A different take: a response to our End-of-Life Poll Report

Ron Keast, CARP member and also a valued member of advisory community has provided us with the following response to the End- Of-Life Poll Report:

“While I think it is great, if not surprising, that CARP members are out in front of policy makers on questions relating to the Quality of Death, especially improving the availability of palliative care and home based options, the controversial issue of euthanasia needs a far more cautious approach. What moral philosophers have called “the slippery slope” is quite slippery indeed on this issue.

If I may quote several somewhat humorous, but relevant, comments in a 2009 book by David Berlinski:

“In 1994, Holland Legalized euthanasia. Critics immediately objected that Dutch doctors, having been given the right to kill their elderly patients at their request, would almost at once find reasons to kill patients at their whim. This is precisely what has happened. The Journal of Medical Ethics, in reviewing Dutch hospital practices, reported that 3 percent of Dutch deaths for 1995 were assisted suicides, and that of these, fully one-fourth were involuntary. The doctors simply knocked their patients off, no doubt assuring the family that Grootmoeder would have wanted it that way. As a result, a great many elderly Dutch carry around sanctuary certificates indicating in no uncertain terms that they do not wish their doctors to assist them to die, emerging from their coma, when they are ill, just long enough to tell these murderous pests for heaven’s sake go away. Euthanasia, as Dr. Peggy Norris has observed with some asperity, ‘cannot be controlled’.”

I would not care to spend my old age in Holland, nor, I suspect, would the majority of CARP members.

All the best.


Keywords: euthanasia