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12 Reasons Why I, as a Doctor, Do Not Practice Euthanasia


Welcome to my blog. Today I would like to address a very delicate, yet extremely important topic in medical practice: euthanasia. Throughout my career, I've come to a personal conclusion not to practice it. Below, I present my twelve reasons.


1. Hippocratic Oath: At the onset of my journey into medicine, like all doctors, I took the Hippocratic Oath, which states, "First, do no harm." In my personal interpretation, practicing euthanasia would be in contradiction with this fundamental commitment.


2. Medicine is life: The essence of medicine, in my view, lies in healing, relieving pain, and prolonging life. Active termination of life seems contrary to these foundational principles.


3. Palliative care: We live in an era where palliative medicine has made significant strides. There are many tools available to manage pain and suffering at the end of life. I worry that euthanasia might overshadow these efforts.


4. Domino effect: The legalization and practice of euthanasia can have far-reaching consequences, potentially creating a domino effect towards devaluing human life and opening the door to abuses.


5. Negative influence: I am troubled by the idea that my actions might influence future doctors to see euthanasia as a quick solution to complex end-of-life situations.


6. Emotional support: I consider an integral part of my role as a doctor to provide emotional support to my patients and help them cope with their illnesses, rather than merely eliminating their suffering through euthanasia.


7. Compassion and hope: Medicine should offer patients compassion and hope, rather than the hopelessness that often accompanies severe illness.


8. Life is precious: My medical philosophy is grounded in the belief in the intrinsic value and dignity of human life, regardless of a person's physical health.


9. Medical errors: I acknowledge that medicine is not infallible. Diagnoses can be wrong, and making an irreversible decision based on a possible error is a risk I am not willing to take.


10. Emotional difficulties: The practice of euthanasia can cause emotional and moral stress for doctors. This can affect our ability to care for other patients and compromise our emotional well-being.


11. Weight in decisions: I am not comfortable with the responsibility of actively ending a person's life, even in circumstances of great suffering.


12. Existing alternatives: I firmly believe in exploring all ethical and compassionate options for caring for patients at the end of life before considering euthanasia.


I want to emphasize that this is just my personal point of view. I deeply respect all healthcare professionals and the decisions they make based on their clinical and ethical judgement. We all approach this complex and sensitive ethical issue in our own way. My hope is that this post can provide an additional perspective in the ongoing dialogue about euthanasia. Thank you for reading.

Dr Pablo Odeley MD


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