ASSISTED DYING

July 27, 2012

It is true: The death panels are coming!

Think about this: In a world of scarcity, rationing is inevitable. You can ration by price: high monetary bid wins. You can ration by standing in line: first come, first served. You can ration by bureaucratic procedure: fill out forms. You can ration by favors: hello, baby.  But there is always rationing.

The free market rations by price. The federal government rations by standing in line and filling in forms.

When the government forces the price of anything below the free market price, rationing by standing in line becomes dominant. This is why socialized medicine inescapably mandates death panels. There is no escape.

The pro-government physicians know this. So, they are ready to promote assisted dying, or physic9an-assisted dying. It’s cheaper to have people decide to commit suicide than to treat them for an incurable disease.

The Hippocratic oath — do the patient no harm — becomes the hypocritic oath: do the government no harm.

This shift in opinion takes place at the top. Leaders in the profession begin promoting physician-assisted suicide. Dr. Kevorkian was the most visible “early adopter.” Then the state of Oregon legalized it. But not many patients are taking advantage of the law in Oregon to make this policy cost-effective for the government and families waiting for the inheritance. So, the elite in medicine is trying to get opinions changed.

The New England Journal of Medicine has just published an article to speed up acceptance: “Redefining Physicians’ Role in Assisted Dying.” It sounds so clinical. It is clinical. You can read it here.

It lists objections to physician-assisted suicide, meaning — let us be clear here — becoming an accomplice to murder. There is a moral objection. But since morality is all subjective, according to liberals, there should be no civil law involved — unless we are talking about Nazis, in which case, such acts are  atrocities. So, a physician should be allowed to become an accomplice.

The fifth objection holds that allowing assisted dying undermines the sanctity of life. This is a subjective moral question, commonly framed in terms of absolute preservation of life versus respect for personal autonomy — a divide that often falls along religious lines. There is no clear, objective answer, but as with issues such as abortion or withdrawal of life support, legalization would benefit those who want the option, without affecting care for those who object to the practice.

But then there is resistance within the profession — the remnants of the Hippocratic oath days. This is a serious problem.

Finally, there are objections from the medical community. In a 2003 study of AMA members, 69% objected to physician-assisted suicide, a position officially held by various national and state medical associations. Even with allowances for conscientious objection, some physicians believe it’s inappropriate or wrong for a physician to play an active role in ending a patient’s life. We believe there is a compelling case for legalizing assisted dying, but assisted dying need not be physician-assisted.

So, the physician need not be involved. Then who will authorize the decision?

The state. The article does not say this, but it is the obvious conclusion.

This is the “new medicine.” This is the “cost-effective medicine of the future.”

This is government-funded medicine.

This is Soylent Green, phase 1.

In phase 1, the physician merely identifies the disease as terminal. Then his patient buys the poisons in a state-licensed pharmacy. The physician washes his hands of the act before the procedure, not after.  “All I did was identify the disease. No harm, no foul!”

This is Pontius Pilate medicine. Clean hands.

On May 23, 2012, the medical association of Germany publicly apologized for the atrocities which members of the medical community actively participated in in the 1930s and 1940s. There will no doubt be similar apologies from the medical profession in (say) 2112. “We just didn’t know what we were doing.”

Like hell they don’t.


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