Patients need care, not means to end life

I am a professor of Family Medicine and have practiced in Oregon for 34 years. I write to provide some insight on the issue of assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon, and which has been proposed for legalization in Connecticut. Our law applies to "terminal" patients predicted to have less than six months to live. In practice, this idea has been stretched to include chronic conditions such as "chronic lower respiratory disease" and "diabetes." Persons with these conditions are considered terminal if they are dependent on their medications, such as insulin, to live. They are unlikely die in less than six months unless they don't receive their medications. Yet, with treatment they will have years (even decades) to live. Our law then subtly encourages people with years to live, to throw away their lives. By labeling people with chronic conditions "terminal," there will be pressure to deny such persons appropriate medical treatment.

Is this health care? Do you want this to happen to you or your family? I think the people of Connecticut deserve better. They deserve care - not killing.

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