[Bioethics] Warning: Are you being targeted for euthanasia?
- Warning - Are You Being
Targeted For Euthanasia?
March 30, 2005
By Mary Therese Helmueller, R.N.
In 1984, while working as charge nurse in the
intensive care unit, a 20-year-old man asked me, "Can
you give my mother enough morphine to let her sleep
away?" I was horrified. "I can not kill your mother,"
I responded. That was only the beginning. Recently, an
80-year-old was admitted to the emergency room and the
physician said, "LET'S DEHYDRATE HER"; one more
patient was sentenced to die in hospice with NO
TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS and once again, THE LIVING WILL
determined the death of a 70-year-old man regardless
of how he pleaded to live. I can no longer remain
Your life may be in danger if you are admitted to a
hospital, especially if you are over 65 or have a
chronic illness or a disability. The elderly are
frequently dying three days after being admitted to
the hospital. Some attribute it to "old age syndrome"
while others admit that overdosing is all too common.
Euthanasia is not legal but it is being practiced.
Last year the New England Journal of Medicine reported
that 1 in 5 critical care nurses admit to having
hastened the death of the terminally ill! I believe
the percentage is much higher. I have worked with
nurses who even admit to overdosing their parents. No
one knows the exact euthanasia rate in the United
States, however Dr. Dolan from the University of
Minnesota states that 40 percent of all reported
deaths is probably a conservative estimation. If this
is true then the United States is executing euthanasia
at a higher percentage rate than the Netherlands where
it is also illegal but widely practiced.
Did you know that many doctors and nurses whom we
trust are speaking openly about their desire to
practice euthanasia? In fact they are even speaking
about ending their OWN lives when they reach the age
of 65 or BEFORE if diagnosed with an illness. Some
even admit to stealing the drugs for their own lethal
injection. Think about it. These are the same people
who will determine the value of YOUR life. If they do
not value their own, how can you expect them to value
I am a registered nurse in the St. Paul/ Minneapolis
area with 15 years experience in emergency and
critical care. My knowledge of euthanasia not only
comes from my experience working in the critical care
units throughout the Twin Cities, but also comes from
a personal tragedy and loss in 1995. This is my true
story. My hope is that you will educate others and
protect yourselves and loved ones.
On Monday, February 20th, my grandmother was admitted
to a local Catholic hospital with a fracture above the
left knee. She was alert and orientated upon admission
but became unresponsive after 48 hours and was
transferred to hospice on the fourth day and died upon
I was in Mexico City conducting a pilgrimage and
unable to be at her side so there were many questions
upon my return. The doctors could not tell me the
cause of her death so I began to search for the
answers and was fortunate to obtain the hospital
chart. It then became very clear that my grandmother
had been targeted for euthanasia!
Carefully tracing the events it was evident that my
grandmother became lethargic and unresponsive after
each pain medication. She would awaken between times
saying, "I don't want to die, I want to live to see
Johnny ordained": "I want to see Greta walk." Johnny
was her grandson studying in Rome to be a priest and
Greta was her new great-grandchild. Even though
over-sedation is one of the most common problems with
the elderly she was immediately diagnosed as having a
stroke. When she became comatose a completely hopeless
picture of recovery was portrayed by the nurses and
doctors who reported that she had a stroke, was having
seizures, going in and out of a coma, and was in renal
The truth however can be found in the hospital chart
which indicates that everything was normal! The CAT
scan was negative for stroke or obstruction, the EEG
states "no seizure activity" and all blood work was
normal indicating that she was not in renal failure!
How were we to know that the coma was drug induced and
that all the tests were normal? Why would they lie?
Looking over the chart it is clear that obtaining a
"no code" status was the next essential step in
executing her death. This is an order denying medical
intervention in emergency situations. The "no code"
was aggressively sought by the medical profession from
the moment of her admission but was not granted by my
family until it appeared that she was dying and there
was no hope. Minutes after obtaining the "no code" a
lethal dose of Dilantin (an anti-seizure medication)
was administered intravenously over an 18-hour period.
It put her into a deeper coma, slowing the respiratory
rate and compromising the cardiovascular system
leading to severe hemodynamic instability. The
following day she was transferred to hospice and died
upon arrival. The death certificate reads "Death by
My grandmother had no terminal diagnosis but the
hospice admitting record indicates two doctors signed
their name stating that she was terminally ill and
would die within six months. How was this determined?
The first doctor, who was the director of hospice,
never came to evaluate her or even read the chart.
