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May 17, 2005

Ecumenical Euthanasia: Galluping to Death

Topics: News

"Reporting a number that will surprise some," Editor & Publisher informs us, "the Gallup Organizations today said its latest poll found that 75% of Americans support euthanasia--allowing a doctor to take the life of a patient who is suffering from an incurable disease and wants to die. This, Gallup noted, was up 6% since 2004."

While the anti-life media casts the fight against euthanasia as a cause of "rightwing fundamentalists" in the divide-and-conquer strategy described in my latest op-ed for Spero News, faith-based opponents often play into their hands by stereotyping euthanasia supporters as "leftwing secular humanists." Yet Gallup reports that "even evangelical Christians said they backed euthanasia, at 61%, as did 71% of rural residents."

Weekly churchgoers also support the concept (51%). So do self-described conservatives (63%), though that trails liberals (82%).

The wording of poll questions is crucial, but one would have to swallow camels while straining at gnats to find much solace in Gallup's query:

When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient's life by some painless means if the patient and his family request it?

Even more disturbing is the conclusion of Editor & Publisher's account:

In another interesting finding, 59% of the overall sample said they would consider ending their own life, if in severe pain, by some painless means.

The man who is prepared to murder himself--under the "appropriate" circumstances--will be quite willing to sanction ending the lives of others, whose condition is worse than his own, especially when it is rationalized by secularists and religious alike in the practice CURE calls "ecumenical euthanasia."

Supplemental Reading:

  • For a more detailed breakdown of the survey results, see David Moore, "Three in Four Americans Support Euthanasia," Gallup News Service, May 17, 2005.

    Posted by earl at May 17, 2005 11:43 PM


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    Comments

    It must be remembered that when the pollsters conduct these polls for their clients (there is always a client who wants the information), there is often no alternative to state your real views. The interviewee is often faced with an interviewer who has his or her own subjective ideas. The question being asked is usually sanitized and presented in a manner that influences how people who are chosen for the survey respond.

    I have a minor in statistical methods (not a favourite subject by any stretch) and I learned a bit from being a field worker for two research companies. One of them was the Morgan Gallup Poll and the other company was Reark Research. I gave up that job when we moved to the United States for a short period of time in 1984-85.

    The method being used is one that is snow jobbing the public until the opinion of the general population is so desensitized that people will accept what is being pushed. This is how it happened with abortion on demand. The abortion question was one that was often a part of the surveys that I conducted for Morgan Gallup Poll.

    It might be that to counteract this kind of snow job work, we need to use the research companies to do the opposite. In other words get the word out about what really happens.

    The questions that are asked appeal to selfishness.

    Posted by: Maggie4life at May 18, 2005 6:13 AM

    Maggie this was definitely a flawed poll, but Gallup is probably the least influence by liberal bias of all the polls. Even if the margin of error was 10% this would be shocking. The problem is that Christians are split demographically on ethical issues. The Barna Group for example reports that half of Protestant ministers don't ascribe to a Biblical worldview that includes absolute moral values.
    I think if more people were aware of the facts these numbers would look better.

    We have a lot of work to do.

    Posted by: papijoe at May 18, 2005 7:45 AM

    I was applying for a job once in a Catholic school in which the staff unabashedly identified themselves as liberal and progressive. Requested to teach a class under the observation of the staff, I decided to have a little fun, mentioned during the course of my lecture the possibility that there might be objective moral standards in just one or two tiny areas of life, that eliciting the clearing of throats among my observers. Suspecting at that point that I had found myself in an institution of socially enlightened values, I decided to throw caution to the mentioned, mentioned a belief held by some in the Church regarding the existence of a God who cared for His creation and would never abandon it. I was then thanked for efforts, Father's parting words something to the effect - don't call us, we'll call you.
    I haven't the least problem believing the numbers in this poll might reflect something close to the truth. There is indeed a lot of work ahead. My consolation is God's promise to us, where two or three believers are gathered in His name, there is His Church.

    Posted by: dea at May 18, 2005 8:30 AM

    dea

    I was aware of the influence of John Dewey and his non-traditional ethics and "progressive" educational theories on the NEA and public schools. But I was surprised to hear recently that they have been adopted by some Catholic schools as well.

    Posted by: papijoe at May 18, 2005 9:02 AM

    There is a major obvious flaw in that poll,
    Christians are pro-life by definition; 100% of Christians condemn death-by-doctor, so that poll is refering to satanists as Christians.

