Monday, August 18, 2014

Mother was dehydrated to death; assisted suicide will lead to more patient abuse.

This letter by Kate Kelly was published on August 18 in the Montana Revalli Republic

The letter by Gail Bell rang true to my own experience (“Mother’s death provided painful, personal example of need to stop assisted suicide,” Aug. 5).

In 2009, my mother died a painful death. It wasn’t from her condition or a disease. You see, my mother was starved and dehydrated to death with massive doses of morphine after she’d had a mild stroke. It had not mattered that she had been trying to speak and had indicated that she wanted water. The family member holding power of attorney, affirmed by a young doctor, had decided that it was time for her to die.

I watched my mother die, day and night for six days. She tried to fight, to wake up, but to no avail, and she suffered. To use the vernacular of assisted suicide proponents, she did not get her choice.

If these terrible deaths happen when aid in dying (assisted suicide and euthanasia) is not legal, what will happen if these practices are made legal? Doctors will have even more power to take away patient choice. If we can’t stop the abuse now, how will we be able to stop the abuse then?

In 2011, I published my mother’s story, which can be viewed here.

I have since been contacted by adult children in both the U.S. and Canada whose parents were involuntarily starved and dehydrated to death. I hope that this practice can be stopped before it is too late. I offer my heartfelt condolences to Gail Bell.

Kate Kelly,
Delta, British Columbia, Canada

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