Physician assisted suicide and medical terrorism
The following is an idea I have been working on for a while; I am going to try to source my material better. However, I thought that it should be said...treat this as an outline and 'seed' more than anything else...
I have been writing this blog for a year now and given that it is near 8K hits, it seems that I have both found my voice and have something valuable to bring to the discussion of life ethics issues. One thing I have tried to avoid in the discussion is religion. This is partly due to the ideological nature of the discussion and partly due to the limiting constraints of euthanasia enthusiasts themselves. You see, if you want to get your point across, you need to avoid religion at all costs in this debate.
Of course, even if you do avoid religion, you can be defined by euthanasia enthusiasts as religious and dismissed thereby. The idea that euthanasia enthusiasm itself could be a religion - and a death cult at that – seems to have been lost on those same enthusiasts. Irony is not their strong suit. Neither is satire.
Partly this is their fault for framing the discussion in the way they try to. I am going to therefore attempt a thought experiment and see where it leads. However, at the outset, I should warn you that the following writing is based in actual events, so your objection will be to presented history, not to a theoretical construct per se. that’s a fancy way of saying that my examples are going to be real world, and therefore you cannot accuse me of an overactive imagination.
First, the basic assumption of anyone who holds to euthanasia as a virtue is to say that suffering of any kind is bad. Particularly the inhumane suffering of pain, whether conceptual or physically manifested in a life. So whether someone is suffering in ‘agony’ as they call it, or suffering from a bad head cold with sinus, or suffering from the existential angst that leads to despair, suffering is bad.
By contrast, and inference, because I have never seen this stated, an absence of suffering or a state of no pain is good. Even psychologists argue that there is bad stress, but a certain amount of stress is beneficial. So pain can be bad, but its virtue is to warn us that something is wrong and needs attention in our lives.
Assumption the first: all suffering, whatever it is, and however it is defined, is bad.
So the suffering of the proverbial patient in unrelenting pain is held up as the sine qua non of meaninglessness in the construct of the euthanasia enthusiast.
The relief of suffering by means is acceptable. Since suffering is unacceptable, it must be eliminated.
Assumption the second; there is some suffering that cannot be relieved no matter how much attempt at relief is undertaken.
This means that the person can be free of pain, socially engaged, and not in ‘agony’ physically, is still suffering and that suffering should be relieved by any means necessary.
Assumption the third: suffering is outrageous and not expected, therefore its removal justifies the removal of the sufferer themselves as the experience and the organism are one and the same.
By this token, a sufferer becomes what they are suffering from. So a dog in pain is no longer a dog; it is a bundle of negative inputs and therefore should be put down for its own good.
An infant which has a disease such as trisomy 18 is suffering, and therefore, in carrying that disease into life is carrying suffering with it should be put down for its own good.
An infant which has developmental challenges requiring extra care is suffering because of the lack of full human participation; this creates suffering in the observer and therefore that suffering requires that the infant be put down for the good.
A person who is causing their family to suffer is not only suffering in themselves 0 a lack of virtue – but is causing suffering in their loved ones and onlookers and therefore can be put down for their own good and by extension the good of those observers.
Assumption the fourth: observation of suffering creates sympathetic suffering. This means that there is no objectivity but a co-suffering created, and this is suffering and must also be eliminated.
If you are paying attention, you will see how the argument has subtly shifted from the individual suffering and their viewpoint experienced to the suffering of the observer and their viewpoint projected. This means that observing suffering which causes suffering is sufficient justification to allow the observer to remove the cause of the suffering: the one so suffering.
The move is subtle and some may say it doesn’t work that way, but I beg to differ on that score. This is because I am defining my terms still, even though for euthanasia enthusiasts, there are no definite terms. This is just as true as there are no closed cases in their worlds; everything is held in abeyance so they can impose their views on others in the most final way possible.
So along with the idea that all suffering is bad, we now have the concept that all suffering observed is bad, as that creates a projected experience of suffering into the other.
So where does this leave us? First, suffering, undefined is bad. Second, elimination of suffering of any kind, is good. Third, observation of suffering is enough to cause suffering in the observer and that is unacceptable. Fourth, observed creation of suffering as defined by the observer is enough to justify transformation of the observer into an agent of removal of suffering.
So perfection on earth in life is an absence of suffering whatsoever. By reversal, any suffering can be justification for elimination of the sufferer. This includes defined possible future suffering.
Physical pain is always presented as cruel and unremitting. Pain as physical is transformed into social and psychological pain; which is suffering. And suffering must be eliminated as it dehumanizes the suffering, as in the example of animals in distress.
