Assisted suicide is presented by those who support it as a matter of autonomy and choice. But sometimes choice is an illusion. Vulnerable persons may be ever so gently steered in the direction of assisted suicide. It may also cause some to feel abandoned if they are asked to consider assisted suicide. The message received is that others think you would be better off dead. Even a patient asking a question about assisted suicide can have unforeseen consequences as related in the article below.
This piece was published by www.californiaagainstassistedsuicide.org/ . It highlights the experience of one family :
A few years ago, my brother, Wes Olfert, died in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.
When he was first admitted to the hospital, he made the mistake of asking about assisted suicide. I say a mistake, because this set off a chain of events that interfered with his care and caused him unnecessary stress in what turned out to be the last months of his life.
By asking the question, he was given a “palliative care” consult by a doctor who heavily and continually pressured him to give up on treatment before he was ready to do so. Other doctors and staff members also lost interest in helping him once they learned that he had asked about assisted suicide.
With legal assisted suicide, my brother’s choice was not enhanced; he was instead written off and pressured to die. Assisted suicide should not be legal.
Marlene Deakins, RN Tuscon Arizona
Additional information about assisted suicide in the United States is available at choiceillusion.org.