Friday, March 18, 2005
Peering over the slippery slope -- Holland
Euthanasia . . . or a 'Dutch treat' - The Washington Times: Commentary - December 26, 2004
The Groningen Protocol, as it is known, would permit doctors to euthanize patients who, according to the opinion of these "doctors" and other medical "experts," lack "free will." This category of unfortunate individuals would include newborn babies, persons in irreversible comas and persons with severe mental retardation.
Groningen's guidelines, however, involve the actual medical homicide of individuals who can't protest or defend themselves. I have no doubt that if the Groningen Protocol becomes official, parents who don't want to contend with raising a disabled child will have their baby or young child euthanized, even if the baby has a fighting chance at a meaningful life. Likewise, family members who fear the burden of coping with a disabled or comatose loved one will seek his or her involuntary euthanasia out of their own self-interest.
Medical ethics has to be one of the most maddeningly complex fields of endeavor on the planet. The mental agility needed to contend with some of these issues is considerable. There is, however, one basic starting point for any ethical inquiry in medicine; one which, though not actually in the Hippocratic Oath, encapsulates its message. It is: "above all, do no harm." In other words, life of any quality is sacred in itself, and throughout the morass of ethical issues that arise in the practice of medicine and healing, the alpha and omega of everything should be the preserving of life.