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Disability groups say California euthanasia law discriminates: NPR



For some people with disabilities, the pandemic has raised fears that they will not be able to get the medical care they need. Now the groups are saying California’s euthanasia law also devalues ​​their lives, and they’ve filed a lawsuit.

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For some people with disabilities, the pandemic has raised fears that they will not be able to get the medical care they need. Now the groups are saying California’s euthanasia law also devalues ​​their lives, and they’ve filed a lawsuit.

Fanatic Studio/Gary Waters via Getty Images

A group of people with disabilities are suing to overturn California’s assisted suicide law, saying the bias they’ve faced trying to get medical help during the pandemic shows the system is too fast to suggest death as an appropriate option. outcome.

V Criminal case initiated against government officials and departmentsargues that California’s 7-year-old law, which allows terminally ill people to choose lethal drugs to commit suicide – End-of-life option law – puts people with disabilities at greater risk of being forced into assisted suicide.

The lawsuit states that people with disabilities are often denied the medical care they need and, as a result, may quickly seek help for suicide as an option.

Ingrid Tischer, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, says she experienced it firsthand.

Tischer, who lives with a form of muscular dystrophy, has been around doctors all her life. In 2021, at the height of the pandemic, Tischer was hospitalized with pneumonia. When she asked for therapy to restore her strength, the doctor said it was not suitable.

“He kind of looked at me and said, ‘Well, I mean, look at you, there’s nothing we can do for you. And you knew for a long time that this would happen. So why are you surprised? Tischer. speaks.

Tischer, then 55, says she was devastated. She thought she was in danger of the end of her life. “For me, it was a very strong blow in the stomach,” she says.

If the doctor had told her that she should apply for the California assisted suicide law, she might well have agreed, she said.

No doctor has ever suggested this to Tischer. The lawsuit does not mention cases of such coercion.

Instead, Tischer went to another doctor, who gave her a different diagnosis. She left the hospital and recovered.

Tischer and the other plaintiffs fear subtle discrimination, which Michael Biehn, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, calls “management.” Bien says that people who have difficulty getting the help they need may instead feel compelled to consider euthanasia as the best option.

Ingrid Tischer is one of the named plaintiffs in a California lawsuit filed this week that challenges the legality of the state’s 7-year-old end-of-life options law.

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Christopher Egusa

Ingrid Tischer is one of the named plaintiffs in a California lawsuit filed this week that challenges the legality of the state’s 7-year-old end-of-life options law.

Christopher Egusa

The end-of-life option law requires people to make a clear choice to end their lives. But, Bien argues, the choice of people with disabilities is overshadowed by whether they receive the medical care and support that helps them live.

“Is it really a choice,” Bien asks, “when society makes it very difficult to access home health care?”

Many people with disabilities in California have to wait a long time—often months—to receive direct support from a specialist who will provide home-based support that will enable them to live independently. California is known to have a generous program. But conclusion of the state auditor in 2021 found that even when people participate in a home support program, about 40,000 people per month do not receive all the care they need. For a person with quadriplegia, getting a companion to help them get in and out of bed can decide whether they can go to school or work and stay out of a nursing home.

Lonnie VanHook, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, is paraplegic and needs around the clock assistance, including people who can move him in a bed or wheelchair, to prevent painful bedsores. But when he couldn’t get enough care hours, he became depressed and contemplated assisted suicide.

Jules Steimnitz, a rehabilitation physician, calls it “the diagnosis of a lack of attendants when you can’t hire attendants.” Steimnitz, who first treated VanHook over three decades ago, kept in touch and helped him overcome this desperation. “That is his main problem. This is what causes his depression. He doesn’t need suicide. He needs help.”

“Over the years, it’s been an ongoing uphill battle” to get that help, VanHook told NPR. “It’s mental exhaustion. It’s exhausting.”

The lawsuit alleges that VanHook, as a black man with little income, is at increased risk due to racial disparities in health care.

The limitations of health systems became more apparent early in the pandemic. When healthcare workers feared a possible shortage of ventilators and other treatments, state-issued guidelines – the so-called “crisis care standards” – which sometimes gave doctors and hospitals permission to put the disabled and the elderly at the end of the line if care was insufficient.

The US Department of Health and Human Services intervened and stopped him.