    Rev. Thomas Scott Painter R-FL sov.

    Posted by: gopchristian at May 18, 2005 1:10 PM

    Rev. Scott,

    I would hope that Christians would 100 % condemn death by doctor, unfortunately, that is not the case. The push polling has been happening over a long period of time, and we are seeing the same results that we saw with abortion on demand. People, who are baptized and therefore are Christians by definition, if not in practice, are not taking sufficient notice of the Scriptures.

    We have a long road ahead because we need to get the message across that killing the disabled, sick and elderly is unacceptable in our society. We must do this in a way that will not draw ridicule, but will help to strengthen our position.

    Posted by: Maggie4life at May 19, 2005 4:57 AM

    Oh, dea, now I see why you feel God forsaken sometimes. It's heart breaking, isn't it? I sent my youngest children to a Catholic school not nearly as bad a the one you mentioned, and had to reclaim all but one for the Church. The lowest day of my life was when I was called "the other kind of Catholic". Up until then I thought a Catholic was a Catholic. Not so, not by a long shot. It burns me no end that these people who do not know or at least will not follow Church teaching sit in the pews and receive communion. Sacrilege!! And they are the Church's public relations. What can you do. Jesus said it best in the letter to the church at Philidelphia--members of satan's synogogue. Face it folks, the great majority of Christians aint Christians no more.

    Posted by: mary et. al. at May 19, 2005 6:18 PM

    Hey, lotsa folks pull their kids out of Catholic schools and put them into public schools, just so that at least they can blame it all on the rotten atheists running the place. It's too hard to try to explain to the kids just why the Catholics running their parish Catholic school are no different.

    But ya know, you can pull your kids entirely out and homeschool them, and STILL be accused by other Catholic homeschoolers of being the "wrong kind of Catholic". I kid you not. It's just so pathetic.

    From now on for me, my one requirement for me to associate with anyone is that they are non-judgemental. I don't mind uplifting guidance among Christians, but the snorting mud in your eye passing judgement has to go.

    Posted by: Suzanne. at May 20, 2005 1:28 AM

    Um, just one proviso, I guess. I suppose the range of thought is as varied in the schools in which I taught as it is any. Yes, some of the teachers I knew where some of the most devout, fervent Christians I had even met even teaching in institutions which, um, let's just say weren't always conforming as strictly as I might have wished to the guiding principles of such as Humanae Vitae. My only point, I suppose - take a personal interest in your child's education - don't assume much in the world as it is today, or the polls will only get worse.

    Posted by: dea at May 20, 2005 7:36 AM

    Bias? What bias?

    Not to beat a dead horse, but recently polls are being used as a marketing strategy.

    It is disturbing that the results of the euthanasia polls show that most people favor euthanasia in some form or another. Regardless of what wording is used, I am convinced that most people are ignorant and apothetic (I mean that in a nice way.)

    What still gets my goat is the way these polls are reported. I'm not so sure anymore that the reporters are even aware of what they are writing. Take, for exanple, one of the snippets from this post:

    "Weekly churchgoers also support the concept (51%). So do self-described conservatives (63%), though **that trails** liberals (82%)." The '**' are mine for emphisis.

    Maybe I'm being overly picky but the phrase "that trails" connotes being behind, not up to speed. Well, excuse me for being such a Neanderthal if I believe that euthanasia is wrong! If this were the only case of that type of wording I would say nothing. Unfortunately it is an all too common occurance. It is as if we are readng a Madison Avenue ad campaign for attitude du jour.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 20, 2005 3:57 PM

    I'm not sure what the problem is with phsyician-assisted suicide. I work in the ICU and we withdraw treatment on terminal patients if that is their wish. It's never an easy thing certainly, but the patient's wishes should and do absolutely take precedence. Is there any reason someone should be denied the option of ending their life?

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 20, 2005 8:02 PM

    John,

    Yes there is a reason. Physician *assisted* suicide is not a solo deed. The word assisted is the give away there. When did taking someone else's life stop being murder? Its funny, there are still a majority of states that have anti-suicide laws on the books. So, there are 2 reasons. A third is that it is wrong.

    Finally, who gets the final say as to the patient's real wishes? In Terri's case it was a PROBATE JUDGE! Now there is real juris prudence.

