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Note to HALO Monthly recipientsWhether or not you are able to make a donation to HALO, you will continue to receive the newsletter. However, there are expenses involved in producing a quality newsletter. Therefore, we suggest an annual donation of $25.00 for HALO membership, which includes our newsletter. Of course, donations in any amount to support the work of HALO will be gratefully accepted. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please send checks only to: HALO, P.O. Box 324, Chisago City, MN 55013. Credit card donations may be securely made on the DONATE page of our website, https://www.halorganization.com/donate/
Welcome to this edition of the HALO Monthly. This e-newsletter provides opportunities for HALO 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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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."

Letter Opposing End-of-Life Options Act


Mary Merritt and her husband Denny are currently on a mission trip, so I’m filling in for her.
As Mary promised in her March column, we will examine the assisted suicide bills that have been introduced in state legislatures in the first few months of 2019. First, however, I would like to share my letter to the editor, which appeared on April 4th in the Sun Post, a suburban Minneapolis newspaper. It was in response to a legislator’s misleading statements regarding the assisted suicide bill currently being pushed in Minnesota.
To the Editor:
This is in response to statements that were made by Rep. Mike Freiberg regarding the "End-of-Life Options Act", the latest term for assisted suicide. Although he contends that a majority of Minnesotans in "every demographic group tested" favor assisted suicide, he doesn't indicate what those groups were, and I sincerely doubt they were presented with all the facts regarding the bill, such as:
No requirement for a psychiatric evaluation or counseling. Persons who are severely depressed, mentally ill, or have intellectual disabilities must be referred to a mental health professional ONLY to determine their capacity to make and communicate decisions.
Non-physicians would be able to diagnose and prescribe the lethal dose.
Insurance companies may refuse more expensive treatments, opting instead to only pay for the less expensive suicide drug.
The bill states only patients diagnosed with six months or less to live are eligible. According to the Mayo Clinic up to 88% of patients seen for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation receive a new or redefined diagnosis. Predictions are often unreliable. 
Rep. Freiberg stresses suffering and pain. In places where assisted suicide is available, pain has not been stated as a major factor in requesting assisted suicide.
Once a prescription has been written, there are no safeguards to prevent coercion or abuse from persons standing to gain from the patient's death. There would be no way to determine if someone else administered the drugs or if the patient was tricked or forced to take them.
I submit that there are more humane, merciful ways to help those among us who are suffering than providing lethal drugs.
Jo Tolck, Patient Advocate
New Hope, MN
Mary will be back to write her excellent column for our May edition. In the meantime, we wish everyone a joyous Easter and Passover, as we celebrate these holiest days of the year.

