- About AADMD
- Educational Resources
- Special Projects
Viewing and posting comments is just one of the many AADMD membership benefits. To see a list of all the benefits, Click Here!
AADMD INFO BLAST - For AADMD Members and Friends
Many AADMD'ers are familiar with the recent firestorm that was caused with the airing of the Dr. Phil TV episode featuring a mother of two grown children with severe disabilities who planned to withhold nutrition to "end their suffering."
The AADMD was quick to mobilize both its External Affairs and Public Policy/Advocacy Committees in creating a position paper. The paper has since been approved by the Board and it will be made available to AADMD members shortly.
We were also astonished by the silence expressed by virtually every medical organization in the country.
Several AADMD members have also expressed their outrage and indignation and have articulated their rejection of both the practice and the premise. We are delighted to be able to feature some of their responses.
Rick Rader, MD
AADMD VP External Relations
Clarissa Kripke, MD, FAAFP,
Associate Clinical Professor Director, Office of Developmental Primary Care Chair, Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, Office of Developmental Primary Care, Department of Family and Community Medicine,University of California, San Francisco
The Dr. Phil Show presented a segment on euthanasia of people with disabilities that was so unbalanced it amounted to advocating the procedure. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9551185.htm. This is completely despicable for a physician whose first responsibility is to do no harm. Disability organizations have taken a stand.
Also, attached is a white paper on medical procedures being used in ways that violate the civil rights of people with disabilities.
On a related theme, prenatal eugenics is becoming a hot topic and is leading us down the same path. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/opinion/sunday/douthat-eugenics-past-and-future.html.
The economic conditions in the 1930’s that led to state-sponsored eugenics and euthanasia programs in Germany and in the United States are similar to those we are experiencing now. While it is unlikely that we will see a return to state sponsored eugenics and euthanasia, there is growing support for a movement of euthanasia and eugenics as a “personal choice” for parents. I put “choice” in quotes because in the 1940-70’s in the USA, parents had little choice when they were advised by physicians to send their children to institutions to protect the social hygiene of the family. There weren’t services and supports to enable families to thrive in the community so there weren’t viable options. In the institutions, children with disabilities were subjected to abuse, neglect and harmful medical experimentation and life expectancy was limited. If the trend to defund services continues, and having a child with a disability is considered a personal choice for which parents must take personal responsibility rather than as a part of the natural experience and public responsibility, parents will again have little choice in the matter. They won’t be able to provide meaningful lives for their children. I feel it is important to speak out early and unequivocally before we allow the current economic difficulties to lead us backward to a very dark time.
On May 23, 2012, the German Medical Association issued a Declaration and apology at Nuremberg, at last taking responsibility for the crimes and atrocities committed by German doctors who, the Declaration acknowledges, were “guilty of scores of human rights violations.”
“These crimes were not the actions of individual doctors but involved leading members of the medical community…and should be taken as a warning for the future…
Outstanding representatives of renowned academic medical and research institutions were involved” in organizing and carrying out the mass extermination of millions, and participating in barbaric medical experiments. Doctors were not forced to participate in the atrocities, the statement admitted, but were often enthusiastic supporters and even Nazi leaders…”
What can we do to reiterate physician’s commitment to diversity and respect for the dignity of all people and to condemn euthanasia and eugenics of people with disabilities. This approach is not supported by any disability organization. How can we ensure that doctors do not participate in or advocate harm to people with disabilities or devalue their lives?
The lessons of history tell us that speaking out early is important.
As Pastor Martin Niemöller said,
“In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”