RUSH: Gregg in Clearwater, Florida. It’s great to have you on the program. Welcome.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. It’s a pleasure speaking with you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I called today to, um, to express my opinion, uh, on this doctor-assisted suicide. Uh, I think that more dying patients are afraid of pain than they are afraid of death, and I think it’s really, a cop-out by the medical community to in essence ignore their pain until they become depressed, and suicidal, and then instead of offering, the difficult task of, uh, of making them pain-free and allowing them to die in dignity, we offer them a lethal injection.
RUSH: Well, two things. As to your comment about the medical community ignoring people’s pain until they become depressed, the medical community, more and more is being put in jail for prescribing pain medicine.
RUSH: They are leery as they can be about this. The DEA is all over this. I’ll give you an incredible story. A guy is in jail in Florida 25 years because he was found to have multiple pain prescriptions in his possession, pain pill prescriptions, and he was accused of violating a number of laws. They convicted him because he refused to take a plea deal. He’s in jail, and you know the feds in jail gave him a morphine pump! His pain is so bad he’s in jail with a morphine pump, and the morphine pump is enabling him… There’s a big story here in Florida a couple months ago. This guy is unjustly in jail with a morphine pump. If that had just been prescribed for him at the first, none of this would have ever happened. So you may have a point. But there’s fear in the medical community about prescribing pain pills because the DEA and a number of other authorities are clamping down on them, and they don’t want the hassle and so the people in pain sometimes can’t get it — and they don’t want to live with it. You’re absolutely right. The fear of pain is something, especially in a person of a certain age, that they don’t want to deal with it. What did you say, then, about making pain-free a lethal injection? What kind of lethal injection?
CALLER: Well, doctor — if “doctor-assisted” suicide is legalized, the burden is going to fall upon the anesthesiologist because we are the doctors who are — are most familiar with and most capable of manager anesthetics which in essence is the most humane way —
CALLER: — to euthanize a person.
RUSH: Right, but you don’t want that responsibility?
CALLER: No. No. I took a Hippocratic Oath. I pledged to never administer a lethal medication.
RUSH: So if you had a patient today who came to you just in dire straits, just the worst you’ve ever seen, and just didn’t want to live anymore, couldn’t live with it; it’s something that was incurable; the pain was intolerable — what would you do?
CALLER: Well, it takes — in essence it takes — a multimodal approach. You need to have a pain doctor. You need to have a psychiatrist. You can have a pain interventionist. You can offer them an intrathecal morphine pump. You can offer them all kinds of neurolytic blocks. There are —
RUSH: Okay, what if it’s not related to pain, though? Let’s take that out of the equation. What if they just want to die? What if they don’t — for whatever reason, they just don’t — want to go on?
CALLER: Suicidal patients should probably be evaluated by a psychiatrist to find out why they’re suicidal and if there’s some medical treatment.
RUSH: Mmm-hmm. Well, that might kill them right there going to see the psychiatrist which might be a way of accomplishing this.
RUSH: Just kidding! I’m just — folks, I’m in sort of a jocular mood here today. I appreciate the call, Gregg. Thanks much. Victoria in Portland. It’s great to have an Oregonian on the phone about this. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. It’s good to talk to you. I’m a long-time listener for almost 20 years now, and I am a conservative Republican, stay-at-home Jewish mom, and I have to say, I voted with the Death with Dignity Act because it’s death with dignity; it’s not doctor-assisted suicide. It’s death being able — you are going to die either way, and it’s you get to choose how you die. Putting yourself in a garage and basically filling yourself up with nitros…uh, you know, the chemicals that come out of the back of your car is a very ugly way to die. It’s also a huge problem with your family if you shoot yourself in the head in your house. Those are not options. Those are not dignified options, and you can’t just walk into your doctor’s office and say, “I’m tired of being sick. I want you to kill me.” That’s not the way it works. There’s a litmus test. You have to be going to die and not curable and not treatable. You have — it’s not just walking into your doctor’s office and saying, “I’m done living. I’m tired of being sick.” It’s a dignified way for people to shorten it (life).
