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'Death with dignity' presents thorny issues for patients, families and doctors [Letter]

SuicideEuthanasia

I'm writing in response to the letter "Maryland needs Mizeur's death with dignity law" (April 27) by Alan D. Eason.

Mr. Eason makes a very controversial statement when he says that "Maryland law should be changed to allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults to legally choose aid in dying when palliative and hospice care can no longer provide, for them, a satisfactory life."

The key phrase is "mentally competent." A person can be not competent for a certain period of time and then may be competent after the situation subsides, such as any medical crisis. This is particularly true for elderly people. Also there will be religious beliefs for the physicians who will be involved. Actually, physician assisted suicide will make physicians more vulnerable to make the decision, which will be very controversial unless clear laws are made to protect physicians from the family members, etc., for legal actions.

I agree with views of another letter by Mary Catalfamo that "State law should ensure that the terminally ill have easy, immediate access to good hospice and palliative care, a suitable array of painkillers and treatment for depression and mental problems."

Finally, we should be talking about better quality of life with better care and treatment and not the suicide. "Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood." This quote was well said by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Dr. Mahendra S. Khera, Sykesville

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