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Doctors Kept Asking To “Let” My Father Die: Wall Street Journalist

LifeSiteNews.com

By Terry Vanderheyden

NEW YORK, July 26, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com)Â- In a compelling column, a Wall Street Journal Opinion writer describes her experience fending off a series of doctors and nurses who all insisted that it was the family’s duty to let her father die.

Pamela Winnick’sÂfather, Louis Winnick, who has asbestos-related lung cancer, was rushed to hospital after a blood clot nearly killed him in May.

“Your husband wants to die,” an internist told Pamela Winnick’s mother soon after he was taken into the hospital. After she responded that he was incapable of talking, the internist who the family dubbed “Dr. Death” said, “He motioned with his hands when we tried to put in the feeding tube.”“Not exactly informed consent,” Winnick retorted.

  ~‘Dr. Death’ was just one of several,” explains Winnick. “A new resident appeared the next day, this one a bit more diplomatic but again urging us to allow my father to ‘die with dignity.’ And the next day came yet another, who opened with the words, “‘We’re getting mixed messages from your family,’ before I shut him up.”

  Her father, says Winnick, was by no means in a state that merited or necessitated pulling the plug. He was “heading ineluctably toward death. Though unconscious, his brain, as far as anyone could tell, had not been touched by either the cancer or the blood clot. He was not in a “persistent vegetative state” (itself a phrase subject to broad interpretation), that magic point at which family members are required to pull the plug—or risk the accusation that they are right-wing Christians.”

  Eventually Winnick came up with the idea of telling the doctors her father was an Orthodox Jew, which she said effectively stopped the nagging, even though he was, in her words, an “avowed atheist.”

  Then there were “a series of miracles.” Within a week of being brought into the ICU, her father had regained enough strength to be removed from the Unit. Soon therafter he was off the respirator, and before long they found him “sitting upright in a chair, reading the New York Times.”

“On Father’s Day, we packed my father’s hospital room: his wife, daughters, grandchildren, each of us regaling him with our successes large and small,” she wrote. “‘Life’s not so bad, after all,’ the atheist said. I wanted to go back to ICU, find Dr. Death, drag her to my father’s room and say: ‘This is the life you wanted to end.’”

  Ever increasing reports of incidents of this sort points towards a frightful widening acceptanceÂand often evenÂimposition of euthanasia for the sick and the elderly.ÂThe medical communityÂappears the most insistent on this while conveying an attitude that it is far less trouble and less expensive for them to simply cease treatment for thoseÂthey deem are closeÂto death or even just incurable.ÂIt is becoming common in Western hospitalsÂthat the elderly are passively and sometimes actively euthanized without their or their family’s consent. Last month LifeSiteNews.com reported on a prominant British medical ethicist who stated that it is time to “regulate” the already existing practice of “involuntary euthanasia,” often referred to in legal systems as “murder.”

  A joint statement by a group of doctors and lawyers on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS) published on LifeSiteNews.com in October of last year warned that “If euthanasia became legalized, the decision whether to terminate or preserve a patient’s life or to assist with PAS will rest with the medical profession. To legalize euthanasia and PAS would dramatically increase the power doctors have over their patients and severely decrease patient autonomy.”

Note: LifeSiteNews would like to encourage readers to send us a brief synopsis of recent personal experiences of medical personnel unethically hastening or attempting to hasten the death of loved ones or of refusals to provide crucial basic medical care for friends or relatives who were not near death. We will be publishing a Special Report on this issue in the near future. We require adequate follow-up contact info in order to allow verification and additional questions about the particular incidents should this be required. Send your reports to [email protected].

  Read Pamela Winnick’s column at:
  http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110008686

  See the Joint Statement by Doctors and Lawyers at:
  https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/oct/05102603.htmlÂ

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