Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Assisted suicide and euthanasia - the slippery slope

What always begins as a campaign for legalization of physician-assisted suicide in strictly defined circumstances quickly morphs into easily acquired suicide and euthanasia. There were a couple of examples in today’s Vancouver Sun.

From Oregon, a letter from a doctor:
... my 76-year-old patient had a sore on his arm which turned out to be cancer. I referred him to a cancer specialist for evaluation and therapy.
... he became ... depressed, which was documented in his chart.
... He expressed a wish for assisted suicide to the cancer specialist, but rather than taking the time and effort to address his depression, ... she asked me to be the "second opinion" for his suicide.
I told her that I did not concur ... two weeks later he was dead from an overdose prescribed by this doctor.
In most jurisdictions, suicidal ideation is interpreted as a cry for help. In Oregon, the only help my patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him. Don't make Oregon's mistake.
In Holland, mobile clinics for euthanasia home-delivery:
Mobile medical teams able to euthanize people in their own homes are being considered by the Dutch government. The teams of doctors and nurses would be sent out from a clinic following a referral from the patient's doctor.
... Dutch medics have been accused of practising euthanasia on demand.
... Twenty-one people diagnosed with early-stage dementia died with the help of their doctors last year, according to a 2010 report on euthanasia.
The figures showed another year-on-year rise in cases with about 2,700 people choosing death by injection compared to 2,636 the previous year. ..


Anonymous said...

Human rights-such as the right to self-terminate with assistance-are never 'slippery'.

dmorris said...

How about "ephemeral" then?

The concern over this particular "human right" is abuse by governments, unscrupulous family, and medical people.

In view of the morals of some of our current politicians,IMO it's a valid concern.

JR said...

We all have the "power" to self-terminate, legal or not. And, except for the possibility that depressed people might be treated and suicide avoided, as the Oregon doctor says, I've got no problem with anyone doing so. But there is no "human right" to have someone else be complicit in your death. Concerns like those expressed by dmorris make that highly problematic. The documented cases of abuse in places like Holland and Oregon prove that those concerns are real.

Frances said...

Not to mention that the 'right to die' can so easily become the 'responsibility to die'. Legally killing people is very cost-effective.

Anonymous said...

I think that's the logical conclusion to all this nutiness. In the end "euthenasia" will be offered as a choice rather than wait on a list for treatment, do the right thing and go to the death chamber down the hall.

JR said...

Exactly so. It's a very slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

BTW any doubters of "the slippery slope" argument need look no further than airport security. A few years ago you would have been laughed at if you suggested strip searches both of the virtual and real kind would be performed as part of that charade. Now, no one even thinks about it. Just step into the box mam so the anonymous government agent can have a look at your goods.

dmorris said...

"Politicians have run us so far into Debt that one day they will use a slick PR firm to promote euthanasia as our duty to the State to protect our Health Care system for the children of the future."

Absolutely,"anon". I believe the only barrier to euthanasia right now is the Christian upbringing so many people in power have had. Though they may be secular now,they were still brought up with those principles.

BUT,that generation is aging and soon to die out,and a new generation of power seekers will take their place.

This generation has been raised to believe in "self" and "human rights", not any silly concepts about a set of rules handed down long ago by an alleged deity.

When you consider the morality being inculcated into the current generation,it's easy to imagine euthanasia "for the common" good is not only probable,but inevitable.

I've seen my daughter through nursing school. She's promised to use a nice,fine needle for MY lethal injection,and to administer "carousel" ever so gently. ;-)