    You silly little question seems so kind and innocous but it opens the gates to a very desperately hopeless world.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 20, 2005 9:17 PM

    Suicide is illegal so that the police have a legal framework to intervene and try and save someone in an emotional crisis, not because the government hopes to punish you in some fashion or because they think making it illegal will keep people from doing it (obviously it will not since there's no fear of punishment).

    Second, simply stating it's wrong doesn't help the discussion. Why is it wrong? I've seen alot of patitents in my years who were months or weeks from death, suffering from end stage cancer or similar problems. Their suffering was unimaganable, and they were too weak to end their lives on their own. Because of the laws against assisted-suicide, their wishes could not be carried out. Certainlty their should be a rigorous certification process to prove that someone desires to have their life ended, but it is their choice to make that decision. By what right do you presume to supercede their decision?

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 20, 2005 11:44 PM

    By what right do you or anyone else presume to pass judgement on someone in their condition? Look, you are posting in BlogsForTerri. Terri is the prototypical end result of bureaucratic "rigorous certification."

    There is no denying that people in the end stages of cancer or other horrible maladies are due enormous sympathy and compassion. I personally know from experience just how horrifying those cases are. But, that so called compassion does not and, I pray to God, will not extend to the point where a bureaucraticaly insulated "quality of life" committee gets to decide when and how to murder them.

    By the way, it is my fervent wish and expressed desire to drive a new Hummer. Do you propose that I be entitled to have that car simply because it is what I want? People want many things but the want or desire is never a justification for actually receiving what they want.. except if they want to die. Why is that?

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 21, 2005 12:55 AM

    John, my sister recently lost her battle with bone cancer. As such I find your comments lack compassion, rather than your intention of being compassionate.

    Members of my family had to nurse my sister until her death. The length of time was quite short - 6 weeks. My sister did not want to die, even though she was in a lot of pain. According to my family she did put up a fight. The pain was relieved by medication, and it is only right that patients in pain from cancer are given palliative care.

    Instead of demanding the right to kill these patients who are already dying, you should be demanding that they get more in the way of support to help prepare them for the end of their life. If they are depressed because of the pain, then there should be professionals on hand to talk them through the depression. More importantly, these people need to learn from the terrible pain and agony that was endured by Jesus Christ. They need to learn from His Example so that they can be better prepared for their own entry into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Demanding to be killed because of pain is actually very selfish. I do know what it means to be in pain, but my pain cannot be compared to that of my sister's pain in the last weeks of her life. Her pain was extreme, yet she did not beg or demand that her life be ended. She wanted to continue her life, not end it with the help of some Dr. Death.

    There are millions of people around the world who are dying in the same way as my sister. Most accept that the end of their lives are approaching and despite the pain they want that time with family. That is why they hang on as much as possible.

    For all those who think that there is any compassion in killing people because of pain, I suggest that you have a really deep think about the pain that Jesus Christ endured for our sakes when He was tortured and died on the cross. Any pain that we might suffer is miniscule by comparison.

    Posted by: Maggie4life at May 21, 2005 3:13 AM

    I must say I disagree. First off Tom, your example of wanting a Hummer is ridiculous. I believe that one of the patients most important right is the right to control their own destiny and their own life. If they come to the decision that they want to end that life, and are competetent to make such decisions, then that is their choice. To suggest that wanting to end your life in the face of immense suffering and desiring a new car are the same is absurd. The pateints wishes always come first in their care, which means that is their right to request as much, or as little care as possible. Why should they not be allowed to request assistance in ending their life if that is their choice?

    As to you post maggie, I'm very sorry for your loss. I've seen many patients fight on the losing end of that battle as well, and indeed their suffering is enormous. Many would not choose to terminate their lives permaturely, but some would, and I think to deny them that option is wrong. To say that it is selfish also demonstrates a lack of compassion toward someone who will inevitabely die of their disease, and who will live in agony until that time (keep in mind, not all patients can have their pain adequately controlled). Also bear in mind that I am not suggesting that doctors be the ones to make this decisions, I'm suggesting that it is the patients right to make this decision for themselves.

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 21, 2005 6:12 AM

    John,

    So, what you're saying is that killing a patient is in their best interest. I say that conclusion is as absurd as the new car comparison I made which was my point. In the history of this planet there has not been a higher society which officially condoned the killing of the infirmed, disabled or aged. While there have been some which sanctified the murder if infants such as the followers of Moloch, those societies were by their barbaric nature relegated to the dung heap.