CURRENT BILLS TO LEGALIZE ASSISTED SUICIDE


In a recent fundraising letter, Compassion & Choices lamented that “the Trump Administration just released its 2020 budget, and it’s bad for medical aid in dying.” Medical aid in dying (MAID) is C&C’s deceptive tag for physician assisted suicide (PAS). C&C warned supporters that the budget would “Prohibit the use of local funds to carry out D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act” and “Embolden opponents of medical aid in dying to consider seeking a nationwide ban on the practice.” We say, “Thank you, Mr. President!”
Six states and Washington, DC have legalized PAS since 1997.
Every year, bills to legalize assisted suicide are introduced in numerous states. 2019 is no exception. Fortunately, most of these bills die, but the enactment of even one is a travesty of justice for the people whose lives will be devalued by offering them the “choice” to kill themselves with medical assistance. Furthermore, one anti-life law leads to another and another. We must never let down our guard and, as Jackson Milton in this month’s feature article tells us, we “must combat the arguments for physician-assisted suicide.” Compassion & Choices and other proponents of assisted suicide are relentless. We must be just as tirelessly determined to defeat their attempts to medicalize suicide.
ASSISTED SUICIDE LEGISLATION
(This may not be a complete list of assisted suicide bills introduced so far in 2019.)
Good news first!
Connecticut: HB 5898 died in the Public Health Committee. Lisa Blumberg, an attorney and member of the bipartisan disability advocacy group Second Thoughts Connecticut stated that this bill "Sets forth the circumstances under which a doctor could actively prescribe lethal drugs to directly cause the death of a supposedly willing patient without fear of liability.” That, in a nutshell, describes every bill to legalize assisted suicide.
Maryland: “In a dramatic end, the Maryland Senate was deadlocked in a 23-23 [vote] on their physician-assisted suicide bill when it came time for the last senator to vote on March 27, 2019,” reports Nancy Valko. “Sen. Obie Patterson decided not to cast a vote which effectively killed the bill that needed a majority vote to pass.”https://nancyvalko.com/2019/03/31/lessons-from-the-victory-against-assisted-suicide-in-maryland/
New Mexico: The “End-of-life Options Act” is dead.
Montana: A bill to effectively outlaw assisted suicide and stealth euthanasia in Montana has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 6-4 vote. HB284, “providing that consent to physician aid in dying is not a defense,” would also establish that euthanasia by any other name is against public policy.
Bills that are still active:
Minnesota: S.F. 2286/H.F. 2152, authored by Sen. Chris Eaton and Rep. Mike Freiberg, would effectively overturn Minnesota’s current law (Minnesota Statutes 609.215) protecting against assisted suicide.
Nevada: On March 20, a divided legislative committee moved SB 165, a physician-assisted suicide bill, to the full Senate for a vote.
New Hampshire: On March 14, Nancy Elliott, Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA, reported, “Today the NH House of Representatives passed HB 291 establishing a committee to study … Assisted Suicide. What I find troubling is that it passed 214 to 140.”
New Jersey: The Assembly and the Senate have passed A1504/S1072, the “Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.” It awaits the Governor’s signature.
New York: Will, once again, consider assisted suicide legislation—AO 2694—despite numerous past failed attempts to legalize it.
Oregon: Four bills to expand Oregon’s “Death With Dignity Act” have been introduced. One bill, HB 2217, would allow patients to take the assisted suicide drugs in ways other than swallowing. These ways are not specified, but could include through an IV, feeding tube, lethal injection, or even a gas mask. This is closer to euthanasia than assisted suicide.
Pennsylvania: Senator Daylin Leach has circulated a co-sponsorship memo to reintroduce a bill to legalize assisted suicide in Pennsylvania. 
Rhode Island: H 5555, the “Compassionate Care Act” was introduced by Rep. Edith Ajello. She testified before the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee on March 27 that this bill “does not allow euthanasia or assisted suicide,” denying the obvious. Legislation to permit doctors to prescribe drugs for patients to use to kill themselves has only one purpose—legalizing assisted suicide. 

At Least Nine U.S. States Have Strengthened Their Laws Against Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia


By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA







In the last ten years, at least nine states have strengthened their laws against assisted suicide/euthanasia. They are:

1.  Alabama:  In 2017, Alabama enacted the Assisted Suicide Ban Act;
2.  Arizona:  In 2014, Arizona strengthened its law against assisted suicide.
3.  Georgia:  In 2012, Georgia strengthened its law against assisted suicide.
4.  Idaho:  On April 5, 2011, Idaho strengthened its law against assisted suicide.
5.  Louisiana:  In 2012, Louisiana strengthened its assisted suicide/euthanasia ban.
6.  New Mexico:  In 2016, the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision recognizing a right to physician aid in dying, meaning physician assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is no longer legal in New Mexico. See Morris v. Brandenburg, 376 P.3d 836 (2016).
7.  Ohio:  In 2017, Ohio strengthened its law against assisted suicide. See  http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3795
8.  South Dakota:  In 2017, the South Dakota Legislature passed Concurrent Resolution 11, opposing physician-assisted suicide. See Bill History.
9.  Utah:  In 2018, Utah amended its manslaughter statute to include assisted suicide. For more information, see https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0086.html and click “status.”

While some medical organizations endorse physician-assisted suicide, pro-lifers must combat their arguments




While some medical organizations endorse physician-assisted suicide, pro-lifers must combat their arguments.

