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Don't legalize assisted suicide [Letter]

A few years ago, my brother, Wes Olfert, died in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. When he was first admitted to the hospital, he made the mistake of asking about assisted suicide ("Political candidates should debate the right to die," Sept. 28). I say a mistake because this set off a chain of events that interfered with his care and caused him unnecessary stress in what turned out to be the last months of his life.

By asking the question, he was given a "palliative care" consult by a doctor who heavily and continually pressured him to give up on treatment before he was ready to do so. It got so bad that Wes became fearful of this doctor and asked me and a friend to not leave him alone with her. Justified or not, Wes was afraid that she would do something to him. Some of the other doctors and staff members also seemed to write Wes off once they learned that he had asked about assisted suicide.

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With legal assisted suicide, my brother's choice was not enhanced. He was instead written off and pressured to die. Assisted suicide should not be legal.

Marlene Deakins, Tucson, Ariz.

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