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Essay on The Euthanasia Debate

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   Euthanasia in this paper is examined in those countries which have legalized the procedure. And is found to be more of a burden than a blessing, indicating from the Dutch experience that it becomes an uncontrollable force once it has been legalized. There are welcome alternatives, for which proper training is necessary on the part of medical professionals.


The original or first broad euthanasia program was for the purpose of "purifying" the German race under Hitler. It was a creation of German physicians, not of Hitler. He simply allowed the use of the tools others had prepared. The first gas chamber was designed by professors of psychiatry from 12 major German universities. They selected the patients and watched them die. Then they slowly reduced the criteria until the mental hospitals were almost empty. They were joined by some pediatricians, who began by emptying the institutions for handicapped children in 1939. By 1945, almost 300,000 "pure blood Aryan" Germans had been killed. By then these doctors had so lowered the criteria that they were killing bed-wetters, children with misshapen ears, and those with learning disabilities. (Wertham)

 

Hitler, taking his cue from the physicians, after this eugenic killing of "defective" Aryan Germans, then used their gas chambers and proceeded to eliminate "defective" races. He destroyed an entire race of Gypsies, six million Jews, and perhaps almost as many captured Poles, Russians, and central Europeans. (Id. 47)

 

But the euthanasia program actually began earlier with sterilization. The first and fundamental law change was the Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases, promulgated by Hitler on July 25, 1933. It was aimed at Aryan Germans, a...


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Deuel,W. People Under Hitler, 194 New York, 1942, p. 221



Editorial, Karl Singer, Patient Care, May 30, '94



Emanuel,E. et al., Cancer Patients With Pain, Lancet, 6/29/96



Fenigsen,R. "Involuntary Euthanasia in Holland," Wall Street Journal, Sept. 30, 1987



Lynn,J. Terminally Ill, Forgoing . . . Care, Dartmouth, Boston Globe, May 21, 1994



Russell,R. Seriously Ill Want CPR, Beth Israel Hosp., AMA News, Feb. 26, '96



Sanis,M. et al., "Patients & Family's Preferences for Medical Intensive Care," JAMA, vol. 260, no. 6, Aug. 12, '88, p. 797



Shewman, Active Voluntary Euthanasia, Issues in Law & Medicine, Winter 1987, pg. 234



Wertham, The German Euthanasia Program, Hayes Publishing Co., Cinn, 1977, p. 47



Willke,J. "How Doctors Kill Patients in Holland," Nat'l Right to Life News, May 23, 1989



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