Sunday, September 2, 2012

Assisted Suicide Perverts The Aims Of Medicine

Here’s a good, thoughtful piece opposing assisted sucide in Canada.
Physician-assisted suicide poisons the mission of medicine
Recent events suggest that the assisted-suicide movement has gained momentum; reports from the Royal Society of Canada, the Quebec National Assembly and the British Columbia Supreme Court all support legalization of physician- assisted suicide. But the case is not closed.
Confusion reigns. Doctors opposed to physician-assisted suicide are sometimes labelled as paternalistic, disrespectful of patients’ autonomy and blind to certain aspects of human dignity. These are inaccurate and offensive descriptions of who we are and what we do in the sick room.
The public must be reassured that the needs of dying patients can be met within current legislation and practices. It must realize that we are able to have conversations about halting futile life-supporting interventions; we are able to “unplug” ventilators and be a compassionate witness to death; we are able to relieve physical and emotional suffering with an increasingly sophisticated array of medications, up to and including progressive terminal sedation. All the while, we are not ready to act upon “requested death.” more

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