Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 2, 2010

KILLING: Enter Dr Crippen


Dr Crippen, the NHS Blog Doctor, has an article on killing in The Guardian today.

It seems to The Witch Doctor he is expressing his views clearly.

His message is simple.

He says:

“I want no part in euthanasia”

The Witch Doctor feels it is timely to add her own views that are as follows:

“I want no part in euthanasia.

On the other hand, I will not strive officiously to keep alive if and when the time comes for nature to take its course”

That is not to say, however, that in the fullness of time a “health care professional” or some “charitable” member of the public sometime, somewhere will not attend a two day “Skills” course and be provided with a protocol that will be useful in the very narrow act of killing patients, if that is what society demands.

“If we legalise assisted suicide, we risk moving towards a blaggards’ charter. As a doctor, I want no part of it. Someone else will have to assist in the killing. If doctors will not do it, there will have to be a protocol to empower those who provide the service. It will give a whole new, macabre meaning to the phrase “health care professional”.

My very own thoughts, Dr C.

Society should be very careful about what it demands.

And society should not make use of members of the medical profession to give legitimacy and respectability to killing.

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  1. Hi, Thank goodness you have not hijacked the article to discuss ME. I’m also peed of that the Guardian subbed the article to shorten and removed the first and most crucial two sentences from this paragraph:

    “The decision to take one’s own life is both personal and subjective. If I wish to take my own life, why should I have to justify that decision to you or to anyone else? Why should society say, for example, that people with cancer may be helped to commit suicide, but people with depression may not? ”

    Few understand the position of supporting people’s right to kill themselves, as I do, but not being prepared, in my professional capacity, to help them. Once doctors and nurses get involved in this, we lose respect, we lose dignity and, more of all, we lose our patient’s trust. Can you imagine how many would feel about going into a hospice if the hospices routinely provided a killing service?

    And, as I said, and you clearly agree, WHO is going to be the suicide assistant if doctors and nurses will not do it? Enter a new breed of HCP with a macabre killing protocol. I wonder if these HCPs will call their victims “patients” or “clients’. The more you think of the ramifications, the more unpleasant it becomes. Will you, for example, be allowed to “go privately”? Can you see assisted suicide terms and conditions in the BUPA of PPP contracts?



  2. Once the assisted suicide legal door is wide open it logically has to become suicide on demand because self determination in a competent patient will sooner or later be seen to trump consideration of the underlying condition and the patient’s reasoning. The door is already ajar now for those carrying a diagnosis of ME.

    If I have been influenced by a film and develop a circumscribed madness that the world is going to end in 2012 and I want to pre-empt that by committing suicide on Boxing Day 2011, then eventually the law would allow me to be assisted in this act if I am competent mentally in every other way.

    If I have a temporary post-partum depression and want to die, the law may allow me to have help with that too, because depression some say, does not necessarily render a patient mentally incompetent.

    Also, there are some situations where it will be impossible to detect whether suicide is in fact murder e.g.chronically ill patient being looked after at home by relatives that are getting to the end of their tether (or want the money). The green light is being given to relatives to administer the “ultimate kindness” It will be easy for them to justify to themselves that they can bypass any required red tape for something that is no longer considered a crime.

    Suicide is legal and so it should be. But those planning to commit suicide need to accept it is a lonely business.

  3. Hi John,
    You wrote;
    “Hi, Thank goodness you have not hijacked the article to discuss ME.”

    Yes, I quite agree that talking about you all the time and your alleged “disappearing” acts/accidents/holidays/disappearances etc is a tad tiresome.
    Additionally, I agree that cutting your piece on euthanasia in the Guardian doesn’t help either. But hey, that’s journalism for you.
    Talking of journalism, you might be interested in my other posting today in response to comments about ME. Yes, i will be sharing this with all my sad friends and campaigners!

    “Dr Crippen,”

    I believe this pseudonym is used by a number of “anonymous” medically qualified doctors who earn an additional living from their writing, to top up their impoverished earnings as busy GPs?
    The writer “speaks” as if from intimate personal experience?
    Is this journalistic license, trickery or some other excuse to protect themselves and to abdicate responsibility for their comments?

    Which is it Dr. Crippen?

    GPs are so pressed and challenged, we are told, in their day jobs to have no capacity or adequate training to contribute to out of hours services
    and acute need?
    So where does that lead desperate and needy patients with chronic, severe, long term conditions when an emergency arises

    I can tell you as a carer.- It leads to utter despair and thus to the risk of suicide. I should know, because i’ve been there.
    I am a carer of two family members with ME, one very severe, housebound who had been in total isolation for 7 years. He’s 25. The GP has done one home visit in 10 years.

    Let’s get factual at this point as I know you all like ” evidence based” Peer Reviewed medicine and research. Peer reviewed research indicates
    that 48% of GP have indicated that in their view, ME does not exist, therefore, they have little or no interest in it.

    So no help or support will be found there. Let’s understand that effectively, most of the country is only covered by ?community services? for
    ME and few PCTs provide more than diagnosis with NO ongoing care or supervision.
    We in the Anglia region have had a 5 year battle to try to remedy this situation. We have been told that we have been listen to and that the PCTs
    will respond, but only time will tell.
    So, DR Crippen, what do you suggest desperate patients and families do in the meantime?

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