The Hippocratic Oath is one of the last remaining impediments to the complete deprofessionalization of medicine.
Doctors don’t take it much anymore, but the people still embrace its core purpose as an essential protection of their lives and wellbeing.
Now, in the LA Times, a doctor and journalist try to put the Oath out of its misery by taking the primary responsibility for interacting with dying patients away from physicians and handing decision-making over to “death doulas.” From, “The Hippocratic Oath and the Terminally Ill,” by Nora Zamichow and Ken Murray:
If we allow medicine to prolong life, should we also allow it to shorten life for the terminally ill?
We could, however, skirt the controversy entirely: What if we created another class of medical professionals known as death doulas, who could fill a gap between treatment doctors and hospice workers?
Death doulas would, in essence, become suicide facilitators:
In one recent study, 12% of doctors received one or more requests from patients asking about physician-assisted suicide; and an additional 4% received one or more requests for euthanasia. Another recent study put the numbers even higher: 57% of today’s doctors have received such requests.
And other studies show that most of those who ask, when treated properly, are glad they weren’t dispatched.
Back to the suicide pushing:
Don’t we owe it to our doctors to provide guidance in such matters? Do we want each doctor to grapple with these decisions individually?
No, we owe it to doctors not to ask them to participate in any way in killing. Death doulas would just let doctors shirk their professional responsibilities.
Moreover, if any doctors says they “can no longer help the patient,” it is time to get a better doctor!
This article demonstrates once again how the death movement distorts, twists, and subverts everything it touches. You see, a doula isn’t about death and darkness, but about enhancing and increasing the joy of childbirth, e.g. the giving of new life! Here is the definition:
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
The point of the doula is to uplift! It is to help assure that the experience of birth is a positive one that the mother “remembers for the rest of her life.”
“Death doulas” turn that concept on its head.
But Wesley, wouldn’t a death doula be akin to hospice? Quite the contrary: Hospice is about living, not dying. When a hospice professional runs across a patient with a suicidal desire, the team engages to help the patient not want to kill themselves.
That’s an essential service. In direct contrast, death doulas be about making sure the dying gets done.
And who would want to be death doula? At least some would be the kind of people who now facilitate suicides because they like it.
Here’s an example from pro-assisted suicide advocate Lonnie Shavelson’s book, A Chosen Death about the time he witnesses a Hemlock Society leader assist the suicide of a depressed and lonely man named Gene, partially disabled by a stroke. From my description in Forced Exit:
Gene wants to end it all. He contacts an undisclosed chapter of the Hemlock Society and asks its head, a woman given the pseudonym “Sarah,” to assist in his death. According to Shavelson, Sarah has experience in this dark business, having previously assisted a close friend to commit suicide. Sarah found her first killing experience tremendously satisfying and powerful, “the most intimate experience you can share with a person. . . . More than sex. More than birth . . . more than anything,” including being present for “the deliveries of my four grandchildren.”
Jack Kevorkian used to promote a similar idea, which he called a “lay executioner.” Pending Scottish assisted suicide legislation would authorize “licensed suicide facilitators,” and now it’s “death doulas.”
We live in increasingly dark and death-obsessed times.