By Jackson Milton
Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act went into effect in 1997. Subsequently, five additional states (Washington, Vermont, Hawaii, California, and Colorado) and Washington D.C. have legalized the practice of physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Contrary to some reports, the Montana Supreme Court did not legalize PAS in 2009, but it did rule that a patient’s consent to assisted suicide was a defense for an assisting physician. Proponents continue to promote legislation to permit PAS across the nation, and many states are actively considering adopting these unethical measures. Shamefully, some medical organizations have actively aided and abetted these efforts through euphemistic rhetoric and distorted ethical arguments. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has become the most recent organization to capitulate to the supporters of physician-assisted suicide.
Although not yet official, the ANA has released a draft of their position statement—“The Nurse’s Role When a Patient Requests Aid in Dying”—outlining their generally favorable stance toward PAS. The statement unsurprisingly uses a euphemism, “Aid in Dying,” to frame their proposed position. Unfortunately, the draft statement is riddled with many common mischaracterizations and fails to adequately address the ethical concerns surrounding legal PAS.
Ironically, the ANA rejects euthanasia in the very same position statement. The difference between euthanasia and PAS is not an ethical one, but merely a logistical one. In euthanasia, the physician actively administers the lethal medication to the patient, thereby directly causing the death of the patient. In PAS, the physician prescribes the lethal medication to the patient for him to ingest at some later time. Both methods intend to cause the death of the patient, violating the patient’s inherent dignity and Right to Life. If euthanasia is illicit and therefore inconsistent with the nursing profession, then physician-assisted suicide must be, too.
The draft position statement rightly recognizes the importance of protecting the nurse’s conscience regarding assisted suicide. However, it contains several comments contradicting that recognition, including telling nurses who object that they should identify nurses willing to participate in the unethical procedure. This framework would compel nurses to cooperate in PAS, which is a grave violation of their conscience rights.
While the statement identifies that many people choose assisted suicide out of fear of incurable pain and suffering, no proof for this is cited. Oregon’s experience, in fact, does not support this claim. The Oregon Health Division’s annual reports on PAS consistently show that the top reasons doctors give for their patients’ assisted suicide requests are not pain or fear of future pain, but psychological issues: “loss of autonomy,” “less able to engage in activities”, “loss of dignity,” “losing control of bodily functions,” and “burden on others.” Furthermore, the ANA fails to adequately analyze this argument. The ANA knows well that the solution to pain is effective pain management and medical staff’s dedication to accompany patients through their time of difficulty. Suffering must be addressed with true compassion, and, when necessary, nurses should help patients endure and comfort them, not support ending their lives to avoid future pain.
Medical organizations, no matter how prestigious or historic, are susceptible to cultural pressure and systematic degradation of their medical ethics. The ANA has bought into the deadly lie that some lives are not worthy of defending and that imposing death can be compassionate, ethical medicine. Pro-Lifers across the country must combat the arguments for physician-assisted suicide, regardless of who promotes them.
About the author: Jackson Milton serves as a Legislative and Political Associate for Texas Right to Life, where he works to enact life-saving legislation and elect Pro-Life candidates. He graduated from Texas A&M in 2017 with a degree in Meteorology, and currently studies bioethics at the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.
HALO Note:
The ANA does not represent most nurses. Nancy Valko, RN reports,
The ANA doesn’t give membership statistics, but a research paper about the declining membership of nurses in professional organizations says: “While the American Nurses Association (ANA) states it ‘is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses’, less than ten percent of the nation’s nurses are members of the ANA or other professional organizations." [Emphasis added.]

