The co-author (with Ralph Nader) of several books about consumer advocacy, Wesley J. Smith has written Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope From Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder  (Times Books, copyright 1997), a volume that Mr. Emory believes is one of the most important books ever written.
This broadcast presents an overview of Mr. Smith’s book. Beginning with discussion of the “work” of serial killer Jack Kevorkian, the interview highlights the fundamental changes in medical theory and practice that are leading America down a path disturbingly similar (in certain respects) to the path Germany followed in the 1930s. (During that period, Germany adopted the T-4 euthanasia program which murdered “disposable” persons in cold blood.)
Medical ethics in this country are already evolving in a manner not unlike that in Germany, in which the physician’s primary responsibility was seen as to society rather than to the patient. The program discusses other chilling changes in medical practice including the enabling of death by dehydration of people with cognitive disabilities, a particularly brutal form of termination. In addition, the broadcast exposes the fallacy that “guidelines” will prevent abuse, citing (among other precedents) the failure of those guidelines in the Netherlands, which allows euthanasia. Other points of analysis include: the fundamental change that for-profit HMOs have wrought in American medicine and how those changes affect the issue of euthanasia; the inability of most American medical personnel to accurately diagnose both permanent brain damage and depression in patients and that failure’s implications for the issue of euthanasia; how euthanasia can be used as a vehicle of social oppression and how the hospice movement, palliative care and independent living movement for disabled people, can alleviate the problems that euthanasia advocates say only death can solve.