq. in her commentary regarding the New Hampshire “Death With Dignity Act” (comments VI through IX) at https://www.choiceillusionnewhampshire.org/2020/02/reject-hb-1659-proposed-death-with.html.

Court Cases of Interest
  • Massachusetts: December 31, 2019, Justice Mary Ames, Suffolk Superior Court, ruled that physicians who prescribe lethal drugs for assisted suicide can be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter, but that physicians may provide information and advice on assisted suicide to terminally ill, competent adults.
  • New Jersey: TRENTON, NJ, UNITED STATES, January 10, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, a non-profit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia, has filed a friend of the court brief in Glassman v. Grewal, which seeks to overturn New Jersey's Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. "Aid in Dying" is a euphemism for euthanasia. Dore's brief argues that the Act is stacked against the individual, not limited to people near death and unconstitutional due to the way it was enacted. Read more: https://www.newjerseyagainstassistedsuicide.org/2020/01/new-jersey-aid-in-dying-act-is.html#more
     
A Model Resolution to Oppose Physician-assisted Suicide
The following is a caucus resolution proposed for Minnesota which can be modified for any state.
WHEREAS, Minnesota has long prided itself on offering the highest level of healthcare; and
WHEREAS, public policy should see to improve healthcare, not hasten death; and
WHEREAS, every person has the right to receive health care, manage their illnesses, and refuse life-prolonging treatment; and
WHEREAS, allowing medical professionals to prescribe lethal drugs harms the patient-provider relationship; and
WHEREAS, assisted suicide targets people who are vulnerable especially those with disabilities, the elderly, veterans and low-income individuals; and
WHEREAS, in practice legalized assisted suicide has been risky, lacks safeguards, and promotes suicide and undermines support for those suffering from mental illness; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED that the __________________party of Minnesota should oppose legalization of physician assisted suicide and should instead support healthcare solutions that prioritize real care rather than hasten death.





Making a Difference—A Guide for Defending the Medically Vulnerable
 provides advice for medical decision-making as well as crucial information about the areas in which the culture of death has infiltrated our health care system.
GET IT NOW
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HALO MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization is to promote, protect, and advocate for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient and family interactions; through community education and awareness programs; and through promotion and development of concrete *"life-affirming healthcare"* alternatives for those facing the grave consequences of healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

*"Life-affirming healthcare" is defined as medical care in which the paramount principle is the sanctity of life, which means that the life and safety of each person come first and each person receives medical care across their lifespan based on their need for care and never with an intention to hasten death, regardless of their abilities or perceived "quality of life."

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