But opponents say the legislation introduced in Oregon – the first state in America to allow doctor-assisted suicide – simply does not work. And it’s not just the experience of lumberjack Mr Prueitt that supports their argument.
They point to the fact that although the rules require those handed the lethal prescriptions to have a life expectancy of only six months, some who subsequently decide not to kill themselves have gone on to survive for a year-and-a-half more. Or even longer.
Critics warn that because many doctors refuse to participate, patients end up shopping around for the handful of physicians willing to prescribe.
It makes it all the more likely the person who is writing the prescription will neither know the patient nor provide an impartial assessment of them.
It is also said that those suffering from depression, a condition that can impair decision-making, are rarely excluded from the process as they should be.
Baroness Finlay has raised concerns about a system such as that in Oregon
But perhaps most worrying of all, say critics, is the trend for other treatment to be denied to those who are terminally ill. Instead of being given the medicines that might prolong their lives, they are being offered £30 to cover the cost of drugs that will end their days in a matter of hours.
The one thing the government is actually efficient at is increasing the number of people to kill. Can’t wait till nationalized medicine so we can really crank up the number of people to kill.
Too bad as Wesley J. Smith notes it takes a foreign newspaper to do a long article on the problems with the Oregon plan.
As a Catholic and a med student, things like the Oregon law make me return to the basics:
“From the Oath According to Hippocrates in so far as a Christian May Swear It”
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever and ever; I lie not. I will bring no stain upon the learning of the medical art. Neither will I give poison to anybody though asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a plan. Similarly I will not give treatment to women to cause abortion, treatment neither from above nor from below. But I will teach this art, to those who require to learn it, without grudging and without an indenture. I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment. And in purity and in holiness I will guard my art. Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will do so to help the sick, keeping myself free from all wrong-doing, intentional or unintentional, tending to death or to injury, and from fornication with bond or free, man or woman. Whatsoever in the course of practice I see or hear (or outside my practice in social intercourse) that ought not to be published abroad, I will not divulge, but consider such things to be holy secrets. Now if I keep this oath and break it not, may God be my helper in my life and art, and may I be honoured among all men for all time. If I keep faith, well; but if I forswear myself may the opposite befall me.
Source: W.H.S. Jones, The Doctor’s Oath. ( Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1924), 23, 25.