Regarding the Sept. 23 editorial “The right to choose”:
California’s End of Life Option Act is a physician-assisted suicide bill. Terms such as “end of life option” and “right-to-die” are confusing and obscure what is at stake when physicians are asked to facilitate suicide.
The American College of Physicians is deeply sympathetic to the concerns and fears patients and their families have at the end of life. Physician-assisted suicide is not the answer. The ACP sees it as abandonment of the dying patient. It is not the role of the physician to give individuals control over the cause and timing of death — the medicalization of suicide.
Society needs to ensure that all patients have access to palliative care and hospice services at the end of life rather than promote suicide. The highest priorities for care of dying patients should be excellent palliative care, including alleviation of pain and other symptoms, and strong support for the patient’s right to refuse treatment, including life-sustaining treatment.
Wayne Riley, Philadelphia
The writer is president of the American College of Physicians.