I was disturbed to see that assisted suicide is being promoted in Massachusetts.
My brother, Wes Olfert, died last year in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. When he was first admitted to the hospital, he made the mistake of asking about assisted suicide. I say a mistake, because this set off a chain of events that interfered with his care and caused him unnecessary stress in what turned out to be the last months of his life.
By asking the question, he was given a "palliative care" consult by a doctor who heavily and continually pressured him to give up on treatment before he was ready to do so. It got so bad that Wes actually became fearful of this doctor and asked us (me, my other brother and a friend) to not leave him alone with her. Some of the other doctors and staff members seemed to also write Wes off once they learned that he had asked about assisted suicide.
I hope that Massachusetts does not legalize assisted suicide.
Marlene Deakins, RN
[Letter sent to the Boston Globe, but not published]