The Corner

Hard to Find a Dutch Doctor Who Will Not Kill

I have a piece over at First Things today that illustrates how legalizing euthanasia corrupts medical ethics and Hippocratic values. A recent study found that only 14 percent of responding Dutch doctors cannot conceive ever euthanizing a patient.

A stunning 60 percent of responding physicians said they have killed patients under the Netherlands’ euthanasia law.

And think about this: Eighteen percent of responding doctors could conceive of euthanizing an elderly person “tired of living with no medical ground for suffering.” 

This collapse of medical ethics carries lessons for our debates in the U.S. Here is my conclusion:

Mark Twain warned that there are damn lies and then there are statistics. But sometimes statistics tell hard truths. Decades of medicalized killing have euthanized Hippocratic values in the Netherlands. As our country debates whether to grant American doctors wider authorization to end lives, we should pay careful attention. If we allow our medical ethics to be remade in the Netherlander image, in a few decades it may be nearly impossible to find a doctor who is not willing to kill.

If interested in more details — and the diametrically different way in which Dutch doctors reacted to a euthanasia threat during World War II — hit this link.

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