Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mothers death provided painful example of need to stop assisted suicide.

The following letter was published online by the Montana Missoulian on August 5, 2014.

By Gail Bell - Bozeman Montana

The July 25 guest column by Sara Myers and Dustin Hankinson begins with a discussion of pain, “great pain,” specifically. The paragraph goes on to use the phrase “great pain” to justify “death with dignity,” meaning assisted suicide and euthanasia.

With their column, I couldn’t help but think of my mother’s last years and the decision of others that it was time for her to die. Pain was used as a justification for increases in her medication – to get the job done. This happened three times before she finally died in the hospital on Sept. 6, 2010. The coroner’s report, case No. 100906, lists the cause of death as congestive heart failure with oxygen deprivation and “fentanyl therapy.” The manner of death is listed as “accident.”

Fentanyl is reported “to be 80 to 200 times as potent as morphine.” It’s also well known that fentanyl patch problems cause overdoses, injuries and deaths (Link to article). A 100 mcg/hour fentanyl patch has a range within 24 hours of 1.9-3.8 ng/mL. Mom’s death result was 2.7 ng/mL on/or about 48 hours.

A complaint was filed by me with the Montana Board of Medical Examiners, No. 2012-069-MED. The screening panel dismissed the complaint with prejudice, which means that the board may not consider the complaint in the future.

Since then, I have talked with other people who have had similar experiences involving the death of a family member via a medical overdose. (Link to article).

The column by Myers and Hankinson states, “I believe one should have control of one’s life including its ending.“

I agree with that statement. However, my mother did not have that control. Others dictated for her. 

Please rethink legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia so that we do not give others even more power to kill.

1 comment:

Karen DeVito said...

YES, I agree this is horrible! When I had to take my Mom to the hospital for dehydration & bladder infections which caused her not to eat, all the Drs. except one GOOD DR. wanted to send her back to the Nursing home to die rather than put her on IV for a couple of days! Their reason was that she had no quality of life because she had altzeimer's. BUT I begged to differ because when she was NOT dehydrated she was witty, sang hymns with great memory & was a pleasure to be with! She lived 2 extra yrs because my sisters & I checked on her & I fed her a good dinner many days at the nursing home where the care givers didn't have time to make sure she had enough to eat & drink. She would have died 2 yrs before if our family had not kept close watch on her!!