My Son’s Story Must Be Told: Young Man, Healthy Organs – Ideal Organ Donor




My Son’s Story Must Be Told: Young Man, Healthy Organs – Ideal Organ Donor

By Paul E. Robinson



PJ with his brother, Alex 

At 8:42 PM on November 3, 2015, a young Arizona man on a mountain bike was struck from behind by a car. This man was my son, Paul, Jr. (PJ).
911 was called. A unit of the Phoenix Fire Department arrived on the scene within minutes. PJ was unconscious with labored breathing, blood in his mouth, and cuts on his eyebrows. No I.D. was found, and his fingerprints were not on file, so the sheriff’s office reported he was “an unidentified male thought to be in his mid-20s.” There was a question mark under “ethnicity” and his “language” was marked unknown. This led to speculation that my son might be a homeless, illegal alien. My African-American son was bright-skinned, so it was no great leap to think he was Hispanic.
PJ arrived at the hospital emergency room (ER) at 9:15. Within 15 minutes, the Organ Donor Network had been contacted about a possible donor. (Worth noting is that PJ’s blood type was O-positive, a match with every other blood type — “gold” for the Donor Network.)
Misdiagnosed and denied proper treatment
When PJ arrived at the ER, his vital signs were high normal, and he was breathing on his own. The record shows the pain my son endured because they intubated him and inserted a chest tube without the benefit of sedation or pain medication. Both his heart rate and his blood pressure rose drastically, signs of great distress, which likely caused a detrimental rise of intracranial pressure, increasing the damage to his brain. The first intubation failed, so he was intubated again at 10:30. I think they sacrificed his brain to maintain his body for organ donation.
Neither his subdural hematoma (bleeding and increased pressure on the brain) nor his lacerated spleen was surgically treated. Also, they did not monitor his intracranial pressure, which is protocol in a level 1 trauma center.
The neurosurgeon, who did not examine PJ for close to two hours after his arrival at the ER, stated that my son had “no brain stem activity and no signs of neurological function”—a finding that would lead to PJ being treated as though he were “brain dead.” PJ’s reactions, however, contradicted the neurosurgeon’s diagnosis. In fact, one doctor recorded that PJ had positive pupil response to Mannitol (a drug that reduces intracranial pressure) and a positive gag reflex—two signs of neurological function.
The next day, November 4, officials identified my son as Paul D. Robinson, Jr., age 34, and located me. I have an extensive medical background as a clinical specialist in the Army for six years and a nurse for 20 years. From the first, I had strong misgivings about how my son’s case was handled.
I suspect that being profiled as a homeless, illegal alien in his 20s influenced the decision not to treat him properly.
A nightmare
PJ was hospitalized from November 3 to December 1. The hospital experience was a nightmare for my wife, Marze, and me.
On November 12, a doctor, who I felt was very deceptive, called to inform us that they were placing a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order on my son. This was against our wishes and, therefore, illegal. Furthermore, no EEG [1] was performed until November 17, when I insisted it be done. We also wanted a second CT scan [2] as we felt these additional tests would have shown the medical team’s narrative to be wrong. The MRI [3] report from November 8th was mysteriously missing when I reviewed PJ’s medical records after his death.
An apnea test [4] (breathing test) was done on November 28, after which the doctor predicted our son would continue to breathe for more than 90 minutes once removed from the ventilator. A nurse said he could live for days. Based on this information, we made the very difficult decision to have the ventilator removed on December 1. If PJ continued to breathe, we would move him to a skilled nursing facility. If not, we would agree to organ donation.
On November 30, another apnea test revealed that PJ could breathe on his own, meaning he could not be declared “brain dead” for the purpose of organ donation.
The morning of December 1, according to billing and medical records, PJ was given morphine, Ativan, and potassium chloride (a drug that, when used inappropriately, can slow or stop the heartbeat). There was no medically indicated reason to give PJ these drugs. For example, potassium chloride is used to treat low blood levels of potassium. PJ’s blood levels were normal. These drugs were administered without our consent or knowledge. I believe they were used to ensure that our son would not breathe when the ventilator was removed.
Paul “died” in my arms as he struggled to breathe.



