The Journal of Critical Care Medicine has published a statement by the Belgian Society of Critical Care Medicine giving ICU docs the right to kill patients–even though euthanasia in the country is supposed to only be consensual.
Under the document, futile care impositions of withdrawing or withholding care are up to the medical team–whatever a patient or family may want. Moreover, in such cases, doctors are allowed to kill! From the statement (my emphasis) :
This statement paper, developed by members of the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine Council, is not about giving analgesics or sedative agents to combat pain or agitation, nor about the so-called double effect, wherein analgesics given to alleviate pain may have the adverse effect of shortening the dying process. The discussion here is about the administration of sedative agents with the direct intention of shortening the process of terminal palliative care in patients with no prospect of a meaningful recovery…
Moreover, we explain our belief in the concept that shortening the dying process by administering sedatives beyond what is needed for patient comfort can be not only acceptable but in many cases desirable.
In other words, kill the patient by intentionally overdosing with palliative drugs beyond what is needed for comfort–whether the patient wants it or not!
And note, the patient need not be actually suffering!
Shortening the dying process with use of medication, such as analgesics/sedatives, may sometimes be appropriate, even in the absence of discomfort, and can actually improve the quality of dying; this approach can also help relatives accompany their loved one through the dying process—such a decision should be made with due consideration for the wishes of family members.
The killing license also applies to children:
The present document applies to children as well as to adults
It’s only logical: Once killing is accepted as an answer to human suffering, what constitutes “suffering” expands like an elastic band to include that of society and the hospital having to care for lives defined as meaningless. And it can even include termination when patient suffering isn’t present.
As for choice: What’s that got to do with anything? Efficiency!