Human Exceptionalism

“Ethicist” Calls for Non Voluntary Euthanasia

Ah, the slippery slope: It just keeps slip-sliding away.

The latest example comes (again) from the UK, where “one of the country’s leading ethicists” has called for the killing of patients who have not asked to be euthanized. As reported by the Guardian: “Len Doyal, emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London, takes the euthanasia debate into new and highly contentious territory. He says doctors should recognise [sic] that they are already killing patients when they remove feeding tubes from those whose lives are judged to be no longer worth living. Some will suffer a ‘slow and distressing death’ as a result.”

Wait a minute! That can’t be right! We have been told repeatedly by our betters in bioethics that removing feeding tubes leads to euphoria and a pleasant demise. These death ethicists need to get their stories straight.

The right answer, of course, is to stop pulling feeding tubes based on quality of life judgments, not kill the patients even if they haven’t asked to be euthanized. Still, come to think of it, another (in)famous doctor named Jack Kevorkian made the same point as Dr Doyal few years ago. I am sure both will be pleased to know that they are in good company.