In anticipation of Canada passing radical new assisted suicide legislation, my friend Mark Pickup has written a letter to his physician instructing him to never allow or cause him to be euthanized — even if he asks for it:
Dear Dr. __:
I can hardly bring myself to write these words but a dark reality in Canada requires it. I am referring to legalizing physician assisted suicide scheduled to begin in 2016. For over 20 years I have feared that a time such as this would come to my country and against the Common Good of society at large. I have spoken across Canada and America against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Should I ever request assisted suicide, I want you to refuse to help me. On this point I am emphatic. Presume that I am speaking out of depression or that multiple sclerosis has begun to affect my mental state. I would not make such a request in my right mind. If, in your judgment, I am suffering from depression please get me the counseling I need; if the MS is affecting my mind protect me from myself or others who would take my life before my natural death. Regarding my end of life care I ask you to provide treatment in accordance with my Roman Catholic faith (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos 2276-2282) .
I have such deep respect for you and the proper application of your profession (in its Hippocratic tradition) I would not ask you to stop being my healer and become my killer, unless my mental faculties were impaired by depression or disease.
Mark Davis Pickup
I don’t blame Mark for being so cautious.
Once upon a time physicians and medical professionals — believers and non-believers alike — actually swore an oath to recognize and uphold the dignity of their patients and “never do harm” or administer deadly medicine to anyone — even when asked. Not anymore.
And once we start making death an acceptable “treatment” for pain and suffering, we are in for a world of trouble.
Here Mark discusses the new assisted suicide legislation and its potential impact on society and the medical profession.
In fact, Dr. Theo de Boer, a professor of health care ethics at the Theological University in Kampen and associate professor of ethics at the Protestant Theological University in Groningen in the Netherlands, recently penned a warning to other countries considering the practice.
Writing in the American Protestant magazine Christian Century, Dr. de Boer, a former member of a euthanasia review board in the Netherlands, notes how he saw the pace of euthanasia accelerate, rising by 15 percent each year. And how, as the numbers climbed, the criteria expanded.
It is a must-read for anyone interested in the assisted suicide/euthanasia debate.