Among the several states that have agreed to rewrite their sorting rules are: Tennessee revised rules that allow withholding care for people who are already on a ventilator, people with advanced neuromuscular diseases such as ALS, and some people with dementia and traumatic brain injury. Officials in Pennsylvania changed the standards by which hospitals can stop treating some people with chronic lung disease or cancer. Alabama rewrote rules that allowed people with “moderate to severe dementia” to be denied ventilators.

People working on California’s euthanasia law admit that it’s often difficult for people with disabilities to get proper medical care, but they say the state’s end-of-life law is designed to avoid precisely this kind of discrimination.

“Having a disability does not qualify for death care,” says Nathan Fairman, a psychiatrist and palliative care physician who oversees cases at UC Davis Health in Sacramento. “Someone with a disability and end-stage cancer could potentially qualify. And they will have to go through all the security measures set out in the law.”

He notes that two doctors must certify that someone is terminally ill and mentally capable in order to choose death. Health care systems like his, Fairman says, add psychological and other assessments outside of state law to further protect against abuse.

Oregon went first, followed by other states.

The lawsuit was filed by four disability advocacy groups – the United Spine Association, which advocates for veterans and others with spinal cord injuries; Nor is the Patients’ Rights Institute, two groups opposed to assisted suicide laws, yet dead; and CALIF, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization run by people with disabilities.

A spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, an agency that keeps statistics on who resorts to the assisted suicide law, said it “does not comment on lawsuits.”

Oregon was the first state to pass a right to die law in 1997. Washington State was next in 2009. Since then, such laws have spread rapidly. Currently, 10 states and the District of Columbia allow assisted suicide for terminally ill people who are able to make that choice.

In California, from 2016, when the law went into effect, until the end of 2021, 3,766 people received prescriptions for drugs, and according to the latest data, 64.3% of them took these pills. annual report California Department of Public Health.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that the state’s assisted suicide law violates procedural guarantees guaranteed by the US Constitution and violates the anti-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Some want to use the law to kill themselves, but they can’t

But that’s not the only challenge to the law under the ADA. Dr. Lonnie Shavelson, supporter of euthanasia laws, recently in Southern California on behalf of disabled people who want to use the law to commit suicide but cannot.

The End of Life Alternatives Act states that a person receiving lethal drugs must be able to take these pills on their own. This is a common defense in assisted suicide laws to prevent coercion by family members or others.

But Shavelson, co-founder of the American Academy of Clinicians for the Care of the Dying, says it ends up discriminating against some people who clearly want to use the law but can’t take the pill themselves due to disease progression. their disease, for example, in people with ALS and Parkinson’s disease.

They are being denied “the same access to the law that healthy people get because they can’t self-medicate,” he says. “We denied them assistance with a legal medical procedure.”

Shavelson’s lawsuit was dismissed by one U.S. District Court in California and is currently pending.

Today, Ingrid Tischer is back at work helping nonprofits raise funds. She looks back to a time when she was hospitalized two years ago, breathing hard and ready to give up. She says she was driven by fear at the time—of dying or moving to a nursing home and the “mass of misplaced guilt” that she became a burden on her husband. “I just wanted to leave,” she says. “I don’t think I was thinking very clearly.”

But Tischer had resources that turned her around: a supportive spouse, a solid family income, a home, reliable health insurance, and her extensive personal experience in the medical system.

“There are many people in this world who are much more vulnerable than I am,” she says, and as a result, in her opinion, they are more likely to seek euthanasia.

This story was edited by Robert Little. It was produced by Meg Anderson.


Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder Starts Nonprofit Cannabis Company



One of the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s moved from ice cream to cannabis with a social mission.

WILLISTON, Virginia. — One of Ben’s co-founders & Jerry’s has moved from ice cream to cannabis with a social mission.

Ben Cohen launched Ben’s Best Blnz, a non-profit cannabis line with a stated mission to help right the wrongs of the drug war. The company says on its website that 80% of its profits will go to grants for black cannabis entrepreneurs, with the remainder split equally between the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and the Last Prisoner National Project, which works to free people imprisoned in prison for cannabis-related crimes. .

“The War on Drugs (first named as such by President Richard Nixon) is targeting low-income blacks and browns through police harassment, discriminatory prosecutions, and discriminatory sentencing,” the website says. “That’s why, despite using marijuana at the same rate, blacks are 4 times more likely to get arrested than whites.”

