By Wesley J. Smith
There is a phenomenon in assisted suicide advocacy, I call it Euthanasia World, in which a terrible problem is discussed with nary a mention that it could impact decisions for assisted suicide.
For example, one day citizens of Euthanasia World wring their hands about HMOs cutting costs by reducing levels of care. But then, when they discuss assisted suicide, all doctors are committed professionals dedicated only to what is best for their patients!
This time it is elder abuse. The NEJM warns that 10 percent of older Americans are abused.
From, “Elder Abuse”
Physicians may find the evaluation and treatment of elder abuse unfamiliar and even uncomfortable, since it presents several challenges.
First, victims may conceal their circumstances or be unable to articulate them owing to cognitive impairment.
Second, the high burden of chronic illness in older people creates both false negative findings (e.g., fractures misattributed to osteoporosis) and false positive findings (e.g., spontaneous bruising misattributed to physical abuse) in the evaluation. For these and other reasons, screening for elder abuse and neglect has not been recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Third, cultural and language barriers may hinder the disclosure of abuse.
Fourth, in some cases, a definitive determination that abuse is taking place may take weeks or months, and physicians may be required to intervene before such a determination has been made — a strategy that is not typically used in the management of medical conditions.
Does anyone think such findings have no relevance to assisted suicide?
But the denizens of Euthanasia World will ignore this study, and tell us that doctors can be trusted to discern whether assisted suicide requesters are being pressured or coerced.
Know this: Assisted suicide legalization will lead to the ultimate elder abuse–pressured death, and all under the color of law.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.