Letters to the Editor

Death with dignity: Quality of life is weighed too lightly

I applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for signing AB 2X-15, the death with dignity law, and for his thoughtful analysis of the measure.

Several of my beloved relatives have suffered too much and for too long at the ends of their lives. Some would have embraced a fast, peaceful and certain end if it had been available. I know this because they told me.

The law needs safeguards against abuse, which it contains.

Some doctors oppose the law. Many doctors, because of their training, believe that it’s beneficial to prolong every life, by any means. Quality of life is weighed too lightly. If a doctor “saves” a patient and then sends the patient home to endure another six months, or six years, of pain, helplessness and depression, has the doctor really done no harm?

The role of the doctor, under this law, is not to “assist” a suicide. It’s to certify that the patient’s suffering is not reversible and that the request comes from the patient herself. If these conditions are met, a prescription will enable the patient to make a choice.

As for churches, they are better served by putting their own houses in order than trying to control non-members.

Terry Miller, Fresno

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