Saturday, June 30, 2012

False & Misleading "Aid in Dying" Letter

To view a copy of Mr. Charlton's letter, dated June 20 2012, as sent, click here.

Dear Physician:

I represent Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity.  You may have received a letter from Compassion & Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society, dated June 5, 2012.  The letter claims that assisted suicide, referred to as "aid in dying," is legal under the Baxter decision issued by the Montana Supreme Court on December 31, 2009.  This is untrue.  I urge you to read the materials below or contact your own counsel for advice regarding the court's decision in Baxter.

The letter states: “Physicians [under Baxter] can provide prescriptions to such patients without fear that doing so could give rise to criminal or disciplinary sanction."  This statement is contrary to Baxter, which merely gives doctors a defense to prosecution.  Baxter states:

Friday, June 29, 2012

"He made the mistake of asking for information about assisted suicide"

Dear Board of Medical Examiners: 

We are disturbed to hear that the Board has been asked to legalize assisted suicide in Montana.  We are writing to express our extreme objection to this development.

Our brother, Wes Olfert, recently died in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  When he was first admitted to the hospital, he made the mistake of asking for information about assisted suicide.  We say a mistake, because this set off a chain of events that interfered with his care and caused him unnecessary stress in what turned out to be the last months of his life.

By asking the question, he was given a "palliative care" consult by a doctor who heavily and continually pressured him to give up on treatment before he was ready to do so.  It got so bad that Wes actually became fearful of this doctor and asked us and a friend to not leave him alone with her.

Justified or not, Wes was afraid that the doctor would do something to him or have him sign something if she would find him alone.  In fact, even though he was on heavy doses of narcotic pain medications and not in a clear state of mind to sign documents without someone to advocate for him, this palliative care MD actually did try to get him to sign a DNR or “Do Not Resuscitate” form without his Durable POA or any family member present.  Fortunately, his close friend / POA arrived at that moment in time to stop this from happening.

Some of the other doctors and staff members seemed to also write Wes off once they learned that he had asked about assisted suicide. 

We object to any move by this Board to legalize assisted suicide in Montana.

We also question whether this Board would have the authority to do so. Thank you.

Ron Olfert
Marlene Deakins, RN 
Sanders County, MT  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Revised Board Statement is Null & Void

On May 2, 2012, Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity filed a request with the Montana Board of Medical Examiners to vacate Position Statement No. 20, titled "Physician Aid in Dying."  This request is brought for the sake of public safety.  The cover letter by attorney Craig D. Charlton states:

"[T]he record shows that the Board acted without proper public notice.  Representative Dick Barrett and Senator Anders Blewitt, in a March 20, 2012 letter to the Board, echoed a similar concern.  

As also detailed in the memorandum, the Board's actions exceeded its statutory authority and therefore its jurisdiction.  Additionally, the Board infringed on the role of the Legislature, the Board's actions have put doctors and the public at risk."

To view the cover letter and memorandum by attorney Craig D. Charlton, click here.  To view the attachments to that memorandum, click here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Request to Retract Solicitation Letter

On April 6, 2012, attorney Craig Charlton wrote Dr. George Risi and Dr. Stephen Speckart requesting a retraction of their solicitation letter encouraging other doctors to engage in assisted suicide contrary to state law.

The letter was sent via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and Regular U.S. Mail.  To date, neither Dr. Risi nor Dr. Speckart have responded.  A web version of the letter is set forth below.  For the original print version, click here

Dear Dr. Risi and Dr. Speckart:

I represent Montanans Against Assisted Suicide & For Living with Dignity.  We are in receipt of the enclosed letter signed by you, which was mailed to doctors in Montana.  I am putting you on notice that the letter exists, that it has been widely distributed, and that the letter has false and misleading information.