Robert L. Orleck
P.O. Box 174
Randolph, VT 05060
Re: Physician Assisted Suicide S77 (as originally proposed)
- Medical realities and facts need to be seriously considered.
What should be most compelling is that there are medical realities and facts that cry out to be heard over the moving and sincere but uninformed emotional clamor to adopt the Oregon modeled bill. The reality is that the AMA (American Medical Association), most nurses, pharmacists and other health care workers are opposed to an Oregon type bill. Their thinking and feelings should be valued in the decision making process. They are the ones on the front line and they see the human price to be paid. Physicians engage in the “practice of medicine”. By simple word analysis, “medical practice” is a term that lacks definiteness of result. Yet we want to thrust them into roles they are ill equipped to perform and that are against their calling to the healing profession. There is no certainty even on how long a patient has to live. The six month to live requirement is nothing but a guess that so many times is very wrong. Doctors should not be forced to make life and death decisions on what amounts an educated guess. While I would suppose they would get better at it the more they do, physicians do not even know how to use drugs to cause death nor do manufactures make drugs for that purpose.
Even the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act defines drugs by their intended use as “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease”. Over hundreds of years this has been the mission of medicine and the medical community has become better and better at meeting its goals. It would be very wrong to reject that mission and instead of helping the patient to have a good natural end to life, to create a system that encourages patients to have a bad end to life by killing themselves.
Most health care workers believe their role is not to assist in the death of patients, they are not trained to assist in the killing of patients, nor do they have the necessary tools to effectively kill the patient. As earlier stated, physicians have not been trained for such an end result and don’t know how to dose for the many variables in age, weight, sensitivity or whatever, of the patient. No such courses are taught in medical school nor are there any continuing education programs. Neither physicians nor pharmacists know how to deal with the lethal prescriptions and with what to do when things go wrong.