The state Legislature did well when it rejected previous bills to legalize assisted suicide; it should do so again this session. Assisted suicide is an inherently discriminatory and dangerous public policy. The supposed “safeguards” are hollow and these laws send the message that terminal patients are better off dead than alive.
I lost my 36-year-old husband to terminal brain cancer a little over a year ago. After a seizure sent him to the hospital in May 2014, we were told that he had the deadliest form of brain cancer. The neurosurgeon said it was inoperable and gave him four months to live. Three different doctors told us there was nothing we could do.
Thankfully, we didn’t accept their prognoses and had great success with treatment, JJ lived nearly four good years beyond his initial diagnosis. How many people prematurely end their lives through assisted suicide who could have gone on to live months, years and decades longer?
Terminal patients are also at risk for prematurely ending their lives because many struggle with fear and depression. If assisted suicide was legal when JJ was diagnosed, he could have had lethal drugs on his nightstand when he was struggling physically and emotionally and questioned if life was worth living. He would have missed out on four good years with me and our sons. These laws abandon vulnerable patients who often experience periods of depression after diagnosis.
New York City
Community Relations Advocate, Patients Rights Action Fund
Source: “Letter: Assisted suicide dangerous policy“, TimesUnion.com