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home : features : arts & media November 23, 2017


12/15/2016
Video featuring terminally ill brings attention to assisted suicide
Dennis Castellano, who was diagnosed four years ago with a stage 4 brain and spinal cord cancer and given only weeks to live, speaks out against assisted suicide Oct. 20 in a new video produced by the Diocese of Trenton. Castellano’s tumor is still present, but he is currently in stable condition.

Dennis Castellano, who was diagnosed four years ago with a stage 4 brain and spinal cord cancer and given only weeks to live, speaks out against assisted suicide Oct. 20 in a new video produced by the Diocese of Trenton. Castellano’s tumor is still present, but he is currently in stable condition.


Compiled from staff reports

The Diocese of Trenton has produced a video to help voters understand what is at stake with the assisted suicide bill currently before the state Senate.

Known as the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act,” bill A2451/S2474 would allow physicians to prescribe medications to terminally ill patients in order for them to end their own lives. The legislation, which passed the state Assembly in October, could be up for a vote in the Senate as early as Jan. 9 or Jan. 12.

Contact Your State Lawmakers to Stop A2451/S2474

The video is composed of testimony from the terminally ill, disability advocates and health care representatives who spoke out against the bill during an Advocacy Day held Oct. 20 in the State House Annex, Trenton.

To view the video, go to https://youtu.be/mQsUylHKa6E. The Diocese’s Office of Communication and Media, Department of Multimedia Production, took the lead in producing the video, with cooperation from The Monitor.

“Making the physician an active participant in the suicide of patients is in direct opposition to the Hippocratic Oath,” testifies Dr. Matthew Suh, a surgeon and oncologist with practices in Denville and Newton.

Sarah Steele, who battled aggressive stage 3 brain cancer for years with surgeries and other treatment, is still considered terminal, despite her current stable condition. The tumor is still present.

“If I have a recurrence, I will need treatment,” Steele says in the video. “My understanding is that [if this bill passes], the insurance companies can choose not to cover me, because it’s too expensive when they can just give me the assisted suicide option.”

Though the bill provides that a caregiver, guardian or health care representative would not be authorized to take any life-ending action without the patient’s request, disability advocate Kate Blisard has concerns.

“Many of us are poor and uneducated,” she says. “We rely on the government not only for food and housing, but also for health care. If this bill passes, the lives of many with disabilities will end without their consent through mistakes and abuses that can’t be taken back.”

Pro-life and coalition leaders throughout the state are calling for those to oppose the bill by contacting their legislators at DioceseofTrenton.org/act-now-stop-assisted-suicide/.

 



Related Stories:
• Brain cancer survivor lends voice to campaign against assisted suicide
• State Assembly passes assisted-suicide bill
• Doctors, patients, testify against N.J. bill they call 'state-sanctioned suicide'
• Assisted suicide legislation going to state Senate after passing committee
• N.J. bishops to senators: Don't legalize assisted suicide
• D.C. mayor signs assisted suicide bill similar to legislation pending in N.J.




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