Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
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
  • Hogan cuts to worker salaries are unwise
    Hogan cuts to worker salaries are unwise

    Your article highlighting the cuts proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan in his first budget ("Hogan plan would cut budgets for years to come," Jan. 26) shows a rather meager attempt to "Change Maryland" for the better — a campaign promise he continued to trumpet throughout his inaugural address.

  • Obamacare has raised costs
    Obamacare has raised costs

    I read with interest the news regarding the increased cost of drugs for those who have signed on with the Affordable Care Act. I am one of those who went from a co-pay of zero to a monthly cost of $299.62 for medication to control a chronic illness, ulcerative colitis. There is no cure and...

  • Restore limits on power plant pollution
    Restore limits on power plant pollution

    Why has Gov. Larry Hogan blocked the regulations to reduce power plant emissions agreed upon with the industry and the Maryland Department of the Environment ("Hogan moves quickly to block controversial environmental regulations," Jan. 21)? Pollution from coal burning power plants endangers the...

  • Sprinklers could have saved family
    Sprinklers could have saved family

    Over the past two weeks, there has been much media coverage regarding the tragic dwelling fire that occurred on the morning of Jan. 19, 2015 on Childs Point Road in Annapolis ("Fire department releases 911 calls for Annapolis mansion fire," Jan. 29).

  • Md. leaders must stand up for the bay
    Md. leaders must stand up for the bay

    As an out-of-state University of Maryland student, family and friends back home like to ask if I've tried crabs or oysters, foods that come from the Chesapeake Bay.

  • On environment, Hogan should be like his dad
    On environment, Hogan should be like his dad

    Dan Rodricks reminds us that care for the environment used to be a bipartisan affair ("Hogan missed dad's lesson on pollution," Jan. 27). At his inauguration, Maryland's new governor rightly praised his former-Congressman father (Lawrence J. Hogan Sr.) for teaching him "more about integrity...

Comments
Loading