Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who will you be?

Posted on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 4:00 AM

I am a doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal. Compassion & Choices can’t deny that its so-called “aid in dying” laws are a recipe for abuse, especially regarding the elderly. So what does it do? It changes the subject by posing a counter-question about pain.

I thought this was an interesting development given the experience of Randy Stroup. He was an Oregon resident who desired drug therapy to ease his pain and extend his life. The Oregon Health Plan turned him down, offering him assisted suicide instead.

Barbara Wagner had a similar experience. The Oregon Health Plan refused to pay for a cancer drug to possibly prolong her life and offered assisted suicide instead. Compassion & Choices promotes assisted-suicide as a “choice” for patients. Ms. Wagner, who did not ask for this “choice,” did not see it that way. She said: “I’m not ready, I’m not ready to die.”

In both cases, the Oregon Health Plan’s position was only possible because assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. With assisted-suicide now at issue in Montana, will you and your families be the next Randy Stroup? Will you be the next Barbara Wagner?

Kenneth Stevens

Sherwood, Ore.

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