Sunday, January 04, 2009

Assisted Suicide? Or Encouraged Suicide? It Still Should Be Opposed.

As we all know, this past Novembers election saw Washington States voters duped into passing the so called Death With Dignity initiative, making us the second state to allow “doctor assisted suicide.”

The measure passed due to a massive campaign from out of state sources that see the death of others as “humane.” Or, as many refer to it, the “Culture of Death,” that group that sees suicide and abortion as peaceful and humane, but are virulently opposed to the execution of mass murderers.

Fortunately for Washington’s citizens, the Washington State Medical Association reminds us that just because a patient may request the physician assist in their suicide, health care providers are not required to assist in suicide. Their spokesman said,

There’s no requirement if physicians aren’t comfortable with honoring their patients’ wishes.”

Likewise, Karina Jennings of Providence Health, the largest provider of healthcare in Eastern Washington said,

We believe we don’t have to participate and plan to exercise a conscience clause allowing us to be exempt.”

The measure that passed by 59% of the vote is facing much opposition from within our state, rightfully so. As a Spokane Hospice statement said,

“[our] mission is to provide care and support for patients, not hasten their death.”

James Garner once spoke a line in the movie, Duel at Diablo,

Death comes soon enough. Anyone who hurries it is a damn fool.”

We are told how wonderful Oregon’s Assisted Suicide has been working, but that isn’t exactly the truth. Several abuses to Oregon’s ‘Death With Dignity’ have been seen since it was passed and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opposition from Healthcare Professionals in Clark County is growing and citizens are being encouraged to write the Southwest Washington Medical Center Board of Directors to encourage they consider their conscience under the conscience clause and not just blindly follow the folly of ‘Physician Assisted Suicide.’

Examples of how you might construct your own words to write in opposition to ‘Physician Assisted Suicide’ to be sent to SWMC can be seen here, and an example for workers within the Healthcare Profession and Healthcare professionals to write to Healthcare Facilities is located here.

If you would like to add your voice to the growing opposition, use the letters as a guide to write in your own words and send copies to the listed persons here.

A lot of information can be gained by visiting the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide.

Several other abuses of End of Life Decisions have been compiled by Not Dead Yet.

As the Culture of Death dulls the senses of our population with their soft words and hiding of the intent to just let people die, falsely believing it to be humane, I am reminded of some of the words found within the Classic Hippocratic Oath,

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

The Modern Version removes those words, but acknowledges one’s conscience by including,

Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.”

As members of the Culture of Death continue their push for us to accept premature death, I am reminded of words I read from another Doctor long ago,

The underlying motive was the desire to help individuals who could not help themselves and were thus prolonging their lives in torment. ... To quote Hippocrates today is to proclaim that invalids and persons in great pain should never be given poison. But any modern doctor who makes so rhetorical a declaration without qualification is either a liar or a hypocrite. ... I never intended anything more than or believed I was doing anything but abbreviating the tortured existence of such unhappy creatures… I am convinced that today they have overcome their distress and personally believe that the dead members of their families were given a happy release from their sufferings.”

From testimony given by Dr. Karl Brandt, Adolf Hitler’s personal physician and head of Nazi Germanys Euthanasia Program. Sentenced to death and executed June 2, 1948 at Landsberg prison in Bavaria for War Crimes.

I-1000 may have passed into accepted law, but valid reasons remain to oppose Physician Assisted Suicide.

I urge you to follow the example letters given above and contact the necessary people at Southwest Washington Medical Center to remind that not only do the citizens of Clark County Washington have a conscience, so do they.

As James Garner spoke in the movie above, Death comes soon enough. Anyone who hurries it is a damn fool.”


Angie Lee said...

I admit to mixed feelings on this subject. The only facet of this discussion I will, boldly and without reservation, support is that treatment choices within a patient-physician relationship have NO business being legislated. Whether for curative intent, hospice, or other end-of-life decisions, they MUST be made between the patient and his physician - not the patient, physician, legislators and judicial system, and some dude standing on the corner with a sign (whether for or against said choice). There IS a reason this relationship is considered "sacred."

I feel the same about abortion.

Just as there will always be doctors willing to perform abortions, there will always be doctors willing to perform assisted suicide. Laws will never change that; however, legislating either leads to abuse - this has been proved time and time again. If choices are left to the patient and his doctor (the miracle that is freedom to choose in this country, not only what we do with our bodies but with whom we seek treatment) the opportunity for abuse will be diminished.

I want NO choices forced upon others, (as we see with healthcare providers forced into performing a procedure they oppose), but I want NO choices taken away, either (as we see with women forced to undergo abortion simply because alternatives are not offered, or with assisted suicide); by definition, there is no longer a "choice."

As someone with a chronic incurable degenerative condition having already robbed me of physical and cognitive function, knowing my fate, I want NO options taken from others facing a similar outlook. Mine is an entirely selfish motive, though: While I doubt I would ever make this choice myself, my conscience cannot bear the knowledge of another trapped inside a useless body - able to escape only in death - because I had a hand in denying their making a decision for themselves; forcing them to live with the consequences of a choice society had no business making for them.

