This report demonstrates the result of having moral relativism infect the practice of medicine. Under serious consideration is the assertion that "there is no real distinction between 'the disease that does the dirty work' and the clinician's active decision to terminate life by euthanasia."
An ethical adviser to the British Medical Association has firmly backed non-voluntary euthanasia for patients who are too ill to ask for death. Professor Len Doyal, an emeritus professor of medical ethics and a member of the BMA's ethics committee, writes in the new Royal Society of Medicine journal Clinical Ethics that dignity in dying sometimes means that doctors should kill their patients.I believe that Professor Doyal is confusing dignity with expediency. To wit:
The crux of Professor Doyal's argument is that withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment like food and water from unconscious patients is morally equivalent to active killing. Hence, to spare patients needless suffering, direct killing is preferable, presumably by a lethal injection. He contends that "regulated, intentional active killing can have a proper place in good medical practice."Apparently, starving patients to death takes too damn long. So, let's just kill 'em and be done.
Of course, even incompetent patients would not suffer if they had adequate palliative care. But Professor Doyal points out that there is already a shortage of palliative care specialists for competent patients. "What would be the moral point," he asks, "in expending such valuable resources on severely incompetent patients whose best interests will be served by a quick and painless death?"In a nutshell, Professor Doyal believes doctors should be able to kill their patients to conserve valuable resources. Consequently, hospice and palliative care funding could be redirected in the doctor's best interests which, of course, means the government's best interests under the socialized medical care scheme employed by Britain.
My personal judgment aside, it's worth mentioning that Doyal's proposal has proven to be quite effective. History relates the experience of Nazi Germany when the general citizenry was beguiled into accepting genocide through the incremental elimination of "incompetent" groups. First to go were the severely retarded and chronically ill. Later, Hitler's National Socialist Party determined that gypsies, homosexuals, and Jews should experience "dignity in dying." Ultimately, six million people were rationally killed.
Remember what's behind all this thinking. Adolf Hitler, along with evil Doktor Death of Auschwitz, Joseph Mengele, and other henchmen in Nazi Germany were socialists who believed the state needed to eliminate defined groups of people. For argument's sake, I could throw in the names of Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro and Kim Jong Il. Ostensibly, Professor Doyal has adopted the beliefs of those infamous figures by defining the first societal group that Britain should eliminate.
By the way, Professor Doyal is not a medical doctor. He's an ethicist. And, notably, the BMA used to be soundly opposed to non-voluntary euthanasia. Last year, it waffled away from an opposing stance to neutrality.