By Steven C. Bergeson on December 21, 2016
Assisted suicide is picking up steam. Colorado and Washington, D.C., legalized the practice this fall, joining four other states where it already was legally permissible for physicians to prescribe lethal dosages to eligible patients.
Assisted suicide’s next stop? It could be Minnesota. In March, a bill to legalize the practice was introduced in our state Senate’s Health, Human Services and Housing Committee. It didn’t make it out of committee, but its proponents promised to be back.
As a doctor who has devoted my life to providing care and healing, I bristle at the possibility of practicing medicine in a state where assisting in someone’s suicide could be considered “health care.” Not only is assisted suicide not authentic health care, it actually undermines the ethical norm at the heart of the medical profession — the Hippocratic oath, which transformed medicine into an art of healing, dedicated to caring about the patient’s interests rather than the interests of others. Everyone knows doctors are taught to “first do no harm.”