Euthanasia

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Euthanasia (literally "good death" in Ancient Greek) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manne

Quotes[edit]

  • I believe often that death is good medical treatment because it can achieve what all the medical advances and technology cannot achieve today, and that is stop the suffering of the patient.
    • Christiaan Barnard, cardiac surgeon September 24, 1984 - Nice France - Presentation at Federation of Associations for the Right to Die
  • All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than the animals that know nothing. A day will come when science will turn upon its error and no longer hesitate to shorten our woes. A day will come when it will dare and act with certainty; when life, grown wiser, will depart silently at its hour, knowing that it has reached its term.
    • Maurice Maeterlinck, Our Eternity; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • Death is a punishment to some, to others a gift, and to many a favor.
  • A perfect world: Forbid voluntary euthanasia to people in the final stage of incurable illness because life is sacred and untouchable, but touch and desecrate the life of thousands and millions of healthy, capable people by sending them to war, where they will be killed or maimed, to then subject the on purpose produced disabled to the prohibition of applying voluntary euthanasia.
    • Manfred F. Schieder [1]
  • De Nederlandse artsen hebben vernomen van uw voornemen tot uitvaardiging van een artsenverordening en tot instelling van een „Artsenkamer". Naar aanleiding daarvan nemen ondergetekenden, vormende de meerderheid van hen, de vrijheid het volgende onder uw aandacht te brengen:
    Het zal u niet ontgaan zijn, dat wij artsen, toen wij onze Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Geneeskunst verlieten, daarbij de bedoeling hadden, uiting te geven aan een overtuiging, namelijk deze, dat het ambt van geneesheer, gedragen als het is door eigen hoge morele en geestelijke normen, vrij behoort te blijven van politieke inmenging. Hoeveel ook in de loop der tijden veranderde in de opvatting en maatschappijen der volkeren, de arts bleef onaangevochten de behoeder van een heilig kleinood: de eerbied voor het leven, de barmhartigheid jegens de zieke mens. In de erkenning van deze taak is van oudsher tot heden het beroep van de geneesheer steeds geweest een ambt van vertrouwen, een priesterlijk ambt. De arts zelf, in het besef van de kleinheid van zijn kennis tegenover de grootheid van het mysterie van leven, lijden en sterven, kan voor zijn verantwoordelijk werk de nodige geestkracht alleen behouden zolang hij zijn beroep mag blijven voelen als een roeping van Godswege, zijn plicht als door eeuwige, bovenmenselijke wetten omschreven. Wij zien de verschijning uwer Artsenverordening met grote zorg tegemoet. Wij weten, dat gij een zeer bepaalde levensopvatting vertegenwoordigt. Uit de omschrijving welke naar ons bekend is de Duitse Aerzteordnung geeft van de taak van de arts, waarbij de zorg voor ras en volk voorop gezet wordt voor die voor de enkeling, blijkt ons, hoe zeer de nationaal-socialistische opvatting van ons beroep van de onze afwijkt.
    Zeker, wij ontkennen niet, dat zorg voor de volksgemeenschap, deelnemen aan maatregelen van sociale hygiëne deel uitmaakt van de taak van de arts, maar wij kunnen die plicht alleen erkennen voor zover zij voortvloeit uit en niet in strijd is met het eerste en heiligste voorschrift voor de geneesheer: de eerbiediging van het leven en het lichamelijke welzijn van de zich aan zijn zorgen toevertrouwende patiënt. Indien gij thans ons, doktoren, gaat stellen onder de tucht van een met autoritaire macht bekleed staatslichaam, bestaat voor ons maar al te gegronde reden voor de vrees, dat ambtenaren, aan wie onze gedachten en gevoelsoverwegingen vreemd zijn, zich gaan mengen in de behandeling onzer zieken, en van ons directe of indirecte medewerking geëist zal worden aan maatregelen, die met ons geweten en wetenschappelijk inzicht in strijd zijn. Met een beroep op de heiligste menselijke rechten, overtuigd daarbij te spreken in overeenstemming met de wens van het Nederlandse volk, verzoeken wij u met de meeste aandrang ons vrij te houden van de gewetensdwang waarmee uw Artsenverordening ons bedreigt. Gebonden als wij ons weten aan de eed of de plechtige belofte waarmee wij ons ambt hebben aanvaard, gevoelen wij ons verplicht, u te verklaren dat wij trouw zullen blijven aan de hoge normen waarop sinds mensenheugenis ons beroep heeft gerust en dat wij in de uitoefening van ons beroep nimmer andere overwegingen zullen kunnen laten gelden dan zulke welke gerechtvaardigd zijn door ons geweten, ons plichtsbesef en onze wetenschap.
