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Defending life
from conception to natural death


4 October 2005

4 October 2005

4 October 2005 A verdict of accidental death was recorded after an inquest into the death of a 91-year-old woman who died weighing just five stone after being inadequately fed at a Greater Manchester hospital.

Sarah Ingham was prescribed a 'soft diet' of mashed food but, according to her daughter, this was often overlooked, as was her hydration, and the family had to bring in food for her themselves. John Pollard, the coroner, stated: "It is totally unsatisfactory in a major city in a Western democracy that families have to take food into a hospital because their loved ones are not being fed properly by staff."

Mrs Ingham died of bronchopneumonia at home, two weeks after being discharged from hospital.

[The Times of London, 4 October ] The chairman of the British Medical Association's medical ethics committee has condemned guidance intended to protect children from abuse, the Guardian reports.

Following an inquiry into the murder of two 10-year-old girls from Soham, Cambs, by a school caretaker, the London child protection committee (LCPC) advised that under-13s believed to be sexually active should be referred to the social services and the police.

Dr Michael Wilks claimed that the guidance 'could prevent doctors acting in the best interests of young people.'

[The Guardian, 30 September ] In a press release, Theresa May MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for the Family, said: "We should not allow concerns over a child's privacy to prevent us from protecting vulnerable children from abuse... The Medical Profession has a duty to work with police and social services to prevent crimes like Soham from ever happening again."

[, 29 September ] The Swiss assisted-suicide organisation Dignitas has opened an office in Germany.

Since it was founded in 1998, some 453 people have been helped by Dignitas to end their lives, approximately half of them from Germany, Deutsche Welle reports.

The opening of the office in Hanover has sparked strong criticism from figures such as the Bishop of Hanover and the Justice Minister of Lower Saxony.

Ludwig A Minelli, who founded Dignitas, said that the new office would push the assisted suicide debate in Germany.

[Deutsche Welle, 29 September ] New guidelines are expected to go before the Dutch parliament next month, formally permitting doctors to perform euthanasia on infants deemed to be terminally ill.

Opponents of infant euthanasia have warned that the practice could be extended to mentally incapacitated patients who are also unable to give their consent. The Netherlands passed euthanasia legislation 10 years ago.

[The Guardian, 30 September ] A Maltese pro-abortion group has reported Archbishop Joseph Mercieca to Brussels for allegedly interfering with Malta's Constitution. Malta Abortion Rights were alluding to Archbishop Mercieca's criticism of IVF and his praise for pro-life politicians during a homily on Independence Day.

[The Times of Malta, 28 September ] A former US Secretary of Education, Bill Bennett, is refusing to apologise after he said on his radio show that crime would be reduced if all black babies were aborted.

Bennett told listeners: "That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down." John Conyers, a Republican Congressman, has called for the suspension of Bill Bennett's show, stating in a letter to the president of the Salem Radio Network: "It is difficult for us to understand how an individual granted a show on your network could utter such a statement in 21st century America."

[Black Britain, 30 September and Gopusa, 30 September ] A US bishop has called upon Catholics in his diocese to pray for Catholic pro-abortion politicians.

Bishop Michael Saltarelli of Delaware and Eastern Shore Maryland said: "I think for too long we have been silent and our people have taken that silence as part of an acquiescence of the status quo." He added: "They somehow have bought the package 'you can be personally opposed.' It's such an excuse to me - it's a cop out."

[CWNews, 28 September ] A Wyoming District Court judge has dismissed charges of child endangerment against a woman who took methamphetamine while pregnant, resulting in her newborn baby testing positive for the drug.

Judge Norman Young ruled that the law only protects born children and does not include foetuses.

Ed Newell, who brought the case for the State, said the ruling illustrates the need for legislative changes to protect unborn children.

[Medical News Today, 3 October ] An adult stem cell treatment that has been used successfully to treat racehorses may have potential for human therapy.

Prof Roger Smith of the Royal Veterinary College used bone marrow stem cells to grow into replacement tissue to treat tendon injuries in horses. He believes the technique could in future be of help to human patients with damaged tendons.

[Daily Telegraph, 3 October ] The government is launching a review of research into the effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, in the light of new evidence on the effects of even small amounts of alcohol on foetal development.

Current advice that drinking one or two units once or twice a week is safe may be changed to a policy of no alcohol at all. [Daily Telegraph, 3 October ]

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