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Note to HALO Monthly recipients: Whether 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, 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.
 

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."


From the President's Desk




Please be sure to read the teaser at the end of this column.
This edition of the HALO Monthly is abbreviated because we needed a short break. Nevertheless, we wanted to bring you three important pieces. First is an exciting announcement of plans to build a life-affirming healthcare facility in Michigan. Next we have a tremendous victory to celebrate. Then we wrap up with an article about suicide contagion—how legalization of assisted suicide leads to increases in conventional suicide. If a bill to legalize assisted suicide is being considered in your state, use the facts about suicide contagion to educate your state legislators, and to warn your friends and neighbors.
Assisted suicide is not the only threat to patients’ lives. Sadly, medically vulnerable patients are being denied life-affirming care more and more frequently, and families are being traumatized by their inability to protect their loved ones from a healthcare system that views certain lives as unworthy of care. HALO’s patient advocates stand beside patients and their families as their allies during medical crises. For some medically vulnerable people, we are their last hope. They need us like a person who is drowning needs a life preserver.
Recently, Ron Panzer, president of the Hospice Patients Alliance and friend of HALO, told me,
We are seeing increasingly pervasive coercion of patients, forcing them to be admitted and agree to be admitted to hospice. No other options are offered, even when, previously, home healthcare or rehab would have been offered. It is all ramping up, and the patients that have nobody to speak up for them or explain things are simply eliminated quickly in the system. Those who have someone may fare better, but even then, patient advocates have to fight tooth and nail over almost every decision made at the physician’s office, the hospital, or elsewhere: to get a lab test, to have a medication prescribed, to get a diagnosis, to not be lied to, to have the lies withdrawn, and to get an accurate assessment of their condition. . . . It is war: war on the lives of the patients who are elderly, stable, and chronically ill, or disabled, as you know.
HALO is on the front line, standing between the medically vulnerable and those who threaten their very existence. Therefore, I have a critically important plea.
Many patients simply need time and appropriate attention to recover. But they are often denied these essentials by hospital administrators and doctors who are more concerned about containing costs than saving lives. And tragically, as Ron points out, patients without advocates are “simply eliminated quickly in the system.”
Please join with us to protect vulnerable lives. HALO needs your financial support in order to combat the powerful healthcare system, to help families protect their medically weak loved ones from harm, and to educate the public about the dangers they may face in our healthcare system.
Please prayerfully consider a donation to the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization. You may donate by clicking HERE or by sending a check to HALO, PO Box 324, Chisago City, MN 55103-0324. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
We, HALO’s directors, sincerely thank you on behalf of all who seek HALO’s help. If we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please email feedback@halorganization.com and we will respond ASAP.
Teaser: “When you’re dead, you’re dead!!” I witnessed this shouted at my friend, John, by a hospice social worker who was frustrated that John hadn’t yet agreed to a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. Read the rest of the story in next month’s edition. —Joan

CASA USA Announcement


IMPORTANT PRESS RELEASE
Category: Life-Affirming Healthcare
NEWS PROVIDED BY
Catholic Healthcare International
June 3, 2019

ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 3, 2019 /Christian Newswire/ -- Catholic Healthcare International has commenced implementation of its inspired vision to replicate a unique model of healthcare delivery, established by the beloved St. Padre Pio in Italy, called The Home for the Relief of Suffering. You can learn more about our exciting activities on our dynamic new website: http://www.chi-usa.com/.

Under the Episcopal leadership of Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Earl Boyea, Catholic Healthcare International, the Diocese of Lansing, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network & the Christ Medicus Foundation are collaborating to implement this Casa USA vision, which will shine as a "Beacon of Light" of faithful Catholic healthcare delivery for all Catholic providers of medical care and medical education in the US.

Catholic Healthcare International has been given sole permission by St. Pio's hospital in Italy to implement this vision in the United States. Bishop Boyea has agreed to donate land owned by the Diocese of Lansing in the Howell, Michigan area to be the home of the Casa USA campus.

Visit the newly unveiled Catholic Healthcare International website to learn more about this exciting inspired vision, and also participate in the new multi-faceted & interactive prayer initiatives, by directing your browser to http://www.chi-usa.com/.

ALSO COMING SOON: The first ever Worldwide Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Program!

