November 15, 2014 |
TRENTON - The New Jersey Assembly narrowly passed a bill Thursday that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives by obtaining and self-administering lethal doses of medication prescribed by a doctor. The 41-31 vote - the minimum required to achieve a majority - came amid a national debate over physician-assisted suicide, also referred to as aid in dying. A similar version of the bill has not advanced in the Senate, and Gov. Christie has said he opposes it. Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer, recently moved with her husband to Oregon to take advantage of that state's "death with dignity" law, bringing new attention to the issue.
November 4, 2014
IT HAS BEEN 20 years since Oregon adopted the nation's first Death with Dignity law, allowing physicians to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients. And it has been 17 years since the legal challenges were defeated and the law took effect. That's more than enough time to conclude that the law has not led to a rash of coerced suicides by family members tired of taking care of Granny. It did not lead to a rash of anything, in fact. Data from the Oregon Public Health Division show that between 1997 and 2013, 1,173 terminally ill patients received prescriptions for life-ending medication and only 752 of them decided to use the medication.
October 30, 2014 |
THESE DAYS in America you can do all sorts of things legally, if you don't mind leaving home. For example, if you want to cavort with prostitutes, we have a state for that. If you want to smoke marijuana, we have two states for that, Colorado and Washington, and may soon have more. And if you are gay and happen to live in a state that still has laws against same-sex marriage, you can travel with your beloved to one of 32 states that now permit same-sex ceremonies. But, if you are afflicted with a terminal illness that entails the near-certainty of a lingering, painful death, your options are much more limited.
July 30, 2014 |
TRENTON - A slight majority of New Jersey residents support legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with lethal medication prescribed by a doctor, a new poll released Monday found. About the same percentage of people say they would personally want that option, often referred to as physician-assisted suicide. The bill was scheduled for a vote in June in the Assembly but pulled at the last minute when it became clear it would come up just short of the 41 votes needed to pass.
May 25, 2014 |
Veda Showers, 84, often gets lost in time. But she finds herself on familiar ground when Debbie Ganci comes through the door. Both Showers and Ganci are military veterans and women of faith. Showers has congestive heart failure, diabetes, and pulmonary issues; Ganci is a pastoral counselor with Holy Redeemer Homecare and Hospice in Runnemede. They've been meeting biweekly for two years at Showers' Mullica Hill home. "Originally, Veda declined a visit. But when she heard I was military, that was my foot in the door," says Ganci, 55, a Presbyterian minister and mother of two. Ganci's specialty is helping veterans and their families cope with terminal illness - and prepare for its inevitable conclusion.
February 14, 2014
WHEN Attorney General Kathleen Kane declined to defend the state's anti-gay marriage statute last year, it seemed she could be the political messiah who'd drag Pennsylvania into the realm of progress - especially if she ran, as anticipated, for governor. That impression was shattered the following month, when she inexplicably prosecuted a dutiful, loving daughter for allegedly assisting her father's suicide. Kane lost the case this week against Philadelphia nurse Barbara Mancini, which was thrown out by Schuylkill County Judge Jacqueline Russell.
September 15, 2012 |
I now write in defense of beautifully staged, meticulously lighted, handsomely dressed, genuinely acted, and shrewdly contrived soppiness. I make no apologies. You'll either detest the new musical Love Story , which has all that and more at the Walnut Street Theatre, or you'll give yourself over to stunning manipulation. You may regret it later - you've been played like a soulful cello by a cast of Yo-Yo Mas - but while you're being sucked in you'll be fully in the moment. That's what happened to me. In retrospect, it happened against all odds, in a show that has so much kissing, I wonder about the production's ChapStick bill; that's a stretch at 100 intermissionless minutes; that offers stereotyped characters cut from cardboard; that - like the book it came from - is a jarring mixture of glib repartee, lovey mush, and, finally, overwhelming sadness.
May 3, 2012 |
DEAR ABBY: When my husband, "Jeff," and I married, we drew up a medical proxy and health-care directives should future incapacitation arise. Jeff is now terminally ill with brain cancer and has about five months to live. I had to quit working because Jeff is now my full-time job. As his illness progresses, we have discussed placing him in a hospice. But the closer he gets to death, the more he changes his mind. He demands that I lift, jerk and pull him in and out of bed. He needs assistance eating, dressing, bathing and using the toilet and is in a wheelchair.
February 6, 2012
NEW YORK - Ben Gazzara, whose powerful dramatic performances brought an intensity to a variety of roles and made him a memorable presence in such iconic productions over the decades as the original "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway and the film "The Big Lebowski," died on Friday. He was 81. In 1955, he originated the role on Broadway of Brick Pollitt, the disturbed alcoholic son and failed football star in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. " In 1965, he moved on to TV stardom in "Run for Your Life," a drama about a workaholic lawyer who, diagnosed with a terminal illness, quits his job and embarks on a globe-trotting attempt to squeeze a lifetime of adventures into the time he has left.