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Euthanizing Medicine David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics) CEO Christian Medical & Dental Associations.

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Presentation on theme: "Euthanizing Medicine David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics) CEO Christian Medical & Dental Associations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Euthanizing Medicine David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics) CEO Christian Medical & Dental Associations

2 PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE

3 DEFINING TERMS Suicide Pulling the Plug Refusing Treatment Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) Euthanasia – Passive Euthanasia – Active Euthanasia Voluntary – Patient Consents Non-Voluntary – Patient Can’t Consent Involuntary – Patient refuses or can give consent but not asked

4 USUAL “SAFEGAURDS” Less than 6 months to live Second opinion Multiple requests Waiting Period Can change mind Confidential report Not required – Family notification – Psychiatric exam

5 Christian Beliefs Oppose PAS Human life is sacred because man is made in God’s image. - Genesis 1:26 God alone is sovereign over life and death –Deut. 32:39 I put to death and I bring to life. – David says in Psalm 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. People’s bodies belong to God - 1 Cor. 6:19 ) Suicide is defined as self-killing –Exodus 20:13 Thou shall not kill The Bible teaches that human dignity is inherent and not based on capabilities or quality of life.

6 JEWISH BELIEFS ABOUT PAS We cannot sanction, favor or support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide We cannot sanction, favor or support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. Central Conference of American Rabbis

7 MUSLIM BELIEFS A Doctor shall not take away life even when motivated by mercy. This is prohibited because this is not one of the legitimate indications for killing. Direct guidance in this respect is given by the Prophet's tradition: "In old times there was a man with an ailment that taxed his endurance. He cut his wrist with a knife and bled to death. God was displeased and said "My subject has hastened his end I deny him paradise. The Holy Quran

8 PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE HAS BEEN PROHIBITED IN MEDICINE FOR OVER 2000 YEARS PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE HAS BEEN PROHIBITED IN MEDICINE FOR OVER 2000 YEARS History of Hippocratic Oath The oath says the doctor “will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect” First “Do no harm”

9 “PAS is fundamentally inconsistent with the physician’s professional role.” “The medical profession must redouble its efforts to provide optimal end of life care.” “Requests to physicians for PAS should signal the M.D. that the patient’s needs are unmet and further help is needed.”

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11 PHYSICIAN ASSISTED SUICIDE IS DANGEROUS

12 IT IS DANGEROUS FOR PHYSICIANS

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14 IT TAKES NO GREAT SKILL TO KILL

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16 Gives Physicians Too Much Power

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19 DISSENSION

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21 IT IS DANGEROUS FOR PATIENTS

22 The Right to Die will become The Duty to Die

23 PRECLUDES RATIONAL DECISION MAKING

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26 IT IS DANGEROUS FOR SOCIETY

27 THERE IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE

28 SAFEGUARDS DON’T WORK

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30 Lives Not Worthy to be Lived?

31 Oregon’s “Experiment” Isn’t Working

32 Supreme Court Ruling No Constitutional Right to PAS State Has Interest in – Preserving Life – No Sliding Scale – Preventing Suicide – Protecting Integrity of Medical Profession – Protecting Vulnerable from abuse, neglect, mistakes – Avoiding likely slippery slope Did not address – Protecting family members and loved ones – Protecting people with disabilities

33 Supreme Court Ruling Said, “ Withdrawing treatment does not equal assisted suicide ” – Not similar groups - one connected to life-sustaining equip. – Laws treated people alike - all were free to refuse treatment and none were free to assist suicide. Fundamental legal principle of causation –“ When pt. refuses treatment, pt. dies of underlying disease. ” –“ When pt. ingests lethal medication, he is killed by that medication ” Fundamental legal principle of intent – MD withdrawing or not starting treatment intends to respect patient ’ s wishes. – MD giving lethal medication intends to kill the patient. The doctrine of double effect does not equal assisted suicide.

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36 Fight PAS Pain Management Modify Narcotics Law More Hospice Dx and Rx Depression Holistic Care Involve the Church

37 RESOURCES Christian Medical Association: Family Research Council: National Right to Life Committee: Life Issues Institute: Means to a Better End: A Report on Dying in America Today, November 2002: Life on Hold. Finding Hope in the Face of Serious Illness by Laurel Seller


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