Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Right-to-die legislation needed in Maryland

It's encouraging that the organizers of the Death Cafe event are dedicating themselves to helping people prepare for the death that will come to us all ("Lively discussion dominates Death Cafe," June 26).

My own experiences tell me that this kind of preparation — and the discussions that are part of it — are sorely needed. The death of my husband almost seven years ago and my own diagnosis with metastatic cancer two-and-a-half years ago have put the issue of death at the forefront of my mind.

I was struck by one member of the group who didn't want to discuss the issue of being allowed to end one's own life. But as a result of my personal experiences and my four decades as a clinical social worker, including 20 years in a private psychotherapy practice, I'm one of a growing number of people who want to bring to Maryland the option of Aid in Dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

The Aid in Dying option, also known as Death with Dignity, allows a physician to prescribe life-ending medication that will bring about a peaceful death at the time of the person's choosing and in the circumstances that are important to her or him.

The Aid in Dying option is now legal in the states of Oregon, Washington, Montana and, most recently, Vermont. A number of other states are considering legislation to add this end-of-life option.

I'm a proponent of the wonderful strides that have been made in end-of-life care through hospice and palliative care services. However, not all pain and suffering can be alleviated by currently available means. Many people continue to suffer and to end their lives in hospitals having undergone extensive treatments that are difficult to experience and are not life-saving or life-enhancing.

Some also end their lives themselves in more aversive ways. Those who care about the dying person often suffer the trauma of end-of-life circumstances. Personal finances can be depleted. It's well known that the largest portion of health care expenditures are made in the last years and months of a person's life.

I'm so glad to hear about the Death Café movement coming to Maryland and that the discussion of end-of-life issues is advancing. We need to consider the issue of exercising self-determination as part of the discussion.

Catherine Weber, Annapolis

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Better care, not euthanasia, should be the goal of end-of-life treatment

    I was dismayed to read Catherine Weber's letter calling for right-to-die legislation ("Right-to-die legislation needed in Maryland," July 1).

  • Lively discussion dominates Death Cafe

    Lively discussion dominates Death Cafe

    First of its kind event takes place at Belvedere Square

  • Baltimore needs BRT

    Baltimore needs BRT

    Recently, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford announced that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) should be considered as an alternative instead of the now-shelved Red Line light rail system ("Who knew Hogan, Rutherford were such transit geeks," July 15). Why? Costs. Light rail is extremely expensive — to the tune of...

  • Orioles: No gnomes, please

    Orioles: No gnomes, please

    In light of the Orioles recent near-death spiral, many fans have pinned the blame on the Buck Showalter Garden Gnome giveaway ("Buck Showalter garden gnome briefly causes long lines at Camden Yards," June 28). True, their record since the promotion has been dismal and Buck Showalter was warned...

  • Baltimore remains a fiber desert

    Baltimore remains a fiber desert

    Like Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Smarter Baltimore draft report, the commentary, "Broadband for Baltimore" (July 27), has solid recommendations for building high speed Internet in Baltimore. But like that report, it ignores the principal reason that Baltimore City doesn't have broadband. Verizon's...

  • The evil of Iran

    The evil of Iran

    We sat 5,000-plus strong in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District of Columbia for three intense days of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) 10th summit on July 12-14. We came from all across the nation (including 95 members from other countries and 500 college students). We...

Comments
Loading
73°