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

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).

I am opposed to physician-assisted suicide not only in Maryland but throughout America. Hospice and palliative care can reduce the demand for those steps. Cicely Saunders, who founded the esteemed St. Christopher's Hospice in London, a treatment facility for dying patients, reported almost no requests for euthanasia when pain was significantly reduced and feelings of loneliness were addressed.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia was carried out before a law was passed legalizing it. But with the law, Dutch physicians committed euthanasia without patients' consent or approval by a second physician, even though they were required to get it. No wonder there are elders in Dutch nursing facilities who fear what their doctors might do without their consent.

Finally, our health care system, which is increasingly focused on cost-effectiveness, may be pushing patients down a slippery slope by identifying them as not having lives worth living. Indeed, with the corporatization of health care, we are witnessing many mercantile practices that threaten the professional ethics embodied in the Hippocratic Oath that have served us well 2,500 years.

Let's put to use the new understanding of hospice and palliative or comfort care that in recent years has created a meaningful paradigm shift for better end-of-life care.

William Reichel, Washington

The writer is affiliated with the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Bobby Jindal and common sense on gun control

    Bobby Jindal and common sense on gun control

    It was good to read that a Republican candidate for president, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is finally stating the obvious about gun laws — tougher gun laws can prevent tragedies.

  • Just cooperate with police

    Just cooperate with police

    I have watched the video in question several times, and the police officer did not drag Sandra Bland out of the car ("Sandra Bland didn't deserve to be in jail, much less die there July 23). You are missing the point entirely. She was pulled over for something illegal.

  • ISIS not a byproduct of carbon dioxide

    ISIS not a byproduct of carbon dioxide

    One can expect former Gov. Martin O'Malley to develop ludicrous postulates to garner the support of the radical left. The Sun may support Mr. O'Malley's bid for the presidency, but to promote a hypothesis that ISIS is an outcome of global warming is beyond the pale of credibility ("ISIS and climate...

  • How Baltimore might rise

    How Baltimore might rise

    As a longtime activist of Baltimore, I am tired of the same old, same old. I keep asking myself, "What keeps me here?" Will the racist and classist ways we rebuild our cities continue with a public transcript of "gentrification benefits everyone" even while rents continue to increase, pushing black...

  • 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...

Comments
Loading
84°