When people ask me why I am opposed to euthanasia, I explain to them I am not opposed to euthanasia, I am opposed to killing patients being regarded as a physicians responsibility. That directly contravenes the healing role. If society decides it wishes death on demand to be available, which it does in Canada, then it is the democratic right of citizens to take this option. It becomes the responsibility of the state to make this available, but it does not have the right to force physicians to terminate life. There are some who will find this perfectly acceptable, but to include this as an expectation of all physicians will damage the medical profession irreparably.
It would be relatively easy to train a corps of 'terminators' who would not need to be physicians at all, in the technical details of the procedure. Once the guidelines were laid down the decision could be made by a designated group and the 'terminator' could administer the deadly potion. There is no reason at all that the protocol would require a physician and in fact I don't think it should.
Dr. Marc Van Hoey is President of Belgium's Flemish death with dignity association and one of the country's most active practitioners of euthanasia, performing between fifteen and twenty a year. He has become the first physician to face possible criminal prosecution, for giving an eighty-five year old fit woman, at her request a glass of lethal syrup to drink. (Yes, it's that easy, doesn't need a doctor at all.) Her daughter had died and she no longer wanted to live. Thus, there was no medical reason for her termination It is possible he will face prosecution for violating Belgium's euthanasia laws.
Carine Brochier, project manager of the Brussels based European Institute for Bioethics said, "It's an illusion to believe you can control what goes on between a doctor and a patient in a room." In Belgium, patients who have been diagnosed with depression have been terminated. Dr. Van Hoey himself said that it was possible to skirt the requirements for a written request from the patient. It would appear that there is considerable laxity about the required second medical opinion and an additional psychiatric opinion, if death is not imminent. Physicians who allow themselves to become part of the termination team will be on a slippery slope that can only damage the profession. It is shameful that the College of Physicians and Surgeons are lacking the moral fibre to apologetically support those physicians who do have those principles.
What do you think?