This Casa USA vision being implemented in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, includes:
A replica of Padre Pio's Home for the Relief of Suffering hospital (Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza);

A School for the Relief of Suffering Catholic medical school to educate and form physicians to practice as faithful Catholics in our secular society;

A Pilgrim Shrine with Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, which is a replica of the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church where Padre Pio ministered for decades in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy;

A first of its kind Terri Schiavo Rehab Center to provide accurate diagnosis and care for patients with severe brain issues, with the assumption of the desire to live life to its fullest possibilities with dignity; and:

A Christ Medicus Foundation Center for Public Policy and the development of faithful Catholic medical clinics.
This exciting and unprecedented initiative is a collaboration among several leading faithful Catholic national and international apostolates and ministries, in partnership with the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan and with the exclusive blessing of St. Padre Pio's Vatican-owned Casa Hospital in Italy.

Source: Catholic Healthcare International
Contact: Jere Palazzolo, 636-220-6550, jpalazzolo@chi-usa.com
Related Links: http://www.chi-usa.com/
NOTE FROM HALO: We are in regular contact with Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, regarding this crucially important project and we are very excited to share this announcement with HALO’s supporters. We hope to work with them when Casa USA is open. Please pray that this project will be completed quickly. There is an urgent need for life-affirming healthcare facilities and truly ethical education of physicians.

A TREMENDOUS VICTORY: AMA RETAINS OPPOSITION TO ASSISTED SUICIDE

By Barbara Lyons
June 10, 2019
I’m thrilled to report that the American Medical Association (AMA), moments ago, affirmed CEJA 2, the report which recommends that the AMA retain its opposition to assisted suicide. The vote was 65-35, a stunningly huge margin of victory. 
Enormous gratitude is owed to Drs. Jeff White, Shane Macauley and Tom Eppes who have been leading activities surrounding the AMA at interim and annual meetings for the past several years to ensure that the AMA retain its longstanding opposition to assisted suicide. They recruited and trained 20+ medical students, interns, and residents who provided outstanding testimony at yesterday’s Reference Committee meeting, resulting in the Reference Committee overwhelmingly recommending that the House of Delegates affirm CEJA 2. Dr. Dan Sulmasy debated the Compassion and Choices lead physician on Friday to provide more ammunition. Physician members of CEJA held the line last year and this year despite enormous pressure to cave. Thanks to many other physicians who testified at Reference Committee.
Words cannot express how important this victory is to our efforts in state legislatures and state medical societies. Many thanks to all who made this possible to protect our most vulnerable patients and populations!
HALO Note: This is, indeed, a tremendous win for life. However, we still have a long way to go when the vote is 65 to 35. 100% of physicians should be opposed to assisted suicide. Pray for all doctors, that their objective will always be to protect and preserve the lives of their patients and to treat every suicidal patient, whatever their condition, with appropriate preventive measures.

IN OREGON, OTHER SUICIDES HAVE INCREASED WITH THE LEGALIZATION OF PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE









By Margaret K. Dore, Esq., President of Choice is an Illusion
This article was published in August 2017, but is still timely and presents a weighty argument to use in the fight against the legalization of assisted suicide.
Since the passage of Oregon’s law allowing physician-assisted suicide, other suicides in Oregon have steadily increased. This is consistent with a suicide contagion in which the legalization of physician-assisted suicides has encouraged other suicides. In Oregon, the financial and emotional impacts of suicide on family members and the broader community are devastating and long-lasting.[1]
Suicide is Contagious 
It is well known that suicide is contagious. A famous example is Marilyn Monroe.[2] Her widely reported suicide was followed by “a spate of suicides.” [3]
With the understanding that suicide is contagious, groups such as the National Institute of Mental Health and the World Health Organization have developed guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide, to prevent contagion. Key points include that the risk of additional suicides increases:
[W]hen the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage sensationalizes or glamorizes a death.[4] 
Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon
In Oregon, prominent cases of physician-assisted suicide include Lovelle Svart and Brittany Maynard.
Lovelle Svart died in 2007.[5] The Oregonian, which is Oregon’s largest paper, violated the recommended guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide by explicitly describing her suicide method and by employing “dramatic/graphic images.” Indeed, visitors to the paper’s website were invited “to hear and see when Lovelle swallowed the fatal dose.” [6] Today, ten years later, there are still photos of her online, lying in bed, dying.[7]
Brittany Maynard reportedly died from physician-assisted suicide in Oregon on November 1, 2014. Contrary to the recommended guidelines, there was “repeated/extensive coverage” in multiple media, worldwide.[8] This coverage is ongoing, albeit on a smaller and less intense scale.
 