Perfection of life includes an absence of pain and an absence of suffering thereby. As one euthanasia enthusiast has said, any suffering of any kind, even for a day, is unacceptable and must be eliminated.
So if a person observed as disabled is seen as suffering, or causing suffering in the observer, and that observer has ‘more knowledge’ than the person so suffering, the observer is justified in presenting the case that the sufferer can be eliminated for the good of the observer.
By that token, we now understand why it is that a person who is a wheelchair user can be forced into a DNR order for a doctor’s visit to help with seasonal allergies. We can also now understand the framework of presentation in which an infant can be presumed to need death with dignity as opposed to home care and given a silent DNR order. We can also understand how it is that a parent can eliminate their child as an act of mercy because their child has CP. Or is autistic. Or is sick generally. Or is a wheelchair user. Or is mentally retarded. Or is born premature. Or might have down syndrome in utero.
We can eliminate these people because they are suffering by observation and projection and we need no further justification than the projected assumption that they are suffering even if they are satisfied with their quality of life. The interesting question of whether suffering by observation is enough suffering to allow the observer to request physician assisted suicide will not be discussed but left as a point to ponder.
Here are some examples:
A patient is forthright in their refusal of elimination. Their doctor makes a contract with them that they will not have death imposed on them. Over a weekend, the patient is killed because another doctor needs the bed and the patient is taking too long to die. [Smith, 2007]
A client is offered a choice by their partner: nursing home or death. The person chooses death because they do not want to live in a home. They are killed. [Fenigsen, 1989]
A teenage girl is bullied into a mental ward. They are suffering fear and anxiety; they can therefore ask for euthanasia despite what their family might think.
A patient has a DNR order put on their chart, without being told and without their family being told. The doctor on the case goes through the motions of resuscitation. The patient dies and the family only finds out by persistent effort. [McIver, 2013]
Doctors accept for themselves the right to eliminate patients in acute care wards because only they are the ones who have the knowledge necessary to decide when to take a life. These same doctors also have decided that they have the sole right to eliminate patients whose suffering is defined as unremitting. [Belgium, 2014]
A patient has cancer and also lives in a state where elimination of suffering by elimination of the sufferer is preferable. They are therefore denied cancer care but offered death by the state.
A woman asks for death because of psychological suffering. [Holland, 2013]
Apparently hundreds of patients are eliminated in an acute care ward because the care team needs the beds. Doctors can justify elimination of patients to clear beds and act accordingly on that assumption and justification. [Brazil, 2013]
A patient is euthanized because they were going to die anyway and the family wanted to take a previously scheduled vacay. [Hendin, 1997]
A conscious patient is offered death because of suffering and then is told that their organs will be harvested. They are in ICU ward care. [Belgium, 2014]
Euthanasia candidates are offered the ability to save and improve dozens of lives if they agree to die and moments later get escorted into an operating ward where they are harvested. Interestingly, a question of suffering remains as the corpse is administered anasthetics. [Belgium, 2014]
A patient has their death scheduled two Tuesdays from now. The doctor on the case observes the person’s increasing anxiety and while the patient is asleep, administers a paralytic and then poison via the patient’s IV on the grounds that anticipation of their death was cruel by observation.
A patient is denied care because they had a previous mental health and drugs use on their medical record and therefore are fishing for narcotics. After hours of suffering, they are found to be in acute medical distress and are sent for emergency surgery. [Toronto, 2013]
All the above instances, except for one, are actual cases in my research files. They are not hypothetical, nor are they created out of my imagination. These cases happened and the patients in some cases were eliminated by the same assumptions I proposed earlier. Some of the cases happened in Holland; one happened in Washington; another few happened in Belgium. A couple of them happened in Canada. They are not ideal types, or myths, regardless else the euthanasia enthusiasts would have you believe.
We have seen how euthanasia enthusiasts use the concept of undefined suffering as an example of that which is avirtuous. We have also seen a few real-world examples and one hypothetical example in the mix.
I would like to consider another possibility in the euthanasia discussion. If suffering is to be eliminated, then the a priori assumption is that suffering is to be feared. If this is the case, then all I need do to drive the discussion is to hold you in a state of fear and I can do what I like with you ideologically speaking.
First assumption: that the fear of suffering is real as suffering itself, which creates its own unique suffering. If this can be held in mind continuously, say through newspaper articles, magazine articles and fictive television programmes, such the better. Because now I can create a set of predetermined conclusions that are in unconscious lockstep with my own projected wishes for you.
