I receive occasional letters from the Human Life Foundation. In the most recent letter (May 19, 2010), Maria McFadden reprinted the following excerpt from a subscriber's letter:
I am 91 years old, had my first heart attack in January 2009. In December 2009 I paid a routine visit to my cardiologist. He checked, found no real change in condition. "Come back in four months" was the verdict. Then he added something that on reflection really shook me up. He suggested that I should, with my loved ones, consider the possibility of termination of my life.
...Understand that I am restrictively active to the extent advisable for my years and heart condition. I am well aware that I am declining physically but my Christian faith assures me that I will meet my Lord in heaven possibly not too far in the future. But I want it to be the Lord that calls me...
This is a truly shocking anecdote and more shocking the more one thinks about it. If I am interpreting the man's story correctly, his cardiologist suggested a) active suicide to his patient and did so b) out of a clear blue sky, with no prompting whatsoever from the patient. This is incredibly unprofessional behavior and should be grounds for professional censure if it were reported, though I doubt that any such thing would happen.
I wish very much that Maria had told us at least where the subscriber was writing from. Was it in the United States? If so, which state? I wish that this incident could be investigated in more detail, though it may be that the letter writer would not want to talk about it any further.
Anyone who thinks that "end of life counseling" initiated by doctors is nothing to worry about should think about this story very soberly.