The District of Columbia recently became the seventh “suicide” jurisdiction in the country when the D.C. council passed the Death with Dignity Act in February. No one has yet to kill themselves under the law using a massive, prescribed dose of sedatives, and it may be that the law will be blocked by Congress before anyone has the chance.
As a physician, it is no surprise to me that Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), the congressman spearheading the effort to repeal D.C.’s assisted suicide law, is a doctor. Some of the most ardent opponents of physician-prescribed suicide are doctors and nurses with plenty of experience accompanying patients through the shock of a terminal diagnosis and the struggle of the last months of life. Becoming an agent of your own patient’s death is directly at odds with a vocation designed to prolong and enhance lives.