Letters to the Editor

Letter: Death with dignity

Michael Ollove did an excellent job of discussing “death with dignity” (March 14). He reports how a Montana man chose his legally sanctioned death date. His wife described his death as a “beautiful way ... to end his life ... in peace ... in control and ... with dignity.” We should all have that right.

As reported, besides the five states in which it is already legal, in 19 other states and DC, efforts are underway to promote laws permitting choices in dying. Polls show about 75 percent of Americans favoring choice-in-dying. While many court and legislative battles are raging, we can anticipate acceptance of legal death-with-dignity nationally.

As pointed out, palliative care does not work for everyone. One organization, The Final Exit Network (of which I am a board member) offers relevant information and, if desired, a compassionate presence, to carefully screened individuals who suffer from a fatal or irreversible physical illness, from intractable physical pain or from a constellation of chronic, progressive physical disabilities and who judge the quality of their lives to be unacceptable.

We agree with Dr. Kress’ statement that, “aid-in-dying is patient-centered care.”

Martin Seidenfeld, Boise