Skip to comments.Assisted suicides - Process is subject to abuse and unnecessary
Posted on 01/29/2006 10:35:55 AM PST by NormsRevenge
The U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of the Bush administration's heavy-handed threats to prosecute Oregon physicians has revived the debate over whether California should allow doctors to help their terminally ill patients commit suicide.
The fact that Oregon's law has survived the court challenge does not make physician-assisted suicide good public policy. It emphatically is not, for the simple reason that it exposes the most vulnerable members of society the elderly, the disabled, the poor, the mentally impaired, the terminally ill to unwarranted pressures to take their own lives because they are a financial burden on their families and the health care system.
Two Democratic members of the California Assembly, Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys and Patty Berg of Eureka, have resuscitated their physician-assisted suicide measure, which failed to get out of committee in the Assembly last year. This year the two lawmakers are hoping for a more receptive hearing in the Senate.
Their bill is patterned after Oregon's law, which allows doctors to participate in the suicides of patients who are believed to have no more than six months to live a determination that is itself highly speculative and subject to error. A patient must voluntarily sign a statement requesting a doctor's assistance, but there is no allowance made for the depression that often accompanies terminal illness and clouds a person's judgment. Nor is there any provision in the law to counter the subtle coercion that can occur when a dying patient is not expected to recover but is running up hospital bills of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Oregonian newspaper documented the case of a woman afflicted with Alzheimer's and cancer who took her own life, with the help of her doctor, only after heavy pressure from the patient's daughter. It was not altogether clear that the patient possessed the mental faculties to make a rational decision to kill herself.
Given the extraordinary cost of medical care in the United States, dying patients of modest means, particularly those who are uninsured, are likely to face greater pressures to end their lives prematurely than are the wealthy. Interestingly, the author of Oregon's law was an HMO executive acutely attuned to the high cost of providing care for the terminally ill.
A study by Georgetown University's Center for Clinical Bioethics found a link between cost-cutting pressures in hospitals and a doctor's willingness to prescribe a lethal dose of medication costing only $35 to $50. The study's authors called for a sobering degree of caution in legalizing (assisted suicide) in a medical care environment that is characterized by increasing pressure on physicians to control the cost of care.
Rather than rushing to enable doctors to help patients commit suicide, the Legislature should consider ways to expand access to hospices and to improve palliative care, which is the relief of chronic pain. Medical experts assert that, with proper palliative care, no patient has to suffer terrible pain in the last days of life. That is why physician-assisted suicide is as unnecessary as it is ripe for abuse.
1- an unaccountable Judiciary.
2- whose life is it, anyway? Yours, or someone else's?
3- whose Country is it?
There are other vital issues, of course- but these three will determine just who we really are as a nation.
The Oregon suicide law was instituted by a referendum vote of Oregonians, then it survived another referendum vote challenging it a couple of years later.
It's sad to see people dragging down the noble profession of medicine like this.
Hey, I've been had. I thought this was a thread about the Hamas crazies. You ought to change the title.
Yes, it is. Good thing many physicians are more compassionate that government attorneys/bureaucrats and even without the law are able to help some of the people in need. However, they shouldn't have to work under constant threat.
DISCUSSION ABOUT: "Assisted Suicides -- Process is Subject to Abuse and is Unnecessary"
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Really good question! Someone might want to ask the editorial writer for the San Diego Tribune-Review!
Remember, according to many, it's not our own...and we should have the government preventing us from exercising our own choices. It's part of the Culture of DisrespectTM that has developed, where people are viewed as "lives" not as individuals with their own free will, and "pro-life-at-all-costs" is held as a higher cause than individual rights. Such a disrespectful approach is a slap in the face for all who gave their lives to gain and protect our freedoms!
So ask your doctor to lie to you.
He already does.
He's a Vegan.
I guess I don't feel I need a Doctor or a Legislature to tell me when and how I can end this mortal life. I'll figure that out for myself if and when the time comes.
If they want to commit suicide can't we just pay them to be homicide bombers in the Middle east?
What am I missing here?
Inducing death is a legitimate medical use, but relieving chemo/radiation treatment induced illness isn't?
Not everyone is so lucky as to be able-bodied and able to obtain the means when they discover that time. Many people wait until it's too late to do anything without assistance, and because physicians see this a lot, perhaps that's why many of them make preparations to go while they still can do it (often planning to use carbon monoxide).
Bottom line is this is a family matter. It's between me and my God. Not me and the state, court or church. I'm sorry that some here feel it's a slippery slope, but my family and I don't want to suffer for thier fears. We claim our rights to death with dignity.
Most important paragraph in the whole article as far as I'm concerned. Used to be a patient, dying or not, could get effective pain relief. Enter the trial lawyers suing the crap out of doctors who were upholding their oath, on behalf of greedy a-holes who abused their medication and...VOILA!....doctors won't prescribe the needed pain meds for fear of ridiculous lawsuits.
They don't have revolvers where these people come from? They don't have tall buildings? -- Jerry Seinfeld