There is a key question that the Death With Dignity Act presents us: Who owns our life? I like to think I own mine, and you own yours. Dr. Jane A. Driver appears to feel differently (“Doctors’ beef with Question 2 stems from fear for patients’ welfare,” Letters, Oct. 5).
Driver states that people who want to end their suffering have “terrible fear,” and that doctors can “help patients pass through the crisis that leads them to turn to suicide.” That’s quite impressive, but I’m sure not all doctors are miracle workers, and not all patients can make such a transition. Getting in their way are things such as intractable pain, unimaginable indignities, and utter despair.
Driver adds that suicide has “long-lasting effects on loved ones.” But just as vividly does watching a loved one suffer interminably.
She concludes, “To embrace suicide as a medical treatment is to cut at the heart of what unites us as a Commonwealth.” First, the Death With Dignity Act is not about embracing suicide; its proponents only say that this should be an option, and that we all can make our own decisions. Second, I think the heart of what unites us as a Commonwealth is our freedom to choose, be it religion, George McGovern in 1972, or death with dignity. Please let us do so.