Culture and Religion

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Hippocrates and Hypocrisy

The BreakPoint attempts an answer to these questions: Do people have the “right to die”? If people want to die, isn’t it more merciful to let them commit suicide than to allow them to suffer?

The BreakPoint answer mentions that the pagan culture of ancient Greece created the Hippocratic oath - “I will give no deadly drug, [even] if asked for it.”

The main point of the BreakPoint answer (that I get out of it) is that doctors, as a general rule, are becoming tolerant of the practice that a doctor can end the life of a patient having a severe illness or health problem.

I wholehearted agree that doctors cannot ‘kill’ a patient without someone else making that decision. Each person is responsible for his/her own body/life. The role of a doctor is always to help a patient recover. The decision to commit suicide, to end one’s own life, is only that person’s decision. However, a practice of a ‘living will’ has become common, where a person can assign the responsibility for this decision to someone else, when the person is no longer capable of making this decision. Clicking through links from the BreakPoint article web page even goes to a site (euthanasia.com) offering help on living wills. A doctor deliberately ending someone’s life without permission is murder.

The answer to the question posed to Chuck Colson in the article is ‘do people have a right to die?’ I believe the answer to that question is yes because each person is responsible for his/her own body and life.

I am very perturbed by the conclusion of the article, which combines the comments about ‘lethal drugs’, ‘real compassion is caring for him or her for months or even years’ and Mother Theresa’s quote of “letting him see Jesus in the midst of his suffering.” Perhaps I am being too callous but that paragraph sounds like it is preferable to make a person suffer so that they might be able to become a Christian. I would hope that a Christian would not deny a person’s decision of suicide just so that the person could spend time thinking about Jesus (while suffering!).

The original link in case the article ever returns to Breakpoint:

(http://www.pfm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=PFM_Site &CONTENTID=10733&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm)


created - Mar 2005
last change - 03/05/2005
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