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French medical care moves forward – assisted suicide now legal

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The Hippocratic oath has apparently been superseded.

We quote this oath in a near verbatim Greek to English translation (citation noted below). As the reader can quickly see, the physician has promised to be a good egg and to do all possible to save the patient. We thought, given the French pronouncement of newly enlightened thinking on euthanasia (aka assisted suicide) that we might take a moment to uncover the Hippocratic oath in its entirety so the reader can make up his mind in the privacy of his own home. Having read the oath, we opine that physicians may have gone a bit off track by offering to help patients to kill themselves. It just seems inconsistent to enable self-euthanasia while in the same breath recommending a low salt diet, to stop smoking, or to lose some weight to promote longevity. When does this kind of concern change into “here's just a little more morphine to further suppress your respiratory function so you will cease to breathe altogether”? We hear talk of “death panels” in the US. When does self assassination become an act one is expected to commit for the good of the state?

We even read that a new industry - suicide tourism - has been hatched.

Civilized men (and women too) are destroying themselves by whole nations now, and the madness is rising.

 What do our readers think about this?

I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius, and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses as my witnesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this contract:

To hold him who taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents, to be a partner in life with him, and to fulfill his needs when required; to look upon his offspring as equals to my own siblings, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or contract; and that by the set rules, lectures, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to students bound by this contract and having sworn this Oath to the law of medicine, but to no others.

I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.

I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

In purity and according to divine law will I carry out my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, even upon those suffering from stones, but I will leave this to those who are trained in this craft.

Into whatever homes I go, I will enter them for the benefit of the sick, avoiding any voluntary act of impropriety or corruption, including the seduction of women or men, whether they are free men or slaves.

Whatever I see or hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my professional practice or not, which ought not to be spoken of outside, I will keep secret, as considering all such things to be private.

So long as I maintain this Oath faithfully and without corruption, may it be granted to me to partake of life fully and the practice of my art, gaining the respect of all men for all time. However, should I transgress this Oath and violate it, may the opposite be my fate.”

Translated by Michael North, National Library of Medicine, 2002.

 do no harm


 Sicard said that most of the terminally ill patients and their families he had interviewed were dissatisfied with the medical profession, accusing them of having a “cure at all costs” culture that was “deaf to the psychological distress of patients and of their wishes”.

He said he favoured amending the 2005 law to broaden the circumstances in which doctors can help the terminally ill die, while stressing that he did not support any legislation that would “suddenly and prematurely end life” and that he “radically opposed inscribing euthanasia into law”.

Sicard also stressed that he was not advocating Swiss-style clinics where people are provided with lethal medication to enable them to end their own lives.


And the Swiss are signed up for this as well

The referendum had offered a proposal to limit suicide tourism, by imposing a residency requirement of at least one year in the Zurich area in order to qualify for the service.

It was backed by two conservative political parties, the Evangelical People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union.

But the major parties of the left and right, including the Swiss People's Party and the Social Democratic Party, had called on their supporters to vote against both motions.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, in Geneva, says the size of the vote against a ban on assisted suicide reflects the widely held belief among the Swiss that is their individual right to decide when and how to die.

Last modified on Saturday, 22 December 2012 04:03

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