Monday, October 29, 2012

"We're better than that"

Sen. Edward Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, opposes assisted suicide in a letter to Massachusetts voters:
.... Question 2 turns his vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide — not patient care — as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life. We’re better than that. We should expand palliative care, pain management, nursing care and hospice, not trade the dignity and life of a human being for the bottom line.

Most of us wish for a good and happy death, with as little pain as possible, surrounded by loved ones, perhaps with a doctor and/or clergyman at our bedside. But under Question 2, what you get instead is a prescription for up to 100 capsules, dispensed by a pharmacist, taken without medical supervision, followed by death, perhaps alone. That seems harsh and extreme to me.

Question 2 is supposed to apply to those with a life expectancy of six months or less. But even doctors admit that’s unknowable. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he had only two to four months to live....

Because that first dire prediction of life expectancy was wrong, I have 15 months of cherished memories — memories of family dinners and songfests with our children and grandchildren; memories of laughter and, yes, tears; memories of life that neither I nor my husband would have traded for anything in the world.

When the end finally did come — natural death with dignity — my husband was home, attended by his doctor, surrounded by family and our priest. .... [more]
And nurses, who attend people nearing death each day are considering a resolution opposing assisted suicide:
The American Nursing Association has a draft opinion out reiterating its opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is well worth the read. From the draft opinion:
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is strongly opposed to nurses’ participation in assisted suicide and active euthanasia.... Nurses have an obligation to provide humane, comprehensive, and compassionate care that respects the rights of patients but upholds the standards of the profession in the presence of chronic, debilitating illness and at end-of-life.
The ANA notes that the lives of the terminally ill have just as much value as the lives of other people.... [more]
Thank You, Vicki Kennedy!! She’s a Voice Against Assisted Suicide in Massachusetts - By Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner - National Review Online, Nurses Set to Oppose Assisted Suicide - By Wesley J. Smith - Human Exceptionalism - National Review Online