With the passage of Oregon's so-called Death-with-Dignity Act, the role of the physician has changed and vulnerable patients are now at risk. Physician assisted suicide has had profound detrimental effects on health care in Oregon, one of which has been the impact on trust in the patient-physician relationship.
PCCEF receives hundreds of requests for help finding doctors who oppose assisted suicide. Many of these requests come from people who actually support assisted suicide, but don’t want their own personal physician to support this because even those who support of assisted suicide understand on a very personal level how the physician’s values can affect medical care.
It is important for physicians to let their patients know where they stand, and it is equally important for patients to find out where their physician stands on the issue of assisted suicide. In order to foster communication between patients and physicians, PCCEF developed a "Pledge to My Patient" which has been the key focus of our organization from its beginning in 1996.
In order to make this pledge more accessible, we have supported the creation of a free-standing website that allows physicians, other health care providers, and concerned citizens, to "Take the Pledge to Do No Harm." This new site will give other like-mined organizations an easy way to help their members oppose physician assisted suicide. Please visit this new website (www.take-the-pledge.com) and stand with us as we pledge to do no harm to the patients, family, and friends we care for.
PCCEF continues to affirm the ethic that human life has inherent value and that doctor-assisted suicide does the following:
- Undermines trust in the patient-physician relationship
- Alters the role of the physician from the traditional one of healer to executioner.
- Endangers the value that society places on life, specifically for the vulnerable
Physicians for Compassionate Care and its members will continue to assist individual patients and their families to access excellent palliative care at the end of life.