Compassion and Choice’s lethal game plan: California Mom Christy O’Donnell Fights to Die on Her Own Terms by Katie Couric

A July 1, 2015 Yahoo News article titled “California Mom Christy O’Donnell Fights to Die on Her Own Terms” by Katie Couric ( shows that Compassion and Choices has a lethal game plan for forcing assisted suicide on the nation. Note this quote:

“Despite the growing death-with-dignity fight in various states, Coombs Lee doesn’t expect that it will find itself in front of the Supreme Court anytime soon: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to think the Supreme Court will act before the majority of states.” But Coombs Lee is hopeful that the End of Life Option Act will pass in California within three years. “It will definitely pass,” she says. “And if this legislature doesn’t pass it, there are two lawsuits working their way up.” (emphasis added)

As a nurse, I am also appalled by the implications of this quote:

“Attorney Barbara Coombs Lee, president of nonprofit death-with-dignity organization Compassion & Choices and co-author of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, tells Yahoo Health that those safeguards include extensive evaluations by two physicians, as well as several waiting periods, before a patient can fill a prescription for life-ending medication. Even then, Coombs Lee points out, not everyone actually takes the medication. “Every year between 30 to 51 percent of the people who have the prescriptions do not administer them,” she says, adding that many feel that the quality of their lives improves just by having the option.” (emphasis added)

So these suicidal people not only have deadly drugs themselves but also drugs potentially accessible to anyone else in their household like a grandchild whether or not these people eventually use them to kill themselves. When I was a hospice nurse, we had strict rules for accounting for and safely disposing unused drugs- especially controlled drugs. Apparently such standards are ignored in legalized assisted suicide.

My letter on ethical palliative care published in National Catholic Register 6/14/15

Regarding “Pope Francis: Abandonment Does Greatest Injustice to the Elderly” (, March 6):
As an R.N. with 45 years of nursing experience, including many end-of-life situations, I’m sure the Pope meant “ethical” palliative care, which is indeed wonderful for both patients of any age and their families. Unfortunately, there is a growing trend towards calling unethical practices “palliative care.”
For example, just last year, I saw a middle-aged nurse/friend’s life deliberately ended due to so-called palliative care labeled “comfort care.” She had recently suffered a severe brain injury and was declared hopeless after a couple of weeks. The family was strongly encouraged to switch to “comfort care.” She was taken off a ventilator, had her feeding tube removed (against family wishes), and the sedation medications used when she was on the ventilator were continued and even increased when she continued to breathe on her own, until she died a few days later.
The public needs to be aware of such practices and what the Church teaches so that they can make informed decisions if they find themselves or a loved one in a difficult situation.
Nancy Valko
St. Louis, Missouri