NRL News

Who Cares What Great Palliative Docs Think?

by | Feb 13, 2014


By Wesley J. Smith

Dame Cicely Saunders

Dame Cicely Saunders

The greatest palliative care physicians of our era are (or were) against assisted suicide. Dame Cicely Saunders–one of the great medical humanitarians in history for creating the modern hospice movement–told me that she saw assisted suicide as, by definition, denying the dignity of dying patients.

Dr. Kathleen Foley, perhaps the most respected practicing palliative care physician and professor–also opposes assisted suicide.

And now, Dr. Balfour Mount–the doctor who coined the term “palliative care”–has strongly opposed Quebec’s pending euthanasia legalization bill. From the Epoch Times story:

“Legalizing euthanasia places at risk the most vulnerable among us: the elderly and the handicapped, those unable to speak for themselves, those who feel they are a burden to their loved ones,” he says in the video. “I think it would be a disastrous mistake to legalize euthanasia in Quebec, and Canada.”…

Mount takes issue with the fact that palliative care is mentioned 33 times in the bill, but the word euthanasia doesn’t appear once—something he finds misleading and disturbing. “I deeply resent the manipulative phrase ‘medically assisted dying’ when referring to legalizing euthanasia,” he said. “Medically assisted dying is what I have been concerned with for 40 years. It has no relationship to intentionally ending my patient’s life. Instead, the goal is quality of life.”

Ah, what do Saunders, Foley, and Mount–great doctors all–know? Who cares what they think? They’ve only ameliorated more human suffering than can be quantified.

Editor’s note. This appeared at

Categories: Health Care