Recent studies indicate that, in the United States, medical errors have become the third leading cause of death.
A recent article by, lawyer Meghan Hull Jacquin points out that one out of every 18 patients in Canadian hospitals will experience a potentially avoidable harmful event.
Unfortunately, surgical and medical errors happen, and they can cause patients injury, disability, or even death. One recent study found that one in 18 people admitted to Canadian hospitals each year – 138,000 patients – experienced a harmful event that was potentially preventable. Of those patients, 30,000 faced more than one preventable harmful event. Some statistics suggest these hospital errors may be the third leading cause of avoidable death.
For instance, the Canadian law permits euthanasia (lethal injection) if a person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition – meaning:
- the person has a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability;
- the person is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability;
- the illness disease or state of disability or the state of decline causes enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable and cannot be relieved under conditions that the person considers acceptable; and
- natural death has become reasonably forseeable taking into account all of the medical circumstances, although a prognosis as to the specific length of time remaining is not necessary.
Since a grievous and irremediable medical condition, or disability, can be caused by medical error, therefore medical errors will lead to deaths by euthanasia.
Further to that, medical misdiagnosis has led to death by euthanasia or assisted suicide. Laws permitting assisted death require the approval of two doctors (in Canada a nurse practitioner can approve euthanasia), but none of the laws require both doctors to examine the patient to ensure that a proper diagnosis has been made.
For instance, in April 2013, Pietro D’Amico died at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic, after receiving a wrong diagnosis. An article published in the Swiss news service, The Local, stated:
… lawyer Michele Roccisano told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
An autopsy carried out by the University of Basel’s Institute of Forensic Medicine found that D’Amico was not suffering from a life-threatening illness at the time of his death.
Roccisano has called on the Italian and Swiss authorities to examine D’Amico’s medical records to determine what went wrong.
It is too late to discover a medical misdiagnosis, after the death.
Death by euthanasia and assisted suicide will also enable unscrupulous doctors to cover-up their medical errors.
Legalizing assisted death is not safe.