We have the right to die with dignity

We have the right to die with dignity

Okay Ralph, this is going to be a touchy debate so let’s try to tread lightly. I know you are a religious man who may believe what we’re about to debate is simply wrong but, with that said, I too am a devout Christian with a notable opinion on a proposed bill being debated in Little Rock regarding assisted-suicide.

So seems our Republican politicians in Little Rock feel it is too politically risky to even consider this measure sponsored by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville that would allow a physician to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a patient whose illness would result in death “within a relatively short time.As I understand it Ralph Douglas’ bill couldn’t clear a House committee which means that it is “dead in the water” and you know why? It is primarily because these politicians want absolutely no part in taking sides on this measure because they are afraid doing so will have a negative impact on their personal political careers.

Oh, but they sure have no trouble sifting through abortion legislation do they Ralph, which in my opinion sends a message that while they condone what I believe is allowing the end of life to a living fetus but want no part in allowing a terminally ill Arkansan the right to make his or her own choice.

These pathetic and gutless politicians have more compassion for suffering animals then they do a terminally- ill and suffering human being whose quality of life is non-existent and death is very imminent.

Some of Douglas’ comments on his bill sparked a rebuke from Ken Yang, director of government affairs for the Little Rock-based Family Council, who supported the 1999 law that made physician-assisted suicide a felony punishable by up to 10-years in prison.

Naturally, hospice and palliative care providers also opposed Douglas’’ bill and that, in my opinion, is because of their motive is all about the potential financial loss and you know that as well as I do, Ralph.

Their argument is that patients may choose assisted suicide out of fear, without understanding care providers’ ability to help relieve pain and anxiety at the end of a patient’s life. Come on, Ralph, that is merely malarkey. Their main concern is milking the situation as long as they can because there is a lot of money to be made in keeping a terminally ill patient drugged up to the point they don’t even know what is going on around them.

Let me point out, Ralph, that according to Portland, Ore., based Death with Dignity, which supports laws along physician-assisted suicide, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and even Washington, D.C. have laws along the lethal prescriptions.

I think assisted suicide is an extremely serious decision to make for anyone and something that should be well thought out, but again, Ralph, an option that should be left up to the individual and not some politician, One more thing, Ralph, let’s make it clear this is not some morbid procedure but rather a very dignified process. To even obtain the drugs, the patient would have to make two oral requests, at least 15 days apart, as well as a written request signed in the presence of two or more witnesses. If the patient wasn’t already in hospice care, the prescribing physician would have to tell the patient about other end-of-life options, including hospice and palliative care. Then a second physician would also have to confirm the patient’s diagnosis and that the patient was informed, acting voluntarily and able to make and communicate decisions.

So you see, Ralph, this is a very serious option that I strongly feel should be left up to the individual, and I agree that not everyone in a dire situation may not believe assisted suicide is right based on their religious background.

By Michael Coulter

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