Hopkins doctor: Physician-assisted suicide is unethical and dangerous

For the past five years, advocates of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have tried and failed to pass legislation that legalizes the practice in Maryland. Proponents of PAS are back again with the same dangerous, unethical, discriminatory, unnecessary and hopelessly flawed bill. As a physician who has been in practice for almost 20 years and has treated thousands of patients in all conditions of life, I urge the legislature and the citizens of Maryland to continue to reject it for many reasons.

PAS, also euphemistically termed “aid-in-dying,” refers to the prescribing of a non-FDA approved lethal overdose of a drug or combination of drugs to a person believed to have a terminal illness. PAS is unethical. It is specifically prohibited by the Hippocratic Oath and opposed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the World Medical Association.

PAS is not medical care. It has no basis in medical science or medical tradition. It is not taught in medical schools or residency training programs. The drug concoctions used to end patients’ lives with PAS come from the euthanasia movement and not from the medical profession or medical research.

PAS is dangerous. The supposed “safeguards” in the bill are an illusion. There is still no requirement for formal psychiatric evaluation of patients, minimal informed consent, no witnesses to consumption of drugs required, no routine audits or impartial 3rd party oversight. In addition, physicians and other participants are given broad legal immunity and records are excluded from legal discovery or subpoena. There is no accountability. For 80 percent of patients, it is unknown if complications occurred (because of a lack of medical witnesses). Doctors experimenting with novel PAS drug cocktails in Washington state caused some patients to “scream in pain” before dying.

Read more at The Baltimore Sun…

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