Wednesday, 29 July 2009

"Life clocks are a lie! Carousel is a lie! There is no renewal!"

Mixed feelings about this move:
The Royal College of Nursing is to meet Scottish MP Margo MacDonald to discuss proposals on legalising assisted suicide after the organisation dropped its five-year opposition to the policy.

MacDonald, who has Parkinson's disease, is planning to introduce a bill to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland in the autumn.
It seems there’s a movement afoot to ‘normalise’ this, supported by polls:
The move comes as a poll found that 74% of people want doctors to be allowed to help terminally ill people end their lives.

The survey in today's Times found that six out of 10 people said they wanted friends and relatives to be able to help their dying loved ones to take their own lives, without fear of prosecution.
However, while I can’t say that I think those who take their relatives abroad to Dignitas should be prosecuted (far from it) I’m wary of this becoming the norm. And I’m not alone.
The Christian Nurses and Midwives organisation said today it regretted the RCN's policy shift. Secretary Steve Fouch said it sent out the wrong signals "at a time when there is growing anxiety about how we will care for the elderly and severely disabled in the future".
Their statement will be pooh-poohed as ‘religious scaremongering’. But there’s a grain of truth to it.

Because a glance across the Channel to the continent will show this has already been experienced in the Netherlands:
Euthanasia critics have talked about the "slippery slope" as a possibility; in the Netherlands, it is a fact.

Many old people now fear Dutch hospitals. More than 10% of senior citizens who responded to a recent survey, which did not mention euthanasia, volunteered that they feared being killed by their doctors without their consent. One senior-citizen group printed up wallet cards that tell doctors that the cardholder opposes euthanasia.
Is this just panic and scaremongering? Can it be dismissed as ‘something that can’t happen here’?

Well, we are on the right road to it:
What makes the Dutch comfortable with euthanasia? One factor is that their doctors became comfortable with it. "The Dutch have got so far so fast because right from the beginning, they have had the medical profession on their side," Derek Humphrey, founder of the Hemlock Society, told the Toronto Globe and Mail last September. "Until we get a significant part of the medical profession on our side, we won't get very far."
So, how has this gained such a grip on the doctors?

Glad you asked:
How did Dutch doctors change their thinking so dramatically in the space of one lifetime?

The path to the death culture began when doctors learned to think like accountants. As the cost of socialized medicine in the Netherlands grew, doctors were lectured about the importance of keeping expenses down.

In many hospitals, signs were posted indicating how much old-age treatments cost taxpayers. The result was a growing "social pressure" from doctors and others, says Arno Heltzel, a spokesman for the Catholic Union of the Elderly, the largest Dutch senior-citizen group, which favors voluntary euthanasia. "Old people have to excuse themselves for living. When they say that all of their friends are dead, people say, 'Maybe it is time for you to go too,' rather than, 'You need to find new friends.' "
I bet NICE has some of those posters ready to go to the printers already…

Anyone want to try to argue that this won’t happen here, if the bureaucrats get involved?

20 comments:

davidncl said...

First the terminally ill, then the profoundly handicapped. Then the psycopaths and the bad (paedophiles?). Then the mad - last time it was gays, this time it could be climate deniers.

Then you and me.

Its very important to learn from history.

Anonymous said...

Sounds very Logan's Run.

Rob said...

Don't underestimate the ecoloony pressure too - old people branded as carbon eaters, wasting all that energy heating their homes, overpopulation, etc etc.

Plus, of course, the main reason why the whole thing will get out of control - families wanting to bump off dad to get the cash. Convince a doctor that dad "wants to go" et voila! Will doctors end up signing these certificates with the same blase disregard they have for abortions now? Their union will say something about doctors not being "society's policemen".

So, the scorecard. Those for it:

Relatives
The State (reduced health care costs)
Ecoloons (save the planet! Kill granny!)
Various medical establishments
Progressives, who never, ever think about consequences.

Against:

Old people


There's only going to be one winner in this fight.

Umbongo said...

When professionals like doctors become in effect (if not in law) employees of the state then, in the end, the demands of the state will prevail over the interests of the "customers". It is no coincidence that we are "customers" not patients to the NHS, that the legal bureaucracy now refers to "clients" as customers, that we are no longer "passengers" on the railways but customers and we are no longer "taxpayers" to HMRC but, yes, customers. "Patients", "clients", "passengers" and "taxpayers" have rather more traction - the traction of being treated as individuals with some defined status - than customers (=one dimensional cost/profit centres), especially when dealing with a (near)monopoly supplier.

So, although I am in favour of legalising assisted suicide, I am far from convinced that the "professionals" will deal with matters on a case by case and ethical basis. If you're expensive (young or old) to the state supplier of health services and those who run that supplier are judged on a profit and loss basis then you're at risk of being dumped or marginalised by the supplier (whether that consists of rationing, substandard care, "assisted" suicide or whatever). The conversion of "professionals" to employees and patients to "customers" in the NHS will lead inexorably to purely cost-based decisions rather than medico-ethical judgements in difficult - and, maybe, in the end, not so difficult - cases.

