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McCoskrie: Euthanasia – we don’t need it

first_imgManukau Courier 30 November 2016Family First Comment: The Manukau Courier kindly gave us the opportunity to respond to Louisa Wall’s piece promoting assisted suicide. OPINION: Opposing euthanasia does not mean that a person opposes compassion.Patients facing death have a fundamental human right – a right to receive the very best palliative care, love and support that we can give to alleviate the ‘intolerable suffering’ that they fear. This is real death with dignity. Assisting suicide is not the answer.Assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.Patients, even those without a terminal illness, may come to feel euthanasia would be “the right thing to do”, they have “had a good innings”, and they do not want to be a “burden” to their nearest and dearest. It won’t be about the ‘right to die’ but the ‘duty to die’.Those concerned about the rights of people with disabilities are right to be concerned. A disability rights group in NZ said “There are endless ways of telling disabled people time and time again that their life has no value.”One of the countries to decriminalise euthanasia has been the Netherlands. Professor Theo Boer was a member of the Dutch Regional Euthanasia Commission for nine years, during which he was involved in reviewing 4,000 cases. He admitted to being a strong supporter of euthanasia and argued that there was no slippery slope. However, by 2014 he had a complete change of mind. He said “Whereas in the first years after 2002 hardly any patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia appear in reports, these numbers are now sharply on the rise. Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved. Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades.”The majority of the medical profession and national medical associations around the world have been resolutely against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.Euthanasia would also send a conflicting message to young people and our communities about suicide and the value of life.One of the main reasons that politicians in NZ have rejected previous attempts to decriminalise euthanasia is that they realised that the safeguards, while sounding good, would not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people including the disabled, elderly, depressed or anxious, and those who feel themselves to be a burden or are under financial pressure.The international evidence backs up these concerns, and explains why so few countries have made any changes to the law around this issue.We simply need to ensure a palliative care regime in NZ that is fully funded and world class. That’s where the politicians’ focus should be.– Bob McCoskrie is the National Director of Family First and a Manurewa resident. Go to manukaucourier.co.nz to read Manurewa MP Louisa Wall’s perspective on her Authorised Dying Bill.http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/87019781/mccoskrie-euthanasia–we-dont-need-itWall: Giving people a choice in their deathManukau Courier 30 November 2016OPINION: In June 2015 in the High Court at Wellington Justice Collins decided that Lecretia Seales’ doctor would be likely to be prosecuted under the Crimes Act if she helped her to die, and that New Zealand’s Bill of Rights Act does not provide for assisted dying.Justice Collins stated in conclusion that –“Although Ms Seales has not obtained the outcomes she sought, she has selflessly provided a forum to clarify important aspects of New Zealand law.  The complex legal, philosophical, moral and clinical issues raised by Ms Seales’ proceedings can only be addressed by Parliament passing legislation to amend the effect of the Crimes Act.”Therefore, on 18 November 2016 at the Health Select Committee hearing on the petition of Hon. Maryan Street and 8,974 others, Professor Mark Henaghan and I tabled an Authorised Dying Bill that we have been working on since the High Court decision.The Authorised Dying Bill proposes a legal process for an application to be made to an independent ethics committee by a mentally competent adult who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is expected to die within 12 months.  The ethics committee would be comprised of experts in diagnostic medicine, psychiatry, ethics, Maori tikanga, disability, elderly care and law.  The applicant must have been fully informed of all options in respect of their terminal illness and the ethics committee is provided with their full medical records.  It is then for the committee to determine whether to grant approval and to determine the appropriate procedure to carry out that approval.  It is a process that allows a person facing death to have an option of choosing the manner and time of that death.An ethical question this process seeks to address is can society do harm to a person with a terminal illness who is facing death by allowing them to choose when and how they die with the support of an authorised medical practitioner?READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/87019852/wall-giving-people-a-choice-in-their-deathlast_img read more

