Doctors who participate in physician-assisted suicide are scarred emotionally and psychologically by the experience, according to a study by a doctor opposed to the practice. Kenneth R. Stevens Jr, of the Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation, says that these side-effects are often overlooked. “Doctors must take responsibility for causing the patient’s death,” he writes. “There is a huge burden on conscience, tangled emotions and a large psychological toll.” He also claims that some doctors feel pressured by their patients and others to participate.
Dr Stevens based his observations on reports in the media and medical journals. One comment by Pieter Admiraal, a leading figure in Dutch euthanasia, sums up his colleagues’ comments: “You will never get accustomed to killing somebody. We are not trained to kill. With euthanasia, your nightmare comes true.”
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