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.