The Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia has an excellent declaration that doctors and lay persons can sign. From the Declaration.
- Patients at the end of life should receive diligent and competent care to relieve their pain and suffering. The physician has the obligation to use all the means available to achieve this end.
- If a patient refuses treatment or requests its withdrawal, his or her wishes must be respected.
- Modern palliative care skills, drugs and technology permit adequate symptom control for all terminally ill patients. These methods should be universally accessible.
- A physician who is caring for a dying patient, and who cannot adequately control the person’s symptoms, should have access to the necessary expertise and support to be able to do so.
- When suffering remains uncontrolled by state-of-the-art palliative care, individually adjusted sedation to a point of comfort may be used. In this, as in all palliative care, the goal remains optimal quality of life.
- To provoke death voluntarily, by lethal injection or any other method, cannot be considered under any circumstance as “medical care”, and is contrary to medical ethics. It is never necessary to kill a patient in order to end his or her suffering. The 2400-year-old Hippocratic tradition was a major advance in civilization. It forbids euthanasia and mandates the protection of the weak and the maintenance of trust between the physician and the patient. It calls on physicians and other health professionals to use their knowledge and skills to heal the sick, creating a climate of mutual solidarity. It is ironic that the accepted standards of this ancient code of conduct, written at a time when the means of countering end of life suffering were very limited, might be considered inadequate in this age of refined capacity to control symptoms.
This is in accord with my urging doctors to hang “This is an assisted suicide free zone,” sign in their offices.
The proper response to legalized euthanasia/assisted suicide is total non-cooperation. I’ve signed. Have you? Here’s the link.