“There is no way to stop the slide once a society steps onto the slippery slope by legalizing physician-assisted suicide.” Herbert Hendin, MD. before U.S. Congress in 1996.
Why Is Doctor-Assisted Suicide the Path to Euthanasia?
“The Netherlands has moved from assisted-suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia for people who are terminally ill to euthanasia for those who are chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia (called “termination of the patient without explicit request”). What we have learned from the Netherlands, Australia, and Oregon, however, indicates that legal sanction for assisted suicide and euthanasia complicates, distracts, and interferes with the effort to improve end-of-life care.” Herbert Hendin, MD.
Comments about MedScape article, “Assisted Suicide for Mental Illness Gaining Ground.“
A doctor in Holland had a nun who was suffering from terminal cancer. Due to her religious beliefs, she refused the offer of assisted suicide. The doctor, being an atheist, decided that her belief in God was irrational and decided to kill her, despite her personal wishes. The doctor was acquitted as Holland has decided to call this situation “involuntary euthanasia”. So that’s the euphemism we’re going to use for murder now? This is a slippery slope, Friends. Don’t go down it. This is a complete and total horror show.
This is medical quackery. Quackery is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practices. A “quack” is a “fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill” or “a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan.” The advocates are cheap swindlers.
(Also reviewed by Patients Rights Council.)
“I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law. But now, with twelve years of experience, I take a very different view. At the very least, wait for an honest and intellectually satisfying analysis of the reasons behind the explosive increase in the numbers. Is it because the law should have had better safeguards? Or is it because the mere existence of such a law is an invitation to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as a normality instead of a last resort? Before those questions are answered, don’t go there. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again.”….Professor Theo Boer.
So the goal is to lend this act professional respectability by promoting physician-assisted suicide—or, more accurately, medically assisted suicide, since nurses also are necessarily involved when the assisted suicide occurs in a health facility or home-health situation.
Many people are not aware that groups such as C&C oppose conscience rights for medical professionals like me, as well as for hospitals that believe that helping to terminate a life is unethical.
Nancy Valko RN
The testimony of Ted Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Kennedy, is the main reason for the failure of an assisted suicide bill, known as Question 2, in Massachusetts. Here is her op-ed.
Cape Cod Times – Opinion
Question 2 insults Kennedy’s memory
There is nothing more personal or private than the end of a family member’s life, and I totally respect the view that everyone else should just get out of the way. I wish we could leave it that way. Unfortunately, Question 2, the so-called “Death with Dignity” initiative, forces that issue into the public square and places the government squarely in the middle of a private family matter. I do not judge nor intend to preach to others about decisions they make at the end of life, but I believe we’re all entitled to know the facts about the law we’re being asked to enact.
Here’s the truth. The language of the proposed law is not about bringing family together to make end of life decisions; it’s intended to exclude family members from the actual decision-making process to guard against patients’ being pressured to end their lives prematurely. It’s not about doctors administering drugs such as morphine to ease patients’ suffering; it’s about the oral ingestion of up to 100 capsules without requirement or expectation that a doctor be present. It’s not about giving choice and self-determination to patients with degenerative diseases like ALS or Alzheimer’s; those patients are unlikely to qualify under the statute. It’s not, in my judgment, about death with dignity at all.
My late husband Sen. Edward Kennedy called quality, affordable health care for all the cause of his life. Question 2 turns his vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide — not patient care — as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life. We’re better than that. We should expand palliative care, pain management, nursing care and hospice, not trade the dignity and life of a human being for the bottom line.
Most of us wish for a good and happy death, with as little pain as possible, surrounded by loved ones, perhaps with a doctor and/or clergyman at our bedside. But under Question 2, what you get instead is a prescription for up to 100 capsules, dispensed by a pharmacist, taken without medical supervision, followed by death, perhaps alone. That seems harsh and extreme to me.
Question 2 is supposed to apply to those with a life expectancy of six months or less. But even doctors admit that’s unknowable. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he had only two to four months to live, that he’d never go back to the U.S. Senate, that he should get his affairs in order, kiss his wife, love his family and get ready to die.
But that prognosis was wrong. Teddy lived 15 more productive months. During that time, he cast a key vote in the Senate that protected payments to doctors under Medicare; made a speech at the Democratic Convention; saw the candidate he supported elected president of the United States and even attended his inauguration; received an honorary degree; chaired confirmation hearings in the Senate; worked on the reform of health care; threw out the first pitch on opening day for the Red Sox; introduced the president when he signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act; sailed his boat; and finished his memoir “True Compass,” while also getting his affairs in order, kissing his wife, loving his family and preparing for the end of life.
Because that first dire prediction of life expectancy was wrong, I have 15 months of cherished memories — memories of family dinners and songfests with our children and grandchildren; memories of laughter and, yes, tears; memories of life that neither I nor my husband would have traded for anything in the world.
When the end finally did come — natural death with dignity — my husband was home, attended by his doctor, surrounded by family and our priest. I know we were blessed. I am fully aware that not everyone will have the same experience we did. But if Question 2 passes I can’t help but feel we’re sending the message that they’re not even entitled to a chance. A chance to have more time with their loved ones. A chance to have more dinners and sing more songs. A chance for more kisses and more love. A chance to be surrounded by family or clergy or a doctor when the end does come. That seems cruel to me. And lonely. And sad.
My husband used to paraphrase H.L. Mencken: for every complex problem, there’s a simple easy answer. And it’s wrong. That’s how I feel in this case. And that’s why I’m going to vote no on Question 2.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy is an attorney, health care advocate and widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
Writing in the National Review, Wesley J Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism has called on those who support assisted dying to
“stop pretending assisted suicide is about terminal illness and admit it is much more about disability–which is why the disability rights movement remains so opposed as they are the primary targets. It is about allowing killing as an acceptable answer to many causes of suffering, whether terminal or chronic disease, disability, mental illness, or existential despair.”
The report by The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law stated: “Many
physicians and others who oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia believe that the
practices undermine the integrity of medicine and the patient-physician relationship. Medicine is devoted to healing and the promotion of human wholeness; to use medical techniques in order to achieve death violates its fundamental values. Even in the absence of widespread abuse, some argue that allowing physicians to act as ‘beneficent executioners’ would undermine patients’ trust, and change the way that both the public and physicians view medicine.”
“Watching people suffer is hard,” admitted Dr. Farr A. Curlin, of the Duke University School of Medicine, “but such policies allowing suicide would make it difficult, if not impossible, for patients to trust their doctors.”