Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Hastening the Process
Massachusetts votes in November on legalizing physician-assisted suicide. But is that the right term for it? Is giving it another name euphemism inspired by compassion? Perhaps this helps in discerning an answer.
As a resident physician at Johns Hopkins, I find myself completely inundated with desperate pleas from people who wish to extend their lives, not shorten them. Why did Dr. Egbert decide to use his medical knowledge for assisting suicide instead of for saving lives, especially since so many methods for non-assisted suicide already exist?
LAWRENCE EGBERT: I do not assist in a suicide. I help people stop their suffering. Lots of physicians are helping patients stop the suffering as I am sure you do. I have taught for years at Hopkins and can tell you some of your fellow students have witnessed staff physicians helping their patient hasten the process.
The exchange is from a compelling study of a PAS practitioner in the Washington Post. To read more, see:
By Paul McLean at 2:38 PM