Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

End-of-Life Anarchy in the UK

This latest interpretation of a euthanasia study by the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society is a stroke of Machiavellian genius.

I saw a slightly different version of this story yesterday. The spin was similar, basically the gist of it was that euthanasia only represents less than 1% of all deaths in the UK.

Now look at the same story in the left-wing Guardian. Euthanasia: Doctors aid in 3000 deaths

Doctors in the UK were responsible for the deaths, through euthanasia, of nearly 3,000 people last year, it was revealed yesterday in the first authoritative study of the decisions they take when faced with terminally-ill patients. More than 170,000 patients, almost a third of all deaths, had treatment withdrawn or withheld which would have hastened their demise.
The figures, extrapolated from the study, show rates of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide which are significantly lower than anywhere else in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, where similar studies have been done. The numbers immediately provoked controversy.

"This research proves that some doctors break the law and deliberately help patients die," said Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. "This is all done in secret and denied in public. Some of these doctors are acting compassionately on their patients' wishes, but some clearly act without consent. This cannot be safe."

Isn't this interesting? It's not the pro-life advocates that are reported as being outraged, it's the right-to-die proponents. The pitch is that abuses are probably happening now and that by legalizing euthanasia and putting guidelines in place, this will prevent abuses.

Nowhere that euthanasia as been legalized has proved to be a good study in the effectiveness of any guidelines. Universally the guidelines have no teeth and leave interpretation and compliance up to the doctors themselves. With no independent oversight, does anyone really believe that guidelines mean anything?
papijoe 10:42 AM