Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Creeping Euthanasia

Guardian Unlimited posts this:
Revealed: full scale of euthanasia in Britain

Fury as number of 'assisted deaths' claimed to be 18,000

Jamie Doward, social affairs editor
Sunday September 19, 2004
The Observer

British doctors help nearly 20,000 people a year to die, according to one of the UK's leading authorities on euthanasia. The claim, the first public attempt by a credible expert to put a figure on 'assisted dying' rates, will reignite the emotive debate over the practice.

Dr Hazel Biggs, director of medical law at the University of Kent and author of Euthanasia: Death with Dignity and the Law, calculates that at least 18,000 people a year are helped to die by doctors who are treating them for terminal illnesses.

Biggs, who has submitted evidence to the House of Lords select committee which is examining Lord Joffe's private member's bill on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill, makes the claim in an article submitted to the European Journal for Health Law.

Her figures will place renewed focus on the doctor-patient relationship, which pro-euthanasia campaigners want changed so that medical staff can help conscious, terminally ill patients in pain to shorten their lives.

Biggs's figures are based on data from countries such as the Netherlands and Australia, which have published research into assisted dying rates, as well as evidence taken from British doctors.

'If you extrapolate from countries that have published data, you're looking at quite a large number of patients who may have had their end hastened, not necessarily with their consent,' she said [emphasis mine: ED]....

An ageing population has meant that an increasing number of doctors are taking private decisions to aid the early demise of terminally ill patients, usually by increasing drug doses.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said there was an urgent need to clarify regulations governing assisted dying: 'We need to shine a spotlight on this. The medical profession doesn't want the public to realise they are making these decisions. It shows the need to make the patient the decision-maker. When it's left to the doctor, there is always the risk of abuse.'[emphasis mine: ED]...
Well said. And I wonder how often doctors respond to pressure from family members.

It happens here, too. After all, if it's okay to abort defenseless babies, it's okay to kill persons who are too old or ill to defend themselves. Don't tell me that there's no such thing as a slippery slope. Look what has happened to the share of the economy controlled by taxation and regulation since the reigns of Theodore Rex and his cousin Franklin.

Where will the descent down the slippery slope of state-condoned murder come to an end? With government screening programs to determine whether a person is "fit" to live? That's what we'll have if we don't get a grip on ourselves and deal with abortion and involuntary euthanasia.

(Thanks to my daughter-in-law for the tip.)