Regarding Catherine Weber’s July 6 Local Opinions commentary, “Controlling the end of life”:
I am a doctor in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal. I was exposed to the assisted suicide issue in 1982 shortly before my first wife died of cancer. We had just visited her doctor. As we were leaving, he suggested that she overdose herself on medication. I still remember the look of horror on her face. She said, “Ken, he wants me to kill myself.”
Our assisted-suicide law was passed in 1997. In 2000, one of my patients was adamant that she would use our law. Over three or four visits, I stalled her and ultimately persuaded her to be treated instead. Nearly 14 years later, she is thrilled to be alive.
The combination of assisted-suicide legalization and prioritized medical care based on prognosis has created a danger for my patients on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). Helpful treatments are often not covered but the plan will cover the patient’s suicide.
Protect your health care. Please tell your legislators and other public officials to say “no” to assisted suicide.
Kenneth Stevens, Sherwood, Ore.