Hiding illegal assisted suicides
This article was written by Wesley Smith and published on Sept 6, 2013 on his blog.
By Wesley Smith
Compassion and Choices–once known by the more accurate name Hemlock Society–is in the well paid, but non profit business, of promoting assisted suicide. It often tries to put a more respectable veneer over their raison d’être–but legalizing and normalizing doctor-prescribed death is the core agenda of the organization.
Cut to California’s AB 62 that would add to current law requiring reporting of deaths caused by medical “gross negligence” to proper authorities, a requirement to report deaths caused by overdose of federally controlled substances–the drugs most commonly used in assisted suicide. From the legislation.
When a coroner receives information that is based on findings that were reached by, or documented and approved by, a pathologist indicating that the cause of death is due to a Schedule II, III, or IV drug, a report shall be filed with the information regarding the death of the decedent, including whether the decedent was undergoing treatment for a terminal illness or chronic condition, if known, shall be provided by the coroner to the Medical Board of California.
Note: Reported medical professionals under the section are entitled to strong procedural protections–which would specifically apply in such cases.
But according to C & C, such reporting will discourage doctors from prescribing properly for pain. From its email “Action Alert:”
SB 62 requires a coroner to file a report with the Medical Board of California if certain prescription drugs are a contributing factor in a death. While we support efforts to restrict the illegal use of prescription drugs, there must be a thoughtful balance so that these pain medications are available and accessible for people who need them to relieve their pain and suffering…
Under SB 62, physicians would hesitate to prescribe drugs for fear of being investigated by the Medical Board, even when the medical care is appropriate. Such a chilling effect on medical professionals will keep patients from getting appropriate pain management. Terminally ill patients could die in agony if they are denied adequate pain medication.
Baloney. C & C is worried that the reporting requirement could bring surreptitious assisted suicides to light. Not that the group approves of misprescribing. But protecting suicide matters most.
In this regard, it is worth recalling that the leaders of C & C have vigorously opposed previous state and federal bills that explicitly made aggressive pain control a protected medical act, but which also banned assisted suicide. And in that dichotomy, we see C & C’s real assisted suicide-protecting agenda.
NB: In Australia doctor's are protected in law for the proper use of medications in end-of-life situations.