Bill raises questions about delicate balance of doctor and patient rights near life’s end

CN Cronkite News
Arizona PBS

Saundra Wilson

PHOENIX – “Please don’t ask me to do that,” Dr. Paul Liu, a pediatric critical-care physician, said to grieving parents who had asked him to quietly end their child’s life.

Liu said he was frank with the parents, who wanted to put a stop to their sons’s suffering from a terminal illness. He advised them not to pursue an early death for their child because it’s not something they would want on their conscience.

“In their pain and suffering they wanted to end it much more quickly than natural courses would take,” said Liu, who recalled the story as he spoke in favor of Senate Bill 1439 at a Senate health and human services committee meeting this week.

Some support the bill to shield health care providers from retaliation or discrimination if they deny an ailing patient’s wishes to avoid expansive medical measures or, as the bill reads, end their life early, such as by “assisted suicide, euthanasia or mercy killing.”

“We need this protection to be able to do what our conscience tells us to do,” said Liu, a doctor at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. . . . [Full text]


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