Summer Sale Extended! 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
  • Mfume: Sun is too quick to judge Mosby

    Mfume: Sun is too quick to judge Mosby

    Last November Baltimore elected the youngest prosecutor of any major American city, and Marilyn Mosby has brought a balanced approach and a steady hand to the work of restoring a sense of justice and civility to the city's criminal justice system.

  • Dirt bikers aren't the only danger on two wheels

    Dirt bikers aren't the only danger on two wheels

    The dirt bikers aren't Baltimore's only problem ("A '12 O'Clock Boys' theme park for Baltimore," Aug. 27). There are dangers from some other motorcyclists who display their "skills" on the Jones Falls Expressway, generally late at night or at 2 in the morning. Some of these cyclists must picture...

  • Think the Red Line is expensive? What about all those cars?

    Think the Red Line is expensive? What about all those cars?

    Ben Groff very articulately expressed many of the same sentiments I have about the Red Line and transit in general ("Why killing the Red Line was a mistake," Aug. 25). His emphasis on the negative aspects on car-based transportation is especially significant. I would add that the apparent convenience...

  • Shouldn't we read the Iran deal before supporting it?

    Shouldn't we read the Iran deal before supporting it?

    I find it un-American that your paper and many in Congress can apparently make a decision to agree with the proposed Iran nuclear deal without reading it or knowing what the side agreements the UN made contain. You are all taking the word of people that have a record of distorting the facts or...

  • Why not just give Iran the bomb?

    Why not just give Iran the bomb?

    I have a great idea for an update to the Iran deal that would save a lot of time. We should go ahead and provide Iran with nuclear weapons and also some ICBMs. This will substantially shorten the time necessary for them to develop or purchase them on their own.

  • No more riots, please

    No more riots, please

    Wow. City "leaders" getting ready for protests (also known as riots), thanks for the "heads up" ("City readies for protests," Aug. 27). It's time the law-abiding, taxpaying citizens of Baltimore say loud and clear: "Enough!"

Comments
Loading
81°