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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic doctor is saying doctors at secular hospitals across the country are engaging in de facto euthanasia of patients on a routine basis by administering excessive doses of morphine. Even more alarming, he verified that this action was a common occurrence at Catholic hospitals in Florida where he has worked.
Church Militant asked Dr. David McKalip, M.D., a neurological surgeon and a practicing Catholic, during an interview this week if he could confirm rumors that hospitals were euthanizing terminally ill patients by intentionally giving them excessive doses of morphine.
"That happens all the time," he told Church Militant. "I see it all the time, literally every week."
Asked if he knew that this was occurring at Catholic hospitals, McKalip responded, "Absolutely." He added, "I can verify that I have seen active euthanasia with morphine at Catholic hospitals where I have practiced."
McKalip wanted to make clear he couldn't speak for all Catholic hospitals but only for hospitals at which he had worked. He wasn't able to make any blanket statement. "Supporting the notion that most Catholic hospitals are doing that, I can't say that without more data," he clarified.
The doctor was willing to stake his reputation on this claim: "I'm more than happy to go on record regarding these evil acts I'm seeing happen in hospitals."
In laying out what is morally permissible for Catholics to choose in such situations, McKalip commented that Catholics can morally refuse such things as brain surgery to remove a tumor or a ventilator tube. They can also request morphine for pain.
"This is all defined in the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," he explained. "But that's not what we're seeing these days. We're seeing active euthanasia with morphine in hospitals all over America."
Generally it's not the patient but members of the patient's family who communicate to the doctor how things are to be handled in this regard. McKalip noted:
The general unspoken understanding is that "It's time for my father to die." And as a doctor you understand that you are given a blank check to do whatever it takes to so-called "keep him comfortable." The doctors, once they get that blank check, they can do whatever they want. They don't need a discussion about the dosage.
"They are also being told inaccurate information about the patient's neurologic prognosis from nurses and non-neurologic specialists who are not qualified to give those forecasts on the outcome," he went on.
The doctor spoke of an incident in which a patient was responsive and making progress in recovering from a brain injury. Once the family signed the form that said to withdraw medical care, the patient declined:
The doctor started giving him way beyond anything needed to keep anyone comfortable. ... First of all, they should have an obvious demonstration of pain, which the patient didn't. Secondly, it's normally in the range of every couple of hours that you're going to give some morphine, and you're going to give low doses. But in this case, they gave it every 30 minutes.
He continued, "I'm telling you, that was active euthanasia for that man, who, if we'd given him a little more time, would likely have recovered well." And this wasn't a rare incident by any means, stressed the doctor.
"That's just one example of clear-cut euthanasia," he told Church Militant. "But every week now I see a family and I know what's going to happen."
"I say, 'I want to warn you someone is going to tell you this is hopeless and they're going to tell you to stop everything,'" he commented. "And they often say, 'Oh, we already heard that. You are the first doctor who gave us any hope.'"
Oftentimes it's the families who want their relative to die, he affirmed. "There are a lot of families, though, that have hardened their hearts; they don't have any problem stopping care and believing what they want to hear about the prognosis."
Church Militant asked McKalip why doctors are so ready to kill their patients. His answer was stunning. To find out how doctors benefit from euthanasia, stay tuned for the next installment: Why Catholic Hospitals Kill Patients.