    I believe that the onus is on you to provide a rational and *compelling* justification for changing natural societal laws which have been observed for millenia. It is not my, nor anyone else's on this board's, responsibility to justify *not* taking the lives of the helpless. Your constant reference to terrible suffering is an appeal to emotion which is not a reason at all for reversing age old social morays.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 21, 2005 11:46 AM

    Jesus said, Follow me. He told us and, most importantly, SHOWED us how to get into heaven. So, if you want to get into heaven, FOLLOW HIM. Otherwise you are trading a short time of pain for an eternity of pain. If there were a shortcut, don't you think He would have taken it, or at least let us know it existed. As a priest once told me, "If you must be a fool, Mary, be a fool. But don't be a damned fool."

    Posted by: mary et. al. at May 21, 2005 11:59 AM

    Age old social morays? How many things did we used to do for millenia that we no longer do? Women used to be thought of as inferior to men, capable only of raising children. Blacks used to be thought of as inferiro to whites, capable only of slave labor. But enough about history. As to your request that I provide a compelling reason to allow someone to end their life should they so chose, I will do so.

    People in our society have the right to make thier own choices about their own health. If they would like absolutely every measure taken to extend their life, that is their choice to make. If they would like treatment withdrawn, even life-prolonging treatment without which they will die, that is their right. And if they decide that they want to end their life, that should be their right. Choosing to withdraw life sustaining treatment and choosing to committ suicide result in the same endpoint, why is one permissible and the other not? People have an absolute right to control their own healthcare destinies, and there is no compelling public interest in preventing someone from ending their life if they are competent to make such a decision.

    Mary, as to your point: Christians do indeed believe that Jesus showed them the way to heaven. If they believe that means that ending their lives prematurely is morally wrong, then indeed they should not. However, not everyone is Christian, and not every Christian believes the same things about every issue. Saying that Jesus doesn't want you to committ suicide isn't a very compelling argument to a Hindu.

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 21, 2005 9:19 PM

    Thoroughly modern John.

    I ask again. What compelling argument do you have to make to justify such a drastic change. What can you bring to the table to rationalize changing the fundamental way the law treats the value of human life? Women, slavery, Hindus, Jesus and "not every Christian..." is not an argument.

    If you present an argument for change, you must at least try to express it with something other than party line, or maybe, tone line talking points.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 21, 2005 10:35 PM

    I did present an argument for change, namely that patients have a right to control their own care and their own destiny. If they desire an end to their life, that is their choice to make (assuming they are competent to make such choices). What compelling argument can your present to deny people that option? For what reason should their right to determine the course of their medical care, and the course of their lives, be dictated by you or anyone but themselves?

    Let me also pose a question to you that may help me better understand your position. Do you oppose the withdrawl of life-prolonging treatment at pateint's request? That is, if a patient who is being sustained by medical means requests that their treament be ended, do you think the government should prohibit that decision?

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 21, 2005 11:34 PM

    The parenthetical "(assuming they are competent to make such choices)", what do you mean by that? Who's "choice" is it then? I suspect that whatever your answer is it will favor the death decision.

    As to you second question, I absolutely think the government has no right to condone murdering people. Any government has the moral responsibility to try to save people. In case you forgot, our country, and any country for that matter, was founded and maintained by the consent of the governed. The government is its citizens. What kind of government murders or allows to be murdered its own people? Stalinist Russia, Saddam's Iraq, Sudan? Now there are some enviable societies. Your brave new world isn't such a pretty place.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 22, 2005 12:17 AM

    If they had said "I don't see" there would be no sin. But since they say "I see" their sin remains. The compassion which would aid people into hell is evil. How much better to help people hang on until God dismisses them from the cross and they can go as faithful servants into that place where neither pain nor death exist. But no, we cannot endure their suffering nor the inconvenience to us, so we must compassionately help them escape the cross, the very vehicle of their salvation and thereby help them escape salvation. We have done them an eternal disservice.

    Posted by: mary et. al. at May 22, 2005 9:35 AM

    John,

    I think there is a very big difference between refusing a treatment and requesting that someone else Kill you. You are not talking about allowing someone to die, or allowing someone to take their own lives. You are talking about involving someone in killing, whether or not the one who is sick wants it. What does this do to the attitudes of those caring for the terminally ill or the incapacitated? How does this distort the idea of palliative care? I think this is very dangerous.