Ben’s Best Blnz, or B3, says it licenses its formulas, packaging, trademarks and marketing materials to commercial enterprises that pay royalties. After expenses are deducted, royalties are donated to the cause.

Cannabis is grown in soil without the use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, the website says.

B3 products, including pre-rolled joints with lower levels of the psychoactive compound THC, are expected to be available in cannabis stores in Vermont next month.

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When Cancer and Pregnancy Intersect, It’s Depressing in Every Way – We Need Better Support | Naama Karlin



I discovered a lump in my breasts in my second trimester. This was my first pregnancy, and since there was no breast cancer in my family, I was not alarmed by this change. When I complained to my antenatal team via Telehealth (I got pregnant during the Delta Covid wave in Sydney) they said it could be a blocked milk duct. No one suggested I come in for a physical or suggested that the changes in my breasts were related to anything other than pregnancy.

My suspicions arose only after my general practitioner examined me as part of a standard doctor’s visit. He sent me for an emergency ultrasound. A week later, I was admitted for a biopsy at the oncology center. After receiving the biopsy result a few days before Christmas, the reality hit me: I was pregnant with cancer.

Although cancer diagnoses during pregnancy are considered rare, study showed that melanoma and breast cancer are among the two most common cancers diagnosed during pregnancy in Australia. Because of its prevalence, most research is focused on gestational breast cancer (GBC), which I was diagnosed with at 29 weeks.

Pregnant women diagnosed with GBC often delay seeking medical attention because they believe their symptoms are due to natural changes in their body, such as breast pain and tissue changes due to pregnancy hormones. This delay, and the common assumption that any breast change during pregnancy is hormonal and normal, is one reason why GBC may be more pronounced at onset (larger tumor size and lymph node involvement) than non-GBC. according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RAKGP). Despite the rise in cancer rates during pregnancy, a recent study found that, unfortunately, people with a diagnosis often do not receive the support they need.

I say anxiously because cancer and pregnancy are two major life events, and when they intersect, their combined impact is overwhelming in every way: physical, psychological, financial. Few things make you plan ahead like pregnancy, and nothing makes that future more uncertain than cancer. A recent article stated that, despite its increasing prevalence, the psychosocial problems associated with cancer diagnosis during pregnancy “remain an under-researched topic”. Existing research indicates that those who are pregnant with cancer experience significant stress and require significant supportive care, which is often not met even after the pregnancy is over.

A common theme emerged in my network of women diagnosed with GBC: We felt isolated and even stigmatized by being cancer patients. We felt guilty about being treated during pregnancy, even though we were made clear that chemotherapy was safe. We were worried about an uncertain future. Our experience was exacerbated by rising financial costs. In addition to newborn costs, we now had to account for cancer-related costs, such as specialist fees, break fees, medications, and treatment for side effects.

One area that needs attention is coordination between oncology and antenatal teams. In New South Wales, where I live, babies born to women with GBC (or any other cancer) most likely premature and require additional medical care, such as stays in neonatal care units. In my case, labor had to be induced as our baby’s growth slowed down. While both the antenatal and oncology teams provided exceptional care, coordination between these commands felt unclear at times. It became apparent that some of the antenatal side didn’t know how to “handle” the cancerous part of my pregnancy and delivery. In such an elementary thing as the transfer of medical records in the maternity ward, I was misdiagnosed with cancer. The system was not designed to support patients between two supposedly disparate parts of it. My experience is not unique.

I have been fortunate to receive first class care from my medical team (led by my oncologist who goes the extra mile). But caution should be built into the system already, not by chance. We must ensure that conversations about breastfeeding and fertility after treatment are treated with sensitivity. Invest in training neonatal and postpartum healthcare workers about cytotoxicity. Ensure effective coordination of health systems when it comes to supporting patients with overlapping diagnoses and needs. Make counseling available to pregnant cancer patients and their families. And finally, increase financial support for care. As a young mom undergoing cancer treatment, I relied on charities (such as the Australian Mom’s Wish Foundation and the Hope for Two Network) for ad hoc financial support. I also had to fundraise for immunotherapy treatments that cost over $60,000. It shouldn’t be. Health care and related support must be accessible to all.

