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August 31, 1990 - Image 57

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Jewish Community Center


Nancy Gurwin Productions
presents the musical

tube keeping their daughter
alive; the state of Missouri
argued against it.
The case eventually reach-
ed the Supreme Court,
which ruled 5-4 to allow the
state to continue Ms.
Cruzan's life.
Another 10,000 persons in
the United are said to be in
vegetative states similar to
Ms. Cruzan.
To avoid a situation like
Ms. Cruzan's, Marjorie
Norman has signed both a
living will and a durable
power of attorney, which
gives advance authorization
to a spouse, relative or close
friend to make health-care
decisions should she become
incapacitated. She wrote her
first living will in 1975.
Ms. Norman spent years
looking after her husband
and uncle from Florida,
whom she resettled in Michi-
gan when he could no longer
care for himself. Both even-

tually had to be placed in nur-
sing homes. She was a
regular visitor to the homes,
where she did her family's
laundry and made sure the

A 1990 Roper poll
showed that 70
percent of the
Jews surveyed
expressed support
for physician-
assisted suicide,
as did 65 percent
of the Protestants
and 62 percent of
the Catholics.

men received the best care.
She does not want to end up
in a nursing home.
"In our society we talk a

great deal about prolonging
life," she says. "But we've
done nothing for old people
in any way, shape or form.
It's wonderful to say, 'We
have to take care of the el-
derly,' but look at the cost.
"The decision (to kill
oneself) is each individual's
choice. What's unbearable
for one is not unbearable for
another. Why do some peo-
ple choose to commit
suicide? For some, life is just
too painful."
Ms. Norman says she
hopes "I'd have the courage"
if it came time to end her
own life. "My biggest fear is
that I'd fail."
After her death, she wants
to be cremated and her ashes
dispersed, or buried if her
children prefer.
"What's important isn't
what happens after you're
dead. What's important is
what you do for someone
while he's alive." ❑

Activist Fears Implications
Of Michigan Euthanasia Bill


Assistant Editor


n Ronald Seigel's night-
mare, the fate of the han-
dicapped lies solely in the
hands of others.
A son, believing his
crippled mother would be
better off dead, decides to
withdraw the insulin injec-
tions keeping her alive. A
brother, faced with financial
woes, opts to remove feeding
tubes from his handicapped
sister, slowly starving her to
Today, Mr. Seigel, a
longtime activist for the
handicapped fears he is wat-
ching his nightmare — in
the form of Michigan House
Bill 4016 — come true. The
bill, proposed by David
Hollister, D-Lansing, is now
before a Senate committee.
It would allow individuals to
name a "patient advocate"
to make decisions for them
should they become mental-
ly incompetent. The ad-
vocate would have the option
of removing life-sustaining
medical treatment, or food
and water, keeping the pa-
tient alive.
Corresponding secretary
for the Michigan Han-
dicapper Caucus (MHC), Mr.
Seigel is fighting for
amendments to the house
bill that he said are
necessary to protect those
who are handicapped and
cannot always speak for

Ron Seigel: "Imagine if the kinds
of things said about handicappers
— that they would be 'better off
dead' or 'it's too expensive to
keep them alive' — was said about
any other minority."

As it stands now, the bill
would allow third parties to
decide when a patient should
die (even if the patient had
never expressed a desire for
euthanasia) and allow them
to end another's life by star-
ving him to death.
Mr. Seigel's proposed
amendments specify that the
advocate would not be

allowed to remove ordinary
treatment unless the patient
had specifically made such a
The agent could not
remove natural food and
water from the patient.
The advocate would not be
allowed to remove artificial
feeding unless he could pro-
ve the patient is certain to
die and that his continued
existence involves great
A patient must be inform-
ed of his rights not to choose
an agent.
At admission, hospitals
would not be allowed to give
patients the forms
designating an advocate "as
this would indicate a form of
emotional pressure."
Mr. Seigel, of Highland
Park, is involved with the
MHC and other causes. A
Wayne State University
graduate, he helped estab-
lish in 1971 the United
Community Ombudsman
Organization, which ad-
dressed citizens' concerns
with government institu-
Working with the om-
budsmen, Mr. Seigel pushed
for what would become the
first Detroit city ordinance
making it illegal to discrim-
inate against the han-
Most recently, Mr. Seigel
was named head of a Na-
tional Association of the
Physically Handicapped
committee established to

Directed and Choreographed by Michael D. Pion
Music Director: Rochelle Barr

OPENS SATURDAY, SEPT. 8, 1990-8:30 P.M.

Saturday, September 8th, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 9th, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 15th, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday,. September 16th, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 22nd, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 23rd, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 30th, 2:00 p.m.

General Admission $8.50, Seniors $8.00, Students $5.00
Group Rates Available, 20 or more $7.50
For reservations call the Jewish Community Center at 661.1000
or Nancy Gurwin at 354.0545

Presented at the Jewish Community Center
6600 West Maple Rd.
W. Bloomfield, Ml 48322, 661.1000

A Footlights Incorporated Production


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would like to thank all of her
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their many good wishes and
prayers following her recent




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