Again bobs up the specious claim for a permissive statute to legalize killing of the extremely sick – ultra-modernly assuming it to be humane and right, when such a patient desires no more suffering, to accommodate by processing him a painless death.
If the suffering patient, in accordance with a New York statute, has sufficient mental and physical ability to request a Court that he be “mercifully released” from life, such request will start the ultra-modern process in his case; thus to reverse the hitherto sacred Christian civilizations policy of cherishing, caring for, and preserving human life so long as the divine or other Nature seems to want. So there are the two opposite policies.
The New York plan is to get two doctors and a lawyer appointed as a board, to act as an official jury to decide the case of the patient who has requested to be killed, supported by his physicians testimony to this patient is incurable. Upon such boards report that the claim is true and within the statute, the Court will grant a permit for killing “according to law”. A very few days later the same board visits the patient for something suggestive of a Churchs extreme function.
“They ask you (the patient) if you still desire euthanasia; for they realize that a patient racked by pain might make an impulsive, ill considered request. You repeat that you want merciful release. Then, in the presence of the board, any physician of your own choosing injects an overdose of morphine into your veins. The pain immediately recedes – you become drowsy. In a matter of seconds you drop peacefully into unconsciousness. Your torment is ended forever”.
Thus the Courts appointed board acts both as a Jury or a Commission to decide the application that was made to the Court, for the killing permit, and as a supervising Executioner of the permit to liquidate human life.
Let us endeavor to penetrate the essential philosophy of euthanasia, so as to consider both its rightfulness and the profound difficulties involved in administering such a law honestly – its probably increasing abuses, or at least frequent ones – including a modern tendency to cover up instances of blundering carelessness, incompetence or unskilfulness, or even glaring crime, in medical practice. Let us now ask a few somewhat searching questions which, obviously, may properly be considered concerning the backgrounds of at least some of the cases there would be in the event of a legalized euthanasia, viz:.
1. Would the patient to be adjudicated for euthanasian liquidation, or killing, have been competently cared for requirement of the New York plan, from the beginning of his illness (not to discuss any bungling, by any kind of a practitioner, that may have brought about the illness or injury) – so that the public would have opportunity to know the backgrounds of the cause and the progress of the illness which finally results in an application to the Court for euthanasia?
2. Would all or any past attending physicians necessarily be examined by the Board or Commission, concerning the cause or the progress of the illness leading to the application for euthanasia, so that the proceeding would disclose whether or not the liquidation “according to law” may cover up improperly any fault or crime which should not be allowed to be “gotten away with”? No; certainly not by the proposed New York law.
3. More specifically: would the Board or Commission, in the course of its investigation, ascertain through adequate “probing” whether the alleged incurable patients wretched condition developed from something like “bad surgical operations, unskillful or bungling physical treatments, over-medicating or drug-poisoning,” or other professional practice faults or crimes? Or would the law require, in any stage in any kind of a case, where the practising physicians school makes no claim of known- how to handle such a case, that consultation with some other “school” shall be obligatory? In both questions, no; and why not make such requirements if passing any euthanasian statute?.
All the evidence known to me is that none favoring euthanasia has shown a desire that such above suggested sound precaution against crime or abuses shall be required in any euthanasian program. Doesnt such want of proposed statutory precaution warn our civilization against Mr. Selwyn James case for “merciful release” without more legal precautions, and against euthanasia in general?.
4. Isnt it practically factual that the advocated easy practice of a legalized euthanasia undoubtedly would gradually reduce and retard the continuing advancement of therapeutic research and scientific discovery? Let me illustrate by a very simple historical laymans experiment – said to have been pioneering or at least a precedent discovery in that neck of the woods and beyond. During the War Between the States there was an emaciated sick soldier, much weakened from chronic diarrhoea and accompanying ailments, so apparently hopeless that his Army doctor brutally pronounced him hopeless, useless, and not worth a bullet and powder to put him out of his misery.
But one day he happened to be near a fresh pile of garbage parings of ripe peaches, and somehow to feel a full hunger for peach skins. They so greatly benefited him that he got some more the next day, was rapidly cured of his incurable diarrhoea, whereupon Army treatment soon put him back to light duty, from which he gradually convalesced in general. And that simple laymans experiment illustrates the solid principle of the value of continuous experimentations with or by the very sick, instead of liquidating them a la euthanasia or by other killing.
During the past half-century of operation of drugless therapies in America, it is provable by records that approximately forty million American patients have been either cured or at least benefited (many repetitions, but no euthanasian “merciful releases:) by the aggregate of the drugless and natural therapeutic practices in various States, before the Allopathic legislative machine of the Drug and Medical “Trust” combination “reduced” non-allopathic competition in most or many of the States.
But it-instead of the begrudgingly licensed drugless and natural therapies – euthanasia had been a half-century in legalized operation in the several States, isnt it practically obvious that a considerable fraction of such forty millions would in the fifty years have been legally “liquidated” – more elegantly than were the millions liquidated secretly by the Bolshevists and the Nazis and thus American advances in health and science hindered much; biological and psychic science, even Nature himself, much impeded in modern applications and in continuing successes in healing the sick?.
Referring to the sensational article by Selwyn James in the Survey Graphic and in some condensation of it in the June Readers Digest: Whenever any person (with much medical exception, as almost boasted of, by Selwyn James) confesses to a murder, the police power immediately detains him pending legal investigation. If no corpus delicti (body of the crime) is already known, then the corpus delicti has to be found, so as to establish the purported crime. But James boast is so amazing as to indicate there are hundreds, or possibly thousands, of “reputable physicians” who have practically confessed to having committed euthanasian murders. And Mr. James seems to think nothing of it, except that very many ultra-moderns desire to have it legalized by the States.
As a result of the Selwyn James public disclosure, it is regular to except some Governor of a State to order a Grand Jury investigation of this flagrantly publicized ultra-modern secret of civilization. But I have not yet read nor heard of the needed order. Instead, I read of civilizations as yet “last phase” of the matter: something that may “get” the sick patients for keeps. There upon the coast may be made clear to make more patient victims, through bungling. Dead patients cannot be used so easily to divulge damning information.
Toward a hundred years ago my Grandfather (Dr. V.G.C. Frischkorn, of Scranton, Pa.) was approached by two young physicians who were circulating a petition to the Pennsylvania Legislature to pass an early-phase euthanasian law – the objective then being to liquidate Pennsylvanias insane public patients, largely to save the taxpayers money. Grandfather had been a Lutheran minister if Prussia when he began to study medicine.
He glared at the soliciting doctors, and thundered: “You cannot account for the causes of insanity, nor for the occasional cures. Sometimes a clap of thunder has restored sanity; you still cannot account for such phenomena of cause nor of cure. Yet you desire us to take the responsibility of becoming Judge, Jury and Executioner of the insane poor!” And he made a special trip to Harrisburg to make sure the bill got defeated.
But the American people are far from such murdering, and have no adequate organized protection against the ultra-modern menace of euthanasia. Yet before anything like reversing civilizations order should be advocated, all the well-known civilized therapy and rational religious wisdom should concur for it – and even then it is wrong.