By Wesley J. Smith
We are always told that “strict guidelines will protect against abuse.”
It’s always been baloney. As sold, assisted suicide was supposed to only be engaged between doctors of long-standing and patients well known to the prescriber.
That was violated in the very first legal assisted suicide in Oregon. The doctor in that case — referred by an assisted-suicide advocacy organization — only met the patient two weeks before she received her poison pills.
Very quickly, death doctors began to assist the suicides of patients they have never treated. In California, a part-time ER doctor — who spent most recent years as a photojournalist — quickly set up a suicide practice after assisted suicide was legalized. There have also been many cases of oncologists assisting the suicides of ALS patients, and other similar out-of-specialty death facilitations.
Now, death doctors are assisting suicides of patients they may never have met via Zoom and other telehealth — talk about an oxymoron in this circumstance! — means of communication. From, “Dying Virtually,” published in The Conversation [https://theconversation.com/dying-virtually-pandemic-drives-medically-assisted-deaths-online-139093]:
[Dr. Carol] Parrot says she sees 90% of her patients online, visually examining a patient’s symptoms, mobility, affect and breathing.
“I can get a great deal of information for how close a patient is to death from a Skype visit,” Parrot explained. “I don’t feel badly at all that I don’t have a stethoscope on their chest.”
After the initial visit, whether in person or online, aid-in-dying physicians carefully collate their prognosis with the patient’s prior medical records and lab tests. Some also consult the patient’s primary physician.
Did you catch the last bit there? Some “consult” the patient’s primary physician. That also means some don’t. And that means some people are assisted in suicide by doctors they have never met in the flesh and who have never examined them.
This is a breach of all the assuring promises that were made when assisted suicide was legalized. But those promises were never meant to be kept. Only to give false assurance.
It is amazing to me how legalizing assisted suicide transforms peoples’ thinking. Making people dead quickly becomes the overriding imperative and suicide prevention for the seriously ill goes into total eclipse. The easier it is to get people dead, the better.
Those with eyes to see, let them see.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with his permission.