  • The undersigned Dutch physicians, having heard of your intention to issue a directive to us for the purpose of instituting a "Physician's Bureau," take the liberty of bringing the following to your attention:
    When we discontinued our membership in our Dutch Medical Society last September it was our intention, as you are undoubtedly aware, to express our conviction that the function of the physician is born of his own high moral and spiritual norms, and therefore should be free from political control. No matter how much the ideas and constitutions of nations may have changed in the course of time, the physician has always remained the undisputed protector of two holy and precious values: the respect for life, and charity toward the sick human being. From time immemorial until the present the vocation of the physician has been a vocation of confidence, indeed a priestly vocation. The physician as a person who realized the smallness of his knowledge in the face of the magnitude of the mystery of life, suffering and death, can retain the necessary spiritual power for his responsible work only as long as he experiences his profession as a calling from God, and his duties as dictated by eternal, supernatural laws. We are gravely concerned about your forthcoming directive for physicians. We know that you represent a very special philosophy of life. Our knowledge of the German "physicians' ordinance" concerning the task of the physician in which the care for race and nation take precedence over that of the individual, makes it only too clear to what extent the national-socialistic conception of the medical profession differs from ours.
    Although we do not deny that the care of the community and the participation in social hygiene measures constitute part of the task of the physician, we can recognize this duty only insofar as it proceeds from and is not in conflict with the first and holiest precept of the physician, namely, the respect for life and for the physical well-being of the individual who entrusts himself to his care. If you now put us, physicians, under the discipline of a civil service body endowed with authoritarian power, we have every reason to fear that its officials to whom our ideas and sensibilities are utterly foreign, will meddle with the treatment of our sick, and will demand our direct or indirect cooperation in the taking of measures which are in conflict with our conscience as well as our professional views. We are convince that we speak according to the wishes of the people of the Netherlands, when, in appealing to the most holy human rights, we request you most urgently to spare us the conflict of conscience which threatens to engage us as the result of your forthcoming directive for physicians. Knowing ourselves bound by the oath or solemn vow of acceptance of our task as physicians, we consider it our duty to inform you that we shall remain faithful to the high standards which have been the foundation of our profession since time immemorial, and that in the exercise of our profession we shall only be motivated by considerations which are justified by our conscience, our sense of duty, and our medical science.
