Benjamin and Gumpert Make Their Cases on Euthanasia, 1950.
Bigots and sticklers for legal technicalities will always try to prevent or punish humanitarian action by an individual physician. Since the decision rests with him alone, the doctor will rarely ask for the consent of either the patient or the relatives. The mercy killing is therefore done furtively, when it should be done candidly, serenely, and law-fully.*Euthanasia has been called "pagan" and "indecent." One may well ask, which is better-pagan mercifulness, indecent compassion, or devout inhumanity?
The weapons of medicine for fighting pain and alleviating unbearable suffering have in-creased beyond any expectation. There is, indeed, no place for unbearable pain in modern medicine. If people die in torment it is because qualified medical or nursing care is unavailable. I have often been appalled by the undignified and careless way in which people are forced to die. Help in making birth easier is today a matter of routine, and almost no child comes into the world without expert assistance. Dying is often very diffi-cult. It seems to me there ought to be well-trained death helpers among doctors and nurses just as there are birth helpers. But what is needed is wise guidance in the tre-mendous human experience of death, not the fulfillment of a more or less self-imposed death sentence by euthanasia.