Matt C. Abbott
April 1, 2011
Catholic nurse recounts hospice horror, says doctor euthanized priest
By Matt C. Abbott

Some will recall that March 31 was the sixth anniversary of the court-ordered murder of Terri Schiavo. (Click here to read about the tragedy.)

Terri's execution was, according to Ron Panzer, president of Hospice Patients Alliance, "accomplished at The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast." He notes that the hospice's CEO, Mary Labyak, "has been a member of the board of directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as well as Partnership for Caring, a successor to the Euthanasia Society of America."

Panzer also notes that Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, a euthanasia advocate, was chairman of Suncoast's board when Terri was brought there for the purpose of killing her.

"The public still does not realize that Terri was taken from us to fulfill a hospice-euthanasia partnership, fulfilling their agenda in an 'in your face' demonstration of what they can do, are doing, and will do to others," asserts Panzer.

In recent days, Panzer received the following (edited) e-mail from registered nurse and Illinoisan Wendy Ludwig, who recounts the horror of witnessing the euthanizing of an elderly Catholic priest:

    'Hello, I spoke with you [Ron Panzer] some years ago about the many killings taking place within hospice. You may remember me; I'm an RN, BSN. Not long after I spoke with you, my father died of leukemia, and the following year my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in 2009.

    'I'm contacting you again, asking for your help in trying to somehow stop the horrible hospice killings and euthanasia that occur even in hospitals. I know so many people not even terminally ill whom hospice quickly killed. I'm so upset, horrified and angry about this. In my area, the hospice went on an 'advertising campaign,' writing articles in the local newspaper, handing out flyers to doctors' offices and trying to drum up support from local clergy by going around to each church asking to set up a meeting with them so they can 'explain the benefits of hospice.'

    'It's truly terrible where I live. It's not uncommon to see a patient eating in a restaurant with his or her family one week and the following week be dead after hospice has come in. When my mother was ill, she made absolutely clear that she did not want hospice anywhere near her, yet the hospital forced drugs on her, did many tactics to hasten her death and ended up doing as they pleased, coming up with some strange medical power-of-attorney that no one had seen before. It was truly awful. For the rest of my life it will affect me, and there is never a day that I do not think about it. I did everything I possibly could, but they still found ways to not treat infections, to deny her enough fluid, to do so many things, and it did not matter what I said or did — or what she said, for that matter.

    'I'm currently seeking a new career, because as a pro-life Catholic, I cannot in good conscience work in hospitals anymore. Even the Catholic hospitals support hospice in one way or another. I can tell you honestly that I'm not aware of any hospice that is good. Everyone I know who has gone to a hospice in any state that I know of has been murdered by hospice.

    'It's been so overwhelming to me. What's so unbelievable is the way that hospice can convince people they are doing 'good' and 'mercy' for their loved ones. It appears to me that they use a type of forceful brainwashing where they take the family at their most vulnerable time, convince them the only way the patient won't suffer is by using hospice, and lie to them about what is actually happening. Even when people feel like something isn't right, they do nothing, somehow believing what hospice has told them. With such an 'ad campaign' in the newspapers and elsewhere, I don't know how to begin to make people understand what hospice is doing. It's notable also that once a family member dies in hospice care, people do not want to hear the truth; it seems they defend hospice profoundly, probably because they don't want to think that they have just let their loved one be murdered.

    'I witnessed a doctor euthanizing a Catholic priest who stated in no uncertain terms that he did not want hospice. The priest did not have cancer or any other terminal illness. He was 94, still saying Mass and very active. When the priest needed knee surgery for an injury to his knee, the doctor decided it was time to call in hospice. The priest adamantly and angrily refused. So the doctor took his medicine away and started to give him 'pain pills' even though the priest said he was not in pain.

    'The priest was in a nursing home following his knee injury and was getting physical therapy. He had been also prescribed large doses of Coumadin by the doctor. I went to visit him one day and found him bruising all over, so I demanded that the nursing home call an ambulance. When they refused to call an ambulance and said the doctor was aware, I told them the priest was bruised all over his body and that he needed to go to the hospital. I told them that if an ambulance was not called, I was going to call the police. He was taken to the hospital and was told he had been given too much Coumadin and that he would need to stay in the hospital for a few days.

    'While in the hospital, the doctor refused him food and fluids. I called the elder abuse hotline and when the doctor found out they were coming, he began IV feedings, but also began drugging the priest with morphine. The priest told me what they were doing. I waited for the doctor with a friend and I told him I was aware of what was going on and that the elder abuse hotline would again be called. The doctor pounded on the patient's chest and said, 'Does he seem awake enough to you?!' He called the family, which lived in another state, and they came. I received a call one day asking for me to come and visit Father because he was asking to see me. I went to see him; he was resting comfortably.

    'He was in an ICU and I was watching the monitors. His heart rate and breathing were regular and stable. Not long after I arrived, I was taken to a waiting room and the family was there. A short time later the nurse came and got the family but told me to stay in the waiting room. I had a terrible feeling; I went to the nurses' station and the curtain was pulled in Father's room. I heard a priest saying prayers over him, the family in the room as well. I was told I could not go in. I told them I had forgotten my purse in the room, but I was not allowed to go in and get it.

    'I stood outside and heard the nurse telling the family that they were giving him another dose of medicine and taking off his oxygen. I was told to go back to the waiting room. I knew what was happening: The doctor had viciously called me to sit in the waiting room while he euthanized the priest. I left the hospital, and before I got home, I received a call that the priest had passed away.

    'About a month later, the local newspaper printed a story about an 'honor' this doctor was given by the hospital. It seemed quite planned in its timing. Right after the priest died, an anonymous letter was sent to the doctor informing him that people were aware of what he was doing to patients. A Catholic nun had also witnessed this same doctor giving a fentanyl patch in a terminal dose to another nun, who died within hours of receiving the patch. A few weeks after that letter was sent, the story appeared in the paper 'honoring' this doctor. The woman who was with me when the doctor pounded on the priest's chest thought that because the doctor was on the hospital's board, the 'honor' was probably given to distract people who may have heard of his tactics from believing what was said about him. The doctor still practices at the hospital.

    'I have many other horror stories.'



Related links:

Vatican commentary on end-of-life care

"Quiet euthanasia"

Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network

Hospice Patients Alliance

© 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 has been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR and WLS-TV in Chicago, and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback from readers. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me... (more)

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