More interesting is the fact that the second doctor
was on vacation and returned three days after her
death! Obviously these signatures were not obtained
before or even upon her admission to hospice. How can
this be professionally, morally or even legally
acceptable? Can anyone therefore be admitted to
hospice to die? It certainly seems possible especially
if sedated or unresponsive. In fact, this hospice has
recently been under investigation for accepting
hundreds of patients who had no terminal illness.
It Could Happen To You
How can this happen? A serious problem lies in the
definition and interpretation of "terminal illness"
which permits the inclusion of chronic illnesses and
disabilities. Terminal illness is defined as "an
incurable or irreversible illness which produces death
within six months." The fact is that many chronic
illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are
incurable and irreversible and without medical
treatment such as insulin and other medications these
illnesses would also produce death within six months.
Therefore, those with chronic illnesses or
disabilities can be conveniently denied medical
treatment and even food and water to make them
terminal. Typically it is the elderly who arrive in
the hospital that are at the greatest risk. But it
could be ANYONE! Especially those whose life and
suffering is viewed as useless and burdensome.
Difficult to believe? Well it was for our prolife
lawyer until his mother-in-law was admitted to a
hospital several months later for a stroke. She became
"unresponsive" and "comatose" a few days after her
admission. The neurologist wrote an order to transfer
her to hospice refusing an I.V. and tube feeding
staring "this is the most compassionate treatment."
Remembering my story, our lawyer requested the removal
of all narcotics and demanded an I.V. and tube
feeding. This infuriated the neurologist. He began to
accuse the family of being uncompassionate and
inhumane. To prove his point he began a neurological
assessment on the patient. Just then she opened her
eyes and pulling the physician's necktie, forced his
face to hers and said very clearly "Give me some
water!" It was obvious that she was awake, alert and
orientated. He angrily cancelled the transfer to
hospice and ordered a tube feeding and intravenous.
Several weeks later she was discharged and was
exercising on the treadmill! She escaped the death
sentence. Unfortunately many others like my
grandmother have not. A stroke does not make you
terminal but not receiving food and water does!
A clear understanding and definition of euthanasia is
essential for a correct and moral judgment.
Unfortunately the meaning is being altered by those
who hold society's values and by those who seek
financial gain. According to the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith and reaffirmed by Pope John Paul
II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae
euthanasia is defined as "an action or omission which
of itself and by intention causes death, with the
purpose of eliminating all suffering."
The killing in hospitals today is commonly referred to
as "the exit treatment" and disguised by the word
"compassion." Many doctors and nurses honestly believe
that this is the most compassionate treatment for the
elderly, the chronic and terminally ill, especially
those whose suffering is seen as hopeless,
inconvenient and a waste of time or money. Those who
hold this twisted and corrupted idea of compassion
actually believe they are doing good because suffering
has no value and materialism is their god. For
instance, how often have we heard that Medicare and
Medicaid are "running out?" "So why not relieve pain
and lighten the financial burden of our families and
As a result, many patients are intentionally
oversedated and forced to die from dehydration,
starvation or over medication. "Death by natural
causes" will be officially documented on the death
certificate. Did you know that this is the exact same
proclamation on the death certificate of St.
Maximillian Kolbe? Everyone knows however that he died
from a lethal injection in Auschwitz concentration
camp after many days of dehydration and starvation!
Pope John Paul II states clearly in his encyclical
Evangelium Vitae: "Here we are faced with one of the
more alarming symptoms of the 'Culture of Death' which
is advancing above all in prosperous societies, marked
by an attitude of excessive preoccupation with
efficiency and which sees the growing number of
elderly and disabled as intolerable and too
Many souls are being denied the opportunity to
reconcile with God and family members because their
death has been hastened or deliberately taken. This is
a grave and moral injustice. Pope Pius XII in his
Address to an International Group of Physicians on
February 24, 1957 stated, "It is not right to deprive
the dying person of consciousness without a serious
reason." Pope John Paul II confirmed this in
Evangelium Vitae saying, "as they approach death
people ought to be able to satisfy their moral and
family duties, and above all they ought to be able to
prepare in a fully conscious way for their definitive
meeting with God."
Recently the Carmelite Sisters shared this tragic
story of a friend whose husband was euthanized. Her
husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer but was not
expected to die for several months to a year. He had
been away from the Catholic Church and the sacraments.
