Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Doctors should kill the pain, not the patient

Euthanasia debate should not be confused with the need for pain-relief management

MARGARET SOMERVILLE, Ottawa Citizen
July 28, 2009

Euthanasia is back in the news with the Quebec College of Physicians "tentatively proposing" legalized euthanasia. The college says that it could be seen "as part of appropriate care in certain particular circumstances."

An Ottawa Citizen editorial interprets this to say: "Terminally ill patients sometimes require increased dosages of painkillers to alleviate their pain although that can prove fatal. It certainly happens across the country that terminally ill patients are sometimes quietly given more painkillers despite the risk that they could die as a result. Many people would conclude that is the most humane course of action."

We can all endorse the last sentence: People in pain have a right to fully adequate pain-relief treatment. But that does not entail endorsing euthanasia, as pro-euthanasia advocates propose. Read more.

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