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"Death With Dignity" Law Is Anything But

My mother passed away in February from terminal cancer. As her breathing became labored due to pain, they increased her morphine until she was comfortable. When she suffered side effects of the morphine, they reduced it. 

  Those last weeks spent with her were very precious to me as I held her hand and cared for her. The hospice nurses told me that they are skilled in pain control and there should be no fear of excessive pain during death.

   I am not sure why our legislature has a bill to legalize assisted suicide before them, especially when the entire state voted this down in a recent election. 

  In Oregon, where they have legalized suicide, untreated pain is not among the top reasons for taking lethal drugs; in 2016, 90% said they were “less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable” and were “losing autonomy,” and 49% cited being a “burden” on family, friends or caregivers (compared to 48% in 2015 and an average of 40% in previous years).

  It seems solitary, dependent and chronically-ill seniors are prime candidates for assisted suicide. Some health care providers have killed patients because relatives have said they should die. It has gone from assisted suicide to homicide.

   The American Medical Association and Massachusetts Medical Society oppose this bill. Why do we want to encourage doctors to break their oath that says do no harm? There is a big difference between letting nature take its course and forcing premature death. 

   Last Saturday there was a march in Boston by those who lost a loved one from suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death of young people aged 15 to 34. 

  A “death with dignity” law is anything but, as it will encourage feelings of worthlessness and the treatment of people as utilitarian, that is when they find you not doing something they find functional, you can be thrown away.

Chris Petroff

Riverbend Dr.  

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