RUSH: Wait, wait, Victoria. I understand that. I understand that that’s the starting point, but as I said at the beginning of the program, “These programs like this are never the solution to problems. They generally create new ones,” and so once we start with the premise that you’ve just articulated, which does indeed sound reasonable to most people, it’s going to expand, and who is it that is given the ultimate power to kill here? You can call it death with dignity…
CALLER: It’s the person who’s sick, not the doctor, the person who’s sick.
RUSH: Well, you can call it “death with dignity” all you want, but somebody’s got the power to do it. You fill out a form or have to pass some sort of test saying, “Yep, I’m hopeless. I qualify for death with dignity.” The definition of who qualifies is going to change. It’s going to broaden, because I think most of this is ultimately going to be based on who the living would like to get rid of to avoid the inconvenience of having to put up with them.
RUSH: That’s already happened in the case of abortion. It’s happening at the later years in life with people’s parents and seasoned citizens, and they come up with all these great-sounding excuses. “Weeell, they wouldn’t want to live this way. Weeell, they’ve had a great life. Weeell, they don’t like being a burden to us.” Bam! “Let’s call it death with dignity! This is what they would have wanted,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and I think once that happens, then… Look at the Netherlands. The Netherlands has just passed a law that gives doctors the right to “terminate” what they claim are terminally ill infants with the parent’s consent. I’m telling you, the death activism out there keeps building; it keeps expanding. It’s like I said at the beginning of the program. I’m watching the media talking about this and they are excited about it. When the subject of death comes up — be it in disasters in New Orleans or deaths in war in Iraq or this — they just get jazzed and charging up, but the minute you start talking about living and pro-life they start acting like you’re an antique, a dinosaur. “Oh, what a fuddy-duddy! I mean life? Come on! This is about enlightened death.”
CALLER: No, and I understand that, and I am pro-life 100%.
RUSH: This death culture, it just scares me, for the country — not next year, five years, but down the road. I think all of us have a responsibility to leave a culture and society as we found it, and not distorted, not corrupted, and not depraved, and if we start making these decisions based on personal selfishness without these far-reaching concerns, that just worries me.
CALLER: Well, personal selfishness is a person themselves. Like you said, they can kill themselves any way they like. This gives them a less painful option than going out and shooting yourself in the head. This is a less painful option; it’s a less messy option. It’s not something you get to just do and it’s not something that just happens instantaneously the minute you walk in your doctor’s door. It’s a long, drawn-out process, and this isn’t the Netherlands, and I think using the argument of a slippery slopes to not enact something to help people have dignity while they’re alive and dignity within their own death is wrong. I think —
RUSH: Let me tell you something. Let’s not forget, let’s not forget the name is “Dr. Death,” Jack Kevorkian, who was sounding just like the death for dignity death activists sound. He was doing people a favor. They were consulting him and he was convincing them that their best option was to die, and we found out later that Dr. Death was condemning people who ended up not being terminal because he had some obsession with death. I can remember a speech he gave before the National Press Club, describing what happens to you when you die. It was like a <a target=new href=”http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001637″>Vincent Price</a> movie! I was watching some monster up there. He was just and fascinated by the decaying of human flesh and the smell. He was trying to basically saying how worthless we all are, and you get zealots like this. Once this becomes legal, it scares me. I’m not denying these are tough questions, and you have the basic question here is direct democracy. The people of Oregon twice, pretty good margins have voted for this. Here comes the Supreme Court, a branch of the federal government that’s going to hear the case that may tell them they can’t do this illegally, just like medicinal marijuana and so forth. So they’re going to go to the Constitution to try to find a basis for whatever they rule. It will be fascinating to see what they say. But if they find in favor of the people of Oregon, I’m just going to put it out there right now, we’re going to look long and hard to find where that exists in the Constitution. You’re going to have a much tougher time finding in the Constitution where the Founders plotted the way our society would kill itself versus how our society would thrive and live and prosper. So it will be very interesting to me what this court finds. I gotta go, Victoria, because of time. I’m glad you called. Thanks much.
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