Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Washington Pioneers Assisted Suicide Program At Hutch Cancer Center

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As you likely remember, Washington State legalized assisted suicide a few years ago.

I personally spoke in a number of churches and traveled with the Christian Medical Association to encourage people to vote against it. Despite the efforts of many, the bill passed.

Since its legalization, assisted suicide has been making progress as an acceptable medical treatment and has now been integrated with the highly respected Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Clinical Psychiatry News is hailing the program as a "pioneering program that includes medically assisted suicide for competent, terminally ill adults treated at a cancer center in Seattle."

They are reporting this month, "It has been well accepted by patients, families and clinicians."

However, a close read of the program raises some serious concerns in the mind of anyone who embraces life and the sovereignty of God.

First, any form of assisted suicide should be of grave concern to people who embrace the sanctity of life, and view God as Creator and Giver of life.

More on that in a minute.

Wesley J. Smith, writing for the National Review Online, notes that the assisted suicide program is called, predictably, "Death With Dignity". He further takes issue with the fact that a well known, well respected cancer treatment center would integrate what amounts to a suicide clinic for use by its patients who want to commit suicide.

Efforts have been underway for years by the Hemlock Society and other pro-death organizations to normalized suicide as an accepted medical treatment.

The Clinical Psychiatry news story says:

The program’s policy – written by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s medical director and approved by a majority of the medical executive committee members, as with any clinical policy – requires that patients request information about medically assisted suicide from their physicians, or that these clinicians raise the topic, to be considered for referral. Participation is entirely voluntary for medical staff and faculty members.

Every patient who is a potential participant is first assigned an advocate, a licensed social worker employed by the Alliance, who assists patients, family members, pharmacists, and physicians throughout a multistep process of participating. This advocate also tracks compliance with required documentation for the state Department of Health.

The advocate, as well as the attending physician, ensures that all potential participants are aware of alternatives to medically assisted suicide, such as palliative care and hospice care. The patient’s terminal status is verified, and if the attending physician doesn’t wish to participate, a prescribing physician and a consulting physician are chosen from a group of willing providers.

Note that suicide can be the doctor's idea.

Smith says, "This is an extremely concerning development because it gives the imprimatur of a respected cancer center to suicide."

Indeed it does.

In 1970, the California Medical Association's California Journal said this in an article on "death control," predicting:

"The traditional Western ethic has always placed a great emphasis on the intrinsic worth and equal value of every human life regardless of its stage or condition...This traditional ethic is...being eroded at its core and may eventually be abandoned...Hard choices will have to be made...that will of necessity violate and ultimately destroy the Western ethic with all that protends. It will become necessary and acceptable to place relative rather than absolute values on such things as human lives...One may anticipate...death selection and death control whether by individual or by society."

What we are looking at is a respected cancer center establishing a suicide clinic and being hailed as a pioneering model for the rest of the country.

The Christian Medical and Dental Association has made a definite statement regarding assisted suicide, which begins with this:

"We, as Christian physicians and dentists, believe that human life is a gift from God and is sacred because it bears God's image. Human life has worth because Christ died to redeem it, and it has meaning because God has an eternal purpose for it.

We oppose active intervention with the intent to produce death for the relief of pain, suffering, or economic considerations, or for the convenience of patient, family, or society.

Proponents of physician-assisted suicide argue from the perspective of compassion and radical individual autonomy. There are persuasive counterarguments based on the traditional norms of the medical professions and the adverse consequences of such a public policy. Even more important than these secular arguments is the biblical view that the sovereignty of God places a limit on human autonomy.

In order to affirm the dignity of human life, we advocate the development and use of alternatives to relieve pain and suffering, provide human companionship, and give opportunity for spiritual support and counseling.

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations oppose physician-assisted suicide in any form."
The CMDA provides much more on the subject. I have linked it here.

Obamacare and government controlled medical care is a the grand entrance to the unthinkable.

I have much more to say on this subject on my live radio program this morning at 9 AM PDT.

You may click here to listen.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful Be Active. Be Blessed.