PALLIATIVE CARE


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PALLIATIVE CARE


By Julie Grimstad

The palliative care concept—relieving pain and other bothersome symptoms of disease—is a good thing. Also, when palliative care is provided by healthcare professionals who truly respect life, it is a blessing. However, palliative care medicine in practice often is not as advertised.
The New Bioethics
Profound respect for the sanctity of life has always been the core ethical principle of medicine, but that is changing. Today, sadly, the truth that every human life has equal moral worth is rejected by utilitarian-minded bioethicists. The new bioethics divides human beings into two categories: those who are “wanted” and those who are “unwanted.” Like their brothers and sisters who are aborted at the beginning of their lives, the chronically or terminally ill, disabled, and elderly are in danger of being killed simply because it is inconvenient and/or costly to care for them.
Palliative care is being used as a tool in this new bioethics to eliminate “unwanted” people.
Stealth Euthanasia
“Stealth euthanasia” means the intentional hastening of a patient’s death while pretending to provide appropriate treatment. A typical report that we receive from grieving family members is that their loved one, who had been alert and was not complaining of pain, was administered increasingly frequent and larger doses of pain medications and sedatives to the point where they were sleeping all the time and could not eat or drink. Some reported that patients were also denied their usual medications to control blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
In September of 2000, the World Federation of Right to Die Societies (an association of organizations which promote euthanasia) issued an ominous declaration, stating in part:
We wish to draw public attention to the practice of “terminal sedation” or “slow euthanasia” which is performed extensively today…A physician may lawfully administer increasing dosages of regular analgesic and sedating drugs that can hasten someone’s death as long as the declared intention is to ease pain and suffering…Compassionate physicians, without publicly declaring the true intention of their actions, often speed up the dying process in this way.
Stay alert!
Doctors (and nurses) who intentionally kill selected patients represent an earth-shattering shift in medical ethics. Thankfully, there are still some members of the medical profession who embrace the sanctity of life ethic. The difficulty lies in discerning who can be trusted never to kill. When a loved one is referred to palliative care, be wary and stay alert!

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