Nothing dignified about it
Regarding the news story “Death with Dignity forum Thursday” (DN, bit.ly/1pEPMGC):
While the concept of death with “dignity” sounds compassionate, in truth it is a false mercy. When a patient suffers, true compassion is in relieving pain and supporting the individual, not in ending their life. Moreover, we can see that in practice, assisted suicide inevitably results in death for the most vulnerable in society, particularly elderly, low-income women, the mentally ill, and persons with disabilities. Despite famous cases like Brittany Maynard’s, the average person seeking assisted suicide is not a young person facing a terminal illness.
The statistics from Oregon are troubling: “Consistently, untreated pain is not among the top reasons for taking lethal drugs; in 2015, over 90 percent cite “losing the ability to engage in activities making life enjoyable” and “losing autonomy,” and 48 percent cite being a “burden” on family, friends or caregivers (compared to an average of 40 percent in past years). It seems solitary, dependent and chronically ill seniors are prime candidates for assisted suicide in Oregon.”
The average profile of a person dying under Oregon’s assisted suicide law in 2015 was a woman living alone in a private home (median age 73) without a spouse or private health insurance – the same profile of person most likely to fall victim to elder abuse. Over 96 percent were not evaluated for psychiatric conditions, and in 79 percent of cases no health care provider was present at the time of death. Coercion from family members – whether real or perceived – is a very serious concern.
Cases in Oregon have also raised alarm bells that the comparatively low cost of medications for assisted suicide incentivizes insurance providers to deny expensive physician-prescribed treatments as a cost-saving measure. Several cases have been reported in which The Oregon Health Plan denied coverage for cancer treatments, but offered to pay to put the patients to death instead. This is surely not a door we want to open for North Carolina’s insurance companies.
In countries with established assisted suicide laws, such as the Netherlands and Belgium, state-sanctioned suicide is being carried out on otherwise healthy individuals with autism, depression, and mental illness. In other words, the very groups of people we have made the most strides in treating in recent years are now at risk of dying instead of receiving care.
When euthanasia and assisted suicide are readily available, there is also a decreased incentive to provide treatment to individuals with disabilities or mental illness or to offer compassionate hospice care to those at the end of their lives. To be blunt, it is cheaper to kill them than to treat them; utilitarianism is a very real threat to the dignity and very existence of our most vulnerable populations. The state is obligated to protect at risk persons, not to facilitate their deaths.
Editor’s note: The writer provides sources in the comments section on this story at www.thedurhamnews.com
Who pays for it?
Regarding the news story “Durham affordable housing plan comes up short”(DN, http://bit.ly/1U5q4rG)
Where in the constitution does it say that government (meaning taxpayers) are to supply and pay for housing for other people?
The government and tax payers should not be paying for housing for other people, this is socialist wealth redistribution carefully hidden by elected officials and their cherry picked developers who make off with millions of our tax dollars, a few people get lifetime sweetheart deals on housing and you and I pay for it.
Auto dealer moving
Earlier this month, Performance Auto Mall’s executive general manager, Gerald Ramoin, shared with Town Manager Roger Stancil and me that the dealership will be moving to a location outside of Chapel Hill in 2017.
“The move is a product of our success for more than 20 years,” Gerald told us when he explained that the dealership has outgrown its current 14-acre site and will be joining other Hendrick dealerships on an 88-acre site near Southpoint mall.
In addition to serving as an important business presence in town, those familiar with Performance Auto Mall and, especially Gerald, know that this organization has been a stalwart supporter of our community – oftentimes as a sponsor and donor for key community events and organizations. While we are happy to know that Chapel Hill has helped make Performance Auto Mall a great success, we are also saddened that it will be leaving.
Recognizing that this decision has been made at a corporate level, the town’s economic development officer, Dwight Bassett, indicates that there is strong interest in redevelopment of the site, which sits adjacent to the town’s Ephesus-Fordham district. Per Dwight, “We have met with an interested party that has expressed interest in our market. We believe they will be forthcoming with further ideas in the coming months.”
As we wait to learn more, we express our gratitude and best wishes to Gerald and his staff.
A vegan spring
After another winter of severe snowstorms and floods, I look forward to March 20, first day of spring, balmy weather, and blooming flowers.
Hundreds of communities welcome spring with an observance of Great American Meatout, asking neighbors to explore a healthy, compassionate diet of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains.
Indeed, 56 percent of respondents to a GlobalMeatNews poll said that they were or are reducing meat intake. U.S. per capita red meat consumption has dropped by more than 16 percent since 1999.
Mainstream publications like Parade, Better Homes and Gardens, and Eating Well are touting vegan recipes. Even the financial investment community is betting on plant-based meat start-ups, like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, while warning clients about the upcoming “death of meat.”
The reasons are ample. Last year, the World Health Organization found cancer to be associated with consumption of processed meats. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended reduced meat consumption. The media keeps exposing atrocities perpetrated on factory farms. And, animal agriculture remains chief contributor to climate change and water scarcity and pollution.
Each of us should celebrate our own advent of spring by checking out plant-based foods at our supermarkets and vegan recipes on the internet.
Bond to help NCCU
A special thanks is due to all North Carolinians, our state legislators, Gov. Pat McCrory and members of our Eagle community, including our trustees, alumni and friends, who were deeply engaged in the Connect NC Bond effort to bring a new School of Business and other resources to communities across North Carolina.
Our students will be able to engage in an interactive, high-touch and innovative business learning environment that will prepare them for the global marketplace. The Connect NC Bond represents an opportunity for the University of North Carolina system and N.C. Central University to enhance the world-class higher education we provide to the citizens of our great state. This investment will allow us to expand the opportunities we have for fostering talented students who go on to make outstanding contributions in many of North Carolina’s high-growth industries.
N.C. Central University
A proud moment
On behalf of the N.C. Central University Board of Trustees, I extend my heartfelt appreciation and thanks to the citizens of North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory, North Carolina state legislators, the University of North Carolina system and all who championed the Connect NC Bond. This vote of confidence for the university and its ongoing mission is a proud moment for all of us at NCCU. We anticipate many benefits to our state and to our nation as we move forward in educating 21st century scholars.
George R. Hamilton
NCCU Board of Trustees
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