November 13, 2011
Comments posted in the Telegram & Gazette after a recent article pushing a referendum on physician-assisted suicide ran toward, “Oh yes, this really should be our right.” A prudent person would think it through, and likely say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Under this proposed act doctors would be forced to lie on death certificates since it would prohibit listing suicide as the cause of death. How long before a right to die would become a duty to die?
In the context of pressure to cut Medicaid and Medicare costs, how long before the choice would be made not by the person but by others?
The Hemlock Society (locally now Compassion & Choices, thinking you won’t see through that) wants depression redefined so as not to be an obstacle to prescribing lethal drugs and to marginalize the influence of organizations who represent persons with disabilities, because they oppose physician-assisted suicide. If you had a loved one suffering from depression and at that time wanted to commit suicide, would the best thing for their dignity be to assist them in doing so? Or should we discourage suicide in all its forms and instead focus on helping those in need?
Adequate pain relief procedures — certainly including medication even if such may result in death. Yes. But with the intent to cause death? No.
Please think it through carefully.
JAMES F. COSGROVE