Von Spreuth said...

I can see it coming The D.H.S.S (Or whatever they call themselves THIS week)interview;

"No Mrs Smith, we are NOT going to give you any more pension or care allowance for Mr Smith, as the answer is in his own hands. He either commits suicide, or you pay for his care. The state can not be expected to support "useless eaters".

Here is a list of approved doctors... the list costs a pound by the way.

Have a nice day now."

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

All part of the plan to get us to kill ourselves. What used to take millions of Red Guards, Cheka, Black Shirts can now be done autonomously.

You can be sure that not one of the RockRoth extended families and their serviles will be spared any amount of tech and money that can be stolen from us if they could live just one more day.

The psychopath behavioural economist that infest 10 Downing Street and the White House are I'll wager descended from SS and NKVD operative officers!!!

Check La Rouche for more.

http://www.larouchepac.com/node/11168

Heads up.

Anonymous said...

Julia, whaddya mean by "If" the bureacrats get involved?

Who do you think runs the NHS?

(Captcha: Killy (no, really))

Chalcedon said...

It does happen here. Sometimes those terminally ill people with inoperable cancer who are given morphine for their excruciating pain may have their dose increased suddenly. This may be viewed as an act of kindness. However, although taking the Hippocratic oath is optional in the UK (or it was when I was a student) the4 first line is "First do no harm". Bloody accountants should not be allowed to meddle in the clinical arena.

Anonymous said...

AGE CONCERN HOSPICE - ACTIVITY ROTA

Morning: Skateboarding on the roof and Russian roulette on the lawn.

Afternoon: Rowing on the lake with Jerry Lee Lewis.

Evening: 'Making a Will'. A tutorial by Dr Harold Shipman.

Late evening: Assorted nightcaps.

TDK said...

What we need is a unit of measure to identify those worth saving.

JuliaM said...

"ts very important to learn from history."

indeed. I wonder, though, if the people pushing this really have learned. Just not the lessons that everyone else did...

"Don't underestimate the ecoloony pressure too..."

Oh, they're bound to jump on this bandwagon...

"When professionals like doctors become in effect (if not in law) employees of the state then, in the end, the demands of the state will prevail over the interests of the "customers"."

That's been proved over and over again. One only has to read some of the medical blogs to see it in action.

JuliaM said...

"Captcha: Killy (no, really)"

Lol! I think that thing's achieving sentience...

"What we need is a unit of measure to identify those worth saving."

*shudder*

North Northwester said...

Ten out of ten for seeing how it begins with 'exceptional cases' and grows into routine... and from routine it becomes the default position, and thence to the only permitted view.

Abortion was only supposed to be allowed in the rare occasions on which the mother's life was threatened by childbirth or trying to bear their babies throughout a normal term.

Now look where it's got us.

Pairs of doctors [supposedly the safeguard for the unborn innocents if some doctors ignored the 'threatens the mother' bit] sign off abortions routinely - without any belief that childbirth will kill or cripple the girls concerned.

The elderly are doomed in this climate.

Young Mr. Brown said...

While I am a libertarian, I'm very uneasy about going down this road. It doesn't look good at all.

TDK said...

Eugenics got a bit of bad press in the past, what with "three generations of imbeciles" in the US, Scandinavia up to the 1970s, and some mid European country subject to Godwin's law. It just needed a rest while it paused to find a new rational.

The environmental movement has always been in favour of population control. Whilst Eugenics was in the doghouse they had to focus on other more attractive messages but it had to come back to the fore.

JuliaM said...

"Abortion was only supposed to be allowed in the rare occasions on which the mother's life was threatened by childbirth or trying to bear their babies throughout a normal term.

Now look where it's got us."


Oh, yes. That camel got its nose well and truly in the tent, didn't it...?

"While I am a libertarian, I'm very uneasy about going down this road."

Me too, though I have nothing against the 'Dignitas' type clinic and concept. But it should be, as Hillary Clinton once said about abortion, 'safe, legal and rare'...

"The environmental movement has always been in favour of population control. Whilst Eugenics was in the doghouse they had to focus on other more attractive messages but it had to come back to the fore."

And now one of its enthusiastic supporters is sitting at the right tables..

Angry Exile said...

Goddamn fucking shitemunching goat molesting shithouse browser keeled over while I was editing my comment. Oh well, once more into the breech...

@ davidncl and others who fear the state having this sort of power being the thin end of the wedge, your distrust of the state is justified and I'd normally agree. In fact it's one of my main arguments against capital punishment. But it's a non issue here since this doesn't give the state power but takes it away. It's the state recognizing that people own their bodies and should be able to seek expert help in disposing of them when they don't want to use them anymore. It shouldn't provide the service or even ensure that someone does. It should simply keep out of the way of rational adults who wish to end their lives without resorting to the crude options that are mostly all that's available at the moment.

