A UK woman named Maureen Messent has come forward to admit that she murdered her great aunt
in the 1960s, stating she was right because the aunt, Eileen O'Sullivan, was near death from lung cancer. This is a typical apologia for euthanasia that appears regularly in the media, which are somehow always agog as if such articles have never been written before. Still, there are important lessons to be learned here:
1) There is no indication that O'Sullivan wanted to be killed
. The killer took it upon herself. This is classic euthanasia thinking. Once killing to end suffering is transferred in the brain from bad to good, what does consent have to do with it? Thus, in the Netherlands, there have been tens of thousands of such murders over the last thirty years with nary a thing done about it. Messent's article demonstrates that in the end, consent easily becomes a mere technicality, easily tossed aside.
2) Killing is not a medical act
. The article say that the doctor left morphine, telling the family to palliate O'Sullivan as needed. Messent decided that was a license to kill. But notice that she is not a doctor and that the doctor didn't do the killing. It doesn't take special training to kill somebody. Just a special arrogance. The Swiss permit assisted suicide, but don't permit doctors to do the killing in their professional capacities. Euthanasia is not a medical act.
3. Today, hospice care for the dying is vastly improved
: This killing appears to have happened before Dame Cecily Saunders pioneered in-home hospice in 1969, and perhaps before she opened St. Christophers in 1967. The care available for the dying in those days was far inferior to that of today. Hospice has the capability to control the symptoms of dying people without killing them. The lack of mention in this article about hospice, or of the coverage of it (in the BBC
, for example), is so typical. I have been to the UK several times speaking out against euthanasia. For some reason, the media never bring hospice up even though the UK gave hospice to the world.
4. Most euthanasia deaths are not "last minute:"
Like most pro euthanasia propaganda, the example of the killing depicts the victim as on the verge of death so that the killing shortened life by a mere hours or a few days. But most legal mercy killings are not "last minute." Not in the Netherlands, not in Belgium, not in Switzerland, and not in Oregon.
The media's continual articles and columns extolling suicide and mercy killing is damaging to the crucial understanding that dying is not dead: It is living. And it constitutes abandonment of those in most need of protection by the community.