“If I wanted to, I could easily get a doctor to say that I meet the criteria for assisted suicide. [But] assisted suicide would be entirely inappropriate for someone like me.”
As a three-year old, Conrad Reynoldson was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Still, Conrad has lived many years past the prognosis he was given. To this day, as a man in his mid-thirties, doctors who have never met him will start a meeting remarking how shocked they are that he is “not dead yet”—an attitude toward him that exhibits the tendency in medicine to view people with disabilities as fringe anomalies rather than persons worthy of as much attention, support and medical care as others.
What would happen if Conrad, an established civil rights lawyer who was told he would die by his teens, wanted to end his life? Would a doctor in favor of assisted suicide offer him the same support and suicide prevention services he would offer a man without Conrad’s condition? Where discrimination in medicine exists already, assisted suicide ensures that it will be deadly for people with disabilities.
The New York State Legislature should reject physician-assisted suicide legislation.