    Posted by: CeCe at May 22, 2005 3:47 PM

    Tom: Firstly, by compotent to make that decision, I mean just that. If someone is incompotent to make decisions for themselves, they have a power of attorney or someone similar to make decisions for them. For isntance, my grandmother has very bad alzheimeirs, and because of this is unable to make decisions for herself about her medical care. She appointed a power of attorney prior to the progression her illness who now handles her affairs.

    Secondly, I'm suprised that you think the government should prohibit such a decision, not only because it's a decision that's made routinely (it was made today in the CCU in fact, one of our patients passed away from a brady asystolic arrest after signing a DNR order. He suffered from esophagial cancer that had metastasized to the liver and pancreas). The decision not to have heroic measures taken to prolong his life was his to make, and I'm glad that he has the option in our society to make his own choices.

    And CeCe, as to your quote, "You are talking about involving someone in killing, whether or not the one who is sick wants it." I am most certainly not talking about doing it of the sick person does not want it. As I said, it's entirely their decision. How much care or how little, and I think added to that is the option of ending their lives if they so choose. Given the example above, I don't see how it distorts the idea of palliative care at all. We could've saved that man, but we respected his wishes and allowed him to die, as he wanted to .

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 22, 2005 7:43 PM

    John,

    What do you consider heroic measures? What do you consider treatment? Is, for example, "artificial" feeding and hydration considered treatment?

    You can not use the "everybody does it" argument to justify your position. Also, anecdotal evidence is not compelling. This issue is literally one of life and death. Your constant reliance on the words "right to choose" and "choice" also make your case suspect. Judging from your position, I really think that the only acceptable "choice" is the choice to kill. Unfortunately, when bureaucracies are involved, the choice to kill means saving money and larger budgets to feed the beast.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 22, 2005 9:22 PM

    Tom, you haven't addressed any of my points, you've simply dismissed them out of hand. You've never answered the question that I've posed numerous times, namely why should patients not have a right to control their own destiny? And why on Earth would you think that the only acceptable choice is death based on what I've written? I work in a hospital, I work to save people's lives. However, people do die, it's a fact of life. The decision about how much patients want done, whether they want heroic measures taken (heroic measures, to answer your question, are usually defined as ressucitative efforts such as CPR, defibrillation, intubation etc) or do they want only palliative care? Do they want chemo for their cancer, or would they prefer to simply be made comfortable before the end? Some patients want absolutely everything to be done, in fact the majority due since they are not terminally ill, and we respect their wishes in this regard. (Today several hours after our cancer patient died another patient collapsed in his room and had to be defibrillated out of vtach. He was transferred to the ICU and ressucitated twice more before we finally stabilized his heart rhythym.)

    Finally, as to your quote, "Unfortunately, when bureaucracies are involved, the choice to kill means saving money and larger budgets to feed the beast." I have never suggested hospitals should make this decision. Indeed, in contrast with the Texas legislature and then Governor Bush, I don't think hospitals should be empowered to make life or death decisions for patients, it should be up to the patient or the person empowered to make decisions for that patient.

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 22, 2005 11:33 PM

    Unfortunately, when these things go to court, which they obviously do, you have the govt in on it. And the govt tends to write rules which provide mindless blanket coverage for all. The reason you can respect the various wishes of the various patients right now is because the rule book hasn't been written yet and set in law. Not quite yet. But if this whole right to die crusade keeps up it will be written and it will be one size fits all, no more pandering to the wishes of the patients. John, how in the world can we warn you that this is a horrific Pandora's box and the hope of the continued respect of the wishes of the patients is absolutely dependant on the lid being closed quickly. Have you checked out what is happening in England, esp. in Leslie's case. Perhaps Tom could post that article wherein the state is arguing that it is better for the patients to be put out of everyone's misery. This poor man is battling on every front not to be put down so inhumanely, but the right to die movement in England has just gone too far. And it will go too far in this country, too, if it hasn't already. There are a few people who think (rightly or wrongly) that assisted suicide is best for them. But the monster they are creating soon turns into assisted homocide for the majority. How very much better if everyone agreed to follow Jesus and stay on the cross until the end rather than inadvertantly usher in the deaths of so many others who do want to stay the course; who want to live until they die. And all I can say, and I say it with all my heart, is, "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."

