Euthanasia and assisted suicide: Let’s not go there

Elderly, male patientIn spite of evidence provided by studies which show that patients are euthanised without their request or consent in the Netherlands and Belgium, euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates ignore the data and keep on saying that safeguards will protect patients.

A letter from  Kathryn Judson in Oregon published in the Hawaii Free Press newspaper on February 15, 2011 illustrates the very real dangers of assisted suicide. Assisted suicide has been legal in Oregon since 1994.

Mrs. Judson relates her experience:

“When my husband was seriously ill several years ago, I collapsed in a half-exhausted heap in a chair once I got him into the doctor’s office, relieved that we were going to get badly needed help (or so I thought).

To my surprise and horror, during the exam I overheard the doctor giving my husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide. ‘Think of what it will spare your wife, we need to think of her’ he said as a clincher.

Now, if the doctor had wanted to say ‘I don’t see any way I can help you, knowing what I know, and having the skills I have’ that would have been one thing. If he’d wanted to opine that certain treatments weren’t worth it as far as he could see, that would be one thing. But he was tempting my husband to commit suicide. And that is something different.

I was indignant that the doctor was not only trying to decide what was best for David, but also what was supposedly best for me (without even consulting me, no less).

We got a different doctor, and David lived another five years or so. But after that nightmare in the first doctor’s office, and encounters with a ‘death with dignity’ inclined ┬ánurse, I was afraid to leave my husband alone again with doctors and nurses, for fear they’d morph from care providers to enemies, with no one around to stop them. It’s not a good thing wondering who you can trust in a hospital or clinic.”

Safeguards don’t work. Once assisted suicide and euthanasia are legalized, it becomes impossible to protect patients.

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