Saturday, November 3, 2012

Doctor-assisted suicide won't bring "peace and comfort"

"The incantatory phrase, 'in a humane and dignified manner,' is incessantly repeated throughout the pages of the proposal of Question 2. It scares me."

Dear Editor:

Suicide's tragedy is in its failure, on both the personal level of caring and the societal level of caring for people who are not going to get well. The training of doctors and nurses, geared toward the recovery of health, can engender frustration in the face of death, a defeat in the battle for a cure. Dying is fearsome, not death itself. In the abstract, one can be tempted toward ending one's life, especially where there is physical and/or mental suffering. On the practical level, suicide is never the answer, is never a comfort, always leaving distressing questions afterward. Killing attacks life and is an affront to the art and science of medicine.

  The incantatory phrase, "in a humane and dignified manner," is incessantly repeated throughout the pages of the proposal of Question 2. It scares me. It goes against all my experience in hospice (with Equinox Hospice 25 years ago, here in Brookline). My four years with dying people led me to change jobs (from food service to home health work). I can tell beautiful stories of the wonderful "not depressing" things that happen when folks who are ease around dying people enter the situation, bringing relief, making a huge difference, even in the face of the inevitable end. Hospice expertise eliminates apprehension, relieves pain, emotional and spiritual suffering, and greatly helps family and friends, even professionals, as well.

The Hemlock Society, a/k/a Compassion and Choices, claims their proposed law is for the good of the commonwealth. Killing is always destructive. Suicide is a lie. Peace and comfort do not ever come from suicide. Vote NO on Question 2! 

Ann E. Stitt