Why are they trying to make us kill our patients.
Our state’s (California) physician-assisted suicide law instantly removes penal-code protections from a vulnerable segment of the population deemed “terminally ill.” The law allows anyone labeled as terminally ill to request assisted suicide—but it also accepts heirs and the owners of caregiving facilities to formally witness such requests, even though the probate code does not even accept “interested” parties as witnesses to a will.
The law does not require an attending physician to refer the patient for psychological assessment. It thus does not allow for screening for possible coercion, or for underlying mental conditions that could be behind the suicide request—unless the patient has signs of mental problems, which may not be visible to a suicide-specialist doctor they may not even know. In these and other ways, the law devastates elder-abuse law and mental-health legal protections, and it deprives those labeled as terminally ill of equal-protection rights that all other Americans enjoy.
All of us in the practice of cancer care have seen patients, diagnosed with so-called terminal illness, who have experienced a marvelous remission of disease. Very little is absolute—except death itself.
Killing is never medical care. There is no circumstance when any compassionate, competent physician would prescribe a deadly drug to any patient. If “medical practice” has any meaning, it definitely does not include using drugs to willfully kill a patient or for a physician and pharmacist to supply a lethal drug so that a patient can kill himself.
The American Medical Association has spoken for all physicians by stating: “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”
The irony here is that the medical community has strongly objected to facilitating the death of felons on death row, but that same medical community is now expected to help kill the innocent.
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