    • Protest letter ("protestbrief") signed by 4261 Dutch physicians to Nazi Reich Commissioner Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892-1946) ("the Butcher of Holland"), December 5, 1941, against his intention to establish a Nazi "arstenkamer" or "Physicians Chamber." Addressed "To the Reich Commissar for the Occupied Dutch Territories" (Dutch: "Aan den Heer Rijkscommissaris voor het bezette Nederlandsche gebied"), this translation by Conrad W. Baars, M.D., (1919–1981) published as Dutch Physicians' Protest against Nazi Regulations, in Child and Family Quarterly, Herbert Ratner M.D., (1907-1997), ed., Vol 11, No. 2, 1972, pp. 171-172, and cites: Repression and Resistance: The Netherlands in Time of War, (Dutch: Onderdrukking en verzet: Nederland in oorlogstijd), (4 vols.), J. J. van Bolhuis, Van Loghum Slaterus, "The Doctors' Resistance" (Dutch: Het Artsenverzet), Vol. 2, pp. 352-353. [2] Letter image at the War and Resistance Museum (Oorlogs Verzet Museum) in Rotterdam (now called Museum Rotterdam '40-'45 NU.). [3]
    • Background:"The Germans invaded the Netherlands in May of 1940. In 1941, after attempting to control the Dutch medical society, the Netherlands Society for the Advancement of Medicine (Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Geneeskunst, NMBG) by barring Jews from its membership, the appointed Reich Commisar, Dr.Arthur Seyss-Inquart, demanded that Dutch physicians join a newly formed organization, the Chamber of Physicians (Artsenkamer) under Nazi patronage. Implicit in this order was the expectation that Dutch physicians would participate in euthanasia. Of the 6,500 physicians in the Netherlands at the time, only 500 participated with the Nazis. The others acceded to the demand that they not be identified as physicians and treated their patients privately throughout the occupation. The majority of the physicians evolved into a well-organized resistance movement in which virtually every doctor in the Netherlands would take part. To this day, the in-house journal of the Royal Netherlands Society for the Advancement of Medicine is called Medisch Contact [Medical Contact]." The Blessing of Life: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics (2011), Dr. Brian Kane, Lexington Books, ISBN 0739122002 ISBN 9780739122006 p. 138. [4] The medical adviser to the Nuremberg Trials, Dr. Leo Alexander (1905-1985), wrote about the success of Dutch physicians' resistance: "Thus, it came about that not a single euthanasia or nontherapeutic sterilization was recommended or participated in by any Dutch physician. They had the foresight to resist before the first step was taken, and they acted unanimously and won out in the end." Medical Science Under Dictatorship, The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 241, no. 2, July 14, 1949, p. 45. [5][6]

The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value[edit]

The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, Its Measure and Its Form (1920), Karl Binding, Alfred Hoche. Originally Published in Germany by Felix Meiner in Leipzig, comments by Robert L. Sassone, 1975, Santa Anna, California, (abridged - 112 pages).
Title page - 1. Forward - 2. Table of Contents - 3. Introduction - 4. Chapter I. Legal Arguments by Professor Doctor of Jurisprudence and Philosophy Karl Binding. - 5. Chapter II. Medical Discussion of Euthanasia by Doctor Alfred Hoche. - 29. Chapter III. Comments on Chapter 1 and Similar Modern Statements by Robert L. Sassone. - 43. Chapter IV. Comments on Chapter 2 (Hoches Essay) by Robert L. Sassone. - 71. Chapter V. Comments on German Euthanasia Program. - 89.

  • This may be the most important book written in the Twentieth Century.
    This book and the arguments it contains were blamed by the prosecution in the World War II War Crimes Trials for the deterioration in ethics which resulted in the Nazi killing program. This is the book that converted Dr. Karl Brandt from a man who wanted to join the great missionary doctor, Albert Schweitzer, in Africa, into the man who was the head of the Nazi killing program. This is the book which the defendants blamed (trail transcript, trials of war criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal under Control Council Law No. 10, the medical case, trial transcript page 7633) for their action in killing innocent human being in unprecedented ways and quantities. What started with this book stopped after millions of human beings were killed or tortured and men with unusual tattoos were executed so their tattooed skin could be used for lamp shades.
    But some say it did not end in 1945 in Germany, because the same and similar arguments published in this book in 1920 are being widely disseminated today for the same reasons they were published in this book in 1920. Let us hope that the result today is not similar. - From the Introduction, p. 4.
  • Granting death with dignity is not dependent on the consent of the tortured sick person. Of course death with dignity should never be granted against his known wishes, but very often, persons who are momentarily unconscious have to be submitted to this healing intervention. - p. 13.
  • By death with dignity, we don't only mean the right to death with dignity, but much more, the legally acknowledged right to complete relief of an unbearable life. - p. 14.
