Monday, November 5, 2012

Waltham News Tribune endorses a NO vote on Question 2 (assisted suicide) in Massachusetts.

The following article was published by the Waltham News Tribune under the title: Endorsement, Death with Dignity is not good enough.

There have been at least 9 newspapers who have come out against ballot Question 2 in Massachusetts. The article in the Waltham News Tribune is interesting because they reject ballot Question 2 because it doesn't go far enough.

Endorsement: Death with Dignity is not good enough.

Waltham News Tribune - November 5, 2012

There is perhaps nothing more personal in life than death, and for such a personal thing, almost no one gets to make their own decision about how they’ll confront it. For most of us, death will come with errands left to run, work left to do, and loved ones left behind to mourn us.

For people who contract terminal illnesses, however, death is often a relief. It is the end, not just of a life, but of the pain that has dictated the final days, months, even years of that life. Death is not a shadowy figure hovering over them like a cloud, but often a door to walk through that releases them from pain and misery.

The proponents of the ballot question that will ask voters this fall whether a terminally ill patient should have the right to request medication that will end his or her life say, on the “Dignity 2012” website, “this is a decision for terminally ill patients alone, not politicians, government, religious leaders, or anyone else.”

Question 2’s opponents say the law, which would allow a physician to administer the life-ending drugs, goes against a physician’s mission, against the Hippocratic Oath’s requirement to “first, do no harm.”

On that point, we do not agree. Avoidance of doing harm and prolonging life are not, by definition, one and the same. In many cases, of course, simple life preservation is the doctor’s No. 1 job. We feel, however, that a physician’s work is predicated not just on making us well, but making our quality of life better.

Opponents also cite the 17 percent of patients given six months or less to live who end up surviving well past that threshold, but the 83 percent of patients who die within that time-frame, often suffering throughout, are a very compelling counter to that argument.

However, the opponents of Question 2 point out that, as written, the legislation would allow for patients to request euthanasic drugs without the consultation of a psychiatrist or palliative care expert, and it doesn’t provide enough safeguards against its abuse. As the Massachusetts Medical Society points out, “enforcement provisions, investigation authority, oversight or data verification are not included in the act. A witness to the patient’s signed request could also be an heir.”

That, ultimately, leaves the legislation proposed in Question 2 dangerously lacking in the fundamental checks to prevent a merciful option from becoming an exploitable loophole.

Until that kind of law is written, we cannot support anything short of it, and so the Waltham News Tribune endorses a NO vote on Question 2.

Boston Globe, says vote no on Question 2 (assisted suicide) says vote no on Question 2 (assisted suicide).

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