Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wisconsin Prescribe or refer: Proponents of assisted suicide show their true nature.

This article was published by Choice is an Illusion on February 7, 2018

Margaret Dore
By Margaret Dore Esq., MBA

The Wisconsin bill seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia includes a provision requiring doctors to "prescribe or refer," i.e., to perform a requested assisted suicide or euthanasia, or to make an effective referral to another doctor, who will do it. 

The bill, AB 216, also says that the attending physician's failure to comply is "unprofessional conduct" such that the physician would be subject to discipline. The bill states:
[F]ailure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication [the lethal dose] constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester's care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication. (Emphasis added).*
A significance of prescribe or refer is that it's anti-patient, by not allowing doctors to use their best judgment for individual patients.

Think of Oregonian Jeanette Hall. In 2000, she made a settled decision to use Oregon's assisted suicide law in lieu of being treated for cancer. Her doctor, Kenneth Stevens, who personally opposed assisted suicide, thought that her chances with treatment were good. He stalled her request for assisted suicide and finally convinced her to be treated for cancer.

Dr Stevens with Jeanette Hall
Yes, Dr Stevens was against assisted suicide, but he also thought that Jeanette was a great candidate for treatment, and indeed she was. She has been cancer free for 17 years. In a article from last year, Jeanette states

I wanted to do our law and I wanted Dr. Stevens to help me. Instead, he encouraged me to not give up and ultimately I decided to fight the cancer. I had both chemotherapy and radiation. I am so happy to be alive!
With "prescribe or refer," Dr Stevens would have been risking his license or even his livelihood to help Jeanette understand what her true options were.

Is this what we want for doctors, to have them be afraid of giving us their best judgment, for fear of losing their jobs?

This is a particularly sensitive issue for me because it happened to me, but in another context.

When I was in law school, I went to an optometrist who knew what was wrong with my eyes and also where to refer me for treatment with another optometrist. He didn't refer me because he worked for ophthalmologists and had been disciplined for giving a similar referral.

I spent the next six months of my life on a wild goose chase trying to find someone to help me so that I could get back to school. I finally found an optometrist, but with the delay, I had further damaged my eyes. I graduated two years late.

As for assisted suicide, the proposed bill is promoted as safe, in part because it requires a second doctor to review each case.

But what is the purpose of the second doctor, if he or she can only say "yes." (Do or refer)

With "do or refer," assisted suicide proponents show us their true nature. They don't want to give us choice, they want to railroad us to death.

I hope that Wisconsin will reject the proposed assisted suicide bill.

Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. She is also president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia worldwide. See and  

1 comment:

Gail said...

Thank you for this post. Oregon, Mass wake up