  • If you think of a battle field covered with thousands of young people or a mind where hundreds of industrious miners are covered alive by cave-ins and if you think at the same time of all the institutions for mentally sick persons and all the charities people get, then you are realizing the disharmony between the sacrifice of this great good - mankind in its fullest measure - and the tremendous care that these creatures receive; creatures of no value at all, indeed are quite an obstacle." - pp. 17-18.
  • There is no point of view, not legal, social, moral nor religious which presents a good reason for failure to legalize the euthanasia of those persons desperately desiring death with dignity by those who are apt to do so. - p. 20.
  • The second group is composed of incurable idiots... They have no will for life or for death. They give no definite consent to the euthanasia...There life is completely useless, but they don't consider it unbearable." - pp. 20-21
  • We could give the managers of these institutions the right to apply for euthanasia. The mother, who in spite of his miserable state, still loves her child, should have the right to appeal, but only if she takes care of the nursing and financing of the nursing of her child by herself. It would be best to apply for death with dignity as soon as incurable idiocy has been confirmed. p. 21.
  • Very often the relatives will belong to the class of persons permitted to give or request euthanasia, but not necessarily always. Hate can put on the mask of pity, and Cain murdered his brother Abel. - p. 23.
  • In considering all this we come to realize two new kinds of unprohibited killing of a person must exist: The granting of death with dignity after approval of a committee authorized to approve legal euthanasia and the unauthorized killing of a person in the correct assumption that the conditions for granting of death with dignity exists in that particular case. - p. 26.
  • The question of whether we should spend all of this money on ballast type persons of no value was not important in my previous years because the state had sufficient money. Now, conditions are different, and we really have to deal with this question. Our financial condition could be compared to that of a very dangerous expedition into the wilderness which can succeed only if everyone is pulling his own share. - p. 36.
  • The way to solve these problems has been the measure and degree of the humanity of this period of time. A long and painful development over the centuries has been retarded partly because of the Christian way of thinking which has brought us to our present level of thinking. - p. 37.
  • Considering this from a higher state morality, there is no doubt that in trying to preserve the life without dignity by all means, exaggeration has occurred. We have neglected to see the state as an organism with its own laws and rules, in a manner similar to the way we look at a human organism. We doctors know that in the interest of the whole human organism, single, less valuable members have to be abandoned and pushed out. - p. 37.
  • We are only interested here in the question of what are the qualities and effects of mental death. Some are very easy to see: the character of a parasite of the mentally dead on modern society; the absence of any productivity; a condition of complete helplessness; and the necessity of caring for the mentally dead person by another person. - p. 37.
  • The intellectual level of the mentally dead person is that of very low animal life and the feelings are also most elementary and similar to those of animal life. - p.38.
  • You could call the killing of a person who request death with dignity even better planned than a murder, but nevertheless it is punished less because the dead person has given up his demand for life and has demanded his right to death. - p. 38.
  • This book, which begins not too differently from any other book, has received perhaps the most remarkable testimonial to its importance of any book published in the Twentieth Century. Picture the following scene:
    Some of the perpetrators have been killed. Some have escaped. Some have committed suicide. Some have been brought to trial before an international tribunal of judges called together by outraged world opinion. The courtroom reeks with memories of murdered millions. Most were gassed. Some shot. Some frozen to death so their dying reactions could be recorded. Some were exploded in pressure chambers 'because there was no other way to obtain needed research information.' Others were deliberately infected with various diseases so their reactions and conditions could be tested. Various burning materials were tested on the skin of live people who were frequently killed by the experiment, all in the name of science. Various chemicals were tested on live experimental human subjects.
    The shocked judges asked if the killers can justify themselves. 'Why did you think it was good to do all these things?'The killers are facing possible death sentences. The have been somewhat uncomfortable while the available record of their killings and tortures has been recounted for the court. They have worried while a parade of their former prisoners and the friends and relatives of their victims has recounted their deeds to the courts. Now they justify their reactions. "We did it,' they say, 'because of the arguments for euthanasia in "The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value." Why did they do it? Because those whom some of the world considered victims had been defined as almost non-persons, life devoid of value. - Comments by Robert Sassone, pp. 44-45.