PJ's funeral

Deadly deception
I was told and believed my son was deceased. The expiration document stated, “Pt was pronounced dead at the bedside and then was taken to the OR for DCD.” DCD stands for “donation after circulatory death” or “donation after cardiac death.” [5] DCD is a way to get organs from a patient who exhibits neurological functions and therefore does not qualify for DBD (“donation after brain death”).
PJ was taken to the operating room around 7:40 PM. Records indicate that he received morphine at 8:05. Why would a dead man need morphine? He was given a blood transfusion at 8:35. Why? Additionally, two powerful pain medications, morphine and Fentanyl, as well as the anti-anxiety drug Ativan were not discontinued until 1:19 AM the next morning. The disturbing inference is that PJ’s circulatory system was still functioning and that he was resuscitated for the purpose of keeping his organs as healthy as possible for donation.
From the beginning, I felt like PJ was considered the property of the hospital. Thus, an adversarial relationship developed between the medical team and me. I fought to get the truth and the treatment my son needed and deserved. I saw my beloved son, but the doctors only seemed to see healthy organs for the taking.
For three straight days, scores of doctors, nurses and support personnel were brought into meetings to put pressure on us to donate our son’s organs. I gave in. I should have fought harder. How do I forgive myself?
Marze and I are heartbroken at the loss of our precious son. He loved basketball and watched history and sci-fi programs on TV. He earned his living as a barber. He was a wonderful son and brother. PJ was a real person, not just a body to be harvested for organs.
I believe that, had he received timely, proper treatment, Paul Robinson, Jr. would probably still be alive. His story must be told and retold as a warning to others. Don’t be deceived when asked to donate a loved one’s organs. Say NO!
Editor’s note: There is so much more that could have been written about this case. For example, the falsification of PJ’s medical records by the neurosurgeon and how HIPAA privacy regulations were disregarded. Paul Robinson, Sr. invites anyone interested in learning more to email him: esquire1wi@gmail.com.
1] EEG is short for electroencephalogram, a noninvasive test that records electrical patterns in a person’s brain.
[2] CT (or CAT) – Computed Tomography - allows doctors to see inside any part of a person’s body. It uses a combination of X-rays and a computer to scan and create pictures of organs, bones and tissues.
[3] MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging - scans use powerful magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses to produce detailed pictures of internal body structures. Differences between normal and abnormal organs, soft tissues and bone is often clearer on an MRI image than a CT picture.
[4] Apnea Test: There are many different sets of criteria used to determine “brain death.” "Every set of criteria includes an Apnea Test. (‘Apnea’ means the absence of breathing.) This test is done by taking away the life supporting ventilator for up to 10 minutes. This is medical suffocation. The patient can only get worse with this test. This test is commonly done without requesting permission."—Paul A. Byrne, MD, "Do Your Organs Belong to the Government" http://www.lifeguardianfoundation.org/pdfs/organbelonggov_web.pdf
[5] A DCD donor is a patient on a ventilator who is deemed “hopeless” in terms of life-expectancy or perceived quality of life but does not meet “brain death” criteria. Usually, the patient is taken off the ventilator and declared dead a couple of minutes after no pulse can be felt. This does not mean that the heart or the brain has ceased functioning, but only that the patient is pulseless. The patient is very likely still alive when the organ removal process begins but is definitely dead when it is completed.

State and national leaders call for Texas bill to protect patients’ rights

March 16, 2019
Dozens of state and national leaders and organizations calling for the passage of a Texas bill to repeal the anti-Life 10-Day Rule. The Respecting Texas Patients’ Right to Life Act was filed in the Texas State Legislature as HB 3158 by Representative Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) and SB 2089 by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola). The act will implement a desperately needed reform to the anti-Life and anti-patients’ rights Texas Advance Directives Act.
Note: HALO signed onto the letter calling for repeal of “the anti-life 10-Day Rule.” Texas Right to Life invites you to circulate this letter (the link is in the article) among your contacts and networks to continue to build support and increase awareness of this dangerous and unjust law. Direct questions to Emily Horne, Legislative Associate, EHorne@TexasRightToLife.com, office: 713.782.5433.

WHY AND HOW TO REFUSE TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR


The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act was revised in 2006 and most states have adopted it. Everyone who has not explicitly refused to be an organ donor is now considered a “prospective donor.” This means that, if you are “at or near death,” your hospital must notify an Organ Procurement Organization (OPO). While the OPO searches for a “reasonably available” family member or other person who can legally consent or refuse to donate your organs, the medical team can treat you like a donor, subjecting you to medical procedures—not beneficial to you—solely to make certain your organs are in tip-top condition for the potential recipient.
Before organ transplantation was possible, physicians waited long enough to be certain that circulatory and respiratory functions had irreversibly ceased. Death was declared only when there were no vital signs—the body was cold, blue and stiff. Today, however, in the haste to procure vital organs before they begin to deteriorate due to loss of circulation, death is often declared to enable organ transplantation, not to protect the donor from a death-dealing mistake.
Every state maintains an Organ Donor Registry listing people who have agreed to be organ donors, either on a driver’s license application or by signing an organ donor card. These state registries are readily accessed by Organ Procurement Organizations (a.k.a. Organ Donor Networks). However, NO STATE has a registry for those who do not want to be organ donors. Therefore, it is up to you to protect yourself. Refuse to be an organ donor IN WRITING.

Sign and carry with you an I REFUSE TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR wallet card. To request a wallet card, email feedback@halorganization.com.

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