The following comes from a Jan. 21 release sent by California Seniors Against Legalizing Euthanasia.

Clinical psychologist Mark Hoffman, spokesman for California Seniors Against Legalizing Euthanasia, today asked lawmakers to look more carefully at the idea of authorizing 3rd party agents to be involved in suicide.

“This practice has been discouraged and prohibited by law for centuries and for good reason. The abuses documented in Oregon, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland are but the tip of the iceberg.”

(See exhaustive documentation here:

The tragic personal story of Brittany Maynard and her husband Dan Diaz, actually illustrates how easily such actions can be romanticized, but fails to recognize the legal implications.

Mr. Diaz displays all of the classic symptoms of family members who may have ‘conflicted’ emotions and what psychologists have long underscored – the genuine risk of ‘conflicted motives.’

Advocates of sound hospice practice understand what the law has recognized for centuries, the very real risk of subtly-orchestrated, ‘manipulated suicide’. Such manipulation may not even be conscious. But will there be benefit that accrues to the ‘assistant’?  Aside from, in the familial setting, probability of inheritance, the most immediate ‘relief’ granted to the family caregiver is ‘I won’t have to keep on doing this, I can get on with my life.”

Good hospice (as pioneered at St.Christopher’s Hospice in London) knows that with proper intervention, the resources are available to kill pain, both physical and emotional pain. That is the real goal and purpose of good hospice. One does not need to kill the patient to ‘kill pain’. The expert on death and dying Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was openly opposed to voluntary euthanasia for this very reason.

An express desire for suicide, as in all such requests, is the number one indicator of emotional depression. It is a cry for emotional help, which as Kubler-Ross’s book points out, is very much necessary and available with good counseling. Kubler-Ross’ book, On Death and Dying was written precisely to point out that classic depression is extremely common when given a terminal diagnosis.  If there is physical pain, there are very good – even non-opiodal medicines available . You can kill the pain without killing the patient.

Mr. Diaz clearly did not receive proper hospice counseling. St Christopher’s training points out that often the surviving family members need emotional counseling – sometimes even more so than the patient – so that they don’t send the ‘wrong messages’ when patients express their depression.

Apparently neither Ms. Maynard nor Mr. Diaz had adequate counseling or the proper interventions. Instead Mr. Diaz actually went out and purchased the poison and encouraged the lethal action. He is being praised. but did he benefit in anyway?

Should we change the law based on this case; based on these facts? If so, we need to look at this case a LOT more carefully. It has many problematic earmarks of ‘assisted ‘cajoled’ suicide’ and we have seen this pattern before.   The day before the killing (suicide is literally a ‘self-killing) Brittany publicly declared that she changed her mind. Who talked her back into it!

The change in the law being proposed today removes investigation of, and culpability for, outside agents’ involvement in ‘suicide’. This is an extremely dangerous loss of current legal protection from emotionally-motivated family members, as well as overworked physicians. Or in the case of Kevorkian-types, from an ideologically determined physician who killed psychosomatic patients.

Ultimately ‘assisted suicide” laws are not designed for those we care for, but for those we no longer wish to care for.

More information is available at