Closet Kevorkians

Whether it’s because they’re a compassionate breed or simply in a hurry to hit the golf course, Australian doctors are evidently happy to help their patients die. THE AGE reports that in a national survey, more than one-third of the surgeons who responded said they had, on at least one occasion, administered more medication than was necessary to treat a patient’s symptoms, with the intention of hastening the Grim Reaper’s arrival. And over half of those who admitted speeding a patient’s death said they did so without an explicit request from the patient.

“It quantifies what many people know, that there are doctors out there who are maintaining the facade of providing palliative care, when many of them know the consequences of their treatments with these drugs,” said one euthanasia advocate.

Over half of the almost 1,000 surgeons surveyed said they think there should be laws permitting voluntary euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. In Australia, doctors can legally increase medication doses in order to reduce pain and suffering, but not if they specifically intend to hasten death.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.