Friday, 25 April 2014

"My thoughts on Euthanasia"


My thoughts on Euthanasia, (aka end of life care)

The Governmental regulation of trust-based institutions (banks, credit unions etc.) creates an environment that engenders trust in the institution. We deposit monies and expect accurate accounting, access and protection of the assets we grant to the bank in safekeeping.

Medical care is based on trust.  A patient engages a physician to provide expert opinion, and upon the patient’s authorization in trust, the physician is allowed the authority to provide ongoing advice and recommended management of the life entrusted to the physician.

The physician is accountable to administer best practices, and failure to do that is considered a breech of trust, and if harm can be proven, then the practitioner is held accountable.

This principle is one of the most foundational principles of the practice of medicine.

Life itself, is entrusted to us. It is granted to the infant. Passed on from the parent, this life is life that was received from the grand-parents.

We are taught to steward our life well, because it is granted to us for a season, and then we must release it.

I contend that DNA is an elegant accounting system of the stewardship of life. In DNA is traceable the lineage, and is a stewardship record of the life granted in the transfer of DNA.

Do we “own” the life that we individually carry for a season? We certainly have authority to direct our own life, to a limited extent. If we direct our life in such a way as that it brings harm to others, our freedom to direct our life may be removed from us. This is what happens when prison accommodation is imposed upon a person for a punishable breach of trust.

Ownership implies entitlement to recall the asset. Life is not like that. When it is released, life cannot be recalled.

When money is withdrawn by recall from the bank, the bank is no longer responsible for the accounting of it.

If by a change of laws, the physician becomes authorized to remove, rather than to protect, treasure and support life, even at the request of the patient, then a fundamental change has occurred in the relationship of the patient to the physician and vice versa.

The erosion of trust would have as profound an impact on the environment of medicine, as deforestation is in the physical world.  It would be like the effect on the financial world of passing a law prohibiting locks on banks.

Legally giving physicians the right to terminate life , no— also imparting the obligation to consider the request of the patient to end his life, (and if in moral disagreement—the obligation to refer the patient to an assessment committee who would determine the appropriateness and the capability of the patient to make “informed consent”) would completely destroy trust.  It could save the government a lot of money.

Such a committee could not be populated other than by persons who agreed that it is acceptable to consider the termination of life as a therapeutic act. Committee members would insist on immunity from responsibility if endorsing the patient’s ‘right” to termination.

Given a change of law, this will become argued as an issue to be determined between the patient and the doctor. Where have we heard that before?

Will this be an unpaid committee? So . . .  someone will be paid to decide whether and when to end another person’s life?  Is this the direction we want to go?

Perhaps we should ask the public,  ‘what would you think, if you saw a sign in a physicians office, declaring something like this:

We endorse choice of the patient,
and we endorse the practice of compassionate
euthanasia with proper documentation.
We can assist you with everything.
This is a government approved
and licensed medical practice.

This is a non-insured service,
the cost is $ _______   plus
(Your life with no recall).

No money? No problem.
We will do it for free but
We will charge your estate.
Your children will pay. . .”
For more information, just ask. . .

Fast-forward—to Circa 2099; “Do you recall a time when it was a felony for a child to pay for someone to terminate a parent so they could get the inheritance?”  

That which we sow, we will reap.

D. Boettger MD

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Will physicians be left out of the debate?

-Jennifer Derwey

An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal warns that physicians "could soon be left in the legal vacuum" with regard to the practice of euthanasia. CMDS is dedicate to giving doctors and dentists a voice in this debate. 

Find out more on how you can be a leading voice on this topic by visiting our educational project website for the CMDS film, The Gift: Living Fully, Dying Naturally, here. 

More from the Ottawa Citizen,

...physicians could soon be left in a legal vacuum if the Supreme Court of Canada rules later this year that laws banning doctor-assisted suicide violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, experts argue in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Polls show that support for assisted death is high and growing, said Dr. James Downar, an assistant professor in the division of critical care and palliative care medicine at the University of Toronto.
“The ‘yes-no’ debate is about to become obsolete,” Downar said.
“Physician-assisted death (which covers both physician-assisted suicide involving giving patients a lethal prescription they take themselves, and euthanasia involving administering a lethal injection to the patient) is going to become legal in Canada in the very near future by one means or another” and crucial questions need to be answered, he said, including when does suffering become “intolerable” and how long must it last before doctor-assisted death could be granted? Would psychological or “existential” angst be grounds for seeking a lethal injection?