Month: August 2018

Fear of dying should not lead to dangerous legal changes

When I began working as a doctor early in the 1970s, end-of-life care was in its infancy.  Cicely Saunders had just begun her pioneering work on what she called “total pain” and very few clinicians knew how to alleviate pain and distress in the dying. Today the situation is transformed. Palliative care has been recognised …

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Guernsey was right to reject assisted dying

There is so much we get wrong in the provision of health and care services. Everyone has a story: of misdiagnosis, of receiving the wrong treatment, of hopeless gaps in communication or care. Sometimes such things happen through deliberate cruelty or neglect, but more often through ordinary human fallibility, and the clumsiness and imperfection of …

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I lost my husband to cancer. I’m forever thankful he didn’t choose assisted suicide.

On Dec. 30, 2017, as snowflakes fell outside his window, my husband and the love of my life, J.J. Hanson, took his last breath. He was 36 years old. I was with him, holding our two young sons in my arms. We had known the day would come — J.J. had been living with terminal brain …

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Liberals and atheists can also oppose assisted dying

  OPPOSITION to assisted dying is usually derided as being religious in nature, which is easier than confronting hard questions or inconvenient truths. It is easier to shut down “religious bigots” than to consider what they say, just as it is easier to use the term “assisted dying” instead of the more accurate but controversial …

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Is suicide different from physician assisted death?

  Bioethicists have for several decades discussed whether Physician Assisted Death (PAD) can be distinguished from other forms of suicide. The question is of critical importance for suicide prevention initiatives in countries where PAD is legal, as it may be the case that the practice of PAD is undermining the work of organisations committed to …

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The AMA must stay to the path of ‘do no harm’

The American Medical Association recently voted to request further clarification of a report on physician-assisted suicide published by its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. That may sound dull and procedural, but it has an unmistakable significance for the doctors’ group, which has always opposed turning its members into life-enders instead of health-givers. We all …

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Assisted suicide is not about autonomy. It’s a tragedy that we shouldn’t allow.

Assisted suicide is becoming more popular throughout the developed world. The New Zealand Parliament is currently debating its legalization. A legalization proposal in Guernsey in the United Kingdom was recently voted down, but in nearby Jersey a majority of politicians up for election support legalization. Assisted suicide and in some cases outright euthanasia are legal …

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Euthanasia dispute in Belgium: When do doctors cross a line?

  A disputed case of euthanasia in Belgium, involving the death of a dementia patient who never formally asked to die, has again raised concerns about weak oversight in a country with some of the world’s most liberal euthanasia laws. The case is described in a letter provided to The Associated Press, written by a …

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