Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide - Archive

Study Finds That Participating in Euthanasia Can Have Adverse Psychological Effects on Doctors (2006)

The report by Kenneth R. Stevens, Jr., published by the Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation, takes its data from sources including medical journals, legal investigations and the press, and concludes that “Many doctors who have participated in euthanasia and/or PAS [Physician Assisted Suicide] are adversely affected emotionally and psychologically by their experiences”.

The study quotes a doctor from the Netherlands, the first country to legalize euthanasia: “Many physicians who had practiced euthanasia mentioned that they would be most reluctant to do so again.”

Pieter Admiraal, a leader of Holland’s euthanasia movement is quoted saying, “You will never get accustomed to killing somebody. We are not trained to kill. With euthanasia, your nightmare comes true.”

One doctor said that he worried that legalization would limit clinical options offered to patients by doctors who grow to rely upon euthanasia as a quick fix. Dr. Zylicz, responding to a British questionnaire is quoted saying, “This is my biggest concern in providing euthanasia and setting a norm of euthanasia in medicine: that it will inhibit the development of our learning from patients, because we will solve everything with euthanasia.”

The PCCEF study corresponds with reports by German authorities during the second world war that showed negative psychological effects on the doctors and nurses involved in the government sponsored euthanasia program T-4. The program was authorized by Hitler and at first focused on handicapped and orphaned children and mentally disabled adults who were starved to death or killed by lethal doses of medication.

In his landmark 1997 book, Origins of Nazi Genocide, Henry Friedlander reported that the psychological condition of nurses and doctors involved in the quasi-legal euthanasia program suffered alcoholism and serious mental disorders after prolonged stints working in the killing centres.

Read the full article from Physicians for Compassionate Care: [Study first published in Issues in Law & Medicine. 21:187 (2006); LifeSite, 23 May06]