A.D. 1995 Restatement of the Oath of Hippocrates (Circa 400 B.C.)
"I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation:
"To reckon all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient."
"I will follow that method of treatment which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from what-ever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform acts of omission with direct intent deliberately to end a human life. I will maintain the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life."
"With purity, holiness and beneficence I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient."
"Whatever in connection with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.
"While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot."
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Florence Nightingale Pledge
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
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The AMA has consistently condemned euthanasia. (At the rate we're losing this fight, that will probably change soon.)
"In light of this longstanding tradition and a universal consensus within the medical profession regarding the sanctity of human life, it is hard to fathom the change in attitude that has allowed large numbers of doctors and, reportedly, even a majority of the American people to decide that euthanasia is a legitimate option, and that "doctor-assisted suicide" is a basic human right. . .The evolutionary hypothesis holds that man is merely an accident of time and chance, that life is transitory, and death is final. With the systematic indoctrination of this concept, people’s thinking has shifted from the importance of living a full and meaningful life to the practical expedient of living life to the fullest and finding gratification wherever and however you can in whatever time you have left. Today, the "Get all the gusto you can" ethic dominates the popular culture.. .
"The Pro-Death Industry
According to Dr. Brian Clowes, a Catholic layman who has written extensively on the issue, the shift from a "sanctity of life" ethic to a "quality of life" ethic is the most profoundly evil step a nation can take. "Once they make this transformation," he says, "they can justify any atrocity by disguising it behind the alluring masks of ‘compassion’ and ‘realism.’" Any society that loses its belief that life is sacred and that only God can decide when to give or take a life has taken a risky step down the road to totalitarianism. In time, life in such a culture will become meaningless, and death will be incredibly cheap.
Dr. C. Christopher Hook, director of ethics education and consultation at the Mayo Clinic, describes how doctors in Nazi Germany began authorizing euthanasia for mentally ill and deformed individuals, then for other "undesirables," until they were able to rationalize the extermination of six million Jews, Poles, Evangelicals, and others deemed expendable by Hitler’s Third Reich.
"The American Medical Association has, thankfully, come out against euthanasia. In her testimony before a congressional committee on April 29, 1996, Dr. Lonnie R. Bristow, president of the AMA, made the following statement:
The AMA believes that physician-assisted suicide is unethical and fundamentally inconsistent with the pledge physicians make to devote themselves to healing and to life. Laws that sanction physician-assisted suicide undermine the foundation of the patient-physician relationship that is grounded in the patient’s trust that the physician is working wholeheartedly for the patient’s health and welfare."
So is Terri being euthanized? Not in any sense of the word if you look at the definition of euthanasia. Merriam Webster says it's "the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy."
Terri isn't hopelessly sick; she just hasn't been afforded the mediations and therapy she needs because her husband wouldn't allow it. And dehydration is not a relatively painless way to die.
I would be the first to say let her die if she were suffering or if she had expressed a desire or if there was no hope at all for medical science to come up with ways to help her. However, none of those things is the case here.
Murder is evil. Murder destroys a life and the lives of the people involved.
On the other hand, life is good and precious. In life there is hope.
Terri's battle is the ultimate one: good against evil.