Skip to comments.Wesley J. Smith: The "Duty to Die" Advances”
Posted on 10/20/2011 3:54:45 PM PDT by wagglebee
Is there such a thing as a duty to die? Some notable voices in bioethics say, yes. They believe that as a matter of distributive justice, when people reach a certain advanced age, severe disability, or very poor health, they owe it to society, their familiesand even themselvesto allow life to (or make it) end.
Thus, in 1997, University of Tennessee bioethics professor, John Hardwig, wrote in the prestigious Hastings Center Report, A duty to die is more likely when continuing to live will impose significant burdensemotional burdens, extensive caregiving, destruction of life plans, and yes, financial hardshipon your family and loved ones. This is the fundamental insight underlying a duty to die.
One of the United Kingdoms leading bioethicists, Baroness Warnock, has also supported the duty to die. As reported by the UKs Independent newspaper in 2008:
She is quite happy with the notion of the duty to die . . . A couple of months ago, in an interview with the Church of Scotlands magazine Life and Work, she said: If youre demented, youre wasting peoples livesyour familys livesand youre wasting the resources of the National Health Service.
To date, no country has actually enacted such a legal requirement on its citizens. But that should not make us sanguine. To the contrary, a through-the-back-door duty to die has already been launched through policies that permit doctors to refuse so-called futile treatments.
Futile Care Theory, aka medical futility, has been on the bioethics movements agenda for more than ten years. Heres how it works: If a patient or their family want life-sustaining treatmentgenerally in the ICU settingbut doctors and/or bioethicists think it is inappropriate based on quality of life or cost/benefit judgments, the treatment may be unilaterally withheld or withdrawn. Lets be clear: Futile care treatments arent refused because they dont work. To the contrary, they are denied because they keep the patient alive.
The recent Baby Joseph case in Canada provides a vivid example. Joseph was dying of a genetic disease. Josephs doctors, supported by hospital bioethicists and administrators, told his parents that they were going to refuse all further life support. But when the parents asked for a tracheotomy to enable them to take their son home to die, the doctors said no again. They thought it was best for Joseph to die sooner, not later.
The case went to court, but before it was adjudicated, Priests for Life found a U.S. hospital where the tracheotomy could be performed. The surgery was successful, and Josephs parents took him home. He livedand was lovedfor an additional seven months, time that he and his parents would have been denied had the Canadian doctors been allowed to impose their will.
Futile Care principles have now escaped the ICU with the growing trend to deny life-extending cancer treatment to terminally ill patients, often outside the hospital setting. For example, a committee of doctors in Lancet Oncology recommended rationing cancer therapies that wont savebut could extendterminal cancer patients lives. From the Daily Mail story:
Patients with terminal cancer should not be given life-extending drugs, doctors said yesterday. The treatments give false hope and are too costly for the public purse, they warned. The group of 37 cancer experts, including British specialist Karol Sikora, claimed a culture of excess had led doctors to overtreat, overdiagnose and overpromise.
Such uncompassionate denials have already been imposed on unwilling patients in the USA. For example, Medicaid is legally rationed in Oregon. In 2008, two cancer patients were refused coverage for prescribed chemotherapy that would extend their lives for months. Showing the current trend, the state instead offered to pay for their assisted suicides. (One of the patients received the treatment free from the pharmaceutical company. The decision about the other was reversed after a public outcry.)
Coupling health care rationing and assisted suicidea clear duty to die agendahas been openly advocated in Vermont by a state official to the applause of an Addison County Independent editorial:
Money must also be saved in services delivered to people with chronic diseases and those who frequently use emergency rooms, he said; two areas in which the community at large must help play an important role. Passing a law that allows physicians to help end a patients life under very controlled circumstances, known as death with dignity, is one such measure that could help (an effort was tried this past session but postponed until next year). Another is approving some type of rationing measures, as Oregon has done, that help control health care costs.
The duty to die tide is flowing, and it wont stop with the terminally ill. When I was researching my book Culture of Death, I interviewed an advocate of medical futility and noted that refusing ICU treatment wouldnt save a lot of money. I asked what futilitarians (as I call them) would try to cut next? He responded, marginally beneficial care. His example? Refusing mammograms to women above the age of 80.
Make no mistake, when medically efficacious treatment is denigrated as futile or marginally beneficial, it isnt really the care that is being so described, it is the patients.
CBC special consultant Wesley J. Smith is a Senior Fellow in Human Exceptionalism at the Discovery Institute and a lawyer for the Patients Rights Council.
Exactly, the death panels will soon target every group they dislike.
Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.
GORE-gon (as in blood and gore, not al gore)
Wesley J Smith is our Orthodox Christian Brother!
