Harold Foong

What is "care"? And what is "harm"? Our definitions have been shifting closer to "care" and "harm" meaning whatever the patient declares them to mean. If a patient comes into a doctor's office asking the doctor to cut his healthy left arm off, what should a doctor who objects do? The patient is adamant that cutting off his arm would be "caring" and letting his arm remain would be very "harmful". If a doctor cannot in good conscience conduct the procedure, should that doctor then refer the patient to someone who can and will remove his arm? If you view doctors as transactional creatures that simply do what you want in exchange for money, then you might be tempted to answer yes. But that would make a doctor no better than your neighbourhood drug dealer. Doctors are historically respected, not only because of their education, but because they conform themselves to a higher standard, the highest being a Biblical standard but if that's too much then at least a standard that conforms to tried and tested notions of anthropology that are shown to support a well-functioning society. The proposed amendments are purported to support patient care, but any good definition of patient care must assume that human life has inherent value which supercedes assigned value judgements like quality of life. IMHO, the amendment writers want doctors to be forced to refer MAID and abortions because the writers like MAID and abortions, not because of a blanket commitment to patient care, whatever that may be as defined by the patient. The day that arm removal becomes a popular idea among the medical elite, it will come to be regarded as "patient care" as well.

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