Just Out: Suffering and Bioethics (Oxford University Press, 2014)


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2 thoughts on “Just Out: Suffering and Bioethics (Oxford University Press, 2014)

  1. Christine says:

    Hello Mr. Maynard

    I was interested in posing some questions to you after reading your opinion piece on CNN regarding Brittany Murphy’s suicide. I am glad that she didn’t have to suffer – but if suicide, then what is palliative care for? There are safeguards in place to ensure people do not suffer, and it is a fact that not enough people have access to palliative care. My own father passed away in a cancer ward in a private room where he was put, so he didn’t die in the public ward, because the palliative care floor was too full. They did not manage his pain well, I was there every night when he screamed out in pain and it tore into me. I see the effects of suffering. Yet if he was in palliative care, he would have been compassionately sedated, in peace until he passed naturally. While there were tremendous blessings to his not being sedated in that he was lucid until the end and that in itself was its’ own blessing, it is a tragedy that palliative care is not available to everyone.

    I was even more intrigued when I read here that you were elected a number of years ago to the Society of Christian Ethics. Are you a Christian? I am, and I support compassion for suffering people. However, God is in control of our lives, not us. I am not going to get preachy certainly.

    But I pose this question to you – once this floodgate is opened, where does it stop? What is the value of a human life? A common argument is we are more humane to animals with euthanasia. Are humans while animals, not much more? We have a concept of a maker and our purpose on this planet, animals do not.

    Man by his own “natural nature”, regardless of the good in him, is inherently selfish and greedy. Yes we have even evolved (yes I believe in evolution) to help others, but even that is for self-gain and self-preservation – we have more of a chance of surviving ourselves generally, if we help others, especially in times of crisis or famine. That inherent self-centeredness and self preservation is the cause of the world’s problems today. The only truly service-to-other-centered people are those who have been truly (not falsely, or those that think they have but have not), been changed by God – for how many “Christians” or others there are on earth, many of them are deceived, or not really touched by God, those who truly have been truly are in the minority, or a remnant, as the Bible itself states.

    Case in point in Oregon, where Brittany moved in order to have access to their physician-assisted suicide laws. This brings us to a fact in Oregon – elsewhere in CNN opinion pieces, you can see that in a for-profit medical system such as in the US, it is a VERY dangerous thing to mix in allowing assisted suicide. Insurance companies, bottom line is the almighty dollar, greedy companies helmed by greedy human beings, of which all humans inherently are. Already they are denying people life-extending (perhaps not life-saving, but extending) people the treatments they need to extend their lives or increase quality of their life, but will pay for assisted suicide! Really? Potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on someone who will die anyways, why not pay $300 instead to get rid of them sooner? Apparently even the Oregon Health Plan, the state public health plan, has done this! Absolutely, truly, appalling and atrocious! I live in Canada where we love and our proud of our healthcare system, where your ability to pay will not affect the quality of your care whether you are homeless on the street or the CEO of a billion dollar company (these can go to the US if they really want, but they will be treated the same as the homeless person here) – yet I shudder at the possibility of legal assisted suicide for this very reason! Unfortunately, it is also being considered here in Quebec currently. Truly, a slippery slope.

    Once this slippery slope is opened, where does it stop? If there are these problems even in public health care systems, how much more in a greedy, for-profit medical system as the US mostly is?

    What, the value, of a human life, compared to the almighty dollar? That, is what this issue will come down to in the end, under the guise of “compassion”. True compassion, exists in guaranteeing access to palliative care for everyone, while respecting the value of every single human life which is a priceless gift.

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