Monday 28 November 2011

In Oregon the only help a depressed patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him

I urge you to read the succinct, enlightening, tragic letter from Charles J. Bentz, a physician practising medicine in Oregon, published by Times Colonist, an on-line Canadian journal. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon.

In brief, Dr Bentz's patient, being treated for cancer, became depressed. Dr Bentz's letter concludes: "In most jurisdictions, suicidal ideation is interpreted as a cry for help. In Oregon, the only help my patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him. Don't make Oregon's mistake."

Earlier this month I wrote about Dr Philip Nitschke, the president of  Exit International. He was touring the UK leading public meetings and seminars, focusing on advising people how they can commit suicide using a wide range of methods.

Paul Smeaton, my son, attended his public meeting in London Paul and wrote his observations of the meeting (part 1, part II).

Whilst what Paul reports is truly shocking, Dr Bentz's letter underlines the truth of what Wesley Smith, the stalwart anti-euthanasia bioethicist, says about Dr Nitschke and his promotion of suicide methods, not just for the terminally-ill but for anyone:
" ... Nitschke appears to be on the radical edge of the assisted suicide movement - but he's really not."

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