Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Euthanasia: The role of doctors has fundamentally changed.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Dirctor, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Today, the State of Victoria in Australia will institute its euthanasia law. Euthanasia has been debated in Australia since the Northern Territory legalized euthanasia in 1995 with the federal government overturning that law in 1997.

Dr Mark Yates
Mark Yates, a geriatrican and associate professor at Deakin University has written a great article that was published in Australia's Age newspaper titled: This week, the role of doctors will fundamentally change.

Yates first states what euthanasia is:
This legislation will enable doctors, at the request of a patient who meets the legislative requirements, to inject their patient with a combination of drugs that have the sole purpose of ending their life.
Yates repeats the mantra that euthanasia will be rare. He states:
The fact that this will be a rare occurrence is irrelevant to the majority of the medical profession. The issue is that the role of the doctor is fundamentally changed by this legislation, from treatment to protect life and relieve suffering to now include intentionally causing the death of a patient.
The Québec Minister of Health suggested that there would only be 100 deaths per year, whereas data indicates that there were 1664 reported euthanasia deaths in the first 16 months of the law. Yates continues:
As a geriatrician who cares for frail older people, I know many who perceive they are a burden to society or their family. I am saddened by the additional burden they must now carry. The burden of choosing to continue with life or to have it terminated. Sadly, knowing both the best and worst of human nature and that 10 to 15 per cent of elderly people experience abuse, I now also fear for the risks some will be exposed to as a result of this new legislation.
Yates comments on medical error and oversight of the law.
The legislation cannot safeguard families from medical error because case review is always after the death with a seven-day window before the necessary paperwork is required to be submitted – long after cremation in many cases.
Yates concludes his article by sharing his concerns:
Mostly I am saddened by legislation that weakens the fabric of our society and puts the frail elderly at risk.
Sadly, once a society has crossed the line and accepted that it is acceptable for doctors to kill patients, the law is then pressured to expand to include other conditions and situations where someone is demanding death. The only acceptable response is to provide excellent care and never to approve killing patients.


Village Girl said...

It may be in the future that vets will be perceived as more caring and humane than doctors

Unknown said...

So very true and then the next step could be when a patient does not want to be killed and will not have the ability to say NO. Finally elderly will have no choice and will be killed when OTHERS WILL DECIDE THEY should be terminated. Thanks Mrs. M Hume