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08/20/2015

More about Doctor-Assisted Suicide—in California and Elsewhere

The Californian proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have repackaged their proposed law into AB 15, hoping to enact it in a special legislative session, dealing with health care costs, in which they can bypass the pesky consciences and principles of state Assembly members on the Health Committee, several of whom are Southern California Latino Democrats.  One way or another, they must silence those “dogmatic” opponents of PAS.

Wesley Smith points out that death is cheaper than life, and that PAS does not lead to death from terminal illness, but to death from drug overdose.

They will do their best to ram this through.  I will appeal to the Governor—who used to work with Mother Theresa—to veto it.

Dr. William Toffler, an Oregon physician, writes in the Wall Street Journal that PAS will be a “disaster for medicine.”  He counters the “what’s the big deal?” attitude of some other Oregonian doctors.  Patients are trying to smell out the “death doctors” and avoid them, he says.  He reminds us that life expectancy is stubbornly difficult to predict in individual cases.  Oregonians considering PAS are not being referred for the psychologic evaluations required by law, he writes.  Depressed and anxious patients are seeking PAS, so the law “may not adequately protect all mentally ill patients.”  The state Health Plan preferentially covers PAS, which is done under a “shroud of secrecy.”  (The death certificate does not indicate PAS.)  He reassures his patients he will care for them faithfully, and “support them through their illness, not offer them a quick exit.”  And he angrily rejects the characterization of killing oneself with sleeping pills as “dignified,” “as if natural deaths aren’t.”

Read the whole thing.  And remember Margaret Mead.

A survey in Flanders, Belgium shows that in 2013, euthanasia accounted for 4.6% of a sample of 3,751 deaths in the first half of 2013, up from 1.9% in 2007.  To those who argue that “the slippery slope is ludicrous,” or words to that effect, I give you an editorial by Drs. Barron Lerner and Arthur Caplan in JAMA Internal Medicine (article free to the public).   They write, “The slippery slope is not always a persuasive argument.  However, [recent data and reports] require that it be taken very seriously…Part of the problem with the slippery slope is that you never know when you are on it.”

Read that whole thing.

In San Diego County, there is a move to put a net under the Coronado Bridge, like they have agreed to do with the Golden Gate Bridge, to thwart suicides, and help suicidal people have another chance at life.  This is a good thing, (although I fret that their informal online poll is running 40-60 against as I write this).  So are the efforts of UpToSD, to promote suicide awareness and prevent suicides.

I’ll sign up with those guys, not the PAS crowd.

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