Sunday, August 9, 2009

He's like... A NAZI!!!

In reply to commenter Lew Waters, at the post Legal Insurrection: An Inconvenient Truth About The "Death Panel", who said:

What should be scary to all about Dr. Emanuel's words is that they sound eerily familiar,

"The underlying motive was the desire to help individuals who could not help themselves and were thus prolonging their lives in torment. ... To quote Hippocrates today is to proclaim that invalids and persons in great pain should never be given poison. But any modern doctor who makes so rhetorical a declaration without qualification is either a liar or a hypocrite. ... I never intended anything more than or believed I was doing anything but abbreviating the tortured existence of such unhappy creatures…… I am convinced that today they have overcome their distress and personally believe that the dead members of their families were given a happy release from their sufferings."

Testimony of Dr. Karl Brandt, Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Adolf Hitler’s personal physician. Sentenced to death and executed June 2, 1948 at Landsberg prison in Bavaria.


Really, Lew? A Nazi doctor?

Where does Dr. Emanuel suggest ending anyone's suffering by taking any active step to kill them? Please quote and cite it.

At best (or worst, depending) this is about the allocation of limited resources in the face of multiple patients who all need the same resource to improve their health or (most often) save their life.

It's not about deciding whether or not a patient will likely die; there's one heart, and two or more patients who need one to survive the next 24-48 hours. Somebody will live, and somebody will likely die. Dr. Emanuel's article discusses four different systems of medical ethics for fairly determining who gets the heart.

Perhaps it would be instructive if all the people upset about Dr. Emanuel's suggested method for making this decision were to choose which of the other three ethical systems (or one they create themselves) they support for doing so, and whether the rest of us wouldn't find elements of it (the parts about "...who should therefore not get the heart," especially) equally distasteful.
Submitted for approval 8/9/09, 3:35 PM

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