He also was estranged from his children. One day he
complained of pain that was not relieved by
medication. The wife spoke to the nurse who then
called the doctor. When the doctor arrived he gave an
injection through the intravenous line. The husband
took three breaths and died! The wife screamed, "I did
not ask you to kill my husband!" "We needed time to
reconcile our marriage and family." She continued to
cry, "He needed time to reconcile with God and the
It is evident that euthanasia is being even more
cleverly planned and executed. A very holy priest from
St. Paul was called to the hospital by a nurse to
administer the last sacraments to a hospice patient.
When the priest arrived he was surprised to find the
patient sitting up in the chair! He visited with the
patient approximately a half hour then heard his
confession and administered the last sacraments. Just
before he left the room the patient jumped up in bed
and the nurse administered an injection. Perplexed and
concerned, the good priest called the hospital upon
returning to the rectory. The patient had already
There is a good and legitimate purpose for hospice
units, but how can it ever be morally acceptable to
transfer patients to a unit to die when they have NO
TERMINAL ILLNESS? How can sedating a patient and
refusing a tube feeding and intravenous be considered
compassionate? Dehydration and starvation is not a
painless death! Has this become the Auschwitz of
today? A convenient and economically efficient place
to dump the unwanted, imperfect, and burdensome of our
Would a "living will" prevent these tragic events? The
living will makes you a clear and easy target to be
euthanized. A "living will" has nothing to do with
living. It is your death warrant. It actually gives
permission to facilitate your death by denying medical
treatment. Did you know that it was originally
developed by Luis Kutner in 1967 for the Euthanasia
Society of America? It is the most cost effective tool
for hospitals, insurance companies. Medicare and
Medicaid. Therefore, since 1990 it has been
deceptively packaged and promoted as a patient's right
known as "the Patient Self-determination Act." If
cutting care for those patients who ask for it wasn't
so successful in saving money and controlling the
budget, why then did it originate in the Senate
Finance Committee and why was it supported by the
House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health? These are
finance committees whose only interest is controlling
the budget! It is obvious that the living will is all
about saving money, not your life!
Many people fear the loss of control that comes with
illness and hospitalization. Tragically, they are
deceived in thinking that the "living will" protects
them and restores this control in their lives. Nothing
could be further from the truth. No one knows the
exact condition in which they will be admitted to the
hospital. The "living will" is written in very broad
terms leaving it open to the interpretation of medical
professionals and others who stand to benefit from
your demise. Remember your best interests or your
interpretation may not be theirs! Can you imagine
writing general instructions or signing a legal
contract for the care of your Mercedes Benz several
years before any problem occurs? "Please do not give
oil or gas"; "If in three days it can not be fixed
stop everything and trash the car." How absurd and
ridiculous! It takes time to diagnose and treat even
car problems! If we would not foolishly demand this
for a car then how can we demand it for a human life
which has an eternal value?
Recently, a 70-year-old was admitted through the
emergency room in respiratory distress. He was placed
on a ventilator and transported to the intensive care
unit. He was awake, alert and orientated anxiously
writing notes: "I don't want to die": "I changed my
mind": and "Please don't take me off the machine." He
was very persistent and urgent with his pleading. I
soon understood why! His family and physicians were
meeting to discuss a serious problem. He had signed a
"living will" declaring that he did not want "any
extraordinary measures." He was now viewed as
"incapable" of making any decisions and they wanted to
follow his wishes as stated in the legal document!
Very convenient for those who do not want their
inheritance spent on hospital costs and for those who
do not want to be bothered with a "useless burden" to
Today hospitals and health care facilities are
required to ask patients if they have a living will or
lose government funding! The question is proposed in
such a way to create pressure on patients so that they
think it is something good, desirable and necessary.
"Do you know that you have a right in the state of
Minnesota to possess a living will?" Please remember
that the living will targets you for euthanasia by
denying you medical treatment. Living wills kill: they
do not protect you. Instead, I urge you to obtain a
copy of "The Protective Medical Decisions Document"
(PMDD) from the International Anti-Euthanasia Task
Force, www.internationaltaskforce.org P.O. Box 756,
Steubenville, Ohio 43952. Ph: 740-282-3810. Sign it
and keep it among your records. Please get rid of your
Can you or a loved one be targeted for euthanasia
without a living will? The course of events and
treatment in my grandmother's short hospitalization
are documented. She did not have a living will. Please
know the following steps-it could save your loved
1) Oversedation Causing Lethargy And Unresponsiveness
Difficulty or inability to awaken a patient.