The Young Man Wanted to Die Like Brittany Maynard
A month after Ms. Maynard’s death, Dr. Will Johnston was presented with a twenty-year-old patient during an emergency appointment.[9] The young man, who had been brought in by his mother, was physically healthy, but had been acting oddly and talking about death.[10]
Dr. Johnston asked the young man if he had a plan.[11] The young man said "yes," that he had watched a video about Ms. Maynard.[12] He said that he was very impressed with her and that he identified with her and that he thought it was a good idea for him to die like her.[13] He also told Dr. Johnston that after watching the video he had been surfing the internet looking for suicide drugs.[14] Dr. Johnston’s declaration states:
He was actively suicidal and agreed to go to the hospital, where he stayed for five weeks until it was determined that he was sufficiently safe from self-harm to go home.[15]
The young man had wanted to die like Brittany Maynard.
In Oregon, Other Suicides Have Increased with Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide
Oregon government reports show the following positive correlation between the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and an increase in other suicides.  Per the reports:
  • Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide “in late 1997.” [16]
  • By 2000, Oregon’s conventional suicide rate was "increasing significantly."[17]
  • By 2007, Oregon's conventional suicide rate was 35% above the national average.[18]
  • By 2010, Oregon's conventional suicide rate was 41% above the national average.[19]
  • By 2012, Oregon's conventional suicide rate was 42% above the national average.[20]
  • By 2014, Oregon's conventional suicide rate was 43.1% higher than the national average.[21]
The Financial and Emotional Cost of Suicide in Oregon
Oregon’s report for 2012 describes the cost of suicide as “enormous.” The report states:
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians aged 15 to 34 years, and the eighth leading cause of death among all ages in Oregon. The cost of suicide is enormous. In 201[2] alone, self-inflicted injury hospitalization charges in Oregon exceeded $54 million; and the estimate of total lifetime cost of suicide in Oregon was over $677 million. The loss to families and communities broadens the impact of each death. (footnotes omitted).[22]
The Significance for Montana
In Montana, the law on assisted suicide is governed by the Montana Supreme Court decision, Baxter v. State, 354 Mont. 234 (2009). Baxter gives doctors who assist a suicide a potential defense to criminal prosecution.[23] Baxter does not legalize assisted suicide by giving doctors or anyone else immunity.[24]

The decision, however, is confusing so that it can be read different ways. More importantly, some doctors are claiming to have assisted suicides in Montana. If nothing is done to clarify the law, there will at some point be de facto legality. [Editor's update: As of this year, 2019, there is de facto legality.]
Montana already has a higher suicide rate than Oregon.[25] If Baxter is not overturned and/or the law clarified that assisted suicide is not legal, the suicide problem in Montana will only get worse. Montana does not need the Oregon experience.

Footnotes:
[1] Shen X., Millet L., Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Associated Factors. 2003-2012, Oregon Health Authority, Portland Oregon, p.3, Executive Summary
[2]  Margot Sanger-Katz, “The Science Behind Suicide Contagion,” The New York Times, August 13, 2014.
[3] Id.
[4]  "Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide,” The National Institute of Mental Health. See also “Preventing Suicide: A Resource for Media Professionals,” World Health Organization, at http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/resource_media.pdf.
[5]  Ed Madrid, “Lovelle Svart, 1945 - 2007, The Oregonian, September 28, 2007. 
[6] Id.
[7]  The still shots at this link, are still up today, July 7, 2017.
[8]  The worldwide coverage of Ms. Maynard in multiple media started with an exclusive cover story in People Magazine. Other coverage has included TV, radio, print, web and social media.
[9]  Declaration of Williard Johnston, MD, May 24, 2015. 
[10] Id.
[11] Id.
[12] Id.
[13] Id.
[14] Id.
[15] Id.
[16]  Oregon's Death with Dignity report for 2016, p. 4, first line
[17]  Oregon Health Authority News Release, September 9, 2010, at https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/news-release-09-09-10.pdf ("After decreasing in the 1990s, suicide rates have been increasing significantly since 2000").  
[18]  Suicides in Oregon: Trend and Risk Factors, issued September 2010 (data through 2007). 
[19] Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors, 2012 Report (data through 2010).
[20]  Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Associated Factors, 2003-2012 (data through 2012).
[21] Oregon Vital Statistics Report 2015 (data through 2014;
at page 6-26, third full paragraph)
[23]  Greg Jackson, Esq. & Matt Bowman, Esq., "Analysis of Implications of the Baxter Case on Potential Criminal Liability," April 2010.
[24]  State Senator Jim Shockley and Margaret Dore, Esq., "No, physician-assisted suicide is not legal in Montana: It's a recipe for elder abuse and more," The Montana Lawyer," The State Bar of Montana, November 2011.
[25]  CDC Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, "QuickStats: Age Adjusted Suicide Rates by State, United States, 2012," published on November 14, 2014.

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