Culture

The Corner

Lethal Threats to Alzheimer’s Patients

The culture of death is an aggressive virus. Its pushers are now moving to permit Alzheimer’s patients to be killed if the person so requested in writing before becoming incompetent. (That “if” won’t last long if such homicides become normalized.)

Over at First Things, I detail the lethal threats:

  • Polls from Quebec–where euthanasia is legal–show that more than 90% of Alzheimer’s caregivers support such a policy. More than 70% support euthanizing those in their care even if they never asked to be killed.

  • Netherlands and Belgium already permit euthanasia for Alzheimer’s. In one case, the person killed was struggling against being killed. So the doctor instructed her family to hold her down as she gave the lethal jab. 

  • Compassion and Choices teaches the elderly how to commit suicide by self starvation.

  • Prominent bioethicists want caregivers forced to starve Alzheimer’s patients to death if they asked in an advance directive–even if they willingly eat.

I have written about many of those matters here. But here is something that I think receives too little attention. From, “Euthanasia for Alzheimer’s Patients?”:

There’s one more point to which we must attend. Suffering due to Alzheimer’s disease sometimes falls heavier on caregivers than on patients. True, many say at the end of the difficult road that it was an honor to care for their incapacitated loved ones. But we shouldn’t sugarcoat it: Caregiving can be exhausting and heartbreaking, and in some cases perilous to caregivers’ health…

Caregivers are properly allowed to refuse intensive life-extending medical treatment. Then, when death comes, it as a matter of nature taking its course.

But allowing caregivers to order doctors (or nurses) to end the patient’s life is a bridge too far. At least in some cases, such a license would allow caregivers to put a patient out of their misery. Add potential conflict-of-interest issues, such as inheritance and the costs of treatment, and we see the potential for elder abuse.

Our stampede to avoid suffering at nearly all costs endangers the morality of society. If a society is judged by the way in which it treats its most vulnerable citizens, we will reject the killing agenda and focus our efforts on mitigating suffering and promoting better care.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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