Doctor: acceptance of euthanasia heightens patients’ distrust of medical profession
November 16, 2012
Martin Cullen, an intensive care physician in Sydney, writes that the increasing acceptance of euthanasia has helped increase patients’ distrust of doctors.
“I never cease to marvel how deeply some families of my patients distrust the medical profession,” says Martin Cullen. “Between me and them is a wall of suspicion. I know how used car salesmen must feel.”
“No longer do families assume that their loved one will be cared for,” he continued. “Families feel they need to be advocates for their sick relative. They aggressively question all of my suggestions for care. I really can’t blame them. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legalized, non-voluntary euthanasia, aka murder, is no longer unknown.”
“Nowadays when I bring bad news to families and tell them that death is imminent and that we can do no more, I expect resistance and hostility,” he added. “Just a few weeks ago I was treating an elderly woman who was very sick. Her family told me that they believed that their father had been euthanased years before. They weren’t going to let us doctors take their mother, too. They looked at me as if I were a murderer. It was very unsettling for me.”
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