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Medical Association Goes “Neutral” on Killing Patients

Photo credit: Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.

How in the world can a medical association be neutral on granting doctors a license to kill or assist the suicide of their patients? This is a matter of the gravest medical ethical concern, an action, remember, that was strictly proscribed 2,500 years ago in the Hippocratic Oath.

Utter Cowardice

But yield to the pressures of the activists is what the UK’s Royal College of Surgeons has done, in an act of utter cowardice based on a survey answered by only 19 percent of its members. From the Daily Mail story:

The Royal College of Surgeons is no longer opposed to assisted dying and is now ‘neutral’, it has been announced. The organisation’s council members voted after discussing survey results, which showed an appetite for change, a move which has been welcomed by campaigners.

The organisation’s independent assisted dying survey, which was carried out over four weeks in February and March this year, found that more than half of respondents would support a change in the law to allow assisted dying.

A fifth of the 19 per cent of membership that responded said the organisation should take a neutral stance, while just 3 per cent were undecided.

Just over a quarter said they were opposed to a change.

So, most member doctors didn’t care enough about the well-being of their patients to even bother answering the survey! What a travesty. Doctors should lead on crucial moral and issues such as this, not be merely flotsam and jetsam floating on the seas of cultural shift.

They should care, though, or, perhaps better stated, they will be made to. Chances are, if assisted suicide/euthanasia becomes legal in the UK, doctors will be forced to participate either by doing the deadly deed or finding a doctor who will — like physicians are required to do in Ontario.

Should We Go There?

Speaking of Canada, 8 percent of people who die in Quebec are now killed by doctors or nurses. As if that weren’t enough, Quebec loosened the “strict guidelines” again to allow people to order themselves killed in advance if they become incompetent. It also requires palliative care and hospice facilities to kill qualified patients who ask to die — an act utterly contrary to the hospice philosophy.

If the same percentage were to be killed in the United States as are in Quebec, it would amount to about 275,000 homicides/assisted suicides annually. Do we really want to go there? Because if we legalize assisted suicide widely, eventually we will.

Cross-posted at National Review.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.



assisted dyingbioethicsCanadaDaily MaildoctorsethicsHippocratic OathmedicineneutralityOntariopatientsRoyal College of SurgeonssuicideUnited KingdomUnited Stateswell-being