Saturday, September 26, 2015

Assisted Suicide Is Not Safe or Compassionate Care

California’s General Assembly approved legislation legalizing the regulation of doctor-assisted suicide. If the Senate follows through as predicted, California will be the fourth state to allow for individuals living with advanced illnesses to take their own life with the direct help of their physician and pharmacist. To some this news may be a welcome sign of progress in this era of patient autonomy and control. However, most Americans, especially physicians, understand that helping someone end their life is incompatible with a doctor’s fundamental role as a healer. It is understandable that a patient who is suffering from a terminal, painful, or debilitating illness would rather die than live. Yet, is this “choice” of suicide a real good decision for them or merely the illusion of choice?

Doctor prescribed suicide is a recipe for elder and disability abuse. It can easily put lethal drugs in the hands of those individuals who are abusers.

An abusive caregiver or relative can always pick up the lethal drugs from the pharmacy and give them to the patient with or without the vulnerable person’s consent. We must keep in mind that existing laws regulating this “choice” do not require a witness to be present.

Can we expect that the government and all insurance companies will do the right thing with regard to costly treatments? Or would they more likely to go with the cheaper “choice” by deciding only to pay for the drugs to end a patient’s life? This is what happened to Barbara Wagner in Oregon, where doctor prescribed suicide is legal.

Most people know someone who has been misdiagnosed or has outlived a terminal diagnosis. Can we trust doctors and insurance companies to know what the future really holds for us?

Laws and public policy regulating and influencing choices about when and how it is appropriate to die can have significant unintended consequences for all of us. In particular the elderly, terminally ill, and disabled can find themselves at a serious disadvantage due to their dependence on others for their care and welfare. Doctor prescribed death or assisting someone to end their life is neither safe nor compassionate care.

– Ryan Verret
Center for Medical Ethics
Louisiana Right to Life

This Letter to the Editor originally published in the September 21, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

Full Article & Source:
Assisted Suicide Is Not Safe or Compassionate Care


Finny said...

This is a very well written editorial and I agree 100%

Anonymous said...

This is madness. Another recipe for disaster for themasses.

Anonymous said...

This is more sadism and madness.