Being diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy can be overwhelming, isolating, and daunting. While the study says such diagnoses are rare, it seems like every week a new woman reaches out to us to share her diagnosis and fears. For those who are going through this: you are not alone. Our healthcare system: We need better support and communication with pregnant cancer patients. Now that the stakes are rising, it’s time for meaningful change.

Naama Karlin is a scientist and writer living in the unseen land of Bijigal. Her co-authored book Being Patient: Close Encounters in the World of Cancer (NewSouth Press) is forthcoming.

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Benefits of partnering with a lead generation agency and how to choose the right one




Lead generation is an important aspect of marketing that involves identifying and developing potential customers. A lead generation agency is a specialized firm that helps companies generate new leads and target them through various marketing channels.

These agencies use several techniques such as search engine optimization, email campaigns, social media outreach, content marketing, and other digital strategies to generate qualified leads that can turn into paying customers. Thanks to their knowledge and experience, lead generation agency can create effective campaigns that drive more quality leads into the business’s sales funnel, resulting in increased revenue and customer loyalty.

Benefits of working with a lead generation agency

Partnering with a lead generation agency offers many benefits for companies of all sizes. These benefits include greater dissemination and visibility, access to expertise and resources, and cost savings and efficiency gains.

Increased exposure and visibility

One of the main benefits of partnering with a lead generation company is increased exposure. Lead generation agencies have extensive networks spanning multiple industries and access to databases containing valuable lead information. This data allows them to create targeted campaigns that reach their target audience in the most efficient way. Plus, they have dedicated tools to help them track response rates so they can adjust their campaigns accordingly for maximum success. This type of insight is invaluable when it comes to building awareness for your business or brand.

Access to experience and resources

Lead generation agencies also provide access to expert professionals who have extensive knowledge of generating leads through various channels such as email campaigns, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. These experienced professionals know how to position a product or service to attract potential customers interested in what the business has to offer. In addition, these agencies typically provide additional resources such as marketing automation software, lead scoring tools, and analytics dashboards that help companies improve their lead generation efforts.

Savings and efficiency

Partnering with a lead generation agency can also help companies cut costs and improve process efficiency. By outsourcing lead generation efforts to an experienced agency, businesses can avoid the costs associated with hiring and training new employees, acquiring marketing tools and software, and managing campaigns in-house. Lead generation agencies also have the experience and resources to manage campaigns more effectively, resulting in a higher return on investment (ROI) for the business.

Features of a good lead generation agency

When choosing a lead generation agency, you should pay attention to several key characteristics. These include a comprehensive service package, experienced team members and a proven track record of successful campaigns.

Comprehensive service package

A good lead generation agency will have a comprehensive package of services that covers all aspects of lead generation from strategy development and campaign planning to implementation and results analysis. This type of package ensures that all aspects of a campaign are managed with meticulous attention to every detail so that businesses get the highest possible return on investment (ROI).

Experienced team members

Experienced team members are critical to successful lead generation campaigns. When choosing a lead generation agency, companies should choose a team with proven experience and technical expertise. These team members must also have the creative vision to develop effective campaigns that are specifically tailored to the needs of the business. They need to understand how technology works together with marketing methods so they can deliver maximum campaign reach to target customers.

Proven track record of successful campaigns

An experienced team member is only as good as their performance, so it’s also important to consider their track record in terms of successful past campaigns when choosing an agency. This includes analyzing case studies, testimonials and reviews from other clients in similar industries or markets.

How to choose the right lead generation agency for your business

Choosing the right lead generation agency for your business can be a daunting task. However, reviewing goals and objectives, researching potential agencies, and evaluating cost versus value proposition can help you along the way. It’s also worth noting that when evaluating cost versus value proposition, it’s important to keep in mind that a cheaper agency may not necessarily provide the same level of expertise or deliver the same quality of results as a more expensive agency. Therefore, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of working with a more experienced and successful agency that can provide a higher return on investment.

property values. Manager with a calculator. Real estate investment.

In conclusion, partnering with a lead generation agency is a great way to grow your business’s customer base and increase sales. With their specialized services, businesses can target specific consumer groups, develop strategies for successful lead conversion, and track results. By choosing the right lead generation agency, companies can quickly expand their footprint and accelerate their growth. However, it’s important to keep your goals and objectives in mind, research potential agencies, and evaluate their value against the value proposition before making a decision.

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