LETTER: Vote 'YES' to Death with Dignity

The following is a letter to the editor.


Dear Editor,

Question 2 on November’s ballot proposes a law, which would allow physicians to prescribe medication, via the terminally ill patient’s request, to end life. Opponents to this law fear that it will be abused and lead to convenience killings of the elderly and disabled. However, the law has many safeguards and has been successfully used in the states of Oregon and Washington.                                                                                                                                 

            Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) in 1997. Since then, only 596 patients have died from ingesting medications prescribed under the DWDA out of 935 patients who obtained a written prescription. These patients who died under DWDA were mostly age 65 years or older, well-educated, enrolled in hospice care, and had some form of health insurance. Clearly, this law is well-regulated and appropriately used by patients who have sought all other resources. As indicated by the statistics, this choice is not right for everyone and having this option may bring terminally ill patients some peace of mind.                                                                  

            As a University of Massachusetts Lowell nursing student and future nurse, it is my obligation to advocate for my patients, promote autonomy, and alleviate pain and suffering. Hospice care can only go so far. It may be able to relieve physical pain, but it can’t replace the pain a person experiences when they lose their independence, dignity, and enjoyment in life. This decision should be made by the person facing death and not by anyone else. As an American, it is their freedom and liberty to do as they wish with their life.


LAURA OSGOOD                                                                                                   


Alex Finnegan October 23, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I agree. When my g/father passed away (terrible cancer) all they did was medicate him till he was out of it for weeks. He would've preferred just to end it. I think a lot of people think it's a sin. I guess used the wrong way it would be. But in situations of certain death when a dog is in immense pain we view it as "humane" to put it down. Yet when it's a human, it's not I guess. It's baffling. Maybe we should think of it as being "dogly" towards humans. I also think Medical MJ should be allowed, It's stupid not to. Right now you can break the law and have it just for fun, you can pay a civil penalty and have it just for fun, but if you have a medical condition that you would benefit from it ( and I mean a serious one, AIDS, M.S. Fibromyalgia, Cancer etc, not eyelashes that fall out too easily) you can't have it legally…..and the governor wants to keep it that way…..brilliant. And the right to repair bill to me seems like a no brainer. You can't force me to take my car anywhere. In fact, I fix it myself. With the shop CD that I paid a lot of $ for. And not only are dealers a ripoff, but it often takes weeks or months to get an appointment. I needed a tie rod end for a corolla and I was there for a job so I asked for a price. $235 plus $75 for a front end alignment after. The part (OEM toyota cost me $17 at auto place w/tax, & using some tricks that don't force me to get a front end alignment afterwards had the part installed in 30 minutes.


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