    Posted by: mary et. al. at May 23, 2005 12:27 AM

    John

    The reason I have dismissed your points is because it is you who is in favor of drastically changing the basic way people are valued in our society. I propose to change nothing, therefore it is up to you to make the point. So far your justification has been:

    * "right to choose" (from where is that right derived?) especially when it come to murder. I use the word murder because no matter what euphemisms you may use to cloak the deed, it is still murder -- A rose by any other name is still a rose.

    * anecdotal examples of suffering (which is, indeed, terrible but NOT a reason to kill people.)

    * Everybody does it - that doesn't make it right.

    Those are mighty weak arguments. Don't blame me. You have presented no compelling reason to institutionalize killing people, no matter what their quality of life is.

    I will address one of the points of your last comment. The laws of all but ten states may allow doctors and hospitals to disregard advance directives when they call for treatment, food, or fluids. http://www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/willtolive/statestatutereport.pdf .
    Food and fluids may be withheld. Terri and many others have died from that "choice" of treatment.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 23, 2005 12:43 AM

    Mary,

    Your wish is my command.

    ------------
    From the London Times Online

    "The Government today intervened directly in a right-to-life case being heard at the Court of Appeal with a message to judges that giving patients the right to demand lfe-prolonging treatment would have "very serious implications" for the National Health Service.

    The General Medical Council is trying to overturn a ruling in favour of Leslie Burke, a 45-year-old former postman with a degenerative brain condition, who last year won the right to stop doctors withdrawing artificial nutrition or hydration (ANH) treatment until he dies naturally. ..."

    The British government puts its foot down on the side of the almighty Pound Sterling.

    The entire article is at:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0%2C%2C2-1617729%2C00.html

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 23, 2005 12:50 AM

    John,

    One final point. You ask on what is my argument based. As I said in an earlier comment, my argument is based on the history of human civilization since Hippocrates. Up to very recently, imperfect as it may have been, the medical profession strived to do all in its power to preserve human life.

    We both know that the Hippocratic oath has fallen out of favor and very few doctors have taken it. The problem is that *most* people don't know that. You say, and it is true, that withholding treatment is not uncommon today. Again, *most* people don't know that. When they sign a living will they don't know what they're signing into.

    I agree that it is probably not unethical to withhold extraordinary measures where the absense of such measures would mean almost immediate death. The problem is that the laws of our society are not managed by well meaning folks, but rather by lawyers, therefore plain language gets parsed and stretched into unrecognizable forms. A perfect example is the inclusion of food and water as a treatment.

    It is because of these things and others that I can never acquiesce to condoning euthanasia, no matter what words or intentions clothe it.

    Posted by: Tom Spence at May 23, 2005 1:30 AM

    John,

    again, I find your comments offensive, especially in the light of the death of my sister, as well as that of my father and mother-in-law.

    The loss of my sister is like a gaping hole because of her age. She was only 52 and far too young to have died from cancer. My mother-in-law, Faye was even younger when she passed away as a result of the effects of breast cancer. She was only 48 years old and she had an intense struggle over a period of about 3 to 5 years. My father passed away as a result of a stroke, as did an elderly friend of mine. Then there is another elderly friend who passed away as a result of throat cancer. She also went very suddenly and quickly.

    In all of the cases that I mentioned here the people concerned would never allow anyone to kill them out of a false compassion. Each and every one of these people understood that it is God alone who decides when it is time to die. Let me quote from Scripture:

    "There is a given time for everything and a time for everything under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building; a time for tears, a time for laughter." (Ecc 3:1-3)

    Just because you believe in the mixed up notion that a patient can determine whether to live or die does not mean that you are right in what you believe. God alone knows when it is time for us to live and to die. To take our own lives is to commit the ultimate sin against God as Creator.

    I am a Catholic and many of the friends that I have met through Blogs for Terri are not only Protestant, some are even atheists. We recognize that there is a difference between assisting a person through comfort during the dying stages of cancer or some other illness that is terminal, and that of a woman or man in the same condition as Terri.

    A patient has the right to refuse treatment, and that means a person who has been diagnosed with cancer has the right to refuse treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Both of these treatments knock patients around. I know because I saw what those treatments did to my late mother-in-law. If the treatment is in all likelihood futile, as the case with my sister, then it is the right of the treating doctors to be honest and to state that the person is too fragile to undergo the recommended treatment. That is a legitimate response to the fragility of the cancer patient.

