Matt C. Abbott
Did San Francisco nurse kill her patient?; 'Have we lost our outrage?'
By Matt C. Abbott
June 27, 2009

A reader from Concord, Calif., sent me the following e-mail:

    'You may wish to discuss in your column this story featured on KPIX-TV, San Francisco, last week. It concerns a patient at Coming Home Hospice who died after a nurse took it upon herself to administer large doses of Atropine without a physician's orders. The nurse admitted to this in a videotaped deposition which was included in the TV station's story and appears online.

    'I faxed a copy of the news story to the California Board of Licensed Vocational Nursing, which lists the nurse, Margaret Elizabeth 'Betsi' Bilyck, as having a valid license. Bear in mind that the incident happened three years ago. Not only was this woman still working at the hospice as of June 8, 2009, but the nursing board apparently either never heard about the incident until the story aired, or knew about it and chose not to take disciplinary action.'

When asked to comment on the story, Ron Panzer, president of Hospice Patients Alliance, said in an e-mail:

    'Yes, we were in touch with the reporter a couple of months ago and provided information on what is going on in the hospice industry. The reporter is actually quite brave to even do this story, as very few like it have ever been done. It demonstrates the willingness of some hospice nurses to take it upon themselves to deliberately end the lives of patients under their care. It shows that families need to be vigilant about what medications patients receive, so that only medications clinically needed are actually given. And, if they have any doubts, they should stand at the door and stop the nurse and call the physician or someone they trust to re-evaluate what is going on. If the nurse cannot satisfy one's doubts about what is being given, then there is a real problem. It should be obvious why a medication is being given.

    'There are many nurses like [Betsi Bilyck] out there, and there are physicians who also will act on their own agenda — not out of concern for the patient's welfare — and choose to hasten death. Entering any health care setting is something people need to be vigilant about, as anyone can be targeted. We've heard just about every scenario, whether it is a hospital, nursing home, assisted living or hospice, where some staff member administered heavy doses and the patient died very soon or even immediately. Just look at the Michael Jackson case: He was prescribed an opioid medication, similar to what hospice patients get, plus Ativan, which many hospice patients get, and it is reported his breathing slowed down and then stopped, just like the reports from hospice cases! If these combinations kill healthy individuals, how easy it is to kill the vulnerable elderly and disabled!'

Carol Wright, past president of Illinois Citizens for Life, recently sent out the following fire-up-the-troops e-letter (edited):

    'Do you remember how you felt when we found out that Dr. Goyal was trying to open an abortion clinic in our community? People came out in droves to meetings and to stand in front of the empty clinic with signs that proclaimed Abortion Kills Children and Abortion Hurts Women (500 in total at four demonstrations, 175 at the last one before the Village Board Meeting). Then we had about 1200 citizens show up at the meeting and we presented 8,905 signatures of those who opposed the opening of the clinic. We could not believe this was happening in Glen Ellyn.

    'Fast forward seven years. Why are we not as outraged that the clinic is open, and babies are being killed there every week? If we could stand in front of an empty clinic then, holding a sign, why don't we stand there now as a witness to what is happening inside? It should make a difference that there are Christians in the world. If we don't step up and point out what is going so terribly wrong, who will? Thank you to so many of you who have hung in with me almost monthly for all of these years. And thank you to those who e-mail me and ask to add a friend's name to the list. It is encouraging to know that you are still interested.

    'I just finished reading a fantastic book that I'm encouraging all of you to read. It is The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian. It opens your eyes to what has happened to our country and how it happened while we were totally off guard. We didn't even know that a war was being waged against our values and all that we hold dear. We were just raising our kids, going to church, and doing our volunteer work while there were radicals at work 'selling us' on ideas that would have shocked our parents.

    I went to and scrolled down the left column under 'WND Resources.' When you click on 'WND Books,' you can find an assortment of very worthwhile books, but I highly recommend The Marketing of Evil near the bottom of the page. It is on sale and if you buy 10 copies (autographed, no less) you get them for about $12 each and free shipping. I was happy to have one to give to each of our eight kids and the other two I'll share with my neighbors and ask them to pass the book on. It is time — past time — that we wake up.

    'In Deuteronomy 11, Moses warned the people of Israel to teach their children of the wonders that God had performed for them in rescuing them from Pharaoh and leading them to the land of milk and honey. They could choose between the blessing and the curse. But what happened as soon as they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land? The very next generation did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel. They intermarried with the pagans in the land and began to worship their false gods. As a result they faced years of turmoil when God did not intervene for them.

    'My generation is the last generation that remembers how our nation once was. How most people were patriotic and our history was taught in our schools. We knew about the deep faith of the founding fathers and were able to read and talk about it. That has pretty well been scrubbed from current textbooks. Even the foundation of our faith has been watered down. We are fortunate, though, that there are some young people who are thirsting to learn what was commonly taught pre-Vatican II. There are so many fantastic young parents out there learning all they can about their faith. Some good things have come out of Vatican II. It's just that it was a time of rebellion and turmoil in our country, so when the windows of the Church were thrown open in the 1960s, a lot of really bad stuff wafted in, too. Don't you feel a responsibility to 'teach our children' so that they may enjoy the blessing instead of the curse? If this next generation is lost, what hope is there for our grandchildren? Unfortunately they don't know what it is that they don't know. How will they ever teach their own children?

    'We can take our country back. If there was ever a time when people need to get involved it is today. I don't know if you receive the e-mails I receive, warning of all the insidious laws that they are trying to pass in Washington. It makes your head spin. There has never been such an all out assault on life and on the sanctity of the family. I can't begin to explain to you all the legislation but I will try to give a brief summary. For each bill, please take the time to call or e-mail the President, both of our U.S. Senators and your Congressman.

