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letters | QUESTION 2

Until we have perfect world, some patients need way to end their misery

In its Nov. 2 editorial opposing Question 2, “End-of-life discussions, care should come before Question 2,” the Globe argues that in a world where patients are informed about and have ready access to options such as ending life-saving treatment and receiving adequate pain relief, the need for physician-assisted suicide would be lessened (but, importantly, not eliminated). However, we live in no such perfect world, nor are we likely to any time soon, and in the meantime, refusing to allow at least some patients to shorten their final days of unremitting misery is unnecessarily cruel.

As to the opposition of some in the medical profession, it's fair to point out that many doctors view the death of a patient as a personal defeat, and also that providers collect substantial fees in caring for terminally ill and suffering patients until the end mercifully comes. I would give their opposition more weight if there weren’t any ego involved and, I hate to add, also a financial incentive in prolonging such purposeless agony.

Stanley Spiegel


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