|

Letter to editor – Vote no on Question 2

To the editor:

As a psychotherapist who has counseled thousands of elderly patients in nursing homes and other settings, I am adamantly opposed to Proposition 2, the assisted suicide proposal.

My opposition is based on three points. First, many elderly or severely ill people express a wish to die. This is almost never indicates that they are suicidal. Rather, it is a way of saying that they are very dissatisfied with their lives the way they are. Often, this can be mitigated by counseling, pain management, attention to providing for their interests, needs and desires, or simple passage of a little time to allow for adjustment to radical changes in their lives. I have seen many people verbalize a wish to die, and then fight with all their strength to recover when a possibly fatal flu or infection hits them. So, the first point is that it is ludicrous to absolutize one moment in a person’s life, especially when they are highly stressed by illness and other factors, and turn it into a life or death decision.

Secondly, in addition to the supports and interventions mentioned above, for those who truly are ready to die, Hospice provides pain relief, support, and counseling to make the process as easy and dignified as possible.  That is to say, there are alternatives to suicide.

Thirdly, although we may not want to think about it and may wish it were not true, the sick and elderly often feel tremendous pressure from feeling they are a burden on their families or even on professional staff who care for them. This makes them extremely vulnerable to anyone – family, friends, caregivers – who may want them dead or who believes they would be “better off” dead.

Don’t trick yourself into believing these things don’t happen, even in the best of families and institutions. Moreover, the pressure the sick person places on themselves can be overwhelming. There is nothing in the proposed law to protect people from their own fears or from unscrupulous people around them. And once the pills are acquired, there is nothing to prevent anyone from forcibly administering them, since there is no requirement for a witness to this final act.

Even if you favor suicide as a viable choice, you should oppose this particular proposal because it is so poorly written. There are virtually no safeguards to protect the sick person, no oversight, no witnessing, nothing to protect against fear, family greed, or simple misperceptions and misinterpretations by family or caregivers.  For the sake of “granny”, as well as yourself at some point down the road, I urge you to vote NO on proposition 2.

William P. Gooley

Shrewsbury

 

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=27990

Posted by on Oct 31 2012. Filed under Neighbors in the news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply


two * = 6

Support local businesses!

Recently Commented

  • Lisa Maillet: To all of Deb’s family…..I worked with Deb for 4 years at RSS as an assistant as well. I...
  • Jim Goodwin: Phil: Thank you for the kind words, makes me feel very proud. Glad you liked the article. Jim
  • Phil: Super great article on the Chevelle club of which I am a member, Jim Goodwin is one of the nicest people you...
  • Larry Lorusso: Hey Ed and Toni, how’s things on the farm? Long time and hope you are well. Take care Larry
  • Michael Lyon: It would be appreciated if this would be taken down as Christopher McLagan is no longer affiliated with...