    'So let's begin with the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, HR 2454. It is the famous 'cap and trade' act which is really a 'cap and tax' act. It would drastically increase the cost of doing business in this country and would be a huge tax on every source of energy that we use. For a very extensive review of the bill and what it entails, please click on the attachment above, House Voting on Energy Tax! We are being asked to pay these exorbitant taxes in the interest of preventing global warming, a totally unproved theory that is debunked by more scientists every day. This would be the greatest tax increase in the history of our country. Conservation — yes. Global warming myths — no. Please ask your Congressman to vote NO on HR 2454.

    'The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, S. 909, has already passed in the House. The Judiciary Committee conducted hearings on it on this Thursday (today). Senator Durbin of Illinois is on the committee. This bill would add 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' which in the House version included protection for pedophiles and other far-out sexual perversions. It also endangers the rights of pastors and priests to preach about homosexuality as being against the teachings of the Bible. This bill flies in the face of equal protection under the law. If a transgender person is assaulted is it more of a crime than to beat up an old man? Does that make any sense to you? The militant gay activists have had this on their agenda for years in an attempt to paint as hate speech any criticism of their unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle. Please ask your senators to vote NO on S. 909. The ironic fact is that it was later disclosed that the Matthew Shepard killing was in a robbery attempt, not because he was gay. The 'marketing' of this murder made front page headlines for weeks, however, because the mainstream media is always willing to promote the gay agenda.

    'If you want to have your blood boil, go to the Illinois Family Institute's Web site and read Laurie Higgin's account of the Chicago elementary school children — first graders! — who will be marching in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade. Is this child abuse or what? How much obscenity can we expose our young children to? In the same train of thought, I know there are so many products we are asked to boycott that you could hardly live your life if you did them all. I am going to boycott Pepsi products, however. As if sponsoring the New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix and Cleveland 'gay pride' parades after being asked to remain neutral in this controversial issue weren't enough, they also require all of their employees to have gender diversity and sexual orientation training. When you ask for a Diet Coke and they ask if Pepsi is okay, I'm going to say water will be fine.

    'The Foreign Relations Reauthorization Act, HR 2410, includes Section 334 which establishes the Office for Global Women's Issues as an ambassador-at-large under the Office of the Secretary of State. Secretary Hillary Clinton has already testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee that reproductive health means empowering women by giving them access to abortion all over the world. It's bad enough that we have unlimited abortion in our own country, now we want to force it on nations that have resisted it, by the manipulation of funding to coerce them into accepting it. Congressman Chris Smith was not allowed to offer his amendment to make it abortion neutral. Ask your Congressman to vote NO.

    'Finally, the Health Care Bill they are presently debating (although there really is no bill yet — it's all smoke and mirrors). Who in the world are they polling that say they want their taxes raised to provide a 'public option'? (Oh, yes, it was a poll heavily weighted toward President Obama supporters, but the media constantly touts it as the will of the people.) When the government competes with private health insurance companies they drive them out of business. Just think about it. There are currently about 1300 insurance companies in the United States. They are for profit businesses. The government can offer prices at whatever they want to because it's our money and they can always print more. Private employers will jump at the chance to shift their employees onto the government plan and give up the burden they've been carrying. The president started out promising that if you like your current health plan and your current doctor, you can keep them. In the press conference on Tuesday he had to admit that he has no control over that because if your company drops its insurance plan, it will be gone, whether you like it or not. He is on record as saying that he prefers a single-payer system. This is a foot in the door.

    'The only way that a nationalized health care program can work is if there is rationing of care for those who are deemed too old or too ill to benefit. Trust me — euthanasia is right around the corner. Did you hear him say last night that when you're up in years 'maybe you should just take pain medication rather than have the surgery?' And who do you suppose will make that decision for you, you and your family, or some government bureaucrat? We know they were already authorized in the huge stimulus bill to make decisions on what care will be 'cost effective.' Scary! With restrictions on what doctors can be paid, do you suppose we will have more or fewer doctors going into the profession? And the fight to include taxpayer funding for abortion will be intense.

    'It's time to stop legislating in a crisis mode. As evidenced from the TARP and Stimulus bills, it's a bad way to make decisions. The sky is falling mentality seems to take away common sense. The fact that no Republicans have been invited to help formulate the new health care plan sends red flags up to me. To truly represent the desires of the people this must be a bipartisan decision. Let's let both sides present their ideas and then the public can see what makes the most sense. And to put an arbitrary deadline on it is ridiculous.

    'Did I mention that Congress gets to keep their gold-plated medical plan? They don't have to live with the plan they are passing for us. The economy is not going to get better any time soon. The policies that we are adopting do nothing but cause an adverse effect on capitalism and economic growth. To add the burden of a massive government run health care system in the trillions of dollars and charge it to our kids and grandkids is beyond irresponsible. I used to have a video of a couple from Canada telling the horror story of how he had to wait to get an MRI and then wait to get treatment for his brain tumor. They finally came to the United States and had the surgery that saved his life. At the end his doctor comes on and says, 'Please don't nationalize your health care, or where will I be able to send my patients to save their lives?'

    'Finally, I invite you to join every day in prayer for our nation. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God has given us a wonderful promise: 'If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.' People all over America are finally getting on their knees. We need healing.'

Catholic journalist Anita Crane has written a favorable review of the film The Stoning of Soraya M., starring Jim Caviezel. Check it out.

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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