Rejection of extraordinary treatments

   Currently the possible legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide are in the social debate and in the conversations between the retirees. With that, there is the risk that other people decide to kill a sick or an elderly person in unclear circumstances.

   There may be confusion between the right to refuse extraordinary treatments and the medically assisted suicide.
The sick person has the right to refuse to receive extraordinary medical treatment even if that decision can kill him. Doctors cannot force the administration of insulin to a diabetic or oblige a young patient to live with a respirator, although his disconnection supposes the death for him. Some cancer patients prefer the home healthcare before undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment. In these cases the medical practice is depending on the informed consent of the patient.

   This occurs when the patient has given his approval in writing prior to undergo a surgical operation, which in some cases can be fatal. In all these cases, the patient has the right to start a treatment or surgical intervention and suspend them, regardless of its ability to save his life.

   On the contrary, the assisted suicide seeks to end with the life of the sick person when he demands it. The patient can demand the death due to suffer severe pain, but also under pressure from his own family or doctors. When pains relieve with palliative care, anyone or hardly anyone wants to die. Sedation is often an essential and beneficial mean of the medical care offered to the terminally ill.

   Nobody really has the right to «accelerate the death» of the sick person through the euthanasia or assisted suicide. When this goal fails, as sometimes happens, the family and the doctor apply other techniques such as, place plastic bags in the head to drown the patient or put lethal injections. They excuse themselves by saying that they want to avoid the pain and suffering to the victim, allowing him to die in peace and with dignity. Oddly enough, supporters of euthanasia present the argument of the «death with dignity» to impose us their deadly objectives.

   On 26 June 1997 the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the assisted suicide and euthanasia are not a constitutional right and affirmed the right of the terminally ill to not suffer. This judgment was a great support for doctors who seek the recovery and relief of the sick in terminal phase.

   When we study the experience of Holland where euthanasia and assisted suicide are accepted, it is found that the sick are often forced or are not consulted in the fundamental decision to end their life.
Moreover, Most of the sick do not want to accelerate their death and rarely think about this possibility if their suffering is adequately treated with palliative care.
   Arturo Ramo

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