Thursday, October 23, 2008

Letter to the Editor

My husband reads the newspaper. From the front page to the last. Me, never. So I count on him to keep me up to date and informed. Well, a few days ago he came home and read me a letter to the editor that he knew I would find interesting. Here is what it said:

I was extremely disappointed to see the Herald's editorial of Sept. 28 supporting Initiative 1000, the so-called "Death with Dignity" initiative.

Physicians have accepted a calling to provide care, healing, comfort and compassion. Assisting in suicide is a complete reversal of the proper physician role toward patients. We are in deep trouble when we must choose our physicians and healers on the basis of whether they will enable us to live or enable us to die. Once patients are allowed to commit suicide, there is decreased incentive for physicians to provide the care that can result in true death with dignity.

Interestingly, studies have shown that physical pain is often not the predominant motivation for patients opting for assisted suicide. Rather, understandable fears such as loss of autonomy, dignity and enjoyable life events are high on the list for people choosing assisted suicide.
Regarding any type of pain, let's emphasize killing the pain and not the patient.

I would agree with the Herald on one point: Initiative 1000 is certainly mislabeled. It's not a "Right to Die," it's a right to kill, and it's a horrible idea.

We as a profession should never participate in it, and we as a society should never condone it.

A well written letter. A letter I agree with. So why is this letter so interesting to me?? This letter happens to be written by the same physician who I was referred to when Elisabeth was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at 16 weeks. The same physician who said many parents aren't prepared to 'deal' with a child like Elisabeth. The same physician who asked if I wanted to continue on with the pregnancy knowing the baby was destined for a life of handicaps and surgeries. The same physician who thought I should terminate Elisabeth.

Does anyone else see the contradiction here??

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