By Dr. & Mrs. Joseph DiCostanzo, Jr. (M.D.), 2/11/2009 12:33:54 PM
The Democratic leadership of the Hawai‘i House of Representatives has just fast-tracked the so-called “Death with Dignity” bills, HB 587 and HB 806, re-assigning them from both the Health and Judiciary committees to just one, Judiciary. It seems Rep. Calvin Say and others are afraid of giving these bills the scrutiny they deserve by the medical community in Hawai‘i, which is largely opposed to physician-assisted suicide.
Physician-assisted suicide is an issue that intimately involves the medical community in addition to affecting the general public. Bypassing the health committee and not allowing this legislation to be considered for its merits, or lack thereof, by health experts shows ignorance, if not disrespect, for the healthcare community and people of the state of Hawai‘i.
Legalization of physician-assisted suicide irrevocably transforms the role of the physician-healer from one who preserves life to one who takes life. This will inevitably lead to a rapid deterioration of the physician-patient relationship and adversely affect the entire healthcare delivery system.
We know from observation of locations such as Oregon and the Netherlands that physician-assisted suicide leaves society’s most vulnerable—the poor, sick, elderly, and disabled populations—subject to abuse and coercion, regardless of the proposed safeguards.
Once the door to doctor-facilitated death is opened, there will be an expectation by some that certain segments of the population have a “duty to die” because they may be seen as “less useful” or “over-users of resources”.
This is the kind of thinking that leads to genocide, eugenics, and abuses of the worst kind. Please do not be party to ushering it into our state.
Dr. and Mrs. Joseph DiCostanzo, Jr. (M.D.) live in Kailua, Hawaii