Have you heard of the Hippocratic Oath?
Maybe the phrase “do no harm” comes to mind.
Surprisingly, most medical schools are omitting that idea from the oath medical students take upon graduating. In fact, by 1993, only 14 percent of medical schools in the United States and Canada made their students take an oath which prohibits euthanasia.
But aren’t doctors supposed to be healers?
When I feel under the weather, I trust my doctor to diagnose and treat my illness. After all, doctors receive years of training before they begin practicing medicine. I rely on my doctor to provide me with sound advice—not the other way around.
The traditional, Hippocratic understanding of medicine, recognizing the doctor as a healer and counselor, has come under attack in recent years.
We used to have a right to life, but now we have a “right to die” which quickly becomes a duty to die.
Euthanasia preys on the vulnerable of our society—the elderly and the infirm. Where advocates of euthanasia celebrate what they consider an empowering way to die, we can look to other countries to see the truth about how these laws negatively impact families and society as a whole.
In Belgium, for example, euthanasia has been legal since 2002. In the past 19 years, we have seen how these laws are failing patients, doctors, and families alike.
In 2010, doctors provided Tine Nys, a 38-year-old woman, with euthanasia. Her diagnoses? Autism and emotional distress from a failed relationship.
In 2014, Belgium legalized euthanasia for minors. From 2016-2017, three minors—a 17 year-old, 11 year-old, and 9 year-old—were euthanized.
We can see how euthanasia for “serious, incurable, and unbearable diseases” can spiral out of control. In 2019, 448 people were euthanized even though they were not expected to die naturally in the near future.
The Truth About Euthanasia
Euthanasia: Searching for the Full Story uncovers the ugly reality of euthanasia. This book shares the experiences of doctors and family members alike who struggle with grief and guilt over their involvement in a patient’s or loved one’s death.
Eric Vermeer, a former oncological and palliative care nurse who is now a psychotherapist and nursing professor, who often accompanies patients in their last days, explains the humility and compassion required of healthcare professionals as they treat patients at the end of their lives. When Vermeer’s patients request euthanasia, he digs deeper and attempts to understand their reasoning behind the request. Here are a couple of stories he shares:
Mrs. N. was suffering from lung cancer and requested euthanasia. Her wish was heard and taken seriously, but it encouraged me to go further into her history. After a long exchange, she told me: “I weigh 33 kg and I am a burden to society [sic]. Moreover, my two daughters are waiting for me to die so that they can inherit the house…” I asked myself what this patient was really asking for. Was it: “Put me to death”? Or else: “Show me that I still have worth in your eyes, despite my feeling useless and my family distress?” As a team, we opted for the second choice and took the time to accompany this patient, without suppressing her request, which evaporated on its own. She left the palliative care unit after three months and was reconciled with her two daughters.
Mrs. W. is in a rest home and suffers from loneliness. When her daughter comes to visit, she tells her: “I would like to die since I am no longer useful for anything…” The daughter retorts, tit for tat: “But mom, you are still there to love us!...” Mrs. W. was dumbfounded. She remained silent for a long while, then, with a smile on her lips, said: “Yes, that is true, I am still there to love you, and it’s the most beautiful thing I know how to do…”.
You see, euthanasia is not the answer to human suffering, old age, or sickness. Euthanasia ignores the inherent dignity of all people and damages the medical profession and society as a whole.
The number of heartbreaking stories that prove this are only growing. The question is: are we listening?
Learn more about euthanasia in the United States and what ADF is doing to protect life.
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