Time to pass “death with dignity”

A bill to allow terminally ill patients the right to physician-assisted suicide is getting a serious hearing in the Legislature this year after an absence of several sessions.

The political waters have calmed since the last time it came up and Oregon has had more years of experience with its law allowing lethal prescriptions for end-of-life patients, upon which our law would be based, with little evidence of abuse. It’s time for Hawai‘i to extend this right.

The law has actually been used in Oregon less than was expected; mostly, it has served to comfort patients that the option is there if they reach the point where unbearable pain and disability rob their lives of all quality.

Opponents worry that the right to die could become a duty to die for elderly and disabled people whose lives are deemed burdensome by those who would benefit from their death.

But the bill before the Legislature isn’t a euthanasia bill, and few advocates of physician-assisted suicide support mercy killings in which the decision to end life is made by anybody except informed individual patients who are certified to be near death, have gone through a waiting period, received counseling on other alternatives and been screened for mental illness, treatable depression and outside pressure.

Overriding other considerations is that it’s a choice most of us would want for ourselves when our time comes. We can no longer justify denying the comfort to those who need it now.

With no universal right answer on a matter so personal, the decision rightfully belongs to the individual, not the state.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Volcanic Ash

Tags:

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Comments on “Time to pass “death with dignity””

  1. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Clearly given the report in this morning’s paper, the vast majority of people who testified disagree with you – and convinced the panel to kill the bill.

    Why is it that the only choices I have are to suffer through an agonizing death (my dad who died of liver cancer) or to throw myself out of a window of a 30-story building (my aunt after being diagnozed with breast cancer) or to buy questionable drugs off the street (my cousin who was diagnosed with AIDS and spent the next three months in a coma from the bad drugs) or blow my head off with a gun (my best friend from the first grade until age 16 after being diagnosed with brain cancer) or put weights on my legs and jump overboard two miles from shore (my uncle three years after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

    Why shouldn’t people be allowed to kill themselves with dignity. All the so-called healthcare providers are interested in is making money off the dying.

  2. Michael Says:

    Jack Kevorkian?
    Jack the Ripper?
    Both “Doctors”?
    “Assisting” in ones death?
    By choice or not. What is the difference?
    Death be not Proud!
    Make a Living Will.

  3. Guido Sarducci Says:

    The suffereing of a very small number of people who are physically unable to kill themselves is being used as an excuse to advance a system which will corrupt the relationship between patient and doctor, the relationship between Generalist and Specialist, and will be used by elder abusers to complete their crimes.

    Hawaii’s second Saint will be Mother Marianne Cope whose work following St Damien at Kalaupapa launched the real death with dignity movement–hospices.

  4. CITYLIFE9 Says:

    BE CAREFULL WHAT YOU ASK FOR. NEXT THING THE BODY PARTS BUSINESS WILL GO THROUGH THE ROOF.THAT SAID, I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY SOME PEOPLE WANT TO END THERE SUFFERING WITH NO CHANCE OF SURVIVAL.THERE WOULD REALLY HAVE TO BE SOME EXPEDIANT CHECKS AND BALANCES SO QUESTIONABLE DOCTORS DONT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SYSTEM IN THE WORST WAY.


Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: