Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Don't Make Washington's Mistake

Dear Board of Medical Examiners:

My wife and I operate two adult family homes in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. I am writing to urge you to not make Washington's mistake.

Our assisted suicide law was passed via a ballot initiative in November 2008. During the election, that law was promoted as a right of individual people to make their own choices. That has not been our experience. We have also noticed a shift in the attitudes of doctors and nurses towards our typically elderly clients, to eliminate their choices.

Four days after the election, an adult child of one of our clients asked about getting the pills (to kill the father). It wasn't the father saying that he wanted to die.

Since the act passed, we have also noticed that some members of the medical profession are quick to bring out the morphine to begin comfort care without considering treatment. Sometimes they do this on their own without telling the client and/or the family member in charge of the client's care.

Since our law was passed, I have also observed that some medical professionals are quick to write off older people as having no quality of life whereas in years past, most of the professionals we dealt with found joy in caring for them. Our clients reciprocated that joy and respect.

Someday, we too will be old. I, personally, want to be cared for and have my choices respected. I, for one, am quite uncomfortable with these developments. Don't make our mistake.

Juan Carlos Benedetto