The
number of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will probably double in the United
States over the next 20 years. Here’s a real life example from Connecticut of
what may happen to some of them.

In
September, an elderly lawyer with Alzheimer’s, George Brodigan, died at home.  Beside his bed was a half-empty bottle
of rum and a copy of Derek Humphry’s “Final Exit,” a suicide manual. Yellow pills were found beneath his body.

Someone
had obviously helped Mr Brodigan to kill himself. Police arrested his
46-year-old son Bruce, a teacher, who lives in the neighbouring state of
Massachusetts. During the investigation the son lied repeatedly, police said. He
denied that he was present when his father died; he denied helping in preparing
the suicide; he was misleading about the use of medications. He helped his
father write a suicide note and did not discourage him from acting. He
intentionally waited until he was sure that his father was dead before
notifying anyone. Several copies of the father’s do-not-resuscitate orders, his
obituary and his insurance policy were laid out.

Doesn’t
this show clearly how easy it would be to persuade confused elderly people that
their time was up? How do you distinguish between assisted suicide and elder abuse? ~ Hartford Courant, Jan 7

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.