Second assumption: that my fear of suffering can be projected onto you in a subtle way through the above uses and this can drive you to a conclusion I want you to reach. So all I need to do is use trigger words and I can get you to agree to something which you would not normally agree. So if I can get you focused in imagination on the fear of suffering and not the real suffering itself, I can assure you that you will suffer by not offering alternatives.
This means I can get done what I want, such as reduce costs by reducing suffering. If I am pressured to lower costs and reducing the number of patients in my care is one way to do that, I am going to do so, using your acceptance of the ideology in an unconscious way to gain my mission. I can also improve the genetic lot of the human race by targeting those who are suffering because of, say a disability, by eliminating them before they can reproduce which can’t be anything but good for those of us left behind.
If I can create enough fear in you, or in those who love you, or enough doubt as to the meaning of what you experience, while at the same time assuring you that there are no alternatives to my suffering but your elimination, regardless of real alternatives like considered pain management, psychological assessments and counselling, palliative care which looks after you until death rather than imposing death, then so much the better because it eliminates you as a bed-blocker and you agree to it into the bargain. Of course, your agreement unconsciously reinforces the rationality of accepting imposed death on those who follow you afterward, but I won’t tell you this.
In conclusion, I have used the emotion of terror to get you to accept and in some cases be complicit and participate in your own death. Therefore we can safely conclude, the way euthanasia enthusiasts present their ideas, that they are in fact medical terrorists. This is because they use the twin demons of fear and suffering with fear of suffering to create an emotional state which predetermines the outcome.
So they use terror by suggesting that we will all suffer – and we are suffering right now. They use terror in suggesting that there are no alternatives other than death for any suffering. They use terror in suggesting that those who oppose the elimination of sufferers are going to remove the human right of demanding death. They use terror in describing the worst case scenarios with no alternative in the real world. They use terror when they suggest that those who are suffering are going to suffer for no reason on earth for the rest of their lives or the lives of their observers. And finally, they use social terror when they suggest that those who are disabled and therefore suffering are going to create more suffering by refusing to die and also reproduce by having children. The spectre of suffering is therefore used as a terror object to force people to unconsciously and in a psychologically conditioned fashion accept their own deaths into the future.
As with all those who use terror to gain their objectives, the idea that they themselves might be a little off psychologically is never considered. As is the idea that they themselves can act toward those they are targeting. This is why you never hear of cases where euthanasia enthusiasts eliminate the sufferer and then go joyfully to jail and their sentence: base hypocrisy. I have never heard a euthanasia enthusiast admit to helping someone die in such a way that they can be legally sanctioned for it, which is a shame: you figure they would be eager to accept suffering and a martyr’s position to get their point across.
I humbly suggest that not only are euthanasia enthusiasts socially psychotic in that they refuse to accept the real world consequences of their actions, they are incapable of it because their mindset does not allow the possibility of the real world intruding on their beliefs. That I think is the definition of psychosis. Furthermore, I suggest that they are terrorists in that they use medical terror and an innate fear of death with no alternative to gain their own social agenda: the elimination of the disabled and dying as surplus to life lived. If they were not psychotic, they would accept the historical linkages between their viewpoint and what happened in Germany interwar; and they would accept that humans make mistakes – something I have never heard a euthanasia enthusiast suggest by the way – and that we should perhaps be given to the reaction of saying no to death and yes to alternatives. But then, that would prove me right and them wrong, and it would not create a new market of obidiatry, would it? The main reason I can say that euthanasia enthusiasts and their quiet practitioners are medical terrorists is because they presume fear on the part of their audience. They use that imaginative fear to drive the emotive response, eliminating even the consideration that a human being can rise above suffering and find meaning in inclusion, regardless of situation, person or present estate. And that is the ultimate in dehumanization, and that is ultimately why we should, can and must refuse any and all forms of euthanasia: to accept otherwise is to allow terror to be used as a medical and social tool.
Are the medical terrorists going to win? Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are medical terrorism. It’s just unfortunate that this terrorism applied removes visions of alternatives that do not harness the innate fear of suffering and death that we carry within ourselves. Because we have tried this route before; it ended with over six million dead and millions more in collateral damage. And we are better than that then, now aren’t we? The answer depends on whether you have given in to medical terror or not. Everything else follows from that assumption.
As well, like terrorism, euthanasia enthusiasts only have to get their demands right once to have them legalized; those of us who oppose physician assisted suicide have to get it right each and every time medical killing is proposed as a solution to fiscal problems and suffering.