The Journal of Critical Care Medicine has published a statement by the Belgian Society of Critical Care Medicine giving ICU docs the right to kill patients–even though euthanasia in the country is supposed to only be consensual.
Under the document, futile care impositions of withdrawing or withholding care are up to the medical team–whatever a patient or family may want.
“Assisted suicide” is legal in Belgium.
And, despite published statements by doctors who have admitted to breaking the rules, apparently the oversight designed to protect against abuses has not found a single case worthy of prosecution.
So is the next step the part where the patient’s wishes become irrelevant? This blog post seems to think this is exactly what is happening – that the goal this paper is arguing for involves killing patients (even children, and “even in the absence of discomfort”), whether the patients want it or not.
It’s only logical: Once killing is accepted as an answer to human suffering, what constitutes “suffering” expands like an elastic band to include that of society and the hospital having to care for lives defined as meaningless. And it can even include termination when patient suffering isn’t present.
As for choice: What’s that got to do with anything? Efficiency!
You simply cannot trust a doctor if that doctor’s mission is compromised. Either doctors heal or doctors kill people who go over-budget. They can’t do both.