Medical efforts to prolong the lives of individuals afflicted with serious disease or injury began with primitive medicine, perhaps in the Neolithic Period (8000-3000 B.C.), when we discerned from paleontologic evidence a tendency for primitive men and women to care for the sick and wounded in the shelters provided by the deep caves of Europe.
Village Care and KidCare — “A Good Start?”
Dear Dr. Faria,
The article by Dr. Payne(1) may offend those who believe that any reference to religion is divisive, obnoxious, or inappropriate outside a restricted private sphere. Should we not suggest that articles like this one be published in a different forum?
The Summer 1996 issue of the Medical Sentinel has a condemnatory item about physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia (p. 3). It mentions two U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions and Dr. Jack Kevorkian. The item states, approvingly, that Michigan has passed laws directed specifically against him.
A momentous article, "Medical Science Under Dictatorship," by Dr. Leo Alexander, the Chief U.S. Medical Consultant at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, first printed in the July 14, 1949 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, has been reprinted as a monograph, and it could not have been reprinted at a more opportune moment.
In the public debate over legalized euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, opponents of such measures often invoke the history of medicine in Nazi Germany as an example of the danger in these practices. Those who invoke the "Nazi analogy" suggest that the sanctioning of euthanasia could lead to the wholesale destruction of those whose lives are deemed valueless or burdensome to society.
Wesley J Smith, author of No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America, opens his prologue of Forced Exit with the story of a dear friend who spent years planning her suicide and after inviting friends to the event, none of whom came, exited this life quietly. Smith, an Oakland attorney, contacted the executrix and obtained her suicide file wherein he found newsletters and other scurrilous documents from the Hemlock Society that thoroughly sickened him.
An article in the New Oxford Review illustrates how " 'a right to die' easily becomes 'a duty to die' once society labels some lives as not worth living." Two case histories were briefly outlined. In one instance, Harold Cybulski, visited by his family while in his hospital bed in Ontario, Canada, wakes up from a coma just as his physicians were about to " 'pull the plug and let him go.' As the grieving family filed in, Cybulski's two-year-old grandson ran ahead crying, 'Grandpa!
March 20, 2002
Dear Mr. Smith,