Some patients, especially the elderly, are very
sensitive to pain medications which are slowly
metabolized by the liver. Toxic levels build quickly
with very small doses commonly producing lethargy and
unresponsiveness. Elderly patients require
approximately 20% less of the normal adult doses.
2) A Hopeless Picture Of Any Recovery The patient
appears to be comatose and dying. The medical staff
affirms this with overwhelming reports and statements.
3) No Code Status Also Referred To As DNR/DNI (do not
resuscitate/ do not intubate)-The consent is obtained
from the family. It is a request to deny a patient
delivered emergency care in a life-threatening
4) Lethal Doses Of Dilantin Or Narcotics-(morphine)
This will hasten the death, shortening the hospital
stay and expenses.
5) Transfer To Hospice Without Tube Feeding Or
Intravenous Due to sedation and inability to eat or
drink the patient will die of dehydration and
If a loved one is lethargic or unresponsive demand to
see the medical chart and medications sheet. If you do
not understand the terminology and medications,
consult a pharmacist. A computer printout is available
at pharmacies on most medications. If you suspect over
sedation speak to a prolife doctor or nurse and then
ask to stop all narcotics and wait at least for 48
hours to see if there is any improvement. Contact
prolife organizations such as National Right to Life
Committee to obtain information and local phone
numbers of prolife organizations, doctors, nurses or
lawyers in your area: National Right to Life
http://www.nrlc.org/default.html 512 10th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004; 202-626-8820.
Think twice before giving consent to a "no code
status." It has become too convenient for those nurses
and doctors who hasten the death of their patients!
Furthermore, it not only denies emergency medical
treatment but many professionals also deny the
following: antibiotics for pneumonia: medications and
assistance to choking victims!
If your loved one is being transferred to hospice DO
NOT assume there is a terminal illness. Ask to see the
chart especially in regards to unresponsive elderly
and comatose patients. Remember that "comatose" is not
a terminal illness, but not receiving food and water
will make anyone terminal! Always ask for a second
opinion. Consult with prolife nurses or doctors.
If you need assistance in finding a prolife doctor,
information, or just need to discuss your concerns on
a particular case, please contact The Moscati
Institute; 2901 Branch Street: Duluth MN 55812 Ph:
Your life may be in danger especially if you are over
65 and admitted to the hospital. Euthanasia is not
legal in the United States but is being practiced.
Recently, Dr. Kevorkian in a TV interview said, "Why
is everyone focused on me? There are many more doctors
doing the same thing!" A pediatric cardiologist who
interviews students for a prominent medical school on
the east coast recently reported that more than 95
percent agreed with Dr. Kevorkian's practices. The
culture of death has permeated the minds of our
doctors before they enter medical school! Obviously
euthanasia is already being taught through the media,
entertainment, primary and secondary schools and even
in our families!
Euthanasia is embraced by the lack of values in our
society. It is the result of a culture that has
accepted and promoted the killing of unborn children.
The value of life is the extent of the pleasure and
well being it brings. Suffering, imperfection,
illness, and inefficiency are viewed as unbearable
setbacks, useless and burdensome. Death is viewed as a
"rightful liberation." As a result, euthanasia is
packaged to appear desirable and then sold to the
unsuspecting public as the "living will," "death with
dignity" and "the right to die." Is it not logical
that those who can kill the child in the womb will
also kill their parents in their old age for the same
reasons of convenience, compassion, money etc. . . .?
We should think twice about promoting euthanasia by
saying: "I hope there is a Kevorkian around when I get
older," or "Just shoot me if I ever become like that."
There is a great spiritual value to suffering. Every
human life must be valued and supported as a precious
gift. We cannot afford to patronize movies, TV
programs, businesses or any forms of entertainment
that promote, encourage and support the killing of
innocent life. Prolife political candidates deserve
our support and votes. It is imperative to be
informed. We cannot fight what we do not know or do
not see. You can contact Human Life International and
ask for their monthly newsletter. Human Life
International; 4 Family Life; Front Royal, VA 22630;
phone: 540-635-7884: FAX: 540-636-7363.
More importantly, we must work to convince government
officials and medical professionals to protect all
human life from the moment of conception to natural
death. You have escaped death by abortion but you are
all being targeted for euthanasia!
Miss Mary Therese Helmueller, R.N. lives and works in
the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She is a registered
nurse with fifteen years of experience in emergency
and critical care. This is her first article in HPR.
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