Friday, May 30, 2014
... is my all-time favorite name for an advocacy group. Not Dead Yet is a "national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination against old, ill and disabled people. Not Dead Yet helps organize and articulate opposition to these practices based on secular social justice arguments. Not Dead Yet demands the equal protection of the law for the targets of so called “mercy killing” whose lives are seen as worth-less."
Two of their recent activities deserve our attention.
1. Co-authoring an amicus brief with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, in a case challenging the University of Wisconsin Hospital Center’s alleged practice of counseling families of people with developmental disabilities to withhold care for treatable but potentially life-threatening medical conditions, such as pneumonia. (Disability Rights Wisconsin v. University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics). The complaint alleges that:
one thirteen-year-old child died of pneumonia and one adult was denied care after University of Wisconsin Hospital physicians advised families to withdraw antibiotics, nutrition, and hydration. When the child's regular caregivers objected to withdrawing treatment, UWHC physicians allegedly encouraged the family to have him transferred to the University of Wisconsin Hospital, where he was taken off of antibiotics, nutrition, and hydration, and transferred to hospice care. He died the next day.
In both cases, Disability Rights Wisconsin claimed, doctors allegedly based their determinations on their patients’ supposedly low quality of life as individuals with disabilities, and acted without the approval of the hospital ethics committee.
2. A comment letter filed in New York State, expressing concern about some aspects of a New York initiative to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations of Medicaid patients:
The comment letter claims that the Conversation Project makes it clear that the fear of living with a disability is what drives the seemingly innocuous decision-making process designed to steer people away from receiving care. The letter quotes several excerpts from the Starter Kit on the Conversation Project website as examples of how living with disability is discussed in a negative way that could lead people to conclude that disability is a fate worse than death and, thus, execute advance directives that reflect that assumption.