I do not have to agree with another's lifestyle choice, but I do have to respect it - if I want the same respect in return for my own.

Weird? Maybe. But that is all that I am and all that I aspire to be.

LewWaters said...

This is defintely an emotional subject without perfect answers, allee. What I dislike is once government becomes involved, the potential for abuse becomes all too real.

Health plan covers assisted suicide but not new cancer treatment

I also recall reading an article some years ago where a European Doctor euthanized a woman who was terminal because he needed the bedspace for another of his patients, even though the woman who was terminal had refused assisted suicide. The doctor said he simply made a mistake to her family and apologized, but nothing happened to him over it.

I do not desire to have a machine keeping my body functioning long after my brain has shut down. But, I do not desire for someone to encourage me to do my "duty" and commit suicide should I be diagnosed terminal.

An online friend of mine was recently diagnosed terminal with just weeks to live. He is 72 and might have easily been talked into ending his life. A second diagnosis came back that although he has leukemia, time left is unknown and could be in years, not weeks.

I also recall that Hitler's euthanasia program began under similar calls and we saw how that got out of hand.

I feel life is precious and a privilege. All too often we tend to give up when simple therapy could make a difference.

Like I said, it is an emotional issue without perfect answers. But for me, I dread ever having government hold the power to decide for me when my life should end.

I have had members of my family, an uncle and a cousin, commit suicide without physician assistance, one by prescribed drugs and the other hung himself. I never knew why, but I saw the emotional toll paid by their parents, brothers and sisters.

I've known a couple others too, including another Viet Nam Veteran here locally that I could never get to talk to me about troubles I saw in his eyes.

No perfect answers for sure, but it scares me to allow someone else the power to decide I must end my life and encourage me to do so.

Angie Lee said...

I think that's kind of what I was getting at, that when government (or anyone, really) is allowed to meddle in a decision so entirely personal, bad things happen and we all pay the price. And reversing is nearly impossible. Did you know, "Roe" of Roe v. Wade, upset by the effects of her case, spent years battling AGAINST abortion? As happened then, and continues to happen now, we are manipulated and abused, cases determined in courts of law and used in ways we neither intended nor desired - but we all suffer in the end.

I do not desire having a machine keeping my body functioning, long after I became trapped inside, my mental awareness intact. To me, that is torture. I don't think of it as a "duty" to let go - for me or anyone - and no one has a right to look at it that way. It's a choice no one can make but he who must live with the consequences. Just like abortion, or seat belts, or whether we want to pray in a public venue. These are choices a person must make for themselves, without interference - THEY have to deal with the outcomes, not me, and I have no right to force them into that which they do not wish to accept.

Again, I don't think I could go this route. What would stop me is my faith and fear that suicide - even in dire straits and mentally annihilating conditions - would prevent my entering the Kingdom of God. Thou shalt not kill - I take that to mean not killing oneself, too.

(PS: I don't think ANYONE would have convinced Roger, either. He is solid at the core, so I don't think he would succumb to pressure from others; for some reason, I can picture him telling someone who was browbeating him to "GET LOST. IT IS MY LIFE, NOT YOURS.")

LewWaters said...

I don't think they ever could have convinced Roger either, allee. But many others could be as they are hit with such a decision and pressure when they are depressed.

It really troubles that we, as a society, have gotten so desensitized to death that many embrace it....... for others.

Angie Lee said...

It may sound harsh and cruel, but I believe it MUST come to Hitler-type programs, up to and including extermination, and at least diminishing if not outright elimination of rights and freedoms, before things change.

For years I have said - and stand behind it even more steadfastly today - there WILL be a New American Revolution. There will be significant loss of life, tremendous destabilization, and exceptional vulnerability; but in the end, we will go on. Powerful empires have risen and fallen across the centuries of mankind, and we have become too fat and complacent to think it could ever happen to us, while it happens all around us and in front of our eyes. Ours is a republic still in its infancy and, therefore, inherently more vulnerable to destruction. We were doomed to failure at the first underminings of the Constitution decades ago.

There is no "meaning" behind the sacrifices of prior generations; we of younger generations have never been forced to make any type of sacrifice ourselves and, unfortunately, too few "old-timers" remain to try to impart some knowledge (besides the fact that young people today are too stupid to listen anyhow, taught first and foremost instant self-gratification and depersonalization of others).

It is beyond us to know, feel, and understand sacrifice, let alone protect those made in the past - for our benefit.

In a lot of ways, I think we mirror Rome prior to its downfall.

LewWaters said...

Sadly, I don't see how we will avoid another Civil War, allee.

We are defintitely headed for a downfall.

My quote from Dr. Brandt above speaks volumes as what he says is pretty much what I see coming from the left and others who have embraced the Culture of Death.

Angie Lee said...

I don't think it will be a Civil War but a Revolutionary War. May not seem much of a difference, but I think there IS a difference - a bold one.

And in all my harsh cynicism, I say good riddance to them. I will feel sad at innocent casualties, the so-called collateral losses, but it is a fact of war and of reality.

It's time to clean out the gene pool, they've been crapping in it for far too long.