Dehydrating a patient to death, known as The Third Way, is extremely common, according to the executive director of Hospice Patients Alliance.
"Hundreds of thousands of patients are killed in the world each year in this manner, and no police or district attorney will act to investigate or prosecute."
These are the alarming words of Ron Panzer, founder and executive director of Hospice Patients Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving the original mission of hospice care and exposing the pervasive problem of "quiet euthanasia" in the hospice industry.
Responding to a reader whose mother did not receive hydration in her final days and died in hospice under distressing circumstances, Panzer wrote, "It is terrible to hear about how your mother died, knowing it does not appear to be anything like a natural death one would expect with good pain management as hospice is supposed to provide."
Dehydrating a patient to death is known as The Third Way, says Panzer. "It's a way of side-stepping the laws against medical killing but assuring just as sure a result: death. It's extremely common."
"Evil has a way of mixing in truth with untruth, partial truth rather than whole truth, or using something appropriate at one time but misusing it at another time. In the 'active phase of dying' — the very, very end — a person does not eat or drink naturally, for he or she is truly dying: The individual's organs and bodily systems are shutting down. At that time, it would be inappropriate to provide food — he or she would choke on it or it would be aspirated into the lungs — and a good amount of fluid would easily go right into the lungs.
"But if one deprives a patient of food and fluid before he or she is at the very, very end, the patient is dying not of their terminal illness, but of dehydration. There is not enough fluid in the circulatory system and it collapses, causing death. It 'looks' peaceful if the patient is sedated, which is often the case nowadays."
Regarding sedation, Panzer warns that "a natural death includes total sedation only if the patient is 'terminally agitated' uncontrollably, dangerously psychotic or delusional, or in severe pain where strong pain medications alone do not adequately manage that pain. To sedate without real agitation is a choice to kill. To dehydrate before the patient cannot take fluids is a choice to kill."
Panzer says that death through The Third Way is "the most censored story in the United States and perhaps the entire world."
And what about the "quality of life" catch-phrase used by some in the medical community?
"Quality of life is the camel's nose within the tent that allows this type of killing," says Panzer. "Society has bought into this due to diligent efforts of the Euthanasia Society of America and its successor organizations through 80 years of work. When food and fluid being provided to a patient was re-classified as 'medical treatment,' euthanasia advocates scored their greatest success in their ongoing efforts to be able to euthanize any patient they wish.
"This is how the abused and neglected — and not brain-dead — Terri Schiavo was murdered with court sanction. The media lied repeatedly and unfailingly about her actual condition."
Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at email@example.com
© Copyright 2010 by Matt C. Abbott