  • Calling of names such as 'pharisaic' continues to be a useful tool for those advocating euthanasia. The modern dirty name, however, is 'Catholic.' In his famous forty-page essay on euthanasia in 'The Sanctity of Life,' Williams uses the term 'Catholic' on about half the pages where he discusses opposition to euthanasia, including informing his reader that Catholics were last to give up 'the former religious objections to anesthetics in surgery and child birth.' If you read other euthanasia books, you will see a substantial use of the word 'Catholic' when referring to opponents of euthanasia, and very little reference to the religion of other opponents of euthanasia. In like manner, in part of the media, in both the abortion and euthanasia debates, anyone speaking out against killing is likely to be identified as a Catholic if he is one. On the other hand, you are very unlikely to 'Paul Ehrlich, German atheistic Jew or Doctor Alan Guttmacher, German atheistic Jew'. Opponents of euthanasia seem to be identified as 'Catholic,' while proponents seem to be identified by the books they have written or the organizations to which they belong or other honorable accomplishments. - Comments by Robert Sassone, p. 49.
  • Perhaps the greatest contribution of Hippocrates to medicine was his separation of killing from curing. Previous to him, the doctor would either kill or cure. Hippocrates stated that there were objective reasons for diseases, and the doctor should try to define these and cure them. - Comments by Robert Sassone, p. 71.
  • Having established the general rule that persons of a particular class could be killed, the Germans gradually extended the number of classes until no one was safe. In Germany, the killing started with abortion in the very difficult cases, which gradually became extended to abortion on demand. - Comments by Robert Sassone, p. 76.
  • Today we have our own non-persons; black girls who have been sterilized without their knowledge or consent; black men who have been permitted to suffer VD so the doctor could note the symptoms; premature babies who have been spontaneously or deliberately aborted and who have been deliberately exposed to drugs, disease, 'physical' experiments such as the unanesthetized cutting open of their chests, which are not unlike the experiments for which certain German doctors were executed. - Comments by Robert Sassone, p. 77.
  • In 'Doctors of Infamy' pages 116, 117, the sworn statement by the chief nurse of the Hadamar Institution from the transcript of the War-Crimes Trials is quoted and indicates the execution of young idiots was extended to healthy young half-Jews. The text goes on to state: 'The granting of dying and in the case of incurable mental patients and malformed or idiot children may be considered to be still within the legitimate sphere of medical discussion. But as the winnowing process continued, it moved more and more openly to purely political and idiological criteria for death, whether the subjects were considered to be of 'undesirable racial groups' or whether they had merely become incapable of supporting themselves. The camouflage around these murderous intentions is revealed especially by proof that in all the concentration camps prisoners were selected by the same medical consultants who were simultaneously sitting in judgement over the destiny of mental institution inmates.' The text goes on to quote a sworn statement by the defendant Waldermar Hoven, formerly camp physician at Buchenwald. 'In 1941 I learned that a so-called euthanasia program for the extermination of the feeble-minded and crippled in Germany had gone into effect. The camp commandant, Koch, at that time assembled all the SS officer in positions of authority in the camp and announced that he received secret orders from Himmler to the effect that all feeble-minded and crippled camp inmates were to be killed.' Dr. Hoven then went on to tell how the killing was extended from the feeble-minded to the Jews. - Comments by Robert Sassone, p. 77.
  • In actual practice, the indications for killing eventually became wider. Included were children who had 'badly molded ears,' who were bed wetters, or who were perfectly healthy but designated as 'difficult to educate.' - Ch. V, Comments on German Euthanasia Program, No. 504: 'WHAT, IF ANY, LAWS WERE PASSED PERMITTING THE GERMAN EUTHANASIA EXPERIMENT'? - P. 91.

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