Dr. Shari deSilva has posted an insightful article concerning the future of neurology, medicine, conscience and ethics on her blog, “Clueless Christian.” She says that she has not seen a single new baby with Downs’ Syndrome in 2 years, despite being the only neurologist who treats children for 300 miles. Dr. deSilva has observed the increasing pressure on medical “professionals” to act against their consciences, to the harm of patients and our profession. And she is witnessing the discussion of the potential role of neurologists in determining who will live and who will die at the hands – at least remotely by “assistance” – of her fellow physicians.
The old definition of “profession” included the understanding that judgement and ethics were an integral part of the discipline. Especially in medicine, the possession of special knowledge and access to situations and tools that no one else is allowed was assumed to carry with it the duty to assess the “rightness” of actions. Has it come to the point that a professional – or anyone, including the clerk at the pharmacy – can become the slave to the wants, rather than the needs, of the public?
I’m afraid that “because we can” and “because it’s legal” are the new ethics that have replaced, “First, do no harm.”
I won’t perform an act designed and intended to use medicine and my medical knowledge and skills to take the life of another human being, no matter how young, no matter how old and no matter that “it’s my job” or “it’s legal.” Most definitely not because of “limited funds and resources” or “the good of the many outweigh the good of the few.”
I am glad that Dr. deSilva has joined in the fight against the anti-ethics that has resulted in blatant euthanasia, often involuntary, in the Netherlands and which is attempting to spread in this country. The “right to privacy” in the form of contraception for married couples spread to the “right” to have a doctor (and pharmacist) prescribe, then to the right to have the State protect abortion facilities and institutionalize and regulate those killings. Pressure is on to have more – all – doctors trained to perform abortions to increase access to and further force doctors to perform and refer. Oregon has legalized “physician assisted suicide” and it’s only a matter of time until that “right” spreads to more states and from there, to having the “right” to deadly prescriptions from any doctor who is giving care to the patient who wants to control the time of his death.
And, I’m afraid that there are indeed rumblings among the “medical professionals” that too much money is spent on Medicaid and Medicaid for nursing homes and the elderly and disabled at all ages. There are those who assume – and approve – that involuntary euthanasia, rather than necessary triage and palliative care, went on in New Orleans after Katrina as well as in some Hospice care all over the country. And other neurologists aren’t nearly as ethical as Dr. deSilva and are praised for their discrimination between “persons” and humans.
There is sometimes a fine line between causing death – which is always unethical – and allowing death – which sometimes is ethical. That is why you need professionals with consciences.