Will America Repeat Dutch Fate?

BRISTOL, Tenn.—The 13,000 member Christian Medical & Dental Society (CMDS) (www.cmds.org), responding to a Feb. 16report published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, said that the Netherlands' failed attempts to regulate euthanasia is compelling evidence that physician-assisted suicide should not be legalized. And the national organization of doctors says thousands of vulnerable people will die as long as physician-assisted suicide is permitted.

CMDS Executive Director Dr. David Stevens explains, “Physicians know it is dangerous for them to have the power to kill patients. Assisted suicide cannot be regulated or controlled, no matter how many safeguards are built in to protect patients from involuntary euthanasia. The data speaks for itself: one in five cases of assisted suicide occurred in Holland without the patient's consent, and in 17% of the cases, other treatment options were available. The survey also revealed that almost two-thirds of the euthanasia cases in 1995 were not reported. With this kind of irresponsibility and neglect, who will ever know what really went on between a doctor and a patient when a patient is dead?”

Dr. Stevens, who led CMDS in a successful campaign against physician-assisted suicide in Michigan last fall, explains further, “If we can't even control the actions of one doctor — Jack Kevorkian — when physician-assisted suicide is illegal, how can we expect to regulate the actions of thousands of doctors where physician-assisted suicide is legal? The Holland experience with euthanasia is one we can't afford to repeat.”

(Christian Medical & Dental Society)