State should not legalize physician-assisted suicide

State should not legalize physician-assisted suicide

 

Legalization of physician-prescribed lethal medication for terminal patients, even on request, is bad medicine.

This is eliminating the sufferer, not the suffering. It is both unnecessary and dangerous.

Twenty years’ experience in Oregon shows that “Inadequate pain control or concern about it” is a distant sixth most-cited reason for patients to choose lethal medication, and even that statistic mixes current pain with anticipation of future pain.

Palliative medicine has excellent pain control techniques. We need to use them aggressively. At institutions such as Calvary Hospital in New York City, dedicated to care of the dying, there is no pain that is intractable, as testified to me personally by Dr. Michael Brescia, their Executive Medical Director. By day two there, no one is asking for death because, as Brescia notes, the patients get both pain relief and love. Those techniques can and should be available throughout New York State…

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