By Scott Middleton M.D., FACS
A 29-year-old California woman changed her mind about dying this week. Brittany Maynard, who has terminal brain cancer, moved to Oregon for the announced purpose of taking her own life, under that state’s Death With Dignity Act. She was set to commit suicide, legally, with the assistance of one of my fellow physicians.
I believe this is a tragedy. We, as physicians, certainly have a role in end-of-life care. Admittedly, we sometimes abdicate that role. In reality, there is much truth in Hippocrates’ statement that we should “Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.”
“Physician-Assisted-Suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult to control and would pose serious societal risk” — from the Code of Ethics, American Medical Association.
Five of my reasons why Physician-Assisted-Suicide should not be legal: