Human Exceptionalism

“Euthanize Dying Poor” in Lithuania?

This is the inescapable logic of euthanasia: It is much more expensive to care for ill and disabled patients than “compassionately” kill them. As I like to say, it may take $1000 for assisted suicide but $100,000 to provide the care that helps the patient not want end to their lives.

The new Lithuanian Health Minister–apparently not having yet received her talking points from the Hemlock Society Compassion and Dying–clearly followed this logic in describing why she might support legalizing euthanasia. From the Delfi.It story:

New Health Minister Ilze Šalaševičiūte took an awkward and sensitive topic – it proposes to legalize euthanasia debate…

According to Salaseviute, Lithuania is not the welfare state, which would be enough to focus on palliative care, euthanasia legalization would help so fatal in patients who do not want to agonize and torture your family members, relatives who care for them. He find an alternative way to get out of life. It would inject medication or another approach, which is equivalent to euthanasia “- television said the Minister.

So, rather than develop a palliative care sector, just open the door to euthanasia to help the poor. That’s the false compassion of euthanasia.

Relevantly, the health system in the euthanasia capital of the world, the Netherlands, has been criticized frequently over the years as having a stunted palliative care sector.

For example, Dr. Bert Keizer, a Netherlander nursing home doctor, wrote in Dancing with Mr. D of angrily warning his colleagues not to talk about trying “cortisone” as he was on his way to euthanize a patient he thought had cancer. Cortisone!? For cancer? He didn’t care enough, apparently, to learn what real pain control can do.

Dame Cecily Saunders, the developer of hospice, told me that she knew of many cases in which people wanted suicide until receiving proper hospice care. I suggest the Lithuanian Health Minister work to improve the quality of care in her country rather than open the door to medicalized killing.

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