@ JuliaM, love the Logan's Run reference but since it's individual choice rather than state decree we're really not talking sandmen and life clocks and people going round with glacé cherries stuck in their hands (unless you want a glacé cherry of course, but it'll just make you look like you've mutilated a reindeer and kept a piece). Besides, I thought you were broadly in favour of capital punishment. If you can trust the state on that why not this too? It's a move towards individualism rather than more state power, e.g. letting me look for a doctor who knows a more pleasant route into the light than giving my Beretta a blow job and is prepared to take payment for it.

@ Rob. As far as I know talking Granddad into sticking a hose up the exhaust pipe of his Corolla so the house can be sold before all the equity goes on a care home is illegal. Talking him into taking a one way trip into the light via a Swiss clinic would fall into the same category. In such cases there most certainly should be a prosecution. However, that's no more a reason for the state to deny a rational adult the right to seek assistance in ending their lives than some silly Belgian kid covering her face with stars is a reason to ban tattoos.

Angry Exile said...

@ North Northwester. Again, the distrust of government is something I'm alongside, but the whole "only permitted view" thing is misplaced. It's about the freedom to go when we want, which requires nothing less than the complete removal of literally everyone from the decision process apart from the individual themselves - and even that would necessarily be conditional, probably using similar criteria to making a will. I think you're right about the similarity with abortion, but I disagree with you position on it for the same reasons. Personally I dislike abortion intensely, probably through too much Catholicism as a kid, but I'm just as anti the idea that the genitals of 500 million women effectively belong to an old German bloke in Rome. If that's their choice then so be it, but when it's the law of the land individual choice is gone and any woman's uterus is de facto property of the state.

The NHS argument is more persuasive, and with certain moves in Canberra at the moment also more relevant to me than I'd thought. But I look at that as yet another reason for the government to get the fuck out of the medicine business. Folks, either we're free or we're not. Either we own our bodies or someone else does. Currently I'd say we're neither, but being able to seek expert help in turning my body off when I no longer want it without some moralizing prick with a rosette fetish getting in my way would be a substantial improvement.

@ everyone who mentioned the ecoloonies. They already have jumped on the bandwagon. Check out Jonathon Porritt and the Optimum Population Trust, or the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. The answer of course is to tell them not to get any ideas and remind them in no uncertain terms that this is about choice, not coercion.

@ Von Spreuth - taking care of Mr Smith shouldn't be a state function anyway. The only reason it is now is because the bastards have been robbing us all for generations on the promise that they'll take care of us in our dotage. Had Mr Smith trained from an early age to rely on the state tit, and been robbed to pay for it, he might not need more pension. It would always, to use your words, have been in his hands. Nor should the state be approving doctors. Like I said, they should simply not get in the way of people wanting expert help in ending their lives when they want. The state should neither be approving, much less providing, death doctors nor getting in the way.

Basically assisted suicide should be between two individuals, or between an individual and a clinic. In the absence of any coercion and assuming it's the choice of a rational and capable adult it should have absolutely nothing to do with the state or government. In fact buying a painless exit from this mortal coil should be much the same as buying a computer, except without no chance of coming back to life three months out of warranty or getting ripped off because you had to buy an update for Decomposition 2.1.

These two posts will be recycled into blog fodder later on.

JuliaM said...

"@ JuliaM, love the Logan's Run reference but since it's individual choice rather than state decree we're really not talking sandmen and life clocks and people going round with glacé cherries stuck in their hands (unless you want a glacé cherry of course, but it'll just make you look like you've mutilated a reindeer and kept a piece)..."

Hey! My leisure activities are out of bounds for comment! ;)

"Besides, I thought you were broadly in favour of capital punishment. If you can trust the state on that why not this too?"

I don't trust the state to have a totally free rein of capital punishement, either. I'd want LOTS of safeguards, just as with this.

It's not the state that concerns me, so much as the creep of social pressure, which would (inevitably) be diven by all those quangos and fakecharities.

"...yet another reason for the government to get the fuck out of the medicine business."

Amen!

Angry Exile said...

The social pressure argument is quite a strong one, but thinking about it I feel that it's not only something that's very difficult to avoid but it's something we've already got. Not a pressure on the elderly to stop being a pain in the arse and drop off the twig, but there are social pressures in other areas. The question is how to manage it - try to create a pressure that promotes choice and resistance to coercion or to accept it as a side effect of and try to put in safeguards? Probably a bit of both I think. The response to 'hurry up and die' should be 'bugger off, I'll go when I'm ready'. Individuals can protect themselves in their later years in various ways. One thing that would deal with grasping rellies would be to make your will out to leave everything to a village in Mongolia or something, and not change it to benefit family until you're prepared to go. Personally I intend to resist pressure by not retiring as such but staying economically active. When I can't do it anymore then I'll naturally start thinking about how long I want to stick around for, so if I can still be doing something in my 80s I damn well will.