Monday, June 10, 2019

Dr William Reichel: Rejecting assisted suicide is a wise decision.

(Sadly the Maine Governor signed the assisted suicide bill).

I have studied assisted suicide since 1984, mostly at Georgetown University Medical Center. I am a Past President of the American Geriatrics Society and I have published a number of papers on this subject, the most important one in The Lancet in 1989. I also discuss this subject in my text Reichel's Care of the Elderly, 7th Edition, Cambridge University Press.

I am strongly opposed to assisted suicide because it may be performed for the wrong reasons. Would a selfish family member want to receive the inheritance sooner than the projected estimated time for that relative's illness? Or can the medical system selfishly want to avoid a prolonged hospital or nursing home stay? Would a doctor want to make it easier by not getting a second opinion that some states require? The literature from the Netherlands and Belgium describe many violations of government policy including not stating the true cause of death and even not getting the patient's permission.

I imagine that you may be very overwhelmed with this issue and others. But I urge you to please consider what I have shared with you. I feel certain that you will think back and realize that rejecting assisted suicide for Maine is a wise decision.

William Reichel, M.D. 

Affiliated Scholar 
Center for Clinical Bioethics 
Georgetown University Medical Center Washington, D.C.

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