Friday, November 11, 2016

Assisted suicide goes beyond 'Do No Harm'

Dr Will Johnston responds to New Times article.

Dr Will Johnston
The fatal flaw in Dr. Haider Warraich’s praise of assisted suicide and euthanasia (On Assisted Suicide, Going Beyond ‘Do No Harm’ Op Ed Nov 5, 2017) is his ungrounded assumption that it “requires patients to be screened for depression.”

That is not what these new laws say, or how they work out in the real world. In Oregon fewer than 5% of assisted suicide seekers are evaluated by a psychiatrist. (1)
Claiming that those who die under the Oregon law are “white, affluent and highly educated” tells us nothing about the loss of hope and meaning which sets the suicidal apart from others who have peaceful palliated deaths. 
The new Canadian euthanasia law tried to use “reasonably foreseeable” death as a criterion, but activist doctors euthanize sick depressed people who are nowhere near dying.(2) 

Now these activists clamor for euthanasia for psychiatric illness alone, and we are only 7 months from legalization. (3) 

Canada has created a system which offers and completes suicide-by-doctor for those whose personalities and disabilities put them at high risk. Jurisdictions filling Dr. Warraich’s prescription are indeed “going beyond ‘do no harm’”, unfortunately.

Will Johnston MD is the chair of EPC - BC.

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