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PAS = Physician Assisted Suicide

California Nurses for Ethical Standards in the news.

California Needs Law for Death with Dignity in California.  Published in the Orange County Register, October 14, 2014.  http://www.ocregister.com/articles/death-638464-dignity-life.html

Excerpt: ” I often have thought that our society treats pets with far more compassion than it does human beings, allowing animals to be put out of their suffering.”  Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law.


Rebuttal (unpublished as of 10/29/14)

Dear Editor,
Mr. Chemerinsky’s myopic, emotional call for physician-assisted-suicide (PAS) (Erwin Chemerinsky:California Needs a Death With Dignity Law, O.C.Register, Oct 15) is frightening to the majority of health care professionals. The idea of turning healers into killers violates the fundamental guiding principle of medicine: “first do no harm.” Why does a person need a doctor’s help to commit a person’s suicide?

In addition, where euthanasia and PAS have been legalized, abuses abound. Mr. Chemerinsky says states can and should regulate “death with dignity” to prevent abuses. As reasonable as this sounds, it has been noted in states and countries where this is the law, there are no safe-guards strong enough to protect patients, and no way to control assisted suicide once it becomes legal. For example the Netherlands had strict guidelines in place when they first legalized PAS, but it soon evolved into voluntary euthanasia, then into non-voluntary euthanasia. Positive reports about how well Oregon’s legalization of PAS is working, fall apart when the true realities were revealed by ethical doctors practicing in Oregon.

No, Dean Chemerinsky, we don’t need or want PAS in California.

Germaine Wensley RN
Vice-president California Nurses for Ethical Standards

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