June 4, 2020

Euthanasia Physicians are Seeing Patients using Video Conferencing

Doctors prescribing assisted suicide drugs to dying patients are now seeing their patients using video conferencing programs such as Zoom. These doctors are not required to consult their patients' previous physicians, only their medical records.

An article written for The Conversation by Anita Hannig, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University, includes the following excerpt:
[Dr. Carol] Parrot says she sees 90% of her patients online, visually examining a patient’s symptoms, mobility, affect and breathing.

“I can get a great deal of information for how close a patient is to death from a Skype visit,” Parrot explained. “I don’t feel badly at all that I don’t have a stethoscope on their chest.”

After the initial visit, whether in person or online, aid-in-dying physicians carefully collate their prognosis with the patient’s prior medical records and lab tests. Some also consult the patient’s primary physician.
Hannig wrote that she interviewed Dr. Parrot to obtain this information back in 2018, which means this method of prescribing assisted suicide drugs was present even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic simply drove more death doctors to pursue this as the primary method of seeing patients.

Euthanasia is not currently legal in Illinois, but lobbies still push to allow doctors to grant vulnerable patients drugs to be used to end their lives. Health care should always value human life and provide even terminal patients with a high quality of life.