May our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ reward him for his God-loving and courageous efforts to redeem the discipline of bioethics from the death-cultists who have been taking it over!!!!
Oh...that's right, like all good marxist tyrants, they think they know what is best for the rest of us, and that it does not apply to them.
Well, if they push too hard, they may find the invitation tp particiapte in ushc a program extended to them by some of those whose "duty" they presume upon.
That is a concept that is fastened upon by communists and socialists of every stripe. Remember “income redistribution”?
They want “life redistribution”, too!!!!
Among these “life redistributionists” is the vile head of Medicare “Dr.” Donald Berwick, who was appointed by obama during a Senate recess. Berwick sees heath care as being about “income redistribution”!!!!
No it is not, you quack Berwick! It is about treating one patient at a time, and doing the very best one can for him or her. The oath of Hippocrates still applies, no matter what Berwick, Cass Sunstein, Ezekiel Emanuel, little Tommy Daschle, or obama say!!!!
And besides, society needs the Soylent Green!
Those are some cold hearted people. I wonder if the good Baroness, who was most likely born with a silver spoon in her royal pain in the a**, sees that she has a duty to die? The phrase begins and upon several repetitions becomes a part of the language. The Baroness can keep her hands off the doorknob of my house.
Who better to decide who lives and dies than the “smart” people of collective, humanist amorality. We are “progressing.”
They got away with murdering babies; next comes granny. As they molest American grannies at the airport without an ounce of shame or self doubt, I can’t help but to see the indecency and lack of respect for human life inspiring this generation of elitists. They are moving to Nazism or communism.
Hitler would be proud of this group.
Soon enough history will be rewritten to give Adolf a kinder and gentler judgment to fit the occasion.
How come all the zero population zealots don’t volunteer to off themselves?
Just give them a rope, a chair and a fixture to hang from and shut the door.
The commies can’t help it. Killing people is in their DNA.
That is why they try and eliminate Christianity in every country they infect. Christ is Love. Christ is Life.
The coming of this view was a mathematical certainty. Unless we change the trend the “duty to die” concept will move from mere discussion in academic journals and really be implemented; especially against political conservatives and believing Christians.
The US democrat party has ALWAYS been a fascist party, even before Mussolini clearly stated it as political theory around which he built his party, US democrat party had always believed in their right to control the economy, their right have a democrat nobility control every aspect of the lives of those not part of the nobility, and in the destruction of and enslavement of those races they considered impure.
There wasn't a thing in Nazi racist eugenics doctrine that they didn't take from US eugenics pioneers. Only the specific target was the different, the Nazis in Germany targeting the Jews and the US democrat fascists targeting primarily blacks but having long term plans to deal with those, "inclined toward indolence and poverty". At various times that included the Irish, Italians, Polish, and always the Romani people a group they felt all Eastern European people belonged to.
Apparently they never bothered to visit any major industrial centers where the majority of industry only functioned due to the sweat and ingenuity of those very groups they considered indolent.
Eggheads and scientists that put forth ridiculous theories that people have a duty to die, ought to be put to death in honor of their stupid theory.
Years ago (I am an old fart, M, 79), I remember reading that in the Eskimo society, that lived in igloos, the older folks would live with their children in the igloo. At a point in time, the live in older person, m/f, would leave the igloo and go out into the night, the blizzard, in order to relieve the family of the burden of caring for them. A “Duty to Die” mentality existed in what we currently would perceive as being a primitive society.
I wonder what other ancient cultures implemented the “Duty to Die” realizing that, at an advanced age, they were not going to become great warriors, chieftain, kings/queens, pyramid builders. governors, senators, brain surgeons, lawyers, cpa’s, software/hardware engineers, astronauts, etc, you should get the gist of this.
The older you get, the closer you get to the horizon of your mortality and it is not as frightening as when you initially start to collect your Social Security/medicare. Life begins and it is great to be young and viral, and life ends, even for the Quadaffi’s of the world.
Have a good day and may your team do well this weekend.
Lord Jesus, you healed so many people during your public ministry. I bring before you now, in prayer, all those who are terminally ill -- those afflicted with cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses.
Look lovingly and compassionately upon them. Let them feel the strength of your consolation. Help them and their families to accept this cross they are asked to carry. Protect them from euthanasia, Lord.
Let them see you carrying their cross with them, at their side, as you once carried yours to Calvary. May Mary be there, too, to comfort them.
Lord Jesus, I know and believe that, if it is your will, you can cure those I pray for (especially N.). I place my trust in you. I pray with faith, but I also pray as you did in Gethsemane: your will be done.
Bless us, Lord, and hear my prayer. Amen.
|Reprinted from "Queen of Apostles Prayerbook" with permission of copyright holder, Pauline Books & Media,|
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.