CMDS Doctors on Oregon Assisted Death Vote: `We're Scared'



Nov 05, 1997, 00:00 ET from Christian Medical & Dental Society

    BRISTOL, Tenn., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Christian Medical & Dental
 Society (CMDS), representing 10,000 doctors, reacted with alarm to Tuesday's
 vote in Oregon upholding an assisted suicide law.  CMDS executive director
 David Stevens, MD, said, "Frankly, we're scared.  We're scared that a shroud
 of secrecy will cloak this practice so that it will be impossible to expose
 abuses or reverse course."
     CMDS joined other national groups in 1996 in submitting to the Court an
 amicus curiae brief in Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg -- two
 landmark cases involving a Washington state ban on physician-assisted suicide
 and an alleged constitutional right to assisted suicide.  CMDS has also
 presented testimony to Congress on physician-assisted suicide, and has debated
 the issue extensively through national media.  Stevens, who personally
 attended the Court's deliberation in the landmark assisted suicide cases this
 past June, said, "The only remedy left is for the Supreme Court to overturn
 the law.  And in light of the Court's refusal to protect life in abortion
 cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that's a pretty grim
 prospect."
     Stevens pointed out that under Oregon law, "Doctors are not required to
 report that a death is an assisted suicide.  They remain almost immune from
 malpractice prosecution.  Who can prove if a doctor privately coerced a
 patient into killing herself?  The chief witness is dead.
     "The battle now moves from the public arena to the privacy of the
 patient's bedside.  All those people who have been clamoring for privacy are
 now going to get it.  And when you are sick and all alone with no one but a
 doctor with a personal prejudice about the value of your life, privacy is not
 going to seem so secure any more.  Because when you're weak and depressed,
 you're in no condition to battle for your life against someone who feels your
 time is up -- and has the power to end it.
     "And that will be the final irony: what has been promoted as the ultimate
 choice will turn out to be the ultimate surrender of choice."
 
 

SOURCE Christian Medical & Dental Society
    BRISTOL, Tenn., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Christian Medical & Dental
 Society (CMDS), representing 10,000 doctors, reacted with alarm to Tuesday's
 vote in Oregon upholding an assisted suicide law.  CMDS executive director
 David Stevens, MD, said, "Frankly, we're scared.  We're scared that a shroud
 of secrecy will cloak this practice so that it will be impossible to expose
 abuses or reverse course."
     CMDS joined other national groups in 1996 in submitting to the Court an
 amicus curiae brief in Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg -- two
 landmark cases involving a Washington state ban on physician-assisted suicide
 and an alleged constitutional right to assisted suicide.  CMDS has also
 presented testimony to Congress on physician-assisted suicide, and has debated
 the issue extensively through national media.  Stevens, who personally
 attended the Court's deliberation in the landmark assisted suicide cases this
 past June, said, "The only remedy left is for the Supreme Court to overturn
 the law.  And in light of the Court's refusal to protect life in abortion
 cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that's a pretty grim
 prospect."
     Stevens pointed out that under Oregon law, "Doctors are not required to
 report that a death is an assisted suicide.  They remain almost immune from
 malpractice prosecution.  Who can prove if a doctor privately coerced a
 patient into killing herself?  The chief witness is dead.
     "The battle now moves from the public arena to the privacy of the
 patient's bedside.  All those people who have been clamoring for privacy are
 now going to get it.  And when you are sick and all alone with no one but a
 doctor with a personal prejudice about the value of your life, privacy is not
 going to seem so secure any more.  Because when you're weak and depressed,
 you're in no condition to battle for your life against someone who feels your
 time is up -- and has the power to end it.
     "And that will be the final irony: what has been promoted as the ultimate
 choice will turn out to be the ultimate surrender of choice."
 
 SOURCE  Christian Medical & Dental Society