[Right_to_die] Hospice leaders deny they use 'euthanasia'
World right-to-die news (nonprofit)
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Thu May 22 17:36:33 PDT 2008
The Independent in Ireland reported 22 May 08:
Hospices call for apology over euthanasia claim
By Breda Heffernan
A group of consultants has called on RTE to apologize to hospice care
workers following its euthanasia debate which included a comment that
"hospice people are licensed to kill".
The Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants Association (IPMCA) said the
coverage had caused fear and worry among patients entering hospices and
The group took issue with comments made by journalist Nell McCafferty
during a 'Prime Time' debate last Thursday in which she compared hospice
care to euthanasia. She was speaking following the death of her friend
and former partner, writer Nuala O Faolain, in a hospice earlier this month.
During the interview she said: "The crude description of it would be the
hospice people are licensed to kill on the double effect principle --
they will give you enough morphine to give you an easeful death,
pain-free, but the effect of the morphine will be to speed up your death."
Responding to Ms McCafferty's comment, chairperson of the group, Dr
Sinead Donnelly, said they offered their sympathies to the journalist.
"However, we absolutely reject her suggestion that medications,
including morphine, are used intentionally to shorten life. Morphine in
its various forms is a very old and effective analgesia.
"When used carefully and skillfully it can prolong someone's life be
relieving pain, improving quality of life and thereby increasing a
person's desire to live," she said.
Calling on RTE to apologize to hospice workers around the country, she
said: "Palliative care is not a pseudonym for euthanasia and we firmly
reject any such inference."
The IPMCA also accused the broadcaster of conducting a "biased and
truncated" debate on the Late Late Show a day later.
RTE denies that it had lacked balance in either of the two programmes.
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