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    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Banality of Evil: A Dutch doctor describes the euthanasia process:

    For example, there’s Van de Berg, a Parkinson’s patient who asks for euthanasia. But before Keizer can kill him, Van de Berg receives a letter from his religious brother telling him that it would be a sin to commit suicide and would violate the way they were raised as children by their parents.

    The man hesitates. Keizer is not amused. From page 94:

    And now this letter, which to my surprise, he takes seriously. I don’t know what to do with such a wavering death wish. It’s getting on my nerves. Does he want to die or doesn’t he? I hope I don’t have to go over the whole business again. . . . Suddenly, I have an idea: "You know what we’ll do? We’ll ask Hendrik Terborgh, our vicar. Would you agree to that?" He cries and types "yes." . . .

    Next day Hendrik tells me that it’s all right. He refers to his meeting with Van de Berg. "Well, he knows what has to be done. He knows what he wants now." . . . It goes well. He has good veins.

    It's so aggravating when our schedules get derailed by patient hesitations and queries, isn't it? Good veins, though. At least the death didn't snag the schedule.

    And what is the philosophy of such a professional man? Professionalism, of course:

    The most telling passage in the book may come when Keizer is asked by a colleague whether he should love his patients. "'What about love,' Herman wonders. 'Shouldn’t you love your patients, if only a little?' I don’t know right away what to say. I think it’s good for the profession if I heave a deep sigh now and declare my assent. And there are situations that upset you. But love? I doubt it."

    A doctor doesn't need to love his patients, but he certainly should respect them.

    This is what advocates of euthanasia repeatedly forget - the ease with which a patient can become just another cog in the wheel that is the doctor's day.

    (The book under discussion in the above link is Dancing with Mr. D.)

    posted by Sydney on 4/02/2007 09:06:00 PM 0 comments


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