BOOKS: by David PerrinNews Weekly
Death as a salesman: What's wrong with Assisted Suicide, by Brian Johnston
, November 29, 2003
Death as a salesman: What's wrong with Assisted Suicide
by Brian Johnston
Book: $16.00, Video: $24.00The attraction of death for people who are suffering has been used by those in favour of assisted suicide to try to have it legalised.
Brian Johnston, the author of the book and a new video Death As A Salesman
recently visited Australia.
Both the book and video set out simple, well-explained arguments against assisted suicide.
While the references are mainly to people and practices in the US, it will not be difficult to transcribe Johnston's information to incidents here and methods used by Dr Philip Nitschke or the Voluntary Euthanasia Societies in Australia.
Requests for suicide are a universal cry for help and love, and the evidence is that once these needs are met the request for suicide disappears.
Similarly, dealing with pain and fear of pain can be resolved by doctors who are adequately trained, or who have the good sense to know that they are not handling the problems of a patient who is asking for help.
It is not generally well known that many doctors are not well trained in pain management, but, there are doctors who can eliminate pain or substantially reduce it with a battery of techniques available to them.The Netherlands
One of the interesting facets of the book is the analysis of the experience in the Netherlands from an official government (Remmelink) report on the long history of uncontrolled doctor-assisted suicide.
Johnson informs us:
- That more than half of those euthanased were killed without their consent.
- That 83% of acts of doctor implemented euthanasia are never reported.
- That Dutch doctors are assisting children and people without terminal illnesses to die.
These facts should make Australians understand the truth of a culture that supports a duty to die.
Recent medical cases in Australia of patients being starved and dehydrated to death are only a short step away from the uncontrolled assisted suicide we see in these cultures.The vulnerable
The weak, depressed, lonely and vulnerable are the focus of the siren call to suicide.
Throughout history, there have been many that have seen suicide as the answer to their problems.
Johnston outlines the history well and documents where authorities have had to step in to stop suicide getting out of control.
Social disdain and disfavour for suicide was used by the early Greeks, Romans, Jews and Christians to dissuade the population from accepting suicide.
In today's environment the modern hospice movement has proven that they can adequately care for the total needs of those that have terminal illness.
Hospice care, known in Australia as palliative care, uses volunteers and family, in conjunction with multi-disciplinary health professionals, to provide for the medical, emotional, spiritual and physical needs of those with terminal illness and family members who sometimes need more help than the patient.
The book and video point out very clearly that what the vulnerable need is good laws to protect them from those who believe they are better off dead.
In most economically advanced countries where the liberal ethic of self-determination is strong, support for assisted suicide is strong.
This is particularly the case in the media and entertainment industries which promote assisted suicide.
Advocates of assisted suicide like Derek Humphrey, Jack Kevorkian of the US and Philip Nitschke and Rodney Syme from Australia are experts manipulating the media to promote the culture of assisted suicide.Suicide advocacy
Most Australians would not be aware of the personalities and history of the Euthanasia movements including the links between the Hemlock Society and other voluntary euthanasia societies throughout the world.
This information is clearly documented in the book, including the murky pasts of some suicide advocates.
One weakness of the book and the video is that it does not refer to "Doctor Death", Jack Kevorkian, who was jailed in the US for mass murder after the prosecutors finally caught up with him.
The book and video are available in Australia from:ACT Right to Life Association
PO BOX 333
Civic Square, ACT 2608
Telephone: 02 6253 3100
Fax: 02 6253 0362 and
- David Perrin is the National President of the Australian Family Association