I READ with mixed emotions the report that a woman had been found guilty of manslaughter in respect of the euthanasia of her husband, who was suffering from dementia.
As a doctor and a medical researcher, I celebrate every day the triumph of human ingenuity as we slowly unravel and destroy the mastery of disease over health by medical research.
I am also reminded every day of the powerful Hippocratic oath to firstly do no harm and am further reminded to care for and show the utmost respect for the human condition in all its frailty.
As a society we must never lose our hope in a better future as we battle with the challenges of the present.
It is the history of our world and our human nature that we struggle to improve our lot, it is what sets us apart from lower species and it is what has brought us to a situation whereby today we enjoy unparalleled good fortune and health compared to our ancestors.
Any attempt to diminish the value of life by promotion of euthanasia should be strongly resisted.
In my estimation, the jury was spot on in their deliberations and their response sends a powerful message to our society and its politicians.
Anyone who questions the jury’s verdict should ask themselves as to why would society ask our bright young researchers to devote their life to medical discovery and find cures for chronic illnesses if the solution was as simple as euthanasia, particularly when there are other options.
Furthermore, any doctor who promotes euthanasia should look deeply into their soul and question their commitment to their profession and to improving mankind and the human condition.
Finally, the timing of the jury’s verdict on the very day that medical researchers from the USA announced that an infusion of cloned white blood cells had cured a patient of terminal cancer, reflecting similar preliminary findings from Australian researchers, puts this issue into sharp focus.
The correct course of action is not to give in to chronic illness but to work doubly hard and invest more resources as a society to develop cures, while realising that the advances in society have never been straightforward and have always challenged us personally, morally and intellectually.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
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