Friday, June 09, 2006
You know, because those europeans are terribly enlightened:
- One of the country's leading experts on medical ethics today calls for doctors to be able to end the lives of some terminally ill patients "swiftly, humanely and without guilt" - even if they have not given consent.
Len Doyal, emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London, takes the euthanasia debate into new and highly contentious territory. He says doctors should recognise that they are already killing patients when they remove feeding tubes from those whose lives are judged to be no longer worth living. Some will suffer a "slow and distressing death" as a result.
Peter Saunders, the campaign director of Care Not Killing, an alliance of healthcare professionals and others opposed to euthanasia and the Joffe bill, said Prof Doyal was confusing the withdrawal of treatment that was more of a burden than a benefit to a dying patient with actively ending life.
"Doyal is advocating the very worst form of medical paternalism whereby doctors can end the lives of patients after making a judgment that their lives are of no value and claim that they are simply acting in their patients' best interests," he said.
"The clear lesson from the Netherlands, where over 1,000 patients are killed by doctors every year without their consent and where babies with special needs are killed ... is that when voluntary euthanasia is legalised involuntary euthanasia inevitably follows."
The British Medical Association declined to comment on Prof Doyal's article. "We have a neutral position," said a spokeswoman. "We leave it to society to decide."
Technorati Tags: Children | Illness | Euthanasia