Parikh defends Emanuel of ‘death panel’ fame

Pediatrician and blogger Rahul Parikh published an defense of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an Obama adviser and the right wing’s latest target, on Salon.com. Opponents have used a few out-of-context quotes from Emanuel’s articles on medical ethics to accuse him of providing justification for so-called “death panels” that folks like Sarah Palin are alleging will make pronouncements on who does and doesn’t deserve health care (Salon’s Alex Koppelman rounds up some of the most popular arguments here).

Parikh paints a picture of Emanuel, whose brother Rahm has also received a fair amount of right-wing vitriol, as an uncompromisingly realistic but fundamentally moral and helpful man who has helped doctors trapped in the daily grind to better understand the bigger moral picture that comes with their particular calling.

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Wall Street Journal health blogger Jacob Goldstein points out a WSJ editorial that Emanuel wrote in opposition to euthanasia. In it, Emanuel argues that patients choose assisted suicide based more on mental than physical illness.

For the vast majority of dying patients, Emanuel wrote, “legalizing euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide would be of no benefit. To the contrary, it would be a way of avoiding the complex and arduous efforts required of doctors and other health-care providers to ensure that dying patients receive humane, dignified care.”

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