    A patient who is racked with pain needs ways of coping with that pain. There are ways of controlling pain that do not include resorting to drugs for control. A patient who is not as far gone as my sister was when her cancer was discovered should be given every possible support, including psychotherapy that will help alleviate the pain. There is a mental component in pain that is too little recognized. If someone is suffering from pain that person needs to be taken seriously and needs to be helped, but not assisted suicide.

    Assisted suicide is the ultimate form of selfishness outside of suicide from one's own hand. Suicide is selfishness. It represents the placing of self above God.

    We do not need nursing and other forms of medical staff who seem to be so willing to kill patients in the way that you advocate. I believe that the medical profession is due for a good clean out and all those who advocate either abortion on demand or the killing of another human being by either the withdrawl of nutrition and hydration or by other means should not be allowed in the medical professions. There is no room in medicine for killers.

    Posted by: Maggie4life at May 23, 2005 5:27 AM

    I'm not going to convince you folks obviously, so I'll leave you with these quick comments before I head into work (ironic?). I am very suprised you guys are against DNR orders (or no code blue as we call them at our hospital). That man who died of cancer yesterday was only 48, though to look at him you would've thought he was much older. His cancer had already spread to both his liver and his pancreas, and he was not long for this world. Nevertheless, saving him once he arrested would've been a simple matter, we do it all the time. However, he did not want such measures taken, when the time came he simply wanted to die, and we respected his wishes despite our personal discomfort at watching a man we knew we could save die in front of our eyes. I will never support people like you Tom, who would demand that patients obey whatever morality you decide they ought to. If a patient does not want treatment, then the choice is theirs to make, not yours. Your arrogant pretense at being the moral guardians of the world strikes me as incredibely hollow, and I wonder how many there are like you in our country. Good day to you.

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 23, 2005 1:22 PM

    Also, just to clarify, I would never support the decision the UK is making. The decision is up to the patient, or the person they have designated to make decisions for them, not the government. President Bush and I differ on that point.

    Posted by: JohnClark at May 23, 2005 1:25 PM

    John, if you have it your way you will have no option to support or not support. Is there no way you can look into future of this. It is already out of hand when they say food and water is medical assistance. Even the Catholic church says extraordinary measures need not be taken. But if people keep pushing to make this law then people lose the option to decide. You argue that people should get to decide. We argue the same on the bottom line. But about extraordinary intervention, which so far as I know, no one has been forced to endure. You really must look more deeply into this subject and see what is going on in various places before you decide we have it all wrong. I ran across a case the other day where the coronor declared the cause of death was harvesting of organs. Someone declared the poor man dead based on faulty definition of death and proceeded to kill him, I suppose without benefit of pain medicine, because who medicates a dead person. Although there are some arguments around that they should be anesthetized. If a person says no I do not want you to do that and you don't then you are honoring their wishes. But can't you see from the above article that this absolutely reaches the point where no one's wishes are honored. And neither will yours be when it comes to supporting or not supporting what comes of this.

    Posted by: mary et. al. at May 23, 2005 7:43 PM

    Looking back at the comments made by John Clarke, I can see where his arguments in relation to people who are not dying become seriously flawed.

    What John is saying is that in the ICU situation if a patient expresses that he or she does not want further treatment then that request is honoured. When someone is dying from a terminal illness, it is quite legitimate to not continue with expensive futile treatment. Any patient has the right to refuse radiotherapy and chemotherapy because it knocks a person around and sometimes is of little benefit, thus increasing the suffering of the patient. The best interests of the patient must prevail at all times.

    However, when a patient is in a coma and cannot speak up for himself then it is not best medical practice to listen to someone who might have a strong desire to kill of that patient for whatever reason might apply.

    This is where Terri's case is different from the ICU situation. Terri was not dying when the nutrition and hydration were denied. The judge in this case went too far when he ordered that she was to be given nothing by mouth. By making that order he became complicit in her murder. He should not be receiving awards for what he has done. He should be sent to prison for the perversion of justice.

    Just another point, I have found another serious flaw in the logic applied by Judge Death Greer, this time relating to his refusal to make enquiry into how Terri ended up with fractures in her bones 12 months after she had been hospitalized. It was something that showed that he was seriously in error with his comments. I have to leave right now so I will come back to the issue later in the evening.

    Posted by: Maggie4life at May 24, 2005 3:32 PM