With the California legislature currently debating the legalization of physician assisted suicide, it’s significant that today’s Los Angeles Times profiles Dr. Ira Byock, the author of a number of books on end of life issues including Dying Well and The Four Things That Matter Most.
In the profile Byock says:
Physicians aren’t supposed to kill their patients.
Even with safeguards in place, assisted suicide puts vulnerable people at risk.
Approving the practice [of physician assisted suicide] sends a message that it makes more sense for the medical system to kill people than to do the hard work it must to make end-of-life care more effective and humane.
Compassion and Choices has created new meanings for the word ‘dignity:’ You have to die with your boots or your makeup on to be dignified. That makes me cringe. I think it’s an exercise in marketing that is devoid of social value.
As I say, it’s significant that the Los Angeles Times has published this profile. But I cannot help but wonder if this profile and these ideas will get the hearing they deserve.