“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Euthanasia and Samuel Golubchuk

The email following this preface note was recently received to me from the American organization called CURE (Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia, http://mysite.verizon.net/cureltd/index.html). The email incorporates an article from the December 26th edition of the Jerusalem Post; it deals with the proposed euthanasia of a Canadian Orthodox Jew named Samuel Golubchuk (84) at the Salvation Army Grace General Hospital in Winnipeg, Canada.

I wrote to hospital officials asking that they intervene and stop the decision by hospital doctors to hasten Mr. Golubchuk's death by detaching his respirator, administering morphine and withdrawing food from him. This action by doctors in the name of futile care will be against the family's wishes.

Not only is this decision to euthanize an old man a violation of his faith, it has incensed the Jewish Community across North America (as you will read in the email below). It should also incense Christians because the euthanasia of Samuel Golubchuk -- in a Christian hospital -- will be a violation of our common Judeo-Christian moral code dating back into antiquity, with God's Commandment "Thou Shalt not kill." (Exodus 21.13. Cf. Genesis 9.6.) The killing of an old man in a Christian hospital is indefensible, and I told hospital officials this.

If you would like to make your voice heard in defence of Mr. Golubchuk (and his family's wishes), send a note to Commissioner John Nelson, President & CEO, Salvation Army Grace General Hospital in Winnipeg, or Dr. Elizabeth Cowden, Chief Medical Officer at the hospital. Fax number for both is 1-204-831-0029.

Now read below the email I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.

Mark Pickup

Copy of CURE email
Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2007 6:44 AM
Subject: [Bioethics] Family Fights Euthanasia Axis' Bid To Murder Samuel Golubchuk

Doctors at Grace General Hospital in Winnipeg, Canada, are waging a legal battle to detach a respirator [ventilator--it assists not assumes breathing] and hasten the death (via morphine and halted feedings) of [i.e,, kill via poisoning and starvation] 84-year-old Orthodox Jew Samuel Golubchuk - against his family's wishes. [May G-d bless them for their stand, but if they aided and abetted the conspiracy to murder Mr Golubchuk, it would still be a crime against humanity.]
The case, which has aroused anger and fear within the North American Jewish community that the case will set a precedent for doctors to have exclusive power over life and death decisions, has been widely reported in the local press. Rabbinical and community leaders worry that budget-conscious hospital systems may decide to shorten patients' lives to save money or free up beds [a.k.a. "checkbook euthanasia."].

Rabbi Asher Bush, chairman of the Halacha Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America (the world's largest organization of Orthodox rabbis), said: "We find this lack of respect for life and the denial of the patient's and family's right to choose life to be most disturbing and against our most sacred principles of the sanctity of human life."

Dr. Leon Zacharowicz, a New York neurologist and co-founder of an international seminar series on Jewish medical ethics run by the Jerusalem Center of Research: Medicine and Halacha, told the Post: "I have... lectured about, discussed and studied end-of-life and critical care matters with some of the greatest physicians and scholars in Judaism [for] more than a decade, and I do not know a single one who would deem what is being proposed by these doctors as acceptable. To my knowledge, the doctors involved have not had a neurologist come in and perform a thorough neurological examination, nor have they obtained serial EEGs and brain-wave tests, both of which might better detect the patient's true level of neurologic function and might help exclude reversible neurological conditions. The Hippocratic Oath, which doctors have taken for millennia upon graduation, clearly states: 'I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.'" [No doubt, that is why the Hippocratic Oath is being reworded--or even jettisoned--in many medical schools.]

Prof. Shimon Glick, a leading Israeli medical ethics expert and former dean if Ben-Gurion University's Health Sciences Faculty, commented: "From a halachic point of view, removing a feeding tube from a patient who has any brain function is active euthanasia, equivalent to murder ... But here, in addition, unless the patient has specifically indicated by advance directive that such is his desire, one has a violation of the patient's autonomy, as well."

The US Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists discussed the case earlier this week at its annual meeting in New York, passing a resolution of grave concern about this case. Agudath Israel of America has also expressed its concern. The Orthodox Golubchuk family has gone to court to sue the hospital and doctors in a last-ditch attempt to stop active euthanasia. The hospital says the patient suffers from "minimal brain function." The family lawyer says the hospital has not conducted an electrocardiogram or asked a neurologist to determine his level of consciousness and that turning off the respirator against his will should be regarded as "assault."

The Golubchuks' lawyer also said the patient is not "lower brain dead," [so-called "brain death" is a legal fiction coined to promote the organ trade and euthanasia], meaning his heart beats on its own and he even holds his relatives' hands.

According to a national Canadian survey of over 1,000 adults, two-thirds support the family on the right of patients and their legal guardians to make decisions on ethical issues such as quality vs. sanctity of life.

A lawyer representing one of the hospital doctors said that Canadian courts have ruled that the removal of a respirator by hospital staff does not constitute assault, as it is only a matter of withdrawing treatment and is a daily and acceptable practice in Canadian hospitals. [In other words, if the law sanctions murder, it is "acceptable"--logic straight out of the Third Reich!]

Another hospital lawyer told the court that doctors "have the sole right to make decisions about treatment - even if it goes against a patient's religious beliefs." [The fact that the Decalogue condemns murder, does not confine it to a "religious belief." All civilized people and societies should condemn the killing of the innocent.] Golubchuk's doctors claim he is in pain, and that if they continue to perform invasive procedures, they could be involved in "abuse." [Euthanasians always claim to be "mercy" killers, but those who kill are scarcely scrupulous when it comes to telling the truth.]

(Judy Siegel-Itzkovitch,"Family Battles Plan To Turn Off Father's Respirator," Jerusalem Post, December 26, 2007; bracketted comments by CURE]Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia ](CURE) ... Caring When Care Is Critical

Additional reading at "Family Fights To Keep 84 year old on Life Support, CTV News Online, 17 December 2007.(http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071217/Golubchuk_alive_071217/20071217?hub=TopStories)

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