There is a terrible mental illness called Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), aka “amputee wannabe” because the sufferer becomes obsessed with having healthy limbs cut off. I have written before that some are actually arguing that a proper treatment for the disorder would be to cut off the healthy limb as requested. And now, an article in Neuroethics, urges this very course. From the article by Christopher James Ryan, Department of Psychiatry, University of Sydney, Australia:
When faced with a patient requesting the amputation of a healthy limb, clinicians should make a careful diagnostic assessment. If the patient is found to have body integrity identity disorder, amputation of the healthy limb may be appropriate after a trial of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and after careful consideration of the risks, benefits and unknowns of all possible treatment alternatives. The results of treatment trials should be published to allow growth in our knowledge of the condition.This too is an aspect of the culture of death and nihilism. And as is becoming increasingly common in these matters, doctors who have a moral problem, Dr. Ryan suggests, can opt out but must be complicit in the deed by finding a doctor willing to do the sawing:
Sufferers of BIID might be relieved to know that members of the medical profession will take their concerns seriously and that, after careful deliberation, elective amputation of their troubling limb is a real possibility.
As is the case in termination of pregnancy, dissenting doctors should be under no obligation to proceed with an amputation in these circumstances, but are under an obligation to refer the patient to another doctor whom they believe might proceed with the amputation if all the caveats are metSo, this is what we are becoming. In the name of autonomy, in the face of obsession and profound mental illness, learned professionals are arguing very seriously that physicians should be allowed to cut off healthy limbs. But such a course would not only harm the individual—harm properly understood—but it would be devastating blow to society, reflecting a culture that would willingly abandon the most disturbed among us to their psychoses and emotional demons. But expect me to be called uncompassionate for saying so.