Funke Oshonaike: Return of the African Table Tennis Queen

first_imgAfter doubts about Nigeria’s table tennis team’s participation in the recently concluded African Championships in Morocco, due to lack of funds, 42-year Olufunke Oshonaike sponsored herself to the championship and also proved that age is just a number as she emerged the new African women’s table tennis champion. This victory is coming 16 years after she first won the coveted African title. Kunle Adewale reportsLast Sunday, Olufunke Oshonaike emerged the new African women’s table tennis champion after overpowering her Egyptian opponent, Dina Meshref in a keenly contested game to win Nigeria’s second title at the African Championships in Morocco. “I knew it was going to be tough because Meshref was the African champion and she had been unbeaten in the last two years. I just told myself to go out there and have fun and show my experience. When it started working, I gained more confidence.“But when the match was 2-2, my coach, Segun Toriola, told me not to give up and I kept on going and it worked for me at last. This victory means a lot to me; that I can still become African champion at my age. It shows that nothing is impossible regardless of age inasmuch as you put your mind to it. I am so happy despite the challenges of making it to Morocco. I feel great and I am so excited that I can still do it. This is also an inspiration for girls; no matter your age, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to in life. “It means a lot to me after a long time of waiting. I never expected it. I never even dreamt about it. It was like as if I’m still dreaming,” an elated Oshonaike said after the gameThe six times Olympian said her feat in Morocco was a lesson to up-coming ping pongers.“My victory in Morocco is a lesson to the young ones that they should not give up irrespective of the challenges they are facing in the country. A lot of things are happening in Nigeria that could frustrate one, but still they should not give up. Forget about what the coaches are doing or what the country is doing to you, just be focused and love and enjoy what you are doing and surely, you will get there one day. Even when you are married with kids, you can still get to where you want to get to.”She has kind words for the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, NTTF, Enitan Oshodi.“I’m so happy that he is at the helms of affairs of table tennis in Nigeria. If not for him, I would have thrown-in the towel. He was the one that really encouraged me to play in the championship and I would like to thank him for everything he has done for table tennis in the country. However, he alone cannot do it, the sports ministry should work more and encourage more sponsors and help take table tennis to what it used to be before, so that we can our table tennis glory back from the Egyptians.“Things were not the way it used to be when we started the game as a young schoolgirl years back. Then, there were a lot a competitions, which kept us busy and also helped to improve our skills, but not so any more. This is very unfortunate and its really taking its toll on the upcoming players; it’s the main reason table tennis in Nigeria is going down every now and then,” the German-based player.Asked when she hopes to quit the game, Oshonaike said: I’m not going to stop playing until I find anybody that could beat me. Until the young girls are ready to take over and if they are not ready, I’ll keep on playing for my country. After all, my family and children are not disturbing me. They love seeing me play. But as soon as I see any serious contender, I’ll throw-in the towel and take a bow.”The player is hoping to one day, coach the national team after her career which she admitted was at its twilight if the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation deemed it fit to contract her as a coach. “I would gladly accept the offer to coach the country if it would mean adding quality to Nigerian table tennis.  After all, I’m over 40 years with lots of experience in the game during my long stay abroad. I understand those areas many Nigerian players are lacking which have in most cases prevented them from rising to the world stage in the game,” she noted.Her feat however did not go unnoticed as the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, advised Nigerian athletes to emulate the performance of Oshonaike.In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Nneka Anibeze, the minister said her performance at the just concluded ITTF Africa Senior Championship in Agadir, Morocco, was remarkable and a pride to the nation. He noted with satisfaction that Oshonaike reclaimed her African women’s singles title at the Championships 24 years after winning it. Dalung said that the ability of Oshonaike to remain competitive at the continental stage at 41 years, was proof that an athlete could remain relevant for a long time if he or she was disciplined. He added that Oshonaike’s performance in the competition where she won the mixed doubles silver alongside Segun Toriola and a gold medal in the women singles was a pointer to that fact.“There is nothing like impossible with the right levels of preparation, mental strength and the desire to win,’’ he said.He called on other sport federations to emulate the “self-sufficient stance” of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, stressing the need for sports federations to establish vibrant marketing department saddled with sourcing for funds to run their activities while the government would continue to create the enabling environment for sports to thrive.For every glorious career, there is always a starting point; Oshonaike’s foray into table tennis began at her teenage years in elementary school in the streets of Somolu, a bustling town in Lagos State. At that age of her life, passion for the sports helped to water the ground for this life expedition. While in Somolu, Oshonaike started developing this potential which she describes as a ‘talent from God’ using a makeshift table and soak away slabs to play the game with her elder brother.From there, the ship took sail to her secondary school, where she started representing the school at competitions, earning her awards and recognition from the school principal, who recognised this budding talent and decided to propel her to greatness. This opportunity did not only launch her to limelight, but set her apart as a rare talent.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

How Mariners fans will remember Felix Hernandez

first_imgDuring his prime, Felix was one of the top pitchers in baseball. He won the Cy Young in 2010 and finished in the top four in Cy Young voting three other seasons. Hernandez also had a sub-2.50 ERA three times, six All-Star nods and notched a perfect game in 2012. A team could have unloaded starters and key farm pieces to try to lure the right-hander into spearheading a postseason rotation. Though his name would occasionally come up in longshot trade rumors, nothing ever materialized. He was destined to be a Mariner for the long haul.Hernandez will be known as a guy who went about his business, never complained about his team’s struggles, and poured everything he had into an organization that loved him endlessly. If sports are a business, King Felix is the quintessential employee. He’s everything Seattle could have imagined and then some.That’s how I’ll remember Felix Hernandez. MORE: MLB playoffs 2019: Bracket, dates, times, TV channelsHernandez is hardly the pitcher he once was, but T-Mobile Park showered him with an honorable sendoff in an emotional and nostalgic evening in Seattle. As for me, it’s impossible to comprehend that Felix Hernandez’s time in Seattle is likely finished.There won’t be the sea of yellow in King’s Court shouting for a strikeout during a two-strike count. There won’t be the blaring of the sing-along chorus in Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” when the King makes his pregame trek to the mound. There won’t be the raw and fiery look on his face when a defender makes an inning-ending play that ignites the home crowd.His legacy isn’t going anywhere, but those memories that we might have taken for granted are now behind us.King Felix means everything to Seattle, and after 15 years with the Mariners organization it’s safe to say Seattle means everything to him.Without living in the Pacific Northwest or being a diehard Mariners fan, it’s difficult to understand how this one player captured the hearts of an entire fanbase. “Not gonna lie, a tear came to my eye last night as he left the field,” a friend of mine wrote in a text shortly after Hernandez’s last start. The two of us grew up watching the Mariners religiously and supported Hernandez as if we knew him personally. Our backyard Wiffle Ball games would feature overexaggerated iterations of Felix’s iconic hip turn on his pitches. I remember firing up “MLB: The Show” with Hernandez on the bump against the worst-hitting teams in the game in hopes of pulling off a perfect game or a no-hitter. There were countless seasons when any remaining excitement for the Mariners was lost by the All-Star break. We always knew that every fifth game would be worth watching, though.Yes, it’s the all-too-familiar story of a franchise player appearing in his last game, but it feels like more than that with Hernandez. Fans my age grew up with Felix; he’s our generational star. He’s the reason I kept a transistor radio under my pillow in grade school to hear the final innings when it was past my bedtime. Favorite teams and players will take you to these lengths.On the national scale, Hernandez will probably be remembered as a really good pitcher who never made the playoffs and heavily declined over his final seasons. There will be articles about whether he’s the best pitcher to never reach the postseason, as well as arguments about why his legacy is diminished because of the same fact.Though it stings Mariners fans that Hernandez never pitched in October, his loyalty to the city of Seattle speaks louder volumes than a playoff bid ever would.From 2005 to 2019 (the duration of Hernandez’s career in Seattle), the Mariners were never in first place any later than June 13 of any season. Just three times Seattle had a first-place lead past April. And this year, if you can believe it, the M’s tied their longest stint in first place in the Hernandez era at 27 days, even though the team wound up losing 94 games.This stat says it all: There were more Hernandez wins (169) than days in first place (129) while King Felix was in Seattle.Despite all the team’s lulls over the years, Hernandez’s passion never wavered. Last week, I said goodbye to one of the final remaining pieces of my childhood. On Sept. 26, Felix Hernandez made what was likely his final start in a Mariners uniform, allowing three runs and recording three strikeouts in a 106-pitch effort against Oakland. last_img read more

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