Friday, December 03, 2004

Pass the Hemlock Latte, Svend!

(Derived from an article in

Just when it appears that things can't really get much more corrupt on the moral front, news arrives from Holland that Dutch doctors have begun to admit that they now kill live babies who they consider to be severely malformed, where they agree that there appears to be no prospect of improving pain. So far, (they say) the parents must be consulted and must approve the killing of their child.

Apparently, Dutch teenagers under the age of 16, seeking to end their own lives, must currently obtain the permission of their parents, before doctors will assist with the killing. New measures are being proposed, though, that will lower this age to 12. (yup, that's 12!!)

All of this ought to be sufficient to make the NDP in Canada green with envy, but Belgian lawmakers may be prepared to up the macabre ante. There, legislation is being considered which will, "expand the country's euthanasia law to allow doctors to end the lives of children without parental permission."

Now that's progressive thinking at its finest! (Doctor Sweeney Todd, Doctor Sweeney Todd, please contact Pediatrics after you're finished in Delivery..... Doctor Sweeney Todd....)

Hippocratic Oath -- Classical VersionI swear by Apollo

Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses,
making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and
judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal
to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to
learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral
instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has
instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath
according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked
for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.
Similarly I will not give
to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and
my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will
withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all
intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations
with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the
life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself,
holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with